The Unofficial Defiant Comics Archive
Last Update: 1/14/2016
DEFIANT COMICS  
Transcribed Editorials
 
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Here are the transcribed Editorials of
 Joseph A. James
EDITOR
April 1994 Source:  Charlemagne #2
9:30 A.M. 
22 pages are due out today 
15 are finished 
7 aren't written 
2 aren't colored 
"The Xerox machine is out." 
  someone announces 
The Xerox machine is out?! 
The clock ticks 
There's a problem with page 4-- 
An art correction is needed 
Start from scratch... 
Xerox, cut, ink, paste 
More news: a FedEx package 
didn't make it's destination 
Where's it's tracking number? 
A phone call--specs are needed 
  for Charlemagne #1 
Where's the memo? Get the memo! 
Art correction done 
But now the page is missing 
Who had it last? 
Another phone call 
They found the package! 
"Can someone please find page 4?" 
A package arrives, color separation 
  proofs 
Wait! 
There's no original art! 
We cannot check color proofs 
  without original art! 
A call to the printer 
"Oh...wait...we have the art. Sorry. 
You'll have it by 7 PM." 
Ok, there go my dinner plans.... 

When I was 14 years old, I had a conversation with a friend of mine. We were discussing careers, what we wanted to be. We were teenagers; we had gone beyond cop, fireman, and astronaut. Now we were talking rock star, spy, or head of an architectural firm on Madison Avenue. So my friend asked me what my plans were. I said "Comic books...I'm going to work in comic books." 
  I might as well have said "arms dealer" for the look he gave me. 
  "Comic books?" he replied. "That's no work, that's no work at all." 
  My friend supposed that comics came out of a big machine. Which they do, in a way. A printer is a very big machine. Huge. But he thought that there was little or no human effort involved. He was wrong. It's all human effort. From the freelancers to the editors to the financial people to the production crew to the interns to Fred the cleaning guy. It's all human effort, and it's all work. 
  Sometimes there are 12- to 13-hour days involved. There are days when we get to FedEx with only minutes to spare. On occasion, very long days turn into "all nighters," and those turn into mornings. Once, I remember seeing our office manager Debbie Fix, leave for the night and come back early the next day. Upon sight of her, I knew we'd been working too long. There are days when we are all working on two or three things at once: pasteup on DARK DOMINION, an advertorial, a promo piece... But our crack production crew cuts through the jobs quickly and efficiently.  
  And all in all, things are still pretty festive. How can they not be? Our production crew specializes in smart comebacks, Beavis and Butthead imitations, and being helpful. Yes it's difficult at times, yes it's chaotic, yes it's work. But it's exactly what we've wanted to do... comic books. So we here at DEFIANT hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy putting them together. 

"You found page 4 in the Kitchen?" 
OK. I can live with that. 
 
Website Commentary:  This is a fun look at the inside of a publishing company. In an "end justifies the means" kind of way, there is always a deeper emotional reward for accomplishing a task when the schedule and obstacles say it can't be done. I find it easy to empathize with both the pains and rewards of getting the job done, and getting it done on time. 
 
May 1994 Source:  Prudence & Caution #1
God. 
There are so many people to thank. 
  First of all, thank you for picking up this book. I hope you've enjoyed it. Let me be the first person to welcome you to the DEFIANT Universe, and if you are one of the family, Hello again! 
 Some of you may have noticed that P&C #1 has been released in two languages, Spanish and English. For those of you who speak French, Byzantine, and Old Gaelic we apologize, we'll get around to you soon enough. Translating comics is common in this business, my roommate has a Superman™ comic in Arabic. Nothing is impossible.  
  But the translating of a comic usually occurs after it's published in the language of the country of it's origin. The lettering is taken out and English words are replaced with German, Chinese...Not so with P&C. 
  Both English and Spanish versions were done pretty much at the same time and released at once. Which made it double the work, double the effort. Everyone involved was extremely helpful. Which means that there are a lot of people to thank. 
The list goes as follows: 
Jim Shooter for the wonderful idea. 
Chris Claremont for a great story, Jim Fern for working through pneumonia, his art speaks for itself. Mike Witherby, Bob Wiacek, and Keith Wilson for making their Windsor & Newton brushes sing. Lovern at Digital, for jumping into the fray, and George Roberts, who lettered about 60 pages in a week. I think he's under the impression that we'll let him sleep now.  
I don't think so... 
 Mr. Arnaldo Rodriguez for his faithful translation, Mr. Andrès Ibañez and Carmen Nieves for their help with the proofing and making sure we stayed away from "anglicisms". 
  My Mom and Sister whom I'd call up daily and ask "Does this sound right to you"? There was one line in Spanish that was slightly different from it's English counterpart because it contained a romantic overtone. The line in Spanish read like. "That's the most wonderful and endearing thing that anyone has ever said to me in my entire life!" the original English read, "That's really sweet!"" I read the Spanish line to my Mom and she thought it was the most romantic thing she'd heard. 
  Needless to say, I changed the line. 
  Thanks to Digital Chameleon, Joalene Thomas, Susan Lepine, and George Freeman. And to the behind-the-scenes folk, a tip of the hat. This may be the start of a beautiful thing. 
  Special thanks to artists Janet Jackson, Grey, Adam Polina, Lee Moder, Roy Cover, and Don Heck. And to our production staff for their near fanatical devotion to getting this stuff out, God for support, and once again you, the reader.  
  All of the above people helped produce a comic that even my dear old Granddad in Puerto Rico can read! 
  Be back next month as our crew weaves it's web with "One Hand Clapping" 
  

                Joe James
 
Website Commentary:  This is evidence that a strong effort was being made to make their comics more accessible to readers even in the last few months of publication. 
 
June 1994 Source:  Charlemagne #4
So, like I'm 3 stories below Grand Central Station with a camera man, an interviewer and a production guy named Hector. The place is full of pipes, thin twisting corridors, and steam, lots of steam. 
  There are blankets below some of the bigger pipes. Blankets, beer bottles, clothes, and some baseball caps. "Who's been sleeping here?" Im wonder? We were down here to shoot an interview about the Dark Dominion series which I was penciling at the time. The film makers thought the ambience down there would make a nice back drop as we discussed Michael Alexander and his cohorts--Chasm, Leper.... 
  It wasn't easy, though. We had to get permission from Dan Brucker at Grand Central's Station Master's office. We made an appointment, geared up, and with a guide, we entered the Bowels 
  And what a place it was! Here I'd spent the last couple of months drawing this place, yet I'd never been there. I'd only seen it through photographs. But still, pictures don't let you feel the heat emanating from the pipes, the musty smells, the stale water on concrete. Pictures don't let you hear the hum of hidden generators. 
  It was quite an experience. 
  And it's on video. 
  The "DEFIANT: Inside the Tower" video features a bunch of our own DEFIANT creators doing what they do best--Creating. Jim Shooter, David Lapham, Adam Pollina, and Alan Weiss discuss everything from Charlemagne to War Dancer. There's drawing and coloring live! And as for me, I'm the frightened-looking one jabbering to himself in the murky catacombs of Manhattan's Grand Central Station. It's a fun video, I think you'll like it.  
  You can catch glimpses of the video at DEFIANT's Booth during the conventions this summer; which by the way, will be the perfect opportunity for we lovers of the comics medium to meet face to face. Conventions are almost always intense and always fun. Come visit our table, let us know what you think about our product. Tell us what you want to see more of, or less of... more or less. We'll give you the update on what's in store for the summer; our Schism crossover, and our new titles Prudence and Caution, The Great Grimmax, and Glory. We're backing up the summer with a tough fall season. Look for it.  
                                                           See You Then, 
  
                                                           Joseph James 
  
Website Commentary:  Hmmm! I forgot about the video. One of my goals will be to get a VHS copy of this video. I can record it over to a DVD or .mpg if I get a copy. I've never seen it.
 
July 1994 Source:  Charlemagne #5
I have this younger sister. She's a woman now, but when I was younger, she was the dreaded "kid sister." This meant she wanted to do as I did... all the time. We went to the same school, so I had to walk her there everyday. But I was a pre-teen and she cramped my style. I also had to watch out for her during recess, make sure she got home okay, I'm sure you all know what it's like. 
  The fact was this--I could be mean to my younger sister and treat her anyway I wanted to. I was her older brother, it was my right.  
  If anyone--ANYONE dared to make fun of, mistreat, mock, bother, or kick around my kid sister, I'd have it out with them then and there. No questions asked, no quarter given.... Why? 
  Well, she was my sister, kin-folk, blood of my blood, family. Any problems I had with her were put away when someone messed with the family. 
  Recently, I thought about those days when I attended a convention. I was blown away by how crazy it all was; The lights, music, video screens, smoke machines, spaceships, Vampirella™, the talent, and the comics. It was big. But I was also taken by how relatively small our business is... 
  I remember when I was a kid. The idea of getting a job in comics was like... no way, too cool. The thought of my buds and I getting to work on all of our favorite characters or making up new ones and drawing, coloring, writing was just...heavenly. I remember the questions--What kind of paper, what size, what kind of pens do you use to ink, why is it when you look at a comic book panel real close the colors turn into color dots, how many pages should you draw a day, which pencils do I use? I remember how much there was to learn! To do! And it was all fun. 
  A I looked around the hall, It occurred to me then. It's amazing how we've turned our crazy dreams into this crazy business! It's astounding how far we've managed to stretch this One-Giant-Dollar between ourselves, fans, and creators alike. Think about it, just how many people on Earth actually make a living producing comics? Now I'm talking creative teams alone, not the machinery that moves this stuff. We write about heroics, ideals, courage, power, and passion. We draw grown men and women in tight underwear and armor fighting above great cities. They fight with or without a thought for the consequences and without a bill to pay.  
  Amazing.  
  There's money to be made at this. How lucky we are. All the couple of thousand of us, not including the retail end, live off of this business. This business that until recently was the "red-headed-stepchild" of the entertainment medium. We are a big-small business and lately we're being recognized by the real world. But yet and still, we're in this small boat called "comics." It amazes me that there is as much mud-slinging as there is. It is after all, one giant dollar we're sharing. It's as if all of us are rowing the same boat, but a few guys are using their paddles to beat their neighbors. Is this how we're to make progress? 
  I was talking to a friend, a certain editor-in-chief of a certain milestone in the business. I was using his shoulder to cry on It was an editorial-woes sort of thing). And I expressed to him how there weren't many people you could talk to about this 'stuff' and he told me;" Yeah, why do you think so many editors hang out with other editors from the competition? You gotta talk to somebody..." He made sense. Especially about the competition part. It didn't stop me from talking to him or him from talking to me. Small boat, One-Giant-Dollar, Love thy Neighbor, sound familiar? 
  When I was a kid, it occurred to me why I got so mad at people when they said mean or hurtful things to my kid sister. She seemed so helpless and defenseless, and I knew it was wrong. It made me not want to be mean to her again. I see some of this in our business, we go out of our way to take public potshots at each other like angry brothers and sisters. Yet, when you consider all that we share in our small and unique industry, does it make sense to do this? I mean she was my kid sister, kin-folk, blood of my blood, family... but more importantly, she was a fellow human being and that was enough. Small world, sound familiar?  
 
Website Commentary:  This editorial assumes that the small comics creating community was ever a family. A correct analogy would be to define the tools of the trade... the pens, the inks, the paper, even a company logo as the boat. The dollars are the food for the boat trip. The creators are just people on the boat.  
Profit is the unfortunate measure of success in life. Comics of the 60's--the one's many older creators grew up with--taught of values greater than money. The real world of business never really learned those values.  
Those evil real world people always step in when they see someone else doing better than them. They want their food (profits)  for now, and your food (profits) for later.  
That is the attitude of anyone unsure about the future and anyone lacking confidence. Fear indeed is an evil in life. 
It seems at a some point that the only way to guarantee food or money in this industry is to focus on what you do, do it better than the others, and work to always do the best. In the early years, Valiant Comics did that under Jim Shooter's leadership. Valiant was actually learning to walk on water and since there were few people talking about them they didn't care. At some point however, Jim Shooter was gone and Valiant was sitting on top of the water and they didn't know how they got there.  
Success is a byproduct of making right decisions. Defiant made a few bad decisions despite their boat full of very good creators. They focused on the stormy seas around them, and neglected to focus on the faith in what they were building.  
It becomes clear in retrospect that Defiant did not equate Valiant's early years of struggle with the planting and nurturing of seeds. Instead, they equated Valiant's success with the moment a seed burst through the ground. This fundamental flaw in their creative focus hurt Defiant's ability to survive. A year full of promotion centered around the Schism crossover because that was where they saw they visualized inertia. That is what they felt would clinch their sucess and profitability. They spent all their energies trying to keep the ground soft for Schism to burst out as a hit, and they did not nurture the individual issues along to make them their best. A great deal of time and planning was going into Schism, yet readers were not drawn emotionally to Schism--some mysteious event a year away-- because they just wanted to understand what they were already buying. Several key issues which needed to feature Defiant's best talents, their best stories, and their most stable creative teams did not include those elements. The sales drop was a reflection of some quality drops. The sales drops were a byproduct of overall consumer perception.... not the reality of what was being produced.  
Ultimately, it appears Defiant did not believe in itself, it only believed in the sales numbers. Progress is never made by believing in numbers unless you understand how the numbers became what you see. Progress is made by creating the numbers yourself...and it is a byproduct of making right choices.  
Success is rarely created by simply giving people what they already know they want or expect. Success is created by delivering concepts the reader did not know they wanted. 
 
 
   

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