Frank Cho in tug of war between Marvel & creator-owned projects
There’s only one problem worse than too much work: not enough. And Frank Cho is trying to juggle an overflowing work schedule while letting off a little steam on his artblog.
Cho, who’s drawing Marvel’s new event X-Men: Battle of the Atom, describes himself as at a “crossroads” in his career. He’s been Marvel-exclusive since 2002, working on everything from Spider-Man to the Avengers and the recent debut arc of Savage Wolverine. But in that time, Cho has been steadily amassing the ideas, and in his spare time, the art, for a variety of creator-owned projects — projects that, while he’s able to spend some time on them, he can’t devote his full energies to complete.
“I have 5 creator-owned projects that I want to write and draw,” Cho writes, going on to say that most of them are already written. “I need time to draw them. Each project will take me about 8-12 months to draw and put together. Unfortunately, none of them pay upfront. Everything is back-end payment. So if I work on my creator-owned projects, I don’t get paid until the project is done and published. And only get paid if the project is successful.”
Cho is quick to compliment Marvel for his treatment there over the past decade, but admits that his “enthusiasm” for the publisher’s projects has waned somewhat in recent years and is limited only to certain characters. But in that work for Marvel he enjoys a guaranteed paycheck, while doing creator-owned work depends on self-funding or the rare publisher advance. After months of deliberation and consultation with others, Cho said he has three options if he wants to do these creator-owned endeavors: Kickstarter, publishing under Marvel’s Icon imprint, or partnering up with “independent publishers.”
“All three options are viable and each has potential for success,” says Cho, who has published with Image in the past. “As matter of fact, my first creator-owned project launches at Kickstarter in 3 months after Thanksgiving in November.”
Over the years Cho has name-dropped (and art-dropped) hints of numerous creator-owned projects in the works. Accompanying this post he included the above art from his series Dragon Lines, which has been teased as far back as 2007 when it said to have been publihsed by Image. That series follows a Vatican-sponsored female assassin who has to deal with the uniqueness of that work life as well as a suicidal brother. Earlier this year Robot 6 profiled four other creator-owned projects Cho has in the works, including collaborations with Joe Keatinge and Thomas E. Sniegoski.