So, last year Ben Templesmith was replaced as the artist on JMS's Ten Grand comic series for Image Comics. A work-for-hire gig for Ben, he seemingly went incommunicado after being sent a script. At the time JMS wrote,
Most recently, we gave Ben a full script on July 26th. It is now September 4th, and we have still not heard anything back from him, despite repeated emails asking where things were, nor have we gotten any pages. I even tweeted him on August 25th just to make sure he was okay, and though we still didn't hear back from him, we did hear through others that he's all right, which is the important thing.
So on August 27th, I emailed Ben to say that if we didn't hear something back by the end of that week, even just a text to say he was underwater, that we would have to find another artist. I wanted to give him every possible opportunity to come back and make this work. No reply. Finally, and with tremendous reluctance, I sent him a note on the 31st saying that we were moving on. Our obligation to our readers and the retailers has to come first.
To be clear: we are and remain big fans of Ben's work, and wish him every best. His art was magnificent and a perfect fit for the storytelling. If we were doing a graphic novel we'd hire him again in a heartbeat.
Ben later apologised publicly saying,
We reached out to him and he emailed back to say he had apologized to JMS, and the communication breakdown had been entirely his fault. He explained he has just been through, in addition to some personal matters, "a rather catastrophic move to Chicago where a bunch of my stuff is missing and I got other people's things, that only finished yesterday. It's been a rather stressful time." All this took him off the grid for a while.
But, he continued, "I'm the only one to blame and am apologetic." He promises to get back on social media soon after he gets the rest of his affairs sorted and wishes Smith and JMS luck on the book.
With JMS replying,
Finally heard from Ben today…we had a great email exchange, very positive, we're moving on but remain on really good terms regarding future work on other projects…more later.
Well here's the first sign of that. From Image's solicitations,
PROTECTORS INC. #10
STORY: J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
ART / COVER A: GORDON PURCELL & MIKE ATIYEH
COVER B: BEN TEMPLESMITH
NOVEMBER 19 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $2.99
In the finale to this first arc, Riley learns a tragic secret about the Angel and finds himself in the crosshairs of a battle royale between The Patriot and the man responsible for a series of brutal murders, who is as powerful as any of the Protectors…maybe more so. The ending will forever change the world of the Protectors…and not in a "we'll reset this later" way.
Well, looks like JMS is indeed a man of his word and wants to work with Templesmith again. By way of the fact that he actually is doing so, a variant cover for Protectors, Inc. Cheers of happiness all round…
And while we don't have that cover to show yet – we do have this…
Concept art from Ben for Mike Pecci's new horror project 12 Kilometers on Kickstarter, And in return, the filmmakers made a short film about Ben…