Tuesday, April 02, 2013

SHOUTING SKYWARDS: Jerry Ordway And Chuck Dixon Say 'We Are Still Hireable'

When does a legendary artist stop being a modern 'headline act'? Well Jerry Ordway is posing that question of himself over on his own blog. Highlighting the effects of perceived ageism in the hiring standards of Marvel and DC, Jerry states all he wants to do is create good comics - as he has for decades - but though still able, is increasingly overlooked.

Jerry isn't ready to be part of 'yesterdays creators' just yet, and as an artist that doesn't skimp on backgrounds, has no problem meeting industry deadlines, has done the hard yards and sold, plus loves his Superman as much as he does his Hulk, you have to ask, why should he?

Despite having done Wildstar for Image, Jerry's letter is very much aimed at the Big Two. While personally, I don't feel his style quite fits the look of the revamped DC52, there are books on all sides of the fence that show artists less equipped at telling stories through sequential pictures are taking home pay-cheques, artists that could learn allot from having the ability to work alongside knowledge like his.

While Jerry's All-Star Squadron style was doing fine in my monthly copy of The Power of Shazam!, it was in replacing Kurt Busiek and George Perez for a few issues of their criminally insane Avengers run, that Jerry hammered home his timelessness as both an artist and a writer.

The story was crisp and dynamic, didn't rely on words to be understood, and the heroes and villains moved like heroes and villains! He brought back the Black Knight and Captain Marvel (Monica) and showed in the process, he could slip onto any modern top-rater and still hit a home run.

Jimmy Palmiotti comments on Jerry's post, wanting to re-team with the artist on a Kickstarter project, and Gail Simone also states she'd be wrapped to work alongside his talents. However the other creator that stuns me with comments, is writer Chuck Dixon. 

Dixon expresses his mutual love and need to exist as a still vital comic creator. Having helmed one of the most solid runs across the entire Bat-family of titles, does Chuck now fade from sight? Legacy, Knightfall and my ultimate Bat-event of all No Man's Land, all happened in part under his pen. On Nightwing he was unstoppable. How can he not still be an attractive proposition for characters like Iron Fist, Black Tiger, Elektra or Deathstroke?

The more you think on this subject, the more your mind opens onto other tangents and questions, cases and queries. Sure the comic giants have modern fan bases to attract, but their characters wouldn't still be around without dependable storytellers like Chuck and Jerry, for whom the existing fan-base still hold a flame or two.

When Norm Breyfogyle stepped back into comics after a brief absence, he was joined by Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Barry Windsor-Smith and other 'past creators' who built The Ultraverse. Does history stand a similar chance of repeating? Could do...

 What do you think? 

4 comments:

  1. I was under the impression that DC's top editorial have their favourites and can pay new artists and writers less. Also they need creators who will do exactly what they're told to do, and industry veterans can have minds of their own.

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  2. Jerry Ordway is one of the most reliable artists that's out there, tho his art isn't my style, really. His FF/Avengers Domination Factor of ten years back was notable for his slow-looking art. I do find his work rather staid and old-hat, tho I must admit he suits Superman better like few other artists.
    Dixon's work is too violent for my tastes. He did the American adaptation of my Axa strips back in the late 80s and it was all gun-toting machismo, far removed from the original source material. His style seems more suited to the likes of the Punisher, Hit-Girl etc.
    Can't deny their contribution to the industry, tho. Two very competent people. I am particularly surprised Ordway has to tout for work, with his impressive resume. Just goes to show what a state the comic industry is in.

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  3. Yeah, here, here on all that. It really is a sad commentary on the state of the industry that there's not enough work or any decent work available for either men. Whether you're a fan of theirs or not isn't as relevant as them not being able to get work considering their resumes as @Karl pointed out.

    But this is also nothing new. This is a constant trend that has gone on now for a long while ever since the new wave of talent came through @ Marvel and DC back in the late 60's and 70's.

    The older, steadier roster of writers and artists were replaced by the newer, hipper models of the day and so on. It's just what happens, especially in business.

    Still though, to actually consider a comic industry that doesn't have time or work available for these two who are still very much far from retirement is ridiculous and sad. Come on Indies, pick up the slack and hire these guys already. I'm looking at you Dynamite, Image, Boom, Valiant, and Dark Horse Comics.

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  4. Thanks for the great comments guys!

    ToB that eager to please aspect does figure too I guess. I think I would be a stubborn writer as a newbie, probably why I'm writing a blog and not a top selling run on Brave and The Bold...

    Karl, I'm surprised both are. Dixon is in some regards like Denny O'Neil. He oversaw Batman books for so long, how can you turn down a guy steeped in the history of comics most popular franchise? Did it happen to Denny do you think? Sure tastes are variable things, but this flavour appeased a rabid fan base in years before Grants JLA where you could argue DC wasn't exactly being competitive.

    Dale, I think Image could really do like a image wave three at the moment and recreate there opening wave to a degree. Oh and Valiant... How long till Quantum and Woody #1 debuts again?

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