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Monday, December 17, 2012 

Bryan Hitch says Marvel a shut store

The artist who'd illustrated the Ultimates* a decade ago looks like he's ending his work at Marvel with the completion of Age of Ultron, and told CBR what they're now like, which has actually been the story for pretty much the same amount of time (via Digital Spy):
Real world considerations aside, what was it about the story of "Age of Ultron" that convinced you to make it your Marvel swan song? Though it is a big epic in the style fans have come to associate you with, I get the feeling this has some very different building blocks from something like "The Ultimates."

Yes, "Ultron" was very different from "Ultimates" in may respects both in the nature of my collaboration with Bendis as opposed to Mark [Millar] and in the whole feel of the project. Two ends of a long rope really.

It wasn't intended to be my "swan song" either, really. My then current contract expired at the end of 2011 and whilst drawing "Ultron," I'd also been writing a six-part "Ultimate Captain America" series I'd started drawing. It was fully written, and I was drawing the first issue in the gaps between Ultron scripts coming in. "Ultron" sort of kept expanding, and I was never wholly sure of what the full scope was as I was never involved in any planning or plotting for it. We knew I had time for about five issues before my deal expired, and I was happy to extend a short while to complete the series if it ran to six or maybe seven issues, as seemed possible. It was politely indicated to me that it wouldn't be necessary and thank you for the work, and so, as planned, off I went to the heady world of creator owned and "AGP."

In fact, I only found out it had become a ten-issue series when I saw the recent announcements.

Despite Marvel coming to me and asking for the Cap series, rather than my pitching it to them, it was constantly being sidelined and eventually dropped to my disappointment. Since "Ultimates" ended, I'd been less and less involved in a collaborative process at Marvel. They now had their various brains-trusts, architects or whatever the gang was calling themselves, and that was what led their creative process. It seemed a very closed shop and not what it was like when I signed up to do "Ultimates" at all. I felt like they wanted an illustrator not a creator, and that was very frustrating to me. I'd submitted several proposals for various series, getting nowhere; Cap was dropped, and I didn't even feel involved in the story I was working on. It really felt like I wasn't contributing the way I wanted to be.
Well with the kind of people in charge there today, it shouldn't be surprising he couldn't, and even before Axel Alonso became a problem as EIC, Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas were already going along that path too. Now, the problem's become more severe than ever, with this otherwise limited group of combined writers and editors mandating how almost everything should and will be done, to the point where even artists like Hitch can't even make story proposals because, despite his work on some of Bendis' assignments, he's clearly not somebody they consider an "insider" or worthy of being one of their mini-club. I can see now how a lot of the time and money wasting crossovers are being turned out - because they've got this whole special group in charge that dictates everything, and forces whatever they please to be part of the crossover.

As a result, no writers who'd like to make a story pitch like what yesteryear had to offer can do so anymore, because they won't accept one from those considered "outsiders", and any series they do publish starring third-tiers are not marketed on a title-by-title basis, but rather, by their connections to crossovers, if they even try to market them at all. And that can explain what's gone wrong with the big two.

Hitch appears to be another guy on his way to the indie scene where he's going to work on a series called America's Got Powers. This is another sign that it's not just DC who're losing contributors who feel the editors will no longer allow them creative freedom. Even Marvel's starting to show signs of fallout because they flatly refuse to let go of their crossover obsession. And Age of Ultron is at least ten issues! In an era when the economy is doing very badly, that would cost at least 40 dollars for the miniseries alone if each issue costs 4 dollars, and more money for any ongoing series with connecting issues. We can only hope this'll be a wakeup call that it's not worth it to spend so much money on something that'll turn up in trades by the end of next year and still be potentially expensive. For now, I guess Hitch deserves some credit for recognizing and acknowledging something that's been apparent for many years now: Marvel no longer offers creative freedom to writers or even artists.

* As a book written by Mark Millar, lest I forget, it had some pretty awful ideas running amok in it, not the least being the remake of the Hank Pym-as-abuser storyline. So in a way, it's kind of ironic that Hitch was sidelined when the Ultimates was something that fit their line of thinking.

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What a load of utter bollocks. Taking one person's words and using them to support a nonexistent "problem". The fgact you've managed to fail at suceeding a goal you established to support "flaws" that don't actually exist anywhere other than in your head. Another article iin which opinion masquerades as fact.

"What a load of utter bollocks."

A description better-suited for your own asinine, trollish post.

Also, learn how to spell. It's "fact," not "fgact." "In," not "iin." Looks like you weren't paying attention in elementary school spelling classes.

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