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It’s a Shame About J.G.

If only his J.G. Jones’ name was just J, then that pun would have worked a lot better.

ANYhow, as you no doubt have heard screamed from various message boards (that is how angry some folks are, you can actually hear their rage through the internet), J.G. Jones, who already had another artist come in to assist him with Final Crisis, is now so far behind schedule that DC had to get the great, awesomely talented Doug Mahnke to draw the last issue.

Which is a shame (mitigated greatly, of course, by the fact that the back-up is the supremely, amazingly skilled Doug Mahnke).

In any event, I don’t think this is particularly a big deal. Jones sounds practically apoplectic about his regret over not being able to finish it, DC certainly did their due diligence with Jones, giving him a TON of time to finish it – it just didn’t get done.

End of the day, Jones just couldn’t get it done in time. Que sera, sera.

This is not the first (and it won’t be the last) time an artist told a company s/he was certain s/he could get the job done on time and wasn’t able to. This is not the first (and it won’t be the last) time that a comic company built a bunch of lead time into a project so that it would get done on time and it was still not done on time.

In the end, I think DC did the right move by replacing Jones. As a work of art, I would certainly prefer Final Crisis to be delayed until Jones can complete it – but Final Crisis, much like Civil War, is not solely a work of art, it is a driving force of DC’s entire superhero line – you can’t just delay that, especially when the replacement artist is as great as Doug Mahnke. Hell, if they combine Superman Beyond with Final Crisis in a trade, it will look like it all was planned, even.

In fact, I remember taking issue with a piece written by a DC editor where he suggested that fill-in artists on big projects was not a tenable solution, and I recall noting that I disagreed with that, that I felt that if the project is important enough, fans WILL deal with a fill-in artist, and that is a better solution than major delays (only on projects whose timeliness affects other books). So DC is doing exactly what I said they SHOULD do, so I certainly can’t complain.

So don’t feel so bad, J.G.! This stuff happens, and DC handled it about as well as they could!

69 Comments

“So don’t feel so bad, J.G.! This stuff happens, and DC handled it about as well as they could!”

No. DO feel bad JG. It doesn’t matter whether he’s fast or slow. He knows what his pagerate is, and planned for it well in advance. And despite that, he’s not just late but project-destroyingly late. It’s unacceptable anywhere else.

While I would have loved for Jones to have done all 7 issues, I’m glad they got Mahnke to do the last issue. He drew the Martian Manhunter tie-in and the Superman Beyond stuff so he’s already associated with Final Crisis. It would be great if they got him to do the fill-in pages for Final Crisis 4 – 6 instead of Pacheco, then it would be a smoother transition (and almost seem intentional).

I’m disappointed, but it is what it is and until we read the remainder of the series, we won’t have any idea what the actual effect on the series itself is. Until then, everyone’s just yelling because they need to yell about something.

Anyway, Morrison’s still writing it.

It is, however, a shame about Ray.

No slight against Mahnke meant, but I don’t understand why DC didn’t get Pacheco to finish the series. He was already the designated pinch-hitter.

I have to say I feel bad for Jones, but he should be feeling at least a little bad. Illustrating comics is a job, jobs need to be completed within a specific timeframe, ergo he didn’t do his job. Maybe I’m a hardass, maybe I’m cold, but that’s how I see it. Essentialy, comics readers are indirect employers of comics creators, and they should be crapping their pants a bit when they dissapoint their “bosses.”

That being said, I was really looking forward to Jones work throughout the entire series, and I’m truly bummed.

He couldn’t do the job, so sure, I guess he should feel a LITTLE bad.

But if we want to get “real world” on this (and I note, Scott, that you aren’t necessarily saying you wish to apply “real life” to this situation, just noting that if we DID want to get “real life” on this), this is almost exactly how it works in the “real world.” He couldn’t do the job, so they replaced him. Contracts are almost inherently amoral, if you fail on your end, you’re not “bad,” you just failed on your end and have to pay the consequences.

Jones failed on his end and he was replaced on the job.

But who knows why he failed? Not me!

So really, while maybe he should feel a little bad that he couldn’t get the job done, I really don’t think he should feel so bad.

MDV apparently knows all about whatever JG Jones may have going on in his life that precluded him from finishing the gig.

“No slight against Mahnke meant, but I don’t understand why DC didn’t get Pacheco to finish the series. He was already the designated pinch-hitter.”

Because Pacheco also has troubles maintaining deadlines…which made his assignment to help out Jones a perplexing one at best.

“What pun?”

“Shut up, he thinks he’s witty.”

The Lemonheads were just before your time, Mike!

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 21, 2008 at 3:03 pm

The fault solely lies on both the publisher and the artist.

If the artist is slow, then the publisher should have either: gone with another artist (one that can meet deadlines); or given the slower artist more lead time than what was alloted.

I don’t know how much of a lead time J.G. Jones was given, but he alone should have known how fast (or slow) he is and should have requested more time (or at least inking assistance).

DC dropped the ball on Final Crisis.
Marvel dropped the ball on Civil War (but at least, McNiven finished the series).

The biggest problem with cross-overs is with all the tie-ins is dependant on meeting the schedule.
I just wish DC and Marvel stop with all the tie-ins and cross-overs.

Am I the only one who winced when he saw that the replacement was Mahnke? I really don’t care for his style and quit buying both JLA and Action Comics when he started on them. I had been hoping for the last month or so that Pacheco would just finish out the book.

Anyway, I’m not trying put down Mahnke, I just didn’t realize he even had a following.

No, Tommy, you’re not the only one who winced. No disrespect to Mahnke, but he’s not quite my cup.
I just don’t get why comics publishers and creators of all stripes can’t see that two things important to many fans, aside from a good story, are adherence to a timely publication schedule and a consistent creative team. It’s disrespectful to the consumer when books aren’t out on-time, but it’s also disappointing when the book is out on time with one of the pieces missing, so to speak.

You’re probably not the only one, Tommy, but I’m happy. http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/09/06/a-month-of-art-stars-doug-mahnke/

It was the best possible bad news to me. I think his art is going to be jarring after Jones & Pacheco’s issues, but on it’s own, I will enjoy it.

All of this is of course under the assumption that the fault lies at Jones’ feet, and not something like editorial calling for rewrites of the script causing him to be unable to complete it in time.

At least, i think DC is being coherent: they declared “no more late books” and they are trying to avoid it.

It’s a choice; top talents usually are slow, and if the book was late to keep the same artist on it, people would be complaining about it.

Kinda chilly here today. I fear winter is soon upon us.

To me, the big story here is: Cheers to DC for doing the right thing and replacing the guy, rather than punishing everybody else like Marvel did with “Civil War”. Deadline-shirking artists have had the big two by the cajones for too long and it’s time to start taking their work away. There were dozens of equally-good-if-not-better pencillers who could have taken over “Ultimates 2″ or “Civil War” without a fan revolt.

None of us really know why JG didn’t get the job done, so you know, there’s that. I DO think it’s a big deal, though, and if there’s no solid reason for it, he should probably feel bad. The most popular complaint about Morrison’s New X-Men run is the amount of artists involved, so I hate to see that repeated here (with the capstone to his DC superhero career, no less).

It’s kind of funny how the art problems always happen towards the end (although logistics imply that being predictable), as I think that most people would be happier to have the opening chapter by a different artist rather than the closing one.

But I’ve never really minded the occasional fill in; sure, it robs it of a bit of the majesty of “George Perez draws COIE”-ness, but realistically I’m going to care far more about story than art most of the time so it won’t bug me TOO much, especially if the other members of the creative team (inks, colours) work to minimise the transition.

Have to think, though, since I’m one of the “Morrison is re-telling Rock of Ages” people, why Howard Porter’s name wasn’t on the replacement list. :)

Great, another book I can skip in trade, as I’m sick of reading crap that’s disjointed due to the random fill-ins and replacements.

That’s not to say that DC did the wrong thing here, but it’s quite silly that they couldn’t get their stuff together and get it all done.

Oh my god, Stephen… Howard Porter finishing it up would have been kind of awesome, and made FC work as an epilogue to Morrison’s JLA. Then again, Porter is fighting to get his career back on track at the moment after some health issues, so he might not have had time. And Mahnke is great, anyway. Still, cool idea, even if you were kidding.

“I don’t know how much of a lead time J.G. Jones was given, but he alone should have known how fast (or slow) he is and should have requested more time (or at least inking assistance).”

People assume artists can gauge this pretty easily. Not always the case. Some time an asrtist can finish a book in a week or two. Sometimes that same artist can take 6 weeks drawing an issue. Creative jobs are like that. Sometimes a page takes a long time depending on what he has to draw.

Not to mention this is a high profile book so there’s certain expectations to make. I’m sure Jones could just hack out an issue and be done but he probably wants to make this one count.

I appreciate JG Jones’s contrition, and we’ll never know the full story. However, is there a business that’s run as haphazardly as the comics industry that still manages to survive?

Bryan Taylor:
“I appreciate JG Jones’s contrition, and we’ll never know the full story. However, is there a business that’s run as haphazardly as the comics industry that still manages to survive?”

Uhhhh how about every single other entertainment industry? Fill-ins are the norm for TV, movies, games, magazines, any creative industry that is driven by $$$ (and dont give examples of blizzard, josh wheedon, bungie or some other mega powerful creative force, because those are exceptions)…. heck i’d say comics are the anomaly in that they wait for the artist and writers so often

Great, now that song’s stuck in my head.

Too bad about Jones not finishing Final Crisis, but I know Mahnke will draw the hell out of it.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

October 21, 2008 at 7:42 pm

In fact, I remember taking issue with a piece written by a DC editor where he suggested that fill-in artists on big projects was not a tenable solution, and I recall noting that I disagreed with that, that I felt that if the project is important enough, fans WILL deal with a fill-in artist, and that is a better solution than major delays (only on projects whose timeliness affects other books). So DC is doing exactly what I said they SHOULD do, so I certainly can’t complain.

I remember disagreeing when Jeph Loeb made similar comments, even stating that he didn’t like having the fill in artists name on the cover of a trade of one of his books – is that what you’re thinking of?

Pity about J.G. I’ve read in interviews how much work he’d been putting into Final Crisis, so I can imagine what a difficult decision this must’ve been for him. I’ve been digging Doug Mahnke’s recent work quite a bit, but his style’s pretty different from J.G. Jones’ and Carlos Pacheco’s.

I was always a Marvel reader until Civil War displayed what style (or lack there of) Marvel was going into. I only hope Final Crisis wasn’t nearly as bad. Civil War was so bad it was embarrasing.

Nobody Important

October 21, 2008 at 9:45 pm

If someone other than Hitch had drawn part of Ultimates 2, I wouldn’t have bought it. I mainly buy TPBs, and I don’t buy them if they have fill-in artists.

Bryan Taylor: “I appreciate JG Jones’s contrition, and we’ll never know the full story. However, is there a business that’s run as haphazardly as the comics industry that still manages to survive?”

I don’t think so. Comics is the WORST.

Signed,

The banking industry, the mortgage industry, the auto industry, the insurance industry and the stock market

I think the criticism is lack of work ethic.

Those folks you listed were working overtime to rip you off.

You see this is why I like this place. Sure people are annoyed that the book will have three artists. Sure it would be better if JG had been able to do the whole thing. Sure DC had to make a call, some will agree with that call some won’t. BUT isn’t it nice to actually have a reasoned, balanced discussion on matters and not some of the ranting that goes on other message bounds (by and large).

To that end all those that have made reasonable comments pat yourselves on ya backs and thanks to Brian for running this island of calm in a world of meladrama (there’s probably some irony in that last sentence?)

Oh the irony didn’t refer to the fact that I’m glad this place is calmer than some of the other message boards I’ve tried to read but had to give up on there’s so much vitriol on.I genuinely mean the discussion here is a refreshing change… I’m going to shut up before I make things worse!

Thanks, Colin, but now I have to admit, I’m a bit confused.

Exactly what is the irony, then?

This is were I get a little nervous that definations of irony will start to be fired back at me. So bare with me if you disagree.

“running this island of calm in a world of meladrama”

Seems a little meladramatic in itself hence irony?

I just don’t understand why they would choose Mahnke. He’s not BAD; he just doesn’t draw ANYTHING LIKE J.G. JONES. I mean, were they even TRYING?

Well, it’s not something I can get steamed over but I’d rather see Jones finish it. It’s a balancing act for DC between the market for the monthly format and the trades. This makes good sense toward the first and less towards the second. The trades have more longevity so it might cost them sales there but a delay in schedule for a series like this would delay almost all the schedules for the DCU titles and cost sales in the monthly market. I’d expect them to have some kind of fomula to pick the financially favorable situation. So, probably a good decision business-wise. As a fan, I’m far more interested in the final product than the business side, so I’d rather have waited a couple months for Jones to finish it. It’s a shame he can’t finish the story he’s been telling. Which is not meant as a criticism toward Doug Mahnke, by the way.

Seems a little meladramatic in itself hence irony?

Gotcha.

That’s what I figured, but I wanted to make sure! :)

I just don’t understand why they would choose Mahnke. He’s not BAD; he just doesn’t draw ANYTHING LIKE J.G. JONES. I mean, were they even TRYING?

I’m thinking that they might very well include Superman Beyond in the Final Crisis TPB, and if they do do that, it’ll look like it makes sense, artistically, as Mahnke’s art will flow from Superman Beyond #2 directly into Final Crisis #7.

Then again, that’d be NINE issues of story for a trade – kinda hard to collect that into one trade.

Your definition of irony sounds spot on, but I’m not sure about your definition of melodrama

“Seems a little meladramatic in itself hence irony?”

Uh… what?

Have a good day.
John Cage

Well this whole thing just goes to show that I’ll really shouldn’t rattle off quick messages while in work as I add nothing to the debate and they just serve to confuse!

If only my spelling and grammar were better. That would help a little.

“All of this is of course under the assumption that the fault lies at Jones’ feet, and not something like editorial calling for rewrites of the script causing him to be unable to complete it in time.”

Which wouldn’t be out of the question considering just how head-scratchingly bizarre this series has been. DC must be disappointed.

I have to say, as dissappointed as I am over J G Jones not finishing the title, I am pleasantly impressed with the maturity with which he is handling this. At no point has he tried to place blaim at anyone else’s feet over his unfinished artwork, he accepts that it is his fault and his alone. And he’s even got the decency to leave Final Crisis alone for the trade, allowing Doug Mahnke (whose artwork I once hated, but now I love – isn’t that the way with art though) to keep his art credits on this milestone series when it comes to the trade.

My only question is this: If Grant Morrison has had this planned and plotted as long as he says he has, why weren’t the scripts with Jones as soon as he was frred up from his 52 cover work? I genuinely believe, although I accept J G Jones apology (a rare thing with delays for a creator to be so honest), there is no reason I can think of for a mini-series to fall behind schedule. Don’t print them until all the work is done. That simple.

Is anyone really coming to the table on this book just for the art?

Well, let’s be honest, the story ain’t all that easy to follow.

I remember disagreeing when Jeph Loeb made similar comments, even stating that he didn’t like having the fill in artists name on the cover of a trade of one of his books – is that what you’re thinking of?

Jeph Loeb should keep quiet, as no name on the cover of a trade paperback, even that of a fill-in artist, is as indicative of subpar quality as the appearance of his own name.

Brian writes: “Then again, that’d be NINE issues of story for a trade – kinda hard to collect that into one trade.”

Why would it be hard to collect into a trade? Why do we have to have an industry and customer base that doesn’t get upset with 3, 4-issue hard covers to collect Justice? Then 3, 4-issue softcovers? Secret Wars was 12 issues, as was Crisis on Infiinite Earths. They have single-volume trade paperbacks.

Why not Final Crisis + Superman Beyond under 1 cover?

I mean this sincerely, not as combative snark.

I’d have been much more interested in this series if Mahnke or Pacheco had illustrated the whole series. Not bashing Jones, who’s a decent artist, but I think he’s a little dull. The other two are among my favourites, though.

Mahnke’s fine. It’ll be great.

Here’s the deal: you have a slow artist who can’t complete a 6-8 issue run without screwing up the deadlines. Schedule the fill-in for the middle of the run… superstar guest artist x does issues 3-4 while other superstar artist finishes up issues 5-6. Give us the big finish with the chosen cretaive team and fill in the mushy middle with someone else.

“Well, let’s be honest, the story ain’t all that easy to follow.”

Sure it is. I’ve only read the issues sporadically, while killing time at book stores, with more than a month between readings and I haven’t had any trouble. But for your sake, here’s what Wikipedia says:

“The mini-series revolves around “The Day Evil Won”, as Darkseid and his fellow evil New Gods invade Earth in the wake of the utter destruction of the heroic New Gods. Having transcended into the forms of astral entities capable of possessing mortals, Darkseid assassinates the lone surviving New God, his son Orion, and arranges for his harbinger Libra to organize Earth’s super-villain community into an army of followers using the “Religion of Crime”. These events lead to the death of Martian Manhunter and the destruction of the Daily Planet. Meanwhile many of the planet’s major superheroes are quickly picked off one by one.

Opposing Darkseid is an army of heroes united by Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott as well as Shilo Norman, the new Mister Miracle, who has recruited Sonny Sumo and a group of rookie Japanese super-heroes “The Super Young Team.” Though the young Japanese superheroes save Shilo and Sonny from being killed by Darkseid’s Justifiers, the heroes suffer two major setbacks. Oracle and Mr. Terrific are unable to save humanity from Darkseid’s unleashing of the Anti-Life Equation onto the internet. Flashes Wally West and Barry Allen — who have escaped death itself try and save Orion from being killed by a time-traveling sniper bullet — return to the present time, albeit a month later than when they left and discover the world is in ruins; Darkseid has conquered Earth.”

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

“Why would it be hard to collect into a trade?”

Remember, DC didn’t put the Infinite Crisis specials from the four buildup miniseries into the collected version (I assume they’ll do so eventually) – Superman Beyond is in exactly the same situation.

“Seems pretty straightforward to me.”

Three issues into two paragraphs? That’s not bad at all (although I’ll admit it cut out the GL/ murder investigation subplot that weighed down the first couple of issues).

How’s this – the plot thus far in sixteen words: Darkseid achieves mortal form, covertly invades, kicks ass, JLA tries to respond, can’t, Darkseid conquers Earth.

Darkseid wins again
Flashes see a bleak future
Find the Rock of Ages

Allen N. Swords

October 22, 2008 at 2:51 pm

That still doesn’t answer my question, Stephen. I know why DC doesn’t collect issues — a price grab. That doesn’t mean that “they can’t.”

There’s no sane, non-finacial reason that DC can’t collect 9 issues into one sturdy TPB — even with nice paper. As long as people pay HC money for 4 issues (like Justice), DC won’t make sense. Even “Hush” has NO REASON at all not to have a single volume.

Somebody here mentioned how ‘haphazard’ the comic book industry is. I know I’d rather be reading the Incredible Hulk than just ‘Hulk’ and now that Amazing Spider-man is the worst comic book I’ve ever read, but if I have spare cash around I still always want to buy comics.

The industry that somehow makes money that I can’t understand is the Movie industry. They pay 10s to 100s of million dollars on these things, maybe one out of ten movies makes it’s money back. ANy other industry they would of gone out of business.

I’m off subject. DC Comics multi-verse stuff confuses me to no end. I read part of INfinite Crisis and couldn’t figure out what was going on except that Superboy died.

“Then again, that’d be NINE issues of story for a trade – kinda hard to collect that into one trade.”

There’s been 12 issue trades.

The original Crisis comes to mind. Ditto the Watchmen.

I thought the latest issue looked really good art wise. So the different artist thing is working out so far. Also Manhke drew that Libra story in DC Universe 1. So that would be a good inclusion to the trade. Not to mention the Carlos Pacheco story in Justice League.

Actually, upon looking at the price point for Infinite Crisis, DC seems willing to charge less for their big books – $25 for the Infinite Crisis HC. I guess they could do Final Crisis HC at $30, then $20 for the TPB.

are you sure it didn’t have anything to do with his new soon to be announced exclusive contract with marvel.

If that’s the case, gonzo, does it really change how one views Jones?

“I couldn’t finish the series because I am too slow”

and

“I couldn’t finish the series because I signed with another company”

are both pretty equal in my book.

…or “I couldn’t finish because they took the work away from me when I took an exclusive offer from their competitor, and I lose no goodwill by taking full responsibility.”

Yeah – 8-12 issue trades should be the norm rather than the exception. They still do it when they feel like it (Like Birthright, Batman: City of Crime and Fables: The Good Prince).

These 4-5 issue trades that are getting more common are just too damn small!

Jono11 said:

“I just don’t understand why they would choose Mahnke. He’s not BAD; he just doesn’t draw ANYTHING LIKE J.G. JONES. I mean, were they even TRYING?”

Yes, they were trying—trying to annoy you! Looks like they succeeded.

Brian Cronin said:

“Then again, that’d be NINE issues of story for a trade – kinda hard to collect that into one trade.”

Brian, don’t forget that each issue of crisis has 1.5 issues worth of pages, making the story 10.5 issues long. If the Superman book also has extra pages per issue, the 2 of them would be 3 issues worth of pages long. That would be approx. 300 pages.

Has anyone ever finished one of these company-wide summer crossover series’ without a delay or replacement? Perez is credited as sole penciller on COIE but when Jerry Ordway comes on board, some of the panels sure look like a lot like Ordway pencilled ‘em too. McNiven got to the end, very late. Jiminez couldn’t finish Infinite Crisis, resulting in, amongst other things, that dreadful 2 page splash at the end. McFarlane managed an issue and a half of Invasion, Giffen and Bart Sears picked up the slack. Zeck couldn’t manage 12 issues of Secret Wars without some heavy inking assistance… The list goes on and on.
Oh wait, I thought of one. Joe Staton and Ian Gibson on Millenium. Can anyone say with a straight face they’d want those guys doing Final Crisis?
These things happen. All the time. Like someone said, Jones knew his page rate, and now hes only getting maybe half of the $$ he took on the job for. That seems fair enough to me. He should stop beating on himself, dust himself off and get on with life.

Heh – Yup. Millenium – 8 issues over 8 weeks and it looks like they took even less time than that to produce it!

I think the big message from that observation is probably that those big crossovers take a hell of a lot longer than normal comics to produce.

Brian, don’t forget that each issue of crisis has 1.5 issues worth of pages, making the story 10.5 issues long. If the Superman book also has extra pages per issue, the 2 of them would be 3 issues worth of pages long. That would be approx. 300 pages.

So 124 pages shorter than Watchmen then…

[…] has been widely reported, artist J.G. Jones is not going to be drawing the final issue of Final Crisis, and indeed […]

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