There are numerous ways a comics team can break up -- some outright acrimonius in their personal exchanges --Â but in the case of J. Michael Straczynski and Ben Templesmith, readers may be facing the first split in the business that came with no words at all.
Today, Straczynski took to his Facebook page to announce that he's had to replace Templesmith on their Image Comics series "Ten Grand" due to a lack of communication from the artist. "When we reignited the Joe's Comics imprint, we took a blood oath that our books would come out on time, no matter what," the writer said. However, Straczynski went on to say that he's not heard word from Templesmith on the latest issues art in over a month, putting the schedule for the book behind. "So on August 27th, I emailed Ben to say that if we didn't hear something back by the end of that week, even just a text to say he was underwater, that we would have to find another artist. I wanted to give him every possible opportunity to come back and make this work. No reply. Finally, and with tremendous reluctance, I sent him a note on the 31st saying that we were moving on. Our obligation to our readers and the retailers has to come first."
The writer does note in the piece that he's heard through the grapevine that Templesmith is not injured or in poor health and generally praises his work on the series to date. But with the lack of response, he's added artist CP Smith to the team moving forward for the rest of "Ten Grand's" planned year-long run.
For Templesmith's part, the artist hasn't been updating his social media accounts over the past month either, though early last month he did send out a Tweet references "tech issues" on his end.
"To be clear: we are and remain big fans of Ben's work, and wish him every best," Straczynski concluded. "His art was magnificent and a perfect fit for the storytelling. If we were doing a graphic novel we'd hire him again in a heartbeat."
"Ten Grand's" latest issue shipped on August 7. Image Comics lists #5 as shipping September 25, though whether that will be Templesmith's last or Smith's first is uncertain.