After three years in top management positions, Mark Waid is leaving his current position as COO at BOOM! Studios to go back to freelancing. He’ll continue to write INCORRUPTIBLE and IRREDEEMABLE, his hit titles for BOOM!, and Stan Lee’s THE TRAVELER. Editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon, who stopped into that position in July, will oversee BOOM!’s creative output.
Waid spoke exclusively to CBR with his usual candor about the move, stressing that unlike his tenure at CrossGen, he was leaving on friendly terms.
Largely, but not completely [i did what I set out to do]. I certainly helped establish a voice and, I’d like to think, a creative ethic for the company; mission accomplished there. But initially, I’d envisioned myself acquiring more original content to be published through BOOM! and wasn’t as successful as I’d wished I’d been in finding breakout hits that could withstand the harsh realities of the modern comics-shop marketplace during the most catastrophic recession since the Great Depression. Don’t get me wrong; I’m very proud of the BOOM KIDS! line and could go on at length about the regular BOOM! imprint books that deserve more praise, but I wish I’d been able to bring out more of the great original material I loved like William Messner-Loebs’ overlooked “Necronomicon.” But maybe that time will come again for BOOM!, and in the meantime, the new material we do have coming up in 2011 looks very strong to me. Rating myself, can I give myself an overall B+? Is that too arrogant? Do I at least get credit for teaching the staff that “alright” isn’t a real word and how to use an ellipsis?
Waid also expands on some of his recent statements about digital comics:
But – but – no matter how I approach digital as a creator, no matter what I do, as long as I’m vocal, there will always be a small contingent of retailers who I’ll irritate, who see digital 100% as a direct attack on their livelihoods and guys vouching for it, like me, as an enemy. That’s unfortunate, but it’s understandable. I get that. I really do. But when they feel that way that strongly, that’s one of those times when being BOOM!’s most visible spokeperson is a handicap. As CCO, I have to give enormous weight to my company’s relationship with our retail partners. On the other hand, as a freelancer, I don’t have to weigh the fate of our 25 employees every time someone sticks a microphone in my face, which gets wearying. To sum up, I’m more passionate with each passing day about digital, but if there’re blowback from the path I’m on, then let it fall on my head, not BOOM!’s.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.