Nineties Artist, Tom Lyle, Pushed Out Of Comics By The Young And The Cheap?

Photo by Alex Lozupone
Photo by Alex Lozupone

Sports site MMQB ran a readers letters page which commented on the decision of another site to drop a long-standing writer from their staff. First from Cliff P

Horrible news about SI.com dropping Don Banks from the staff. As much as I enjoy your MMQB, it's always been Banks' Snap Judgments I read first on Monday mornings. I will miss his column greatly. Please keep us informed on where Mr. Banks ends up writing.

And then from Tom L, of Savannah, Georgia.

I'm not happy. Younger, cheaper talent will be hired. It happened to me in the comic book industry. And thanks, Peter, for letting us know. I love your writing too. Keep it coming.

That would be Tom Lyle,  previously  teaching at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Lyle drew comics such as Starman, the first Robin series, Spider-Man in the Maximum Carnage Years, Punisher, Bad Company, Airboy, JSA, Mutant X, The Comet, through the late eighties and nineties, and wrote the Warlock comic too.

But his legacy may well be creating Stephanie Brown for the Batbooks with Chuck Dixon – who has his own issues with how DC Comics treated him …

UPDATE: Tom Lyle replies and clarifies…

Actually, DC Comics has treated me pretty well over the years. I have done four assignments for them over the last 8 years as I have been at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design) and they are fun to work with. I don't have time to do a full time project now as a full time professor. But, I'd love a mini-series or something like that.

However, you should know that I was at Marvel when my career came to an abrupt and unexpected wall. I got fired off of MUTANT X and couldn't seem to find work anywhere.

Am I alone? Of course not? Was it ageism? Probably — to an extent, but at the time the firing was said to be based on a new editor not liking that I had skipped some issues (arranged with my then-editor, Jason Liebig) while my mother recovered from a stroke and then, pulling the plug on me unceremoniously.

I still love Marvel and their characters, but the door seems long shut. Can I prove it was ageism? Of course not. Was it just another of the "we need cheaper talent while we're in Chapter 11 moves?" Probably that instead, but it still was the end. And I was ju st one of many.

Luckily, I love teaching and I love SCAD and I've helped train some up and comers in the industry. I take no credit for their work, but they did well being pushed by me.

If anyone wants to catch up with Tom, he can be found on Facebook right here…

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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