CrossGen continued to hire new talent and add new titles in 2002. They eventually expanded to a robust line of twelve monthly titles at which point they seemed poised to become a major player in the comic book industry. However, their continued expansion in 2003 led to a bloated line, increased debt and decreasing individual sales. Though this series of articles hasn’t been entirely chronological in nature, this third entry includes many of the creators who came aboard during this time. Some of them helped build the company to its twelve title peak at the end of 2002. Others found new opportunities as the company added freelance projects and licensed properties. And, even as the CrossGen faced the struggles that would lead to their bankruptcy, they continued to unearth new talent.
Chuck Dixon: Dixon arrived at CrossGen as one of the most prolific writers of the 1990s. He was predominantly associated with street-level heroes such as The Punisher at Marvel and Batman at DC. For CrossGen, he wrote Sigil and Crux, co-created Way of the Rat and Brath,and helmed one of the company’s last hits, the pirate comic El Cazador. When CrossGen folded, Dixon was no longer the high-demand writer he had been before. However, he still managed to keep working for companies like Devil’s Due, Moonstone and even DC. Currently, he’s one of the focal writers for IDW’s GI Joe.
Scott Beatty: Beatty was
one of the freelance writers hired later in CrossGen’s lifespan. He had
previously been one of the writers for DC’s Batman office,
working on Robin: Year One with Chuck Dixon. For CrossGen, he was given the task of replacing Mark Waid on Ruse. After CrossGen, Beatty continued his Bat-work with Batgirl: Year One, as well as stints on Gotham Knights and Nightwing. He also worked for Wildstorm, penning their Revelations series. His most recent work includes Buck Rogers for Dynamite Entertainment.
Ian Edginton: Edginton was the other freelance writer brought in near the end of the company. The British writer had previously worked on Warren Ellis’ update of X-Force, as well as other comics such as Blade, Star Trek, Aliens vs. Predator and Xena. His biggest contribution at CrossGen was a nine-issue run on their most popular title, Sojourn. He also wrote the last few issues of Scion. By the time CrossGen came to an end, Edginton had become a frequent contributor on Britian’s premier title, 2000 AD. He’s also worked for Wildstorm as the regular writer on Stormwatch: PHD. His most recent release is Radical Publishing’s Aladdin comic.
Paul Pelletier: Pelletier drew Darkstars, Flash, Green Lantern and Superboy for DC comics before coming to CrossGen. At CrossGen, he was placed on the space opera Negation with writer Tony Bedard. They became a much-loved team and were assigned to the massive crossover, Negation War, which was left unfinished when the company collapsed. They reunited at Marvel, when Pelletier was named the regular penciler during Bedard’s run on Exiles. More recently, Pelletier has played with Marvel’s cosmic heroes, serving as the artist on Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy and War of Kings. His latest work appears in Incredible Hulk.
Karl Moline: Karl Moline
was a different hire for CrossGen. The company usually discovered new
talent or grabbed veterans from the Big Two companies. Moline, however,
was an established talent but he was best known for his work at Dark
Horse where he had collaborated with Joss Whedon on Fray.
At CrossGen, he teamed with
writer Tony Bedard on the ‘50s-style horror comic, Route 666.
Since CrossGen, Moline has worked on Marvel’s The Loners and
returned to Dark Horse with Buffy
the Vampire Slayer and BPRD.
Jeff Johnson: A martial artist himself, Jeff Johnson was the perfect choice to draw CrossGen’s kung fu comic, Way of the Rat. Before coming to CrossGen, Johnson had worked with writer Gerard Jones on Marvel’s Wonder Man and Malibu’s Solitaire. He had also drawn the Fantastic Four. Later, he teamed with former CrossGen writer Ron Marz on Star Wars: Empire and contributed covers for Marz’ Dragon Prince. However, he has spent most of his time in animation.
Smith: Also known as Matt Smith, he took over The Path, when
Bart Sears was promoted to art director. Before CrossGen, he had worked
on Sandman Mystery Theatre, the DC crossover Day of Judgment
and Marvel’s Nightcrawler Icons mini-series. Since CrossGen, he
has worked on Stormwatch: PHD and Lobster Johnson. Last
year, he contributed an arc to Doctor Who: The Ongoing Series and
was recently named the regular artist on that series, beginning with
issue 13 (not to be confused with the actor of the same name currently
playing the role).
Pennington started out as CrossGen as an inker. Like Andy Smith, he
worked over Bart Sears pencils before becoming a penciler himself.
Pennington inked both Sears and Matt Smith on The Path before
becoming that series’ third penciler. Pennington had extensive
experience as an inker before CrossGen, having worked on such titles as Judge
Dredd, Death: The Time of Your Life and Shade. His
post-CrossGen work includes inking duties on the Vertigo comic Crossing
Midnight and penciling IDW’s Angel Spotlight: Gunn.
Pennington is currently associated with Baraka Studios, from which he
contributes art to comic books and collectible cards.
Jim Fern: Fern filled in
for Jimmy Cheung on several arcs of Scion. Also known as James Bosch,
he had previously worked on titles such as Green Lantern and LEGION
before coming to CrossGen. After CrossGen, Fern found a home with DC’s
Vertigo imprint. He drew an arc of Fables. He was the co-plotter
and penciler on Crossing Midnight. And he’s currently working on a
Fables graphic novel.
Ivan Reis: Reis wasn’t new to North American comics when he was hired by CrossGen. He had previously worked for Dark Horse on Xena, the Mask and Ghost. He had even drawn one issue of Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. At CrossGen, he was named the first regular artist on Lady Death. He left that title for better opportunities at DC and was given an exclusive contract in 2004. He worked on Superman and Teen Titans but is most associated with Green Lantern. He has been one of several artists during Geoff Johns’ run and recently finished work on the huge Blackest Night story.
Greg Tocchini: Tocchini was a relatively unknown Brazilian in comics when CrossGen hired him as the artist for their second DemonWars mini-series. But that was just the doorway he needed. Since working for CrossGen, Tocchini has drawn Thor for Marvel, Ion for DC and The Odyssey for Marvel’sline of illustrated classics. He is currently working on Last Days of American Crime for Radical Publishing with writer Rick Remender.
As CrossGen expanded, they also
hired a number of veteran writers to work on their licensed and
creator-owned comics, as well as in their regular universe. The list of established pros who did work at CrossGen includes Pablo Marcos, Rudy Nebres, Ron Wagner, Rod Whigham, Ernie Colon
and Mike Ploog.
Although I focused on the
writers and pencilers, CrossGen also employed many inkers and colorists.
Many of these artists had distinguished careers in their field before coming to CrossGen, such as JLA inker John Dell. And many of them are still working in comics today, such as colorist Justin Ponsor. Their contributions were important to CrossGen’s success, short-lived though it may have been.