A post from my defunct Marvel blog, part of a series talking about good comics I had edited which had been largely forgotten.
That’s right, it’s not an apology for “One More Day”–sorry, Steve Zoovie, live in hope–but instead a continuation of our series of books I worked on that flew a bit under the radar when they came out.
A number of years back, when Marvel emerged from bankruptcy under new ownership, a change was made to our operating policy. Before that, people working on staff were not only encouraged to seek out writing work, it was almost expected of them. But there were some definite abuses, and this generated some ill will among the creative community. So from that point on, nobody working on staff at Marvel could get paid to write for Marvel, and it was actively discouraged for those on staff to pursue such work even under those conditions.
At the time, Bill Rosemann was working in Marvel’s marketing department, editing our Previews catalog and coordinating our online press and the like. But he was also interested in telling stories, and he had an idea for a MARVELS-style series that would take a ground-level viewpoint on the Marvel Universe. Having a background in journalism, he wanted to set it at the Daily Bugle. Undaunted by the new guidelines, he brought the idea to Joe Quesada, who liked it and worked with him on refining it a bit–and when he thought it was in pretty good shape, Joe passed it over to me to see if I’d have an interest in editing it.
DEADLINE was a four-issue series, a crime story with Gothic romance overtones set in the Marvel Universe. It was quirky and different, but also accessible and interesting. I had previously edited a black-and-white DAILY BUGLE limited series some years before, so it was something I was interested in.
The spine of DEADLINE was novice reporter Kat Farrell’s search for The Judge, a mysterious vigilante who’d just appeared on the scene, and her quest to find acceptance in the eyes of her mentor, Ben Urich. Joe Q did the design for the Judge himself. For the artwork, I remember Bill was hot to get Guy Davis, whose work he’d admired on SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER over at Vertigo. There was some initial resistance to the notion of Guy doing the book–he wasn’t really a Marvel kind of artist. But it was Joe Q who said, “Doesn’t matter–once he’s here he’ll be a Marvel artist.”
Covers were provided by Greg Horn, who had become something of an in-house favorite that week. I think this may have been the first cover I commissioned from Greg, and he told me he enjoyed doing them because they were so different from everything else he was working on–they attracted a new audience to his work. I also remember that there was some resistance to this first cover initially, since it was ultimately just a shot of a normal woman on a rainy street, and didn’t feature any elements of the fantastic at all. I got it through, though, by some combination of obstinance and luck.
Typical of the projects in this series, DEADLINE wasn’t a huge seller, but it was a great deal of fun to work on, and it was the kind of project that expanded the scope of what we were publishing under the Marvel banner just a bit. And while the Judge has yet to reappear, Kat went on to become a supporting player in THE PULSE. Bill Rosemann, on the other hand, left Marvel, moved to Florida and joined CrossGen, then returned to New York and worked at DC in their custom publishing division, before eventually coming home to Marvel a year and a half ago, where he now works on the ULTIMATE titles and masterminds ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST.