Fang Speaks! Don’t worry, I don’t bite.

Hello, all out there in the ether of Cyberspace. In this missive from the Editorial Desk of Dominion Publishing, it’s time to discuss some of our artistic philosophy. And I’ll do so by telling a little story from my dark past as an editorial assistant at the now-defunct Acclaim Comics. None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent but then, let’s face it, we were all guilty.

Seriously, let’s go back to the latter days of the company. We wanted to develop a property for our former Editor-In-Chief to work on and he came up with the concept called Doctor Tomorrow. It was to be a beginning to end, birth-to-death story of a superhero starting in World War II. The character finds a computer and equipment from 1998 in a factory in the year 1941. He then uses the knowledge and historical data to create a superhero to fight the Nazis.

It was a cool concept, and I was glad to be on the editorial team that got the project to manage. Now, to be fair, time travel stories give me the heebie-jeebies as a writer and even as an editor, but my boss and the writer were both long on experience and had ironed out many of the problems that would cause me to turn down such an idea in my present position.

So we had a good idea and a writer to work on it. But we felt it needed something else to set it apart. Since each issue was going to take place in a different decade until the last few which would occur in the present, our Editor-In-Chief thought of an interesting artistic angle. We produced each story in the style of a creator from the era in which the story was taking place. We selected Jack Kirby and Will Eisner For the Forties, Wally Wood for the Fifties, etc.

We could not get the artists themselves because they were deceased or too busy being successful illustrators. Eisner turned us down, but I got to speak to him which was the thrill of the year for me. So we hired people to imitate them. A good number of them did a great job the few misfires will remain nameless.

But here’s where I diverge from the rest of the editorial team. I didn’t think it was the way to go. Doctor Tomorrow was, in my opinion, a very original idea. Also, while it was a series, it was a set story. If it had been more successful (which was unusual in the late 90s) Acclaim would have bound it into a trade paperback as a single story. I felt strongly that one good artist, with real top-notch illustration ability, would have tied the story together better.

With the N’Case and our convention giveaways, we at the Dominion are not afraid of the word “gimmick”. It’s not a pejorative to us and I didn’t feel the multiple artist angle was bad, for a gimmick. Nor was it responsible for lackluster sales. But it diluted the story and pulled the focus away from the plot, in my opinion.

In our development of Dominion itself, the guys here had to figure out what our philosophy would be for our projects. One of the central tenets of this philosophy is that we are committed to having one artistic team throughout any story we produce. In monthly comics, if you become attached to an artist, you may be frustrated when that person leaves or even drops out for a few issues to catch up. We, as fans, understand and share this frustration. Thus, we have chosen our format and goals in reflection of fans who are now professionals.

Next, real-life events reveal more of our editorial philosophy, dealing with things we make up. Stay tuned.

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