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DC: Meridian & NYX's Middleton Signs Exclusive Agreement
Posted 04/06/2004
Source ThePulse

Acclaimed artist Joshua Middleton, best known for his work on NYX and Meridian, has signed a 2-year exclusive agreement with DC Comics.

"In the short time that I've gotten to know the folks at DC, I have been nothing but pleased at the professionalism and good sense they have demonstrated," says Middleton. "Straightaway we were on the same page, and crafting a long-term relationship was extremely easy due to my confidence in DC's vision and their understanding of my work and goals as an artist. It is genuinely inspiring to feel so embraced, and I can hardly put into words how excited I am to put pencil to paper in such a well-rounded and creatively rewarding atmosphere. Without wasting a second, DC has managed to put together a wonderful project that affords me the ability to complete art of the utmost quality by playing to my strengths, but at the same time will challenge me to new artistic heights. It will be bigger, better, and more fantastic than anything I've ever done, and I hope readers will be surprised and excited by it. I certainly am!"

"We're ecstatic to have Josh come on board with DC," says Dan DiDio, DC's VP - Editorial. "And we are anxious to see him apply his unique style and vision to our top characters."

DC will announce Middleton's upcoming projects at a later date.
Posted 14/06/2004
Source Newsarama

With the recent announcement of Joshua Middleton signing an exclusive contract with DC, a few questions cropped up regarding upcoming work, as well as the whys and hows of moving from Marvel to DC. Newsarama spoke with Middleton at this past weekend’s Heroes Con in Charlotte, and got a few teases.

First off, to nail any rumor in the cradle, Middleton’s exclusivity to Marvel was over, despite the sum whole of his work, issue-wise, being just four issues, some covers, and a short story or two. The agreement between Middleton and the publisher ran from 2003 until 2004.

“Technically, the way it worked it was only a year deal, but it was based on the amount of work produced,” Middleton said. “So the contract goes both ways. It had already been violated a long time ago when it was not possible for me to fulfill my work because I didn’t have enough scripts. I was supposed to do a certain amount of issues a year, but if I sign a contract and six months later, I don’t have a script to start, there’s no way I can fulfill it. We operated on a trust relationship more than anything.”

The work Middleton did produce for Marvel, specifically his work on NYX allowed him to catch up to the contract’s stipulations pretty quickly. Thanks to doing pencils, inks, and colors for the series, but by the time he was done with issue #3, Middleton had fulfilled the amount of work required by the contract with Marvel.

“I asked about renewing it, and they never really got anything rolling on that, and I head a lot of different stories,” Middleton said. “Joe Quesada had a lot going on both with personal family issues, as well as going off to write his Daredevil miniseries, and I was left without a script for issue #4 of NYX for a long time. Finally, something had to give, and I decided that #4 would be my last. I couldn’t spend a year and a half to do four issues of a book. Even though Joe said he was at fault for not getting a script in, it’s always the artist who’s late in the fans’ eyes, so inevitably, the blame will shift to me. I don’t have any hard feelings about it, I had hoped the book would be well received, and it was nice to be on a big Marvel project, but ultimately, I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out. To go over to DC, and get a whole different feeling and a welcome was a great feeling.”

On the immediate horizon, Middleton will be working on assorted covers for DC, just to get his work back out into the marketplace and in front of fans as quickly as possible. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a larger project lined up, though.

“When I first went over, there were a couple of different options, but in order to do all the art myself, it has to be something pretty long term, sort of a slow-burn sort of project,” Middleton said. “I have to do it myself. DC is willing to do that. Marvel was willing to do it in the early days, but then they made it impossible to do that and do good work. So DC has a much longer term plan in place, and there happen to be a couple of projects that were pitched out. I talked to a few writers, and things came together pretty quick. I can’t say who it is, but people know who the characters are, and they know the writer.”

And no, it’s not Vertigo, as some may have speculated, given Middleton’s ethereal style.

“‘Oh he’s artsy-fartsy, so he’ll draw fairies,’” Middleton joked. “No – my goal is to do something mainstream and accessible. When Dan [Didio, VP of Publishing] first approached me, he asked about me doing something in a prestige format, something that would take the full two or three years to do, but that fell to the wayside a little in the interests of having something out sooner.

“My whole thing with my work, both commercially and artistically is to try and bridge the gap between the comic market and the more mainstream market that you can find at the bookstore. I think that’s where the future is, so I want to tackle a book that may, in execution, transcend the strict direct market. So I want to do really good work, but I also want to do really good work so that we can plan ahead and that it will be accessible from the mainstream, as well as something that people can buy pretty regularly. We found a project that fits all of those things. It will be a while before it comes out, but Dan’s working on a years-long plan, so it will be coming out.”

Didio’s plans for DC, often said to be five years and upwards in their scope, could sound somewhat mollifying to the free-wheeling creativity that comics thrive on, but, as Middleton said, it’s not quite that way.

“Dan’s got a giant monster of the DCU to get moving ahead, and it looks as if he’s doing it. That’s kind of the ironic part about all of this – I’d always thought that going to Marvel would be cool, because it’s rock and roll and playing by the seat of your pants sometimes, but that’s double edged, as I learned. You go to DC, and even though it’s a part of a giant corporation, they have a guy with vision in there, and they’re able to get some things approved and green-lit that would never see the light of day anywhere else. And they have the money to invest in the long term. So, for a guy in my position, there’s just no better place to be right now.”

As for Middleton’s Sky Between the Branches, his long-in-development creator-owned project that originally broke the surface at Com.x, he couldn’t say too much. Although, there’s plenty of subtext in what he had to say.

“Sky Between the Branches is still where my heart is, and I’ve been trying to find a way to do it – ideally at a place where I can do creator-owned work as well as mainstream, work for hire stuff,” Middleton said. “There aren’t that many companies out there that can do that, but happily, it seems that DC really grasps that while artists love to do mainstream stuff, that often won’t keep them happy forever, so you have to let them be artists. Even if it’s going to take a hit in sales, you have to let them flex those muscles.

“Look at Grant Morrison – for every JLA project, there’s going to be a Seaguy or a We3. DC knows that Seaguy may or may not burn up the charts, but it will keep Grant happy. That was on the table from the very beginning. I won’t say exactly what the plans are, but I’m very pleased, and that’s why it was very easy to sign on to a two-year deal.”

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