When J Michael Straczynski decide to relaunch his Joe's Comic line, it was with Ben Templesmith on art for their flagship titles Ten Grand. As of this evening, that has changed. According to an announcement On the Fan's Of J Michael Straczynski facebook page Templesmith has been out of communication for over a month and has now been replaced on the title by CP Smith.
Here is the announcement:
We have a pair of announcements regarding Ten Grand….
As I've stated many times in the past, I'm a massive fan of Ben Templesmith's work. He's one of the truly unique voices working in comics today, and we've been blessed to have him on board for the launch of our flagship title.
When we reignited the Joe's Comics imprint, we took a blood oath that our books would come out on time, no matter what. We owe no less than that to both the retailers and the readers. So each title launched with a buffer. As I write this, with issue two of Sidekick coming next week, Tom Mandrake is about to roll into the script for issue 4, and Gordon Purcell is finishing up issue two of Protectors Inc. which won't officially debut until November, and all of Protectors is already written in its entirety. We lost a little time on all of the titles here and there, due to illness and other factors, but that's what the buffers were for, so we continued pressing forward to keep the books coming out on time.
With Ten Grand, once the script went out to Ben, we would often hear nothing back, despite repeated requests for updates. 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.
From time to time, every artist and writer falls behind or runs into trouble with the work; I am not only marching in that parade, I am carrying a banner. But there still has to be some level of communication so that all parties can plan out publishing schedules and make adjustments where needed.
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.
So that's the unfortunate news.
The good news…the great news, really…is that we're pleased to announce that CP Smith has come onto the book as our regular artist. He is of the strongest and most dynamic voices in the field, and his most recent work on Wolverine Noir has been rightly hailed by reviewers as spectacular. His dynamic, visually compelling style is totally consistent with the Ten Grand universe, and we are lucky to have him on board. Quoting CP: " I am honored and thrilled to be working with JM Straczynski on this ground breaking independent book. Expect Awesomeness."
CP is diving in immediately to catch up and will move heaven and earth to bring the book back into a regular schedule as quickly as possible. For retailers who are taking orders now for the trade paperback of issues 1-6, we will ship that book as soon as we get all the pieces needed to make that happen.
Now Templesmith hasn't been as active on social media as he once was, but his last tweet was August 5th, almost a month ago… anyone heard from him?