As detailed in this week's Permanent Damage here at CBR, Steven Grant has sent out a challenge to Marvel Comics and he releases this press release to support it:
Steven Grant takes on Bill Jemas, Peter David, Joe Quesada in "Battle of the 'Marvel' Books"
Las Vegas, April 17, 2002: In his weekly Internet column, PERMANENT DAMAGE, veteran comics writer Steven Grant today threw his hat into the battle being waged between Marvel publisher Bill Jemas, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and writer Peter David to determine which could produce the best-selling comic book with the word "Marvel" in the title.
"There's no doubt about it," Grant said. "If I can choose the artist and editor, and the content, and proceed without editorial interference from Marvel, I can."
The situation began several weeks ago when Marvel threatened to raise the price of David's CAPTAIN MARVEL, along with other titles, and David issued a challenge that resulted in a war of words with Quesada. That had been settled when publisher Jemas issued his own challenge to David: Jemas would produce a new book called THE MARVEL to run concurrently with CAPTAIN MARVEL for six months, to prove Jemas, whose comics writing experience is minimal, could write a more popular book than fan favorite David. Quesada originally stepped in to guarantee a level playing field, but on Monday seemed to quell all doubt that this was all an orchestrated publicity stunt by issuing his own challenge to the others and promising to produce a third book to run concurrently with the other two and prove that Quesada could produce the best-selling title, using the talent of his choice.
"You know someone was going to issue this challenge, so it might as well be me," said Grant, when asked why he would want to get involved. "I love the idea of the game show model of editing, and Joe's announcement was so full of the WWF pro wrestling promo style it got my blood pumping. But at this point the David-Quesada-Jemas 'feud' is starting to look too cozy and prefabricated. They need a wild card to really pump up interest. I am that wild card. Besides, why should they get to have all the fun?"
Grant, whose resume includes wrestling comics featuring the WWF's most popular stars, worked as a music and film critic before writing his first professional comics story for Marvel in 1978. Best known for his creation WHISPER (soon to be returning in a graphic novel from AiT/PlanetLar Books) and THE PUNISHER MINI-SERIES, he has written for most major comics companies, as well as novels, television and other media. His most current work is the horror comic MORTAL SOULS at Avatar Press and DC FIRSTS: BATGIRL, drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz and Terry Moore, scheduled for release in May. His last regular series for Marvel was the unpredictable revamped X-MAN, done in conjunction with Warren Ellis, which was cancelled with the onset of the Jemas-Quesada era when the X-MEN line was briefly streamlined. When asked whether the idea he was offering into competition would resemble X-MAN, he said, "I enjoyed writing the book but this is a different time and a different challenge. The new book would fit into the Marvel of today. Obviously X-MAN didn't."
"This isn't a publicity stunt. I'm very serious. I know that given a level playing field, Marvel's resources, and the opportunity to produce exactly the book I want, I can beat the sales of their books. There is no question in my mind."
While laying out the terms of the challenge, Grant made no allusions to the proposed book's contents except to say that, like the others, the word "Marvel" would be in the title, and, like Jemas and Quesada's comics, the lead character or characters would be new to the company.
Marvel has yet to respond.
Late Wednesday afternoon Marvel Comics Editor In Chief Joe Quesada issued the following response:
I feel that this is just a cheap attempt by Mr. Grant to piggy back onto a very serious and grave situation that is developing here at Marvel. The idea that a feud of this magnitude could be fabricated by Messrs. Jemas, David or myself simply to promote our comics is as preposterous as it is insulting. What kind of person would resort to this kind of grandstanding in a medium that for so long has been know for its grace and nobility? It just cheapens the refined world of the art of sequential storytelling and I will have no part of it!