Mark Waid Steps Down From BOOM! Studios Staff, Returns to Freelancing
After three years as an executive, Mark Waid has stepped down from his staff position at BOOM! Studios to return to freelance writing. Waid joined the Los Angeles-based publisher as Editor-in-Chief in 2007 and transitioned to Chief Creative Officer in 2010. Accomplishments during Waid's tenure at Boom! included the creation of the BOOM Kids! line, which includes the popular Disney and Pixar licensed books Toy Story, The Incredibles and The Muppet Show. In addition to initiating a line of new Stan Lee comics, Waid also personally created two hit original series, Irredeemable and Incorruptible, which he will continue to write for BOOM!In an exclusive interview with Comic Book Resources, Waid revealed that his return to freelance writing has been in the works for some time and was pleasantly hastened by the prodigious work of BOOM!'s new Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon, who Waid praised as "exemplary." Waid told CBR that he accomplished "all he can" as an executive, and wished to return to the life of a full-time writer.
Longtime industry observers will remember Mark Waid's acrimonious split from CrossGen, the controversial publisher he very publicly and colorfully criticized for a multitude of sins. Other public disagreements with different publishers and editors have created an automatic skepticism for this kind of move, one that Waid acknowledged in the CBR interview, but he assured readers that all is well at BOOM! Studios.
It's certainly no secret that I'm outspoken when I feel I or others have been wronged, and yes, I've apparently never found a bridge I couldn't burn, but you won't hear me disparaging BOOM! I helped hire some of its best people. Many of its staffers and creators are good friends of mine and I'll defend that bullpen to the death. Twenty-five years in the business and I have never, ever seen a group of people who work harder or put in more hours. Whatever [BOOM! Publisher] Ross Richie does to inspire them, it clearly works. I've been loyal to that company in ways no one will ever, ever know. But I've accomplished all I can as an exec there, and I asked to transition out in a way that would have minimal impact on the company – which is to say, in a way that allowed me to keep generating income for them as a writer. Look, you and I have talked about this. I get asked, enough for it to get under my skin, why I'm so candid and outspoken when most of the time it just causes me trouble. And it's a really good question. I think the answer, honestly, truly, is that while it's a characteristic that doesn't do much to make me look particularly, oh, laid-back, it does maybe earn me a reputation as someone who will shoot straight with you and not feed you some company line. I hate dealing with people who don't have integrity and don't conduct themselves with honesty and transparency, and I never want to be one of them. So when I tell you, as I am now, that BOOM!'s as strong as it's ever been with or without me, that's the God's-honest truth, at least as I see it. It's certainly going to keep being successful as long as I have any power to make it so.
One of the strengths Waid brought to BOOM! as an editor was his legitimacy and experience in the comic book industry and community. BOOM!'s early years were characterized somewhat by a tendency to publish material created in collaboration with screenwriters, which, unfairly or not, contributed to the perception of BOOM! as an "IP farm" for Hollywood. Waid's work at BOOM! directly combated that image and revitalized the line. Indeed, Waid claims in the CBR interview that he turned down a pitch from "one of the best-known writers in Hollywood" and told the individual his idea "would make a great movie but a terrible comic."
Waid also presided over BOOM! Studios' digital comics initiatives, which are among the most comprehensive and aggressive of any publisher.
In addition to writing BOOM!'s Irredeemable, Incorruptible and The Traveler, Waid is also working on Marvel's Captain America: Man Out of Time, the third issue of which he said is "unquestionably" the best thing he's written in years.