Mark Waid: After
Ruse And Into The Fantastic...
It's been a tumultuous
year and a half for Mark Waid. After penning some of the most highly
regarded superhero books in the past decade, including two excellent
runs on Captain America, Kingdom Come with Alex Ross, and taking over
for Grant Morrison on JLA, Waid was at the top of his game. With a group
of other writers and artists, he co-founded Gorilla Comics, where he
started the unique series Empire. It was only natural that CrossGen
Comics would try to interest him in moving to Tampa, Florida and trying
The timing was
right, as the company gave him permission to continue working on Empire.
Unfortunately for that book, Gorilla ran into some financial difficulties
(as did a lot of companies), leaving Waid completely free.
We owe this man
his hands were everywhere, writing a few stories in CrossGen Chronicles,
taking over Sigil, and launching the Atlantean team fantasy book Crux.
Last Autumn Waid gambled on a Victorian Era detective book (with a hint
of the CrossGen mystique), teaming with Butch Guice to create Ruse.
Fans responded wildly.
seem to work out quite as CrossGen and Waid had planned. Shortly after
launching Ruse, the writer cut back his involvement on the other books,
handing the reins over to Chuck Dixon. Rumors swirled that Marvel had
tempted Waid with Fantastic Four. Soon enough, those rumors were confirmed.
And then last
week, Waid and CrossGen parted ways completely. (Never say for good,
but a return doesn't seem likely in the near future.) Waid stepped down
from writing Ruse, surprising and disappointing a lot of fans, even
those who like the work of his replacement on the title, Scott Beatty.
Waid took some
time out this week to talk to Fanboy Planet about his departure, Fantastic
Four, and what the future holds.
Out of everything you did at CrossGen, Ruse seemed to be the most "your"
book. How did your work on it lead to "creative differences?" Without
spoiling what will now actually happen on the book, where did you want
it to go?
MW: I can't
say--but I don't like the phrase "creative differences," because it
didn't apply here. All I can say is what was said in the press release:
I enjoyed working on the book and from early on liked to bat ideas around
with the rest of the team, incorporating those ideas that worked and
politely letting pass those that didn't.
rest of the team or some part thereof decided to take more control over
the plotting of the book, and rather than let that create friction,
I regretfully handed over the reins. I wish them luck and have nothing
even remotely disparaging to say.
tenure at CrossGen never seemed to go as smoothly as the initial excitement
seemed to promise. Both you and George Perez broke the company's initial
policy that once you were at CrossGen, you were there exclusively. Do
you think your time had an effect on the way they run things, and would
you say that as a good or bad thing?
time will tell. To be fair, neither George nor I "broke" anything--in
order to secure our services, offers were made. I don't know about George,
but I for one never once asked CrossGen to do anything out of the ordinary
for me--anything at all.
signing by CrossGen appeared to cut short a critically and popularly
successful run on JLA. Is there anything you feel you left undone on
that book, and would you want to go back?
MW: As my
friends are so fond of saying when they want me to entertain thoughts
of suicide, had I just written ahead two or three more months, I never
would have had to leave JLA. D'oh.
talk about what's next: Fantastic Four. In last month's Wizard, you
mention that the FF were way down on your list of characters you wanted
to write. What changed your mind?
Only NINE CENTS!
the challenge of making anyone under the age of forty like Reed Richards.
Then, as I thought about the rest of the characters, they began to excite
me more and more. And when I found that my old Flash partner Mike Wieringo
was in the mix, the decision became a no-brainer.
do you think you'll bring to the Fantastic Four that hasn't been there
way to answer that and not look like I'm slamming previous creative
teams, all of which brought something special to the book, so let me
just say this: what we can bring is fun and vitality, spontaneity and
9 cent debut issue is a bargain no matter how you slice it, but why
else should the fanboys be excited?
it looks phenomenal.
promised a brand-new Doom. Any other old FF villains that you'll make
us see in a whole new way?
least, not as currently planned. Oh, I'm sure we'll go back to that
well eventually, but for now, I'd rather stay with the new.
course, this leaves you down to one (publicly) announced book. Rumors
have already begun circulating that you might be doing a Superman book
for DC. Any truth to that?
MW: I wasn't
asked to take over one of the monthlies. But I'm looking forward to
Steve Seagle's take on the character.
else is on the plate for you?
Empire strikes back..
Not writing a book a week like I have been for the past ten years. Lots
you have any dream characters left that you want to work on?
Someday, DC's Captain Marvel. Someday.
Loeb is working on the Smallville TV show, Geoff Johns is helping develop
a Bloodstone pilot - do you have any interest in branching out to other
I've had plenty of offers--it's finding the time that's the problem.
But I'm working on it.
last words of wisdom or commercial plugs you'd like to get in?
Yeah. Barry Kitson is working on EMPIRE #3 even as we speak.
Look for the relaunch ASAP from DC.