Mark Alessi, the founder and publisher of CrossGen Comics, passed away early Friday. He was 65 years old.
Former CrossGen writer Ron Marz reported Alessi's death on Twitter followed by a thread of condolence tweets and reminiscences of his time working under the defunct publisher CrossGen. In a lengthy series of posts, Marz remembered Alessi as a well-intentioned complex figure.
It seems the news is starting to circulate, so I feel some mention is appropriate. Mark Alessi, who founded and ran CrossGen Comics, apparently passed away this morning. I know no details. 1/— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) March 30, 2019
Alessi was a businessman who started out in the tech field where he made his fortune. He ran Technical Resource Connection for ten years before it was sold to Perot Systems Corporation in 1996, the company established by 1992 United States Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot.
CrossGen Comics was founded in 1998 and launched its publishing line two years later in 2000. In 1999, Alessi purchased Orlando-based MegaCon, bringing it into the fold. The whole enterprise, dubbed CrossGen Entertainment, was acquired by Disney in 2004.
Although it wasn't without its share of troubles, CrossGen was one of the comic book industry's most noteworthy publishers at its peak and produced books with high production values.
The company employed several then-current and future industry superstars like Marz, Barbara Kesel, Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon, JM DeMatteis, Jim Cheung, Scot Eaton, Steve McNiven, and Bart Sears, mainly from its Tampa Florida headquarters.
Among the titles released by CrossGen were Sigil, Mystic, Scion, The First, Crux, Sojourn, Ruse, Way of the Rat and Negation. Instead of superhero comics, these CrossGen titles ranged in genre from science-fiction to fantasy and mystery and beyond, which were usually linked by the mystical CrossGen sigil.
Former CrossGen artist Tony Bedard was one of many former CrossGen creators and fans who also eulogized Alessi on Twitter.
Greatly saddened by the news that Mark Alessi passed away. I have no details, but I know I owe my writing career to him and the opportunities he gave all of us at CrossGen Comics. Godspeed, Mark. And my sincere condolences to those he leaves behind.— Tony Bedard (@TonyBedard) March 30, 2019
The details of Alessi's death have not been released.