The Other Shoe Dropped
For a number of reasons, I’ve avoided talking about the news but now that it’s out on the web and other people are talking, I figured the time has come.
On Friday, around 3:30, I was called into my boss’s office and was fired. He didn’t explain why but had the HR folk hand me papers and some checks and told me to start cleaning out my office.
As has been speculated elsewhere, the final factor seems to be the misprint in the Golden Age Hawkman Archives. My superiors never talked to me about the problem that occurred, how something so seemingly obvious could be missed, nor did they seem interested. Instead, they saw this as a persistent pattern (meaning that other errors have occurred, something that happens when you produce as much as Collected Editions did in 2005) that wasn’t going to change even though we just changed the structure of the department, adding some much needed support staff, to make sure things like this wasn’t going to happen again. Management seemed unwilling to wait and see if things would improve.
Instead, by 5:30 I was packed and out the door. The news slowly spread over the weekend until it broke on the Internet at my pal Gormuu’s Marvel Masterworks board and Rich Johnston’s Lying in the Gutters. Gormuu wrote some lovely things as did many of the regulars on the board. Rich, I have to say, was surprisingly sensitive to me and even offered to delay the report a week if I wanted. Instead, I’d prefer the net folk read it, debate it and move on.
We had stuff already scheduled for the weekend so Deb saw to it I stayed out and about. We didn’t mention it at the Bar Mitzvah, the family party or the Church Volunteers’ Reception. Instead, we waited until a quiet moment on Sunday to tell the immediate family.
The reaction on line has been interesting. At Gormuu’s message boards, people were demanding that someone be fired for the Hawkman error and now that someone has been (more or less) they suddenly think they may have overacted. The debate at Newsarama was more positive and I was touched when Peter David came to my defense. All in all, I’m reminded of the third season West Wing episode when Josh discovers Lemonlyman.com and tries to interact with the community only to discover most are off their meds – an episode I re-watched only a week previous.
Since then, I have been flooded with kind e-mails from people throughout the various circles I travel. Freelancers I haven’t worked with in years reached out as well as others who were doing work for me last week. Friends from publishing, again including those I deal with regularly and others I haven’t chatted with in years, all got in touch. I feel most gratified by their support and offers to point me in various directions.
Which also means it’s time to figure out the next chapter of my career. It’s rather odd, in that my first day of unemployment marked the 22nd anniversary of my first joining DC and is also the week marking the fourth anniversary of my being dismissed by Bill Jemas at Marvel. All of which weighs somewhat heavily on my mind.
While I love comic books and would be happy finding a position at some company, I also truly enjoying publishing and would be pleased to land a place at a book or magazine house. Of course, these aren’t great times for publishing with consolidations occurring at most places so we’ll see what happens.
Short term, I am also working on finding some freelance writing to help fill the hours. While I still have my next Star Trek: Corps of Engineers in progress, that’s all I have confirmed. I did receive, yesterday, two offers for short works which will help to a degree. Once those become real, I’ll mention what they are.
Sadly, Deb and I have been through this before. The business world hasn’t necessarily been kind to her before the Marvel thing gave me a taste of the uncertainty and demoralizing aspects of job hunting. The kids understand how we adjust to accommodate the sudden reduction in income. We’re both very cognizant that we need to keep each other’s spirits up and that during the hunt there still needs to be downtime for mental health. I certainly have enough reading around the house and a ton of premium cable channels should it come to that. And I’ll keep up my political life and exercising at the gym and home chores, just shifting more of that stuff to daylight hours.
And we’ll still talk here.