I didn’t read a lot of titles from CrossGen, and even then it was licensed titles like Masters Of The Universe and Space Ace (the latter having to be completed by another publisher years later along with fellow Bluth-animated video game Dragon’s Lair). However the comics I bought were quite good. Apparently they were able to find some decent creators and the company has a decent fanbase who wishes they could have continued.
Unfortunately CrossGen suffered from a number of problems. Comics, By Pearch goes over some of the stories heard about what happened behind the scenes, their interesting business model, and how Disney tore it apart potentially as a test for someday buying Marvel. Also one of the scummiest things I’ve ever heard of a disgruntled creator doing no matter how problematic work conditions and the owner were. Additionally, some of the creators who worked there tried to clarify things in the video’s comments, and I want to go over those as well.
Well that’s too bad. Someone noted in the comments that the working model probably served the artists better than the writers and maybe that’s the case. I didn’t read any of their main “Sigilverse” titles but there were a lot of fans that showed their love in the comments as well as comparing it to what Marvel themselves did when the bought Malibu for their revolutionary (at the time) computer coloring system, sunk the “Ultraverse”, and unlike some CrossGen stories (like the Space Ace comic) never saw the light of day again. Disney is sitting on these titles and not doing anything with them. That is a shame. Some other stories from the comments.
Someone mentioned the horror title Route 666 and how they were sorry it ended abruptly. Artist Karl Moline responded “I drew about half of issue 23, although I don’t have the script for that issue. And I have the script for issue 24 (which would have been the last issue) somewhere, although it’s missing the first page. I’ve often thought about trying to draw those issues for my own mental health. I should get together with Tony and try to fill in those holes? Someday, maybe.”
Also noted was that Alessi died in March of last year. At least he’s with his wife now. As far as Perch’s comments about how his wife was treated their daughter questioned a lot of that.
Heya Perch, I hate to bash any content creators, but there’s a significant amount of hog-wash in this video you created. Most importantly your timeline of events is inaccurate. My mother passed away in September of 2000, and the company didn’t file bankruptcy until 2003. Secondly my Mom was loved by all of the creators that were in house at the time, so I don’t know what your attempting to stitch together there. And thirdly, there was much more camaraderie in the building than animosity. Happy to help facilitate you completely clearing things up anytime. -Ashleigh Alessi (yes, Mark’s daughter)
While Perch did state in the video and confirmed in the comments that there is confusion out there (“I’m happy to have the corrections; and any info you want to provide is helpful. After your comment I went digging; The Hollywood Reporter where I started has a lot of the timeline wrong… the passing of your mother’s date being key there. I’ll do follow ups, and attempt to get things more clear.”) she wasn’t the only one who questioned the events behind the scenes. From writer and cover artist Andrew Crossley apparently CrossGen got screwed over…not that I’m surprise Diamond did them dirty. Free Comic Book Day is the closest thing to something nice Diamond has ever done since ruining their competition, to publishers and stores alike.
I worked at CG from the beginning to the end. I understand this is only a 22-minute video but you got a lot wrong and left out a ton of stuff. Was Mark overbearing at times? Yes, but he was also very kind to us too. I see you did not include that Diamond, Marvel, and DC screwed us over on a contract. We were making a small profit at one point. We created a school learning program that was making money for the company. We also were the first comic company that made digital comics on DVD. The company was ahead of its time. If we had come out the same time as the Iphones we would have had comics on that. I am not saying everything was great but I felt it was one of the best times in my career. A group of us chatted about it a number of years back and we all said we would do it again.
Yeah, sorry, Waid sent Aleesi a black wreath after the company collapsed and uses his late wife to verbally attack him. There is no defense, I don’t care how nice he was to you. I may have enjoyed some of his early work, as you’ll find in reviews on this site under “Yesterday’s” Comic but there no excuse for that nonsense. Perch does vow to fix some of the errors noted in later videos but with so much conflicting information out there (or so he says, I’ve never looked into it) that’s not going to be easy. For example one commentor stated “The reason Disney bought them was for a children’s comic they were doing that wasn’t part of the main Crossgen line. They turned it into a children’s book for their Hyperion book line but it never went anywhere.” That contradicts the “test sale” theory but then why didn’t Disney use that? They also stated they bought Marvel not only for their cinematic…I mean comic universe but to publish comics on their own. Outside of finishing Boom! Studios Muppets comic and tie-ins to Tron: Legacy there were more Disney comics coming from Gemstone and Boom that there are from Marvel right now. Meanwhile they went to IDW to publish Marvel and Star Wars kids titles.
Another comment came from YouTube screenname Virtual Graphics so I don’t know his actual name. A little peeking around suggests David Boller but I cannot confirm.
I was one of the artist who got a call from Alessi one Sunday afternoon before the company started and after about fifteen minutes of listening to him, decided that it wasn’t for me but also that there were gonna be big problems. His pitch was to create a company that would incorporate all the best genres of comics past and bring them to new heights. That didn’t sound exciting and I guess in the end, it wasn’t enough to ignite a larger readership either. But it gave a start to a lot of great new talent, which is where its lasting achievement is…
There was also the idea of getting these titles ready for Hollywood, which is not a great starting point. Anybody remember American Original? I do and I still don’t know what happened to them.
You can follow Perch’s YouTube channel to keep up on the history of CrossGen and their titles. Like I said, I only read those two licensed titles and maybe one or two others but none of their main series comics. It’s too bad they were just another victim of bad decisions ruining big dreams.