Marvel Editor Stuart Moore Resigns;
Dominoes To Follow?
A behind the scenes
shake-up could be happening at Marvel Comics, with the first rumbling
coming from yesterday's resignation of editor Stuart Moore.
Of course, it's
our job as members of the internet press to read more into than what
Marvel says, and on the surface, it all seems innocent enough. Moore,
currently editor of the Marvel Knights line and many of the MAX titles,
wants to devote time to writing instead of editing. Already Moore has
a mini-series, Zendra, scheduled for release later this summer
from Penny Farthing Press.
In Marvel's press
release, Moore offers, "I'm very grateful to Joe and Nanci Quesada and
to Bill Jemas for all the support and encouragement in letting me run
through the Marvel Universe with big nasty cleats, and I'm confident
that I'll be leaving the Knights imprint in good hands. This is a completely
amicable split, and I'll still be around at Marvel Knights through late
July to make sure the transition to the new editor is smooth."
Joe Quesada adds, "And despite what the rumor mill may say, Marvel Knights
and MAX are as healthy as ever. The fun part for fans and industry experts
alike is going to be trying to guess whom will be the next person to
sit at the helm of Marvel Knights! Keep watching the skies."
at Marvel, Moore had been the editor of DC's Helix and Vertigo lines
of comics, and his hiring by Quesada aided a transition for Vertigo
creators such as Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, who finished Preacher
for DC in time to re-launch The Punisher under the Marvel Knights
imprint. Both titles were edited by Moore.
And now on to the
rumor mill that Quesada quashes above. While the resignation may be
amicable, Rich Johnston at Silver
Bullet Comics reports that things may start falling like dominoes.
According to the
often reliable Johnston, Moore's resignation follows, and may be related
to, the release of his assistant, a fat-cutting move Marvel made in
preparation for some major cancellations. Like cutting out the whole
concept of the Marvel Knights and MAX lines. After the previously announced
titles run their course (such as Ennis' upcoming The Punisher: The
War Where I Was Born), those ongoing series that are successful
will be folded into the regular Marvel Universe. (ALIAS could
easily make the transition, now that the shock of being able to swear
has worn off.)
But if Marvel is
doing so well, you might ask, why take away these innovations? If Johnston
is right, there are two possible reasons, both stemming from Marvel's
(and comics in general's) recent higher profile.
These days in America,
a higher profile means closer scrutiny. Thanks to Spider-Man
the movie, parents are taking a look at comics again for their kids.
And when that happens, you can bet that parents will complain about
some of the content. It's an annoying tautology that ruled comics for
years: kids read comics, therefore all comics should be suitable for
kids. When no one notices that the latter isn't true, it's okay to have
books with huge red explicit content labels. But for a suddenly family
friendly again company like Marvel, the Bill Jemas/Joe Quesada frathouse
party approach may be wearing out its welcome.
What do you mean,
the party's over?
We still love these
guys; they really have been responsible for a re-birth in quality. But
a publicly owned company like Marvel Enterprises may like publicity
and still want to keep controversy to a minimum. No matter how much
fans may dig the MAX titles, cutting the concept wouldn't hurt the financial
And the financial
bottom line is pretty important to Marvel. Long-time readers know that
Marvel has been pulling itself out of the morass of bankruptcy, and
doing a good job of it, too. (For details, check out Dan Raviv's recently
released book Comic
Wars : How Two Tycoons Battled Over The Marvel Comics Empire - And Both
Lost.) However, the company is not yet out of the woods.
reports that the week before Spider-Man opened, Marvel CEO Ike
Perlmutter started shopping the company around to potential buyers.
Sony has been considering it, and rumors are that Disney, too, is interested.
(How bizarre would that be?)
Almost every major
studio has been approached, including AOLTimeWarner (aside from the
strangeness of one company controlling every superhero worth considering,
there would be sweet irony, as Bill Jemas has stopped referring to DC
as DC and now calls it AOL, pretty much just to annoy DC Publisher Paul
Levitz). Toy companies Mattel and Hasbro have also taken a look at the
Doomed to be cogs
in the same corporate machine?
That ledger, by
the way, still needs to be cleaned up if a deal with any company is
to go through. Though Marvel has made a near miraculous recovery, they
still have junk bonds in the closet, and are not as healthy on paper
as they appear.
In their report,
Comicon speculates that you'll know the concept of a Marvel sale is
serious when fat starts getting trimmed. You know, things like, an editor
leaves, side deals like Marvel Knights get terminated, low-selling titles
get cancelled, and movie rights get untangled.
Hmm. Last week
Sony paved the way for Ghost Rider, which had been attached to
a couple of other studios. Nah. It has to be coincidence, right?
this and more in the Fanboy forums.