Mark Alessi passed away yesterday morning.
CEO of Technical Resource Connection, a company he founded in 1986, he sold the firm to Perot Systems Corporation in 1988. He took that money and in two years later, founded comics publisher CrossGen Entertainment in Tampa, Florida, which began publishing in 2000, with titles such as Mystic, Sigil, Meridian, Negation and Scion, all sharing a universe and linked by mystical and science fiction forces
The attempt was to create an in house comics bullpen and to challenge Marvel and DC Comics. To that end, they recruited name creators to work exclusively for them, including Barbara Kesel, Mark Waid, Tony Bedard and Ron Marz as salaried employees. Other creators included Greg Land, Jim Cheung, Chuck Dixon, Bart Sears, Brandon Peterson, Josh Middleton, Scot Eaton, Steve McNiven, Mike Perkins and more, a number of whom had their first significant work published through CrossGen. Their shared universe and creator-owned titles had significant market impact, and both their chronological collection of their comics for the bookstore market and their move to digital were way ahead of the curve.
The publisher went into liquidation in 2004, after major issues with cashflow payments, and its assets were sold to Disney. A Marvel revival began but was curtailed.
Brought up in Connecticut, he went class of 71 at Xavier High School, Middletown and studied Elizabethan English and Political science at UConn, Connecticut. After CrossGen, he went on to co-found and be CEO of TOA Solutions in Florida, and recently he became President of Bards Faire, an IP entertainment firm also in Florida.
A number of comic creators have been sharing memories online.
Route 666 was my favorite comic book during it's too short run, and I really liked a lot of what Crossgen did, and he made it all possible. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and all of Mark Alessi's friends and family.
— Todd Gray Loves Corgis! (@grendelred) March 30, 2019
— Shannon Eric Denton (@ShannonDenton) March 30, 2019
This morning I heard the news that Mark Alessi passed away. Love him or hate him, he and Crossgen were needed at that time in comic history. He was a bull in a china shop but what he did with the studio jump-started the rest of the industry. Forever grateful for my career.
— Andrew Crossley (@CrossleyColor) March 30, 2019
Mark Alessi, the founder of CrossGen, passed away. About 20 years ago, CrossGen made a line of great comics, with production quality that rivalled Marvel and DC.
— Patch Zircher (@PatrickZircher) March 30, 2019
Fiorentino, who is best known for Titans, Doc Samson and Final Crisis, got his start on Mystic, Scion and Sigil for CrossGen. He posted,
His friends and family, especially his daughter, son and sister, are in our thoughts and prayers today.