So what did happen with Authority anyway?
Now that the new Peyer issues have started to come out (and have been critically well received), maybe there’s a little distance from the original Frank Quitely leaves and the comic’s schedule nose-dives just at the moment it was making real mainstream impact.
At the recent Bristol convention, John Layman said at the DC Panel is that Quitely left because Marvel offered him more money. And indeed while Quitely later stated that he left Authority because, “[T]here [were] personal reasons why I left. This wasn’t just because it was a very good opportunity”, in an earlier interview at Comics Newsarama he made it clear that he would have finished his run if they had given him his Marvel rate. And so Authority fans railed at Joe Quesada for “stealing Frank.”
But Joe Quesada was also clear at the time, explicitly stating that he hadn’t “stolen” Quitely by offering him more money, and that Frank came to him. So how does it all fit together?
Both Frank Quitely and Mark Millar were thinking of moving to the USA. Wildstorm courted them about making them staff members and working exclusive for them, and would sort out immigration in the process. This would include a creator-owned line (that Grant Morrison was also involved with).
However, Frank was slow on Authority and had immediate financial commitments to his family. And as it looked like he was going to take six months to finish up the last three issues of Authority (which were already horrendously late – is that a Wildstorm house style?) that would be a financial stretch for him. If Quitely’s departure so drastically affected the schedule of an issue that was already late, what were Wildstorm thinking when they solicited that issue in the first place, back in November?
Marvel had asked if Quitely would work for them after Authority and offered a much higher page rate. Quitely asked if Wildstorm would match it. Wildstorm said no. And although there had been no contracts, Quitely had given a verbal agreement that he’d finish the run anyway.
A messy situation, but since Quitely had come on board, the book had jumped from 70 to 30 in the Top 100, had received a number of awards nominations, and was becoming a real critical success. Quitely may well have believed a little verbal contract negotiation may have been in order. At http://www.thehigherauthority.com, he’s quoted saying, “I’m kind of sad Wildstorm didn’t make more of a play to keep Vince (Frank Quitely) and that the four issues are going to be spread over a year.”
So Quitely jumped to Marvel and New X-Men. And Marvel agreed to work on bringing him to New York.
Brian Azzarello, already agreeing to write Authority, had a condidtion. He couldn’t start until February 2002. The book would have to be rescheduled as not only had issues been solicited with Quitely art, but he’d only pencilled three pages in the month the book was meant to be shipping.
That bought Wildstorm some time for Azzarello, but not enough. Wildstorm asked if Millar would extend his run but he declined. So the idea to get another great-but-tardy artist to finish off Millar’s run and insert a four issue aside by a new team was mooted. Millar said he’d go along with it if the job was given to Tom Peyer. Wildstorm agreed and paired him with Dustin Nguyen, a new find. And the Garth Ennis/Bryan Hitch two issue deal was a go too, which all added up to an uninterrupted monthly run from May to February
But this situation meant Millar wasn’t inclined to write more Authority until the artist had started on the script that was already written, and despite prodding from Wildstorm, deadlines slipped. And Art Adams said he wouldn’t draw any issues unless he had the full script. All this palaver also added to Millar’s decision to take up a staff position at Marvel rather than Wildstorm. Also at http://www.thehigherauthority.com, Millar said, “Being told that Wildstorm froze my story for ten months really, really pissed me off more than anything else in my professional career; especially when people were all getting into the book so much and we’d become one of DC’s top-selling titles. However, as we get closer to the actual release date of part two of the story, I feel a bit happier about the situation and am just looking forward to seeing the remainder of my run completed.”
Things seem a little more sedate now. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are ensconced at Marvel. Mark Millar and Frank Quitely are still planning to move to New York, once Frank’s sold his house and Mark’s sorted the Ireland thing out. The Authority is still selling well, coming out on time (just about) and reviews are great. And Azzarello’s Authority is being used to herald a new Mature Line from Wildstorm, including a revamped WildCATS, and a new Ed Brubaker title.
It’s also possible we’ll still see bits from Grant Morrison and Mark Millar’s creator owned line from Wildstorm in the future too.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 5 Out Of 10
Wanted: Comic Creators Who Can Drink
So what’s all this about Ireland? It appears that Mark Millar (while being thoroughly uncooperative with the above story) was happier to talk about the new move. Millar tells me:
- “Yeah, my wife and I took a trip to Ireland a couple of weeks ago to look into the whole tax-free status which writers and artists enjoy over there. As someone who’s always in trouble with the tax-man, this is particularly attractive (especially in light of the fact that I’m making royalties for just about the first time in my life). The nice thing is that you only have to stay there for around seven months of the year to qualify, so we’re thinking about having a base in Dublin and spending the rest of the year in America. It’s a perfect haven for all freelancers. I’m trying to talk as many writers and artists into doing this as I can (just so I have people to go to the pub with, really).”
This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out of 10
Keeping on the Authority obsession, time for a Bryan Hitch story. Remember earlier in the year there were the rumours he was moving to CrossGen but that he denied them to my face? Well, turns out he was telling the truth, but there’s a whole bigger story beneath it.
Both Mark Waid, his writer on JLA and Laura DePuy, his colourist on Authority and JLA have made the move to CrossGen. So the rumour that Bryan was also moving had some resonance.
I hear that late last year, Bryan Hitch did indeed sign with CrossGen, that he would move to the CrossGen offices immediately after the end of his DC contract (November 2001).
This story is from a couple of sources, but should be taken with a strong pinch of salt. They both seem to originate from one point of view and it is likely that there are others. Indeed, those other points of view may emerge late in the week as a result of this article being printted. Just remember the Rumour Warning on this site and continue with natural scepticism.
I’m told CrossGen wooed Bryan and invited him over for a few weeks. Indeed I hear Bryan spent time drawing JLA: Heaven’s Ladder while he was there. And at the end of the visiting period, he signed on. CrossGen paid him a large advance to cover his moving costs. I understand that shortly afterwards, Bryan changed his mind and told CrossGen that he couldn’t move. However, at that point, he’d spent the advance money and couldn’t return it.
I understand it was around this time that he was offered the Ultimate Avengers project with Mark Millar, though that project has now evolved into something new with a different name.
I also understand that Marvel have been negotiating with CrossGen to pay off some of his debt.
Both Bryan Hitch and his agent Ken Levin declined to comment at this stage and representatives of CrossGen did not reply to enquiries.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out Of 10
What is Borderline? That name’s been bandied about a bit of late and it looks like somethings going to be launched pretty soon. I believe it’s to be a new kind of comics magazine. Yes its going to be online, yes it’s going to be a web page but it’s also going to be neither of these things.
Sounds like a PDF file to me – a magazine designed in a style so that it can be printed, but downloadable through the internet. Which would be a new one for comics.
It’s got a British sensibility, and a bunch of experienced British journalistic talent behind it. And while Des Skinn’s recent assurance to me that Comics International‘s future is secure, what with his move to Brighton and mutual decision for long-time staffer Phil Hall to leave the magazine, some people have seen this Borderline as a challenger to the throne.
Place your bets, gentlemen please…
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out of 10
Remember last week’s story about Marvel Knights dealing with a rogue Moon Knight series that Marvel tried to sneak into their line? Go read it, then come back.
I’ve heard other reports about the situation that pretty much back up what was said, although take the blame for the situation away from Bob Harras.
One version of the story says the blame for that idea may well have been the idea of one of the Sales guys known as Skee – and that Harras defended Joe and Jimmy’s position when discussing it with Sales. Rather than forcing the issue on Marvel Knights, it’s reported Harras was the one who got everyone together to discuss the issue. Marvel Knights argued that they’d walk if the book was pushed through – and Bob supported that stance.
It was also an issue that Marvel Knights wouldn’t have made any revenue from the Moon Knight book. The other side argued that since Mark Texeira had already drawn Black Panther, it would look just like a Marvel Knights book – but without a Marvel Knights logo it would flop.
And indeed, rather than Sales being on Marvel Knights side, it was two specific individuals from a different Sales department who went drinking with Jimmy and Joe that came to their defence. Sales were the real force begind pushing the book through Marvel Knights.
And the chap from Sales who resigned? Apparently there were plenty of other reasons too…
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10
Remember the fuss last week about Comics Continuum posting Marvel solicitations early? And how other ites were condemjning him for breaking the “embargo” on such information? Well, Rob Allstetter writes, “We ran the solicitations because of correspondence between Marvel and myself. It’s unfortunate that other web sites are angry — I would be, too — but I was following Marvel’s instructions, under the assumption this was the rule for all sites. I’m not trying to break embargoes. Hope you can clear this up. And hopefully Marvel and the sites will communicate better in the future.”
Our pleasure Rob!
This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out of 10
Calling Chris Sprouse
Is Chris Sprouse out there? Do you know him? If you can get a message to him, Kez Wilson and Tom Joyner are trying to contact him concerning reprinting the DC sci-fi comic series Hammerlocke they all created, with new material and a follow-up sequel. They’ve had no joy with Wildstorm email addresses so have turned to this public appeal.
Kez can be contacted through this column at email@example.com.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10
So what’s Sean Philips doing as the Non-Mature Readers WildCATS comes to a close? I hear Marvel’s grabbed him as layout artist for the non-Frank Quitely New X-Men issues…
This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out Of 10
Alright, Enough Already!
This is a plug for NinthArt.com. Ninth Art is a website that does lots of high brow comics nonsense that, frankly, is both elitist, snobby and a right pain in the arse. So that’s why they’ve asked me to write something for them. And I will, when I get round to it.
Until then you’ll have to be satisfied with German Bight, their new Shipping Forecaster, Paul O’Brien’s not writing about X-Men but “the Marvel mature readers line, audience cynicism and corporate risks.”, their interview with Hip Flask creator Richard Starkings, the “Kike” incident, why computer lettering is ace, Hip Flask, and Buddhism. Apparently not necessarily in that order…
This Has A Brow-Beatened Plug Value Of 8 Out of 10
Can I do my plug now?
One piece of Chris Weston Authority original art for sale on Ebay, right here.