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Friday, March 20, 2020 

What Axel Alonso plans for his new company with Bill Jemas

Newsarama ran an interview with former Marvel and DC-Vertigo editor Alonso, who's set up a new indie publisher called AWA with former Marvel publisher Jemas, who earned as much notoriety in his time as Alonso did this past decade when he was Marvel's EIC for 6 years before being ousted:
The new publishing company of former Marvel publisher Bill Jemas and former Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso kicks off this week with the release of The Resistance #1 by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Mike Deodato Jr. Formed with the idea to tell stories with "high concepts and art," AWA Studios will launch The Resistance and three other titles in March - with another new title planned to debut every month going forward.
I wonder what "resistance" JMS had in mind when he wrote this comic? Against Trump, maybe? After his pretentious run on Spider-Man back in the day, JMS is one scribe whose work I'd rather avoid, and you should too. The leftism in his stories may not have been the most obvious, but it was there, not the least being his insulting 9-11 issue of Spider-Man.
Announced titles include: John Lees and Dalibor Talajic’s Hotell; Michael Moreci and C.P. Smith’s Archangel 8; Jason Starr and Will Conrad’s Red Border; Peter Milligan and ACO’s American Ronin; Frank Cho’s Fight Girls; Benjamin Percy and Ramon Rosanas’ Year Zero; and Christa Faust and Tim Bradstreet’s Bad Mother.
Cho is one name whose involvement with the new publisher certainly raises eyebrows, since he'd been a victim of censorship, and in all fairness, it was once assumed he attacked the Comicsgate campaign a few years ago because certain employers were putting him up to it. From what I see here, coming from an editor who earned notoriety for censorship on his own part, this time he seems to be wisely avoiding it, though that's not saying what AWA has in store should be purchased, if it becomes a tacit approval of his past conduct.

Now, why did Alonso reteam with Jemas, the former Marvel publisher?
Newsarama: Axel, after Marvel, what led you to reconnecting with Bill Jemas for what would become AWA?

Axel Alonso: Bill reached out to me shortly after I left Marvel and we had a nice chat in which he described what he wanted to do in broad strokes. I was intrigued. Then, he encouraged me to meet his friend who was going to be in town for a couple days. That man was Jonathan Miller, about whom I’d heard great things from our mutual friend, Mark Millar.

The more I talked with Bill and Jon, the more I realized this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn’t pass up. We could fill a gap in the market. We could bridge the chasm between work-for-hire and creator-owned. We could offer creators the best of both worlds.
Since Jemas has been largely on the outskirts of comicdom for about 15 years, I assume he saw this slow collapse of the Big Two - something he precipitated back in the day - as the perfect opportunity to make a return. But if he's unrepentant over his past conduct, not the least being inciting against and antagonizing any rival he saw unfit for the medium (DC, the defunct Crossgen, to name but some), then I honestly don't think this is somebody whose new company deserves our dollars.
Nrama: Once a partnership was made and funding procured, how did you go about casting a net for creators and stories?

Alonso: I reached out first to the creators that I trust most. There’s a lot of gossip in this business, and I wanted to stay under the radar.

Nrama: What were you looking for - and what were you looking to avoid?

Alonso: I was looking to work with people that I respect and trust – Joe Straczynski, Garth Ennis, Kaare Andrews, Peter Milligan, Reginald Hudlin, Gregg Hurwitz, Frank Cho, Margaret Stohl, Ben Percy, Victor Gischler, ACO, Ramon Rosanas, Laurence Campbell, Dalibor Talajic, Rahzzah, Jeff Dekal, Tim Bradstreet, Keron Grant.

And creators that I think are poised to explode – Christa Faust, Michael Moreci, John Lees, Jason Starr, C.P. Smith.

And creators that I just plain wanted to work with – Tommy Lee Edwards, Ales Kot, Ollie Masters, Rob Williams, Al Madrigal.

When one of the creators I most coveted, artist Mike Deodato, publicly announced that he was going to pursue work in creator-owned comics, starting with the excellent Berserker Unbound, I leapt at the chance to work with him. I consider Mike to be one of the finest artists in the business and one of the finest people in the world.
Deodato was another guy who needlessly had to attack the Comicsgate campaign, among other ill-advised steps, before he finally let it go. It's a shame he did that, if only because he has been a talented artist, and IIRC, once worked with Brian Pulido on Lady Death. Yet that's also why it's pretty surprising he decided later to make a departure from Marvel/DC to pursue the independent market. Could it be that, Alonso or no Alonso, the Big Two suddenly became too limiting on creative freedom for his tastes? One more reason he shouldn't be attacking customers who're trying to help him. Of course, seeing how now, he's working with JMS, maybe that's why his recent move shouldn't be considered worth admiring.

At least a few of the creators cited are liberals in some way or other, and certainly people whose visions coincide with what Alonso supported, so no wonder he trusts them. I certainly can't tell if there's any known right-wingers among them.
Nrama: From the outside, this feels like a melding of what you did at Marvel as E-i-C to back what you did at Vertigo as an editor. Are there things from your Vertigo days you're utilizing here?

Alonso: You pretty much nailed it. The books I’m curating sit at the intersection of “NuMarvel” – when Bill, Joe [Quesada] and myself were changing the way Marvel made comics -- and Vertigo at its peak, when creators like Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker, Peter Milligan, Brian K. Vaughan, Warren Ellis, Bill Willingham, Brian Azzarello, Sean Phillips, Eduardo Risso, Duncan Fegredo, Pia Guerra, and the late Steve Dillon were making truly revolutionary comics that paved the road for today’s creator-owned comics.
I think he may have provided another clue why it's better to avoid their output. And why in retrospect, some of the Vertigo output isn't really worth our time either. For now, they certainly changed the way Marvel did comics, and not in a good one. They hired writers like JMS who identified more with a Hollywood mentality, forced nearly every writer to script their stories for the length of 6 issues or more, leading to situations involving padded out scenarios, and let's not forget that soon after Jemas left Marvel, they boomeranged back on company wide crossovers yet again, with House of M and Civil War one of their most awful during the mid-2000s. Say, and wasn't Alonso the leading editor of Spider-Man at the time, which saw Sins Past go to press, at Gwen Stacy's expense? It's not like Quesada was the only one responsible at the editors' end of the spectrum. So to see Alonso working once again with JMS must surely speak volumes.
Nrama: How have you been starting to build a relationship with retailers?

Alonso: My partner Bill Jemas, our CEO, can better speak to this, but the idea is to empower retailers to make informed decisions about what they order. We want to help them help us help them sell books. A key component of our plan is our preview book, Upshot Now.
Well they've chosen quite an awkward time to try and launch their business, when Coronavirus has brought much of public life to a standstill. In any event, I wouldn't advise any retailers to help or accept help from Jemas, let alone Alonso, after all the harm he caused when he became Marvel's EIC, and recalling the time when some retailers came out against him at a business panel. Since then, only so many stores have lost business and closed, in no small part due to Alonso's flooding the market with garbage, political and otherwise, and that's probably why you don't hear as many being critical of C.B. Cebulski, because there's far less now to make a fuss. Jemas too is bound to be problematic for similar reasons.

Based on what kind of thinkers joined up with Jemas/Alonso's new venture, people whom they'd worked with in the past and who did more harm than good for the medium, that's why I think AWA is otherwise not worth buying from.

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The rise of the woke culture has a lot of similarity to the rise of Nazism. Both started off in purely political realms but then felt the need to colonize cultural expression. Conductors were suddenly told that Jews couldn't be orchestra players, etc. Western music was banned.

From all reports it is almost impossible to work in Hollywood anymore unless you are an open lefty. Sanders got tons of money from Tinsel-town fro Socialist sympathizers. The Hollywood Screen Writers Guild has a well documented history of being controlled by Stalin. It was Ronald Reagan who led the charge to clean house.

I suspect the same thing is happening in comics now- No Woke/No work. Propagandists always feel the need to take over culture as well as politics. Comic sales have declined so completely that the industry has become a plaything platform for demonstrating leftist piety. Superhero movies are moving in the same direction. Watch people be surprised when attendance starts to decline for Marvel and DC films. It will be written off as a result of some other cause such as people being tired of superheroes.

BTW- aggressors always cloak themselves as victims to fool their targets. The left controls pretty much every institution in the US except all of the govt. They are the "Empire" by any stretch of the word- yet refer to themselves as "the Resistance" to hide their dominance.

The comic creators mentioned in your article are flexing power.

"The rise of the woke culture has a lot of similarity to the rise of Nazism. Both started off in purely political realms but then felt the need to colonize cultural expression. Conductors were suddenly told that Jews couldn't be orchestra players, etc. Western music was banned."

If you read Mein Kampf, you can see that the Nazis interest in cultural expresson was long-standing; it didn't wait until they got into the political realm. If you believe Hitler, his interest in politics came about because of concern about culture, not the other way round. Hitler didn't approve of "degenerate" music like jazz or swing, but he embraced other forms of Western music; Wagner was okay by him.

But don't you think there is a difference between excluding minority groups from having a place in the culture on order of the state as one step on the path to exterminating them, and reaching out to include minority groups in entertainment in order to expand the talent pool and get a larger and wider audience?

"BTW- aggressors always cloak themselves as victims to fool their targets."

Yes, That is why the most powerful bully in the world is always complaining about how he is being victimised by the deep state and the media, not to mention all his ex-wives and girlfrends.

"The left controls pretty much every institution in the US except all of the govt."

Right-wingers seem to have a strong hold on Protestant fundamentalist churches; and people in those institutions who express doubts about the morality of the current president are squelched pretty quickly. The mainstream media are failry divided, with radical right-wing institutions like Fox News and conservative ones like the Wall Street Journal, lots of right-wng talk radio, not to mention the SInclair Broadcast Network. THe revolution has not yet been televised.

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