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The short life of Crossgen Comics


#1

I’d weirdly forgotten about this company, but I remember it being quite exciting when first talked about and when I briefly met him Mark Alessi was very pleasant to me. It’s a shame how it all went down.

MM


#2

Interesting. Some of those ideas really were ahead of their time. Wonder what would have happened if the money hadn’t dried up.


#3

Crossgen never really got much traction in Ireland, I don’t think even Forbidden Planet stocked much of their stuff. That said their Forge and Edge collections (monthly anthology trades that had one issue each of their fantasy/horror or SF comics) showed up in remaindered bookshops around the time the company collapsed, and many of them still clutter the shelves of one of my favourite bookshop’s second-hand graphic novel section.


#4

I remember a mate being really into Sojourn and Way of the Rat, and I checked out Sigil, I think.

I’ve heard bits and pieces of the story behind Crossgen’s demise but the full article sounds like it’s worth checking out.


#5

My LCS was one of the special partner retailers for CrossGen. I loved a lot of the things they were trying. The anthologies that contained all the titles for that month, Forge and Edge, the digest size trades and their electronic comics (see below) were all things ahead of their time. I also liked that they had an actual studio where their creators worked together and they paid them a salary with benefits. Plus they launched the careers of Greg Land and Jim Cheung.

https://www.amazon.com/Sojourn-1-CrossGen-Digital-Comic/dp/B0000CED4D

I tried to get into some of their titles and enjoyed Sojourn and Scion a little but never really caught on for me.

Edit: If I remember correctly, the Digital Comic Book IP was one of the more valuable things when CrossGen sold.


#6

I think a lot of these new publishers were too ambitious and wanted to always expand as quickly as they could and stretched themselves too thin.

I’ve been impressed with how the new incarnation of Valiant has gone, they’ve really emphasised quality over quantity. They keep a tight line of books, launched one a month, with good creators they can afford.


#7

I think CrossGen did that though. The grew their titles very slowly and implemented all these innovative things at quite a slow pace over their 6 year existence. I really think they were competing in a red ocean space and had the rug pulled out from under them.

Current Valiant is really what most reminds me of CrossGen.

The most ambitious thing they did was the central location and salary for all creator. I think that experiment was more noble than foolhardy.


#10

Mark Waid did an interview a couple of years ago about his time with Crossgen. I think it was on AICN (I could be wrong). Short version - Not a happy experience.


#11

I recall that Waid’s book RUSE (with Jackson Guice) got lots of good reviews. I think part of CrossGen’s problem was that there were TOO MANY comics companies publishing at that time.


#12

Although the idea of having the sigil worked into every book was interesting, it was ultimately a bit of a carbuncle, trying to shoehorn it into so many books of different genres. There was no room for it in Ruse, really.

I’m surprised Marvel/Disney gave up on reviving its Crossgen properties so quickly though. It looked like they were going to use it as an imprint for all kinds of non-super-hero comics for a moment.


#13

I was aware of CrossGen as a publisher, but never read any of their stuff.

If I had more time I’d do a bit more research and pick up a few of their books - these things are really interesting from a historic perspective.


#14

I don’t know if they’re even in print anywhere any more. I remember liking Ruse by Mark Waid and Butch Guice quite a bit. That was fun.


#15

I know some no-name company (Checker?) put out omnibus trades of all the stuff left uncollected when Crossgen folded, but I guess those reprint rights went to Marvel/Disney.


#16

Yeah? I never saw that.

I have a couple of volumes of Alan Moore’s Supreme books put out by Checker, but didn’t know that the picked up Crossgen stuff. There was some good stuff out there. There was a pretty decent Samurai book that I liked. I can’t remember who was on regular art, but it had some spectacular fill in art by Walt Simonson in one issue. Steve McNiven worked for Crossgen if I recall before he became the superstar he is today.

I know that Marvel had a go at reviving the properties a couple of years back, with Ruse and a couple of others. I remember reading an interview with Peter Milligan about a revival of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (basically keeping the name and the spy pastiche premise and chucking the rest) as well as some advance art. The project was cancelled as I recall.