An interview with 2099 Assistant Editor Lia Brown

 

 

How did you first become involved with 2099? What were your duties as assistant editor? 

Lia: I was working as an Assistant Editor for the Barbie, Disney, and Midnight Sons comics (a funny combination to be sure!) with Hildy Mesnik when several Assistant Editors were promoted to Associate Editor. Matt Morra, who had been the 2099 Assistant Editor was one of those promoted and I moved offices. Matt took over main work on Ravage and Punisher. Spider-Man, X-Men, Doom, Unlimited, and later Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider (after Evan Skolnick’s run) stayed with me and Joey. I was really excited to work on the books and with Joey and Matt, it was an excellent editorial team.

Assistant Editor duties were all over the map. Our main responsibility was to keep the books on schedule, make sure all the creators stayed on deadline, check on continuity with story and art as well as keeping track of where characters were. Assistant Editors did a lot of crash help, too, coloring pages and doing paste up to make deadlines (things that are all computerized now, but were done by hand back then). And of course there was making sure everyone got paid on time, too!

Do you know if there was an original 2099 character that Joey wanted to give his/her own solo book? (Galahad, Public Enemy, Heartbreaker, etc.)?

Lia: We had a lot of characters we were trying out in 2099 Unlimited that we hoped to breakout into their own titles, but by this time in the 90s, there was more and more pressure to create books with characters that readers were already familiar with. Galahad was definitely a character that had a lot of love in the office, there just wasn’t the bandwidth to have it happen. We were in talks briefly with Neal Stephenson, just after Snow Crash came out in the hopes to get him to write an original character for either a limited series or a monthly for us, he was tremendously excited at the possibility, unfortunately things just never panned out, for a lot of reasons. Joey used the Unlimited to showcase as many characters and artists as he could in the hopes that one might really break out. We just ran out of time, and the business just ran out of steam.

Which was the most challenging of the 2099 books to edit?

Lia: Spider-Man for sure. It was the highest profile both the character--even more than X-Men—and the original creative team, Peter David, Rick Leonardi, and Al Williamson. It was a fun, beautiful title, but there was a lot of pressure to get books out on time and that wasn’t always possible, so we had several fill-in issues that had to go out, which annoyed fans, naturally, but making sure there are issues on the stands is part of the bottom line.

What do you recall about Ravage 2099’s cancellation, and how did it feel to see the first 2099 book cancelled?

Lia: Ravage was a big deal because it was one of the first new characters by Stan Lee with him writing in a long time and he was also an original 2099 character. Unfortunately, the book just never took off. What it was that kept it from really resonating with readers, I couldn’t say. It’s extremely difficult to break out an unknown character, even with known creators. We did have some very dedicated readers, but even when Matt Morra took over as editor and the stories and character was revamped a bit with a new creative team, it just never had the kind of audience that kept a book alive. The funny thing is, we cancelled Ravage at sales numbers that would probably be considered excellent these days.

What do you recall about the One Nation Under Doom storyline? (Specifically, was it cut short? If so, why? Any idea what direction Warren Ellis was going with Captain America showing up, if he was the original or an imposter?)

Lia: One Nation Under Doom got cut short because we were under a tremendous amount of pressure from sales to start something new to boost our readership. They wanted us to launch X-Nation and Fantastic Four, and at that point 2099 A.D. was in full effect and it would have been increasingly difficult to add these new titles with this huge crossover going. There was a lot of back and forth about whether or not Cap would have been the original, I think in everyone’s minds he was, but if I remember there was some politics that kept us from being able to say so officially, and I don’t think we were able to get that settled before we were let go. (Again, these are almost 20-year-old memories, so I could be wrong …) .  

Internally, was there ever an idea of what ended the Age of Heroes?

Lia: You know, it’s been such a long time, I don’t remember offhand, but I’m sure Joey had a whole story in his head about what happened and if memory serves, I think we were going to get to that at some point, but so many things come in to play that pulled the stories away from it, like Ravage, we just ran out of time.

What, if anything, do you recall about a 2099 video game that was in development at the time? Did the 2099 editorial group have any say in what characters or stories would be used for the game?

Lia: These ancillary things were pretty much out of our control, we’d hear from the departments responsible for them that they were in process, but they didn’t really ask for our input. Sometimes we’d hear about things after they were done and kind of just say “ok …”.

Fondest memory of your time on 2099? Or favorite series, character, or cover?

Lia: Doom was my favorite title by far, whether it was John Francis Moore and Pat Broderick, or Warren Ellis and Ashley Wood or Steve Pugh and Scott Koblish. Doom is such a great character in all times and worlds, I always had and always will have a soft spot for him and for the great folks I got to work with on the book. As for an individual cover, series-wise, any Leonardi cover was something to behold, he was such an underrated artist. But, I remember what a thrill it was when Joey let me take over full editorial duties on 2099 A.D.—and I’ll always consider it a huge point of pride that I was able to convince Joe Quesada to do that cover for it, it was stunning, with Jimmy Palmiotti’s inks, just a beautiful wraparound, even without all the fancy special effects that it wound up having done to it.

I guess one of my fondest memories was when we had our 2099 A.D. story summit. We all spent the week in a hotel in NY working out the storyline and crossover stories for the entire run. We had Peter David, Warren Ellis, Gerard Jones, John Francis Moore, Len Kaminski, and Pat Mills and Tony Skinner all in a room and it was just such a great time, so much talent, and such great camaraderie even though you probably couldn’t get a more different set of personalities in a room if you tried.

Honestly, this is incredibly boring of me, but the whole crew on all the books, the artists, writers, colorists, and letterers, they were all wonderful, probably some of the best times I’ve ever had at work and it’s nice almost 20 years later to still be in touch with many of them and see how well they’ve done.

 

 


 

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