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Castration of a Major Entertainment Company

So, we now have 3 years removed from Jemas’ official departure, four years from the Epic relaunch and Waid-gate, five years from his rise to the top of the heap, and 7 years since he and Joe Q helped create the Ultimate line with USM.

His tenure spawned some of the best books in comics in a long time, and injected Marvel with a sense of newess that brought it more readers than comics had seen in a long time.

For those of you who might not know who he was, here’s a brief synopsis from Rich Johnston’s LiTG regarding the end of Jemas’ tenure:


“Bill Jemas came to prominence in Marvel during the bankruptcy reorganisations, originally from Marvel-owned Fleer, he launched the Ultimate line and eventually was key in replacing editor-in-chief Bob Harras with Joe Quesada. They formed a buddy team for the public, taking the roles of good cop and bad cop, often playing for the peanut gallery and courting controversy and sales as they attempted to mould Marvel in their image. Implementing no-overships, newsstand compilation magazines, the MAX line, entrenching Marvel Knights, removing the Comics Code, widening Marvel’s pool of talent to extremes, embracing trade paperback programmes and much more. They changed the face of the company and helped it move from loss into profit, while simultaneously grabbing positive reviews both inside and outside of comics.

“Years later, that partnership would suffer as controversy was suddenly frowned on by other Marvel execs and Joe Quesada began to disassociate himself from Jemas in the eyes of Marvel employees and freelancers, even as Bill Jemas was spearheading the Epic line which promised career jumping on point for wannabe comic creators.

“Jemas’ interference in plots and scripts at Marvel caused much fury internally. He was seen as arrogant, unfeeling and inconsistent and few felt his hands-on changes benefited the books.

“Avi Arad was furious over certain comics spearheaded by Jemas that caused him difficulty selling the properties to Hollywood, and causing ructions with stars. As the films became more and more important, executive Isaac Perlmutter switched his loyalties to Arad and the writing was on the wall. Bill Jemas’ courting of the press stopped, and his influence within the company was curtailed.

“It is expected that the Epic line will publish all announced titles, with a big splurge in February, but after that projects that have been greenlit, but not announced, may well be cancelled. I hear that already Epic editors Stephanie Moore and Cory Sedlmeier are working on non-Epic projects. The Ultimate line, making up some of Marvel’s best selling titles, will continue along a similar model.

“Bill Jemas’ future is unknown. However, after recently cashing in millions in stock, he’s not expected to be in need of a job or two right now. Jemas often became the Aunt Sally for Marvel. He leaves the company in a far better financial and creative state than it was when he took over. Some will curse his name, some will praise it. But he avoided committed the ultimate sin in comics – he was never boring.”

What we have seen since from Marvel has been the same parade of epic storylines and boring crossovers. The plastic smell has worn off, and everything seems old now. Is this what comics has become? No longer content to push boundries, Marvel has settled back into the ninties, laid it’s head down, and gone back to sleep.

Mike Black is…

A writer, reader, commentator, music lover, art lover, futurist, tech lover, pragmatist, romantic, DepDecoist, and a bastard. Hopefully you enjoy.

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