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J. Michael Straczynski no longer exclusive to marvel

February 23, 2008

I’ve opted to no longer be exclusive at Marvel.

I came to Marvel almost eight years ago, and have been under exclusive contract for nearly all of that time. It was a remarkable and fertile period and a tremendous opportunity to play in the Marvel universe exclusively. At the same time, that’s an awfully long time to be under any one roof, however much you may like the decor. There’s also something to be said for cross-pollination, for embracing a variety of universes and creative opportunities. As the ultimate geek fanboy, over the last eight years, I would look out onto the comics landscape of cool characters at other companies and think, “Wouldn’t it be fun to play with…”

There’s a comfort factor in staying with one universe for eight years, and there’s a lot to say for that. At the same time, I’ve always been wary of getting too comfortable. I think we need to challenge ourselves from time to time by stepping beyond the safe boundaries of one playground into another.

About eighteen months ago, I opted not to pursue another multi-year contract with Marvel, instead remaining exclusive on a month to month basis. During that time, I began the process of scaling back the number of monthly titles I was writing for Marvel to Amazing Spider-Man and Thor, alongside limited-run special projects such as The Twelve, Bullet Points and Silver Surfer: Requiem, projects outside continuity where I felt I could do my best work. I continued to pull back until I finally reached a point of having just one monthly title, Thor, and the maxi-series The Twelve, which felt about right, which is why I announced about six months ago that I would not be taking on any new monthly titles outside of Thor, only special projects. I felt that this way, should I decide to opt out of exclusivity; I would leave the smallest possible footprint on Marvel’s publishing schedule. If I were doing three or four books per month for Marvel, and took on outside responsibilities, those titles would suffer from lack of full attention, and that would be a disservice to both Marvel and the readers.

So I’m now in a comfortable place to opt out of exclusivity. Consequently, a few weeks ago, I contacted Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley to let them know that I would no longer be exclusive after the first of February, 2008. They were gracious and understanding and I have nothing but praise for both individuals. That Joe and I have disagreed over stuff from time to time, as will happen in any working relationship, that has no impact on how I perceive him as an editor and a stand-up guy. Stuff is just stuff; it has nothing to do with the person. Ditto and then some for Dan Buckley, who has always been an absolute mensch. They understood the importance of being able to grow by working in different universes, and have been completely supportive in this decision.

So what’s next? I will continue to write Thor, finish up The Twelve, and as time permits, take on occasional limited-series special projects for Marvel. I’m not leaving Marvel, only opting to widen the creative horizons a bit to include some of the other amazing comics universes out there.

To that end, I will have several substantial comics-related announcements to make at WonderCon in San Francisco this weekend. It is my hope that the cross-pollination of working for several major companies will help me continue to grow as a writer, and will create opportunities for fun stories with characters I’ve wanted to write for my whole life. It is also my hope that those readers who have enjoyed my work over the years (all three of you) will come along for the ride. We have much coolness ahead of us.

So stand by, for as we say in television…there is more to come.
jms

As reported by newsarama

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