Writer Turnover In The Comic Industry
With all the flurry of SDCC announcements recently it was hard to digest and take it all in. One of them in particular really stood out and bothered me. Greg Rucka would be leaving the new Cyclops series after issue #6. This is unfortunate because Rucka is one of my favorite writers; I think Gotham Central is one of the few truly flawless series that exists. His reasons for leaving are legit enough, he does pen a few other different series and wants to concentrate on his novel writing. I respect that. I’m just sad to see him leave the only Marvel title he was doing.
I’ve grown weary of the Cyclops series as a whole. When it was first announced I was ecstatic. The premise is intriguing. For the last 2 years or so the X-Men from the 1960’s have been brought to present day in the All-New X-Men title. During the recent “Trial Of Jean Grey” crossover Teenage Cyclops met his dad Corsair whom he believed dead. In a touching moment they decided to take to space for some father/son bonding and intergalactic space pirating. The series started off well enough, but after waiting two months between issue #2 and #3 my joy began to dim a little. How could there be a delay that early on in a series?
Then came the news that artist Russell Dauterman would be departing after issue #3 to work on the new female Thor series by Jason Aaron. Shortly thereafter we found out that Rucka would soon be off writing duties. How could a series which isn’t destined for the long haul (my guess was 12 or so issues) have this much turnover already?
This article wasn’t written to bash the Cyclops book, my real issue is writer turnover for companies like Marvel and DC (and since I don’t really read DC it’s going to be centered towards Marvel). I did mention this awhile back in an article I wrote, but this got the fires stoked once again. The idea that a high profile writer can be moved onto a book to write an arc or a handful of issues and then moved off just as quick is total B.S. to me. It may be great for the company to say, oh “Matt Fraction is writing Ms. Marvel now is the time to jump on!” and then 4 issues later he’s moved on to something else.
After having such a positive experience with All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men (both by Brian Michael Bendis) I tried my hand at the other X related titles, like X-Men and Amazing X-Men both of which didn’t do it for me. Jason Aaron who penned the inaugural arc of Amazing X-Men was off by issue #6 and replaced with Craig Kyle and Chris Yost. We now know that Aaron will be writing one of Marvel’s soon to be launched Star Wars titles, which indeed is a big deal but can’t he write both? Brian Wood lasted a little longer on X-Men (issue #17) which is a more respectable. Nothing makes me want to jump ship on a title faster than finding out that the launching writer is leaving the title.
It makes me have serious respect for writers like Dan Slott, Mark Waid and Bendis who are dedicated to a book and willing to go the distance with it. I completely understand that writers don’t want to be locked into a series forever and miss out on other opportunities or want to do creator owned things as well. Can’t it be both? I’m not asking for a Chris Claremont 17 year commitment, but I expect more than one arc. I long for the days when writers were thrilled about being put on a book and want to invest in the future of these iconic characters rather than hop on for a few issues and be done with it.
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