Last month Rob Liefeld threw in the towel on his run for several new titles in DC‘s revised New 52 line. This was due to what he pleasantly referred to as “editor pissing contests” among other things. Before that, John Carter: A Princess of Mars writer Roger Langridge walked away from both Marvel and DC, considering his working relationship with both companies to be ”quite problematic from an ethical view.”
Now another major player in the industry has decided to jump ship from not one, but both companies at the same time – Greg Rucka.
Rucka claims that DC executives considered his work to have no real value. He denies this, as sales of his paperback work were actually quite impressive for the market.
“Well, take a look at your trade sales! That book has made nothing but money as a trade. What I’m now being told is, ‘lt was never worth anything to us anyway.’ So, you know what? They can stop selling the Batwoman: Elegy trade and stop selling the Wonder Woman trades and everything else I’ve done, because clearly I’ve not done anything of service and those guys aren’t making any money off me.”
The three time Eisner Award winner said in an interview with Mark Millar‘s CLiNT magazine that over the course of his seven years with DC Comics, he was taken “gross advantage” of, with the studio focused more on the “Hollywoodisation” of their product.
“There was at least a period where I felt that the way they wanted to make money was by telling the best story they could; now the quality of the work matters less than that the book comes out. There is far less a desire to see good work be done.”
These statements appear to carry a measure of truth, as Greg’s run on Marvel’s Punisher solo series has also been cut, announced to end as of issue #16. It’s not due to a lack of direction though. Marvel is effectively cutting Greg’s year-and-a-half of service on the project to put the Punisher on a team feature.
“My run on Punisher ends on #16, and we are then doing a five-issue mini called War Zone and then I’m done. That’s it! The Powers-That-Be at Marvel, without talking to me, decreed that he’s going to join a team on another book.
“That’s their choice, they own him, but I don’t have to be happy about it. I am glad I had the opportunity to work on the character and I’m proud of the work I’ve done.”
At least he isn’t super sore about that one, it’s just a business decision. But does Rucka think the rise in talent quitting will force a change in the industry? Afraid not.
“Despite what the publishers say, their interest in the talent is minimal now, the interest is only in promoting the financial worth of their properties. That was not the case as of two or three years ago, when there was an ‘Exclusives war’, but that’s all gone by the wayside now. Ultimately, they are saying, ‘We don’t need you,’ because they can get a million more just like you.”
It’s a shame that these big names, who have all either moved on or will eventually move on, had to do something like this in the first place. Any bets on who’s going to take the plunge next month?