An interesting story’s been picked up by Multiversity today, as it appears that artist Ben Templesmith has been replaced on Image’s Ten Grand series with CP Smith. The reasoning appears to be because Templesmith has allegedly gone MIA, and stopped responding to emails from writer J Michael Straczynski or his Joe’s Comics team.
In a statement made on the Fans of JMS facebook page by the writer, Templesmith is alleged to have stopped responding to emails about the series, with Straczynski receiving no contact regarding the progress of the artwork. The message also announces that, following the decision to drop Templesmith, Ten Grand will from now on be drawn by artist CP Smith.
Here’s an extended extract from the post:
As I’ve stated many times in the past, I’m a massive fan of Ben Templesmith’s work. He’s one of the truly unique voices working in comics today, and we’ve been blessed to have him on board for the launch of our flagship title.
With Ten Grand, once the script went out to Ben, we would often hear nothing back, despite repeated requests for updates. Most recently, we gave Ben a full script on July 26th. It is now September 4th, and we have still not heard anything back from him, despite repeated emails asking where things were, nor have we gotten any pages. I even tweeted him on August 25th just to make sure he was okay, and though we still didn’t hear back from him, we did hear through others that he’s all right, which is the important thing.
From time to time, every artist and writer falls behind or runs into trouble with the work; I am not only marching in that parade, I am carrying a banner. But there still has to be some level of communication so that all parties can plan out publishing schedules and make adjustments where needed.
So on August 27th, I emailed Ben to say that if we didn’t hear something back by the end of that week, even just a text to say he was underwater, that we would have to find another artist. I wanted to give him every possible opportunity to come back and make this work. No reply. Finally, and with tremendous reluctance, I sent him a note on the 31st saying that we were moving on. Our obligation to our readers and the retailers has to come first.
To be clear: we are and remain big fans of Ben’s work, and wish him every best. His art was magnificent and a perfect fit for the storytelling. If we were doing a graphic novel we’d hire him again in a heartbeat.
It’s a very strange case indeed, especially so soon into what has thus far been a well-received series. As noted in the post, Templesmith appears to be fine and well, but has cut off all communication. His social media presence has died down over the last month, with his Twitter page last updated at the start of August.
There certainly appears to be something going on here – we’ll see if we can get in contact with Templesmith regarding this.