The long sad story behind my ONE page for Marvel Comics

In ’94, when I was very briefly living in New York, I met then Marvel editor Marie Javins and her assistants, Kevin and Polly. They were editing the remnants of the Epic line and were actively pushing for more Mature Audience titles. Obviously, I wanted to work with them.

A few months later, based I’m sure on my (then) upcoming comic with writer Franz Henkel, PREY FOR US SINNERS, I got a call from Polly. They offered me a fill in issue on a title by an up and coming writer named Warren Ellis. The title was called DRUID (no connection to my later creation THE DRUDE). I was ecstatic! I seemed to be on a roll... I had just been asked by Richard Corben to draw a back-up feature for one of his Fantagor titles, and now this... a full issue for Marvel Comics!

The regular artist, Leonardo Manco, had a dark moody style not unlike my own at the time. It was a good fit. The plan was to have me fill-in on issue 4 of the series so Leonardo could get a jump on the next storyline. I couldn’t wait to get the script and start work on the issue. I stayed in touch over the next few weeks. One afternoon I was on the phone with Polly and I could hear somebody step into their office and say something. Polly said, “Shit, DRUID has been cancelled...”

As issue 4 was now to be the final, they had to give it back to the regular artist. They were able to roll Ellis and Manco on to a new, similarly dark title, HELLSTORM. I think the plan was to get me an issue on HELLSTORM, but it didn’t fare much better than DRUID. (Edit 3/29/22: I recollected this incorrectly... Ellis and Manco worked on HELLSTORM prior to DRUID. I Think they were rolled over to a 3rd title but I'm not sure - that was over 25 years ago!)

I always loved Dr. Strange so I wasn’t dis-pleased when, as a kind of consolation prize, I got to do this pin-up. Taking a cue from my friend and mentor Barron Storey’s play book, I sent them 2 pin-ups with the hope they would buy the 2nd as well. They didn’t have the budget, but it was worth a shot!