WLG #412: Creator Owned Comics

A column article by: Zoe Wadsworth

“Partly, it's the beginning of a shift from work-for-hire to books I own, instead. I hit a point with the work-for-hire stuff where I was starting to feel burned out on it. Like my tank is nearing empty on superhero comics, basically. It's been a great job, and I think I found ways to bring my voice to it, but I have a lot of other things I want to do as a writer, too, so I'm going to try that for a while instead.”

 –Ed Brubaker

That quote was taken from a long interview with writer Ed Brubaker posted at The Comics Reporter last weekend. In it Brubaker announced that after 8 years he was leaving Marvel’s Captain America series and moving towards concentrating on his creator owned work, such as his Fatale series at Image Comics with frequent art-partner Sean Phillips.

I have to say this is bittersweet news for me. I’ve been a huge fan of Bru and his work on Cap from the beginning. His Captain America #1 was what brought me back to monthly buying after a period of time away from comics. The book was a fantastic and moody spy thriller back then, with a bit of pulp noir thrown in. Certainly one of the greatest runs of the character ever.

But as a creator I can certainly empathize with the draw of working your own ‘stuff’. And there hasn’t been such a prolonged debate on creator rights in comics for a long time. Not a week goes by it seems where another creator is leaving work-for-hire to focus on his own properties, or more debates on ongoing issues like Kirby lawsuits, the ‘morality’ of Before Watchmen etc.

Well I’ll certainly miss Bru’s approach to comics writing in the super hero field. Captain America and other works like Gotham Central before it brought something to super heroes and monthly comics. But I’ll follow him to whatever he decides to work on next. If you haven’t been reading Fatale now’s the time to start. Last week saw the release of Fatale #6- the start of a new story arc- and the trade collection of the first storyline.

Ok, so with that in mind here’s this week’s What Looks Good…in creator owned comics.

DARK HORSE

Mind Mgmt #2 $3.99 (Matt Kindt)

Matt Kindt's cutting-edge spy-fi series continues! Young journalist Meru's investigation into MIND MGMT, an espionage unit of psychic spies, and the rogue field agent whose defection nearly destroyed the entire operation becomes even more complicated when the CIA takes an interest! But whose side are they on? As the story takes her from Mexico to Zanzibar, Meru discovers more clues about MIND MGMT's history and encounters some of its victims, all while pursued by tireless Immortals!”

The first issue really showcased Kindt style of artwork and storytelling. He brings a certain crossover appeal to his work that would be popular with fans of the offbeat or comix style books.

 

IMAGE

Creator Owned Heroes #2 $3.99 (Steve Niles, Phil Noto & more)

“'AMERICAN MUSCLE,' Part Two by STEVE NILES & KEVIN MELLON Facing the realization that he has led the gang to a dead end, Gil takes matters into his own hands. Unfortunately, heading into a mutant infested desert my yourself leads to big, nasty trouble. PLUS - an interview with PAUL POPE, a PHIL NOTO art gallery, con photos, and original articles all celebrating the creator-owned spirit!”

Ok so what better book to pick to support creator owned comics right? Guess it was my lucky week at What Looks Good.  This anthology book runs a few strips in every issue along with interviews, stories and other back matter material all in support of creator owned projects.

 

Thief of Thieves #6 $2.99 (Robert Kirkman & Shawn Martinbrough)

 “The heist you've been waiting months to see goes down! Will Redmond - AKA Conrad Paulson - be able to pull this off, or will his final caper leave him behind bars, or worse six feet under?”

I think it is safe to say that Robert Kirkman is the biggest household name to come out of comics since the 1980’s gave us Alan Moore and Frank Miller.  His comic series The Walking Dead has crossed over into every imaginable type of media- books, TV, video games and more. And succeeded; actually over achieved.

So for a creator Kirkman and the success he has had with his comics- not just The Walking Dead but also Invincible, Thief of Thieves and even Haunt to a degree- is the example that most creators are striving for. He owns his properties, controls his properties and oversees his properties in other media. It’s all his. It’s not shared by some big media corporation.

But I honestly think and hope there is a balance out there for creators, publishers and readers. I hate the idea that we could be losing someone like Brubaker from working at Marvel or DC as he instead works on his own books. Maybe it will be a temporary thing. I’m sure the door will always be open for him to do whatever he wants at Marvel, it will be on him to decide if he wants to do it.

Well those are my picks for What Looks Good in this week’s creator owned comics. By the way there are a few other books that will be getting reader attention. The Ozymandias minseries debuts this week with interior art by Jae lee. Sabretooth returns in Wolverine #310 by Jeph Loeb and Simon Bianchi. And there’s this little thing called Avengers vs. X-Men #7 also coming out this week.

Thanks for coming by. See you in 2.

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