Chelsea Cain Doesn't Know Why Her The Vision Comic Was Cancelled, Either

Part of a promotional illustration for Marvel's cancelled The Vision book. (Image: Marvel Comics)

But she definitely has some words about it. Yesterday, news broke that the upcoming Marvel comic The Vision, written by Chelsea Cain, was cancelled well into production, for reasons that remain unclear.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cain opened up about the decision from her perspective, offering new insight into what her book would have been liked along with the rough working conditions facing creators in comics.

"I was offered the gig in July of 2016," Cain said. "At that point, Mockingbird had been (stealth) cancelled after issue #3, but I had been asked not to make that public until the eighth issue had been published. They were allowing us to finish out the arc. Tom King's marvellous run on Vision was still coming out, but he had left Marvel and signed an exclusive with DC, so Marvel obviously knew it was wrapping up.

"I was asked to tell a Vision story that focused on Vision and his teenage daughter, Viv, who, at the time, had just been introduced into the Marvel Universe. I pitched the idea of my husband co-writing it with me. Marc is a writer, and we once co-wrote an illustrated book called Does This Cape Make Me Look Fat? Pop Psychology for Superheroes. Also, we have a teenage daughter. So Marc brings a unique authority to the subject matter."

After that decision was made, Cain explained, work began in earnest. "By September of 2017 — one year ago — we submitted the script for #1. By December we had an artist attached, the amazing Aud Koch, and editorial feedback, and we were off to the races. We've been working solidly for the last six months. The first three issues are inked. The first issue is coloured. They all have amazing cover art. The series was announced in July. And officially solicited about a month ago. They put it in Previews. They advertised it. Why go through all of that, just to pull the plug?" 

With no clear answers as to why the book was cancelled — according to the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel wanted to take the characters involved in a different direction, but it's unclear what direction that is and Marvel has as of press time not offered comment — Cain moves to talk about the frustration of the decision and what it suggests about the comics industry at large.

"The comic book industry is made up of freelancers. I think a lot of readers don't understand the extent of that reality," Cain said. "Certainly any comic book by Marvel or DC, those are the work of freelancers: Colorists, inkers, pencilers, letterers, cover artists, and writers. The editors work for the company. The freelancers don't. Maybe some of them have exclusive contracts, which means that they get a little bit more money per page, and absolutely no benefits or protections, plus they don't get to work for anyone else — but basically, every comic you pick up has been made by someone without health insurance.

"But these freelancers are still expected to behave like employees. They are told what to say and when to say it... I've said it before, but this whole industry is a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen. It's astonishing." 

So, for instance, when freelancers have to deal with harassment, such as Cain faced for her run on Mockingbird, there are no institutional protections or supports to assist her. And if a publisher wants to cut ties with you, there isn't much you can do about it.

The whole interview is a scorcher, and it's well worth reading in its entirety. Cain's willingness to talk openly about her experience is admirable, and her book, which was set to follow up on Tom King's run and star the Vision and his daughter, Viv, had an interesting premise. Cain described it as "a father-daughter story" about "the efforts of an emotionally-stunted man to reach out and connect with his 'woke' teenager daughter."

She added: "If that isn't a metaphor for the comic book business, I don't know what is."


Comments

    I mean I wouldn't want to have obligations to most of marvels writers either. I never see them ever post something that isn't politically polarizing and is practically baiting trolls begging for harrasment. I certainly see them posting vile comments about other people intentionally trying to hurt them or get them fired and things like that.

    Yeah there might be some comics people who are absolutely awesome who I'd have no problems giving actual employment benefits but, there are unfortunately a rather vocal number of them that can't even pretend to be professional online. these people would not keep a job in any other industry with their comments.

    It's sad but, the problem is a lot bigger than a company not commiting to full time hires.

      Hey, here's a crazy idea: The ones that aren't vile human beings, hire those people. And those that are shits, don't hire them, don't get them to write anything, don't associate yourself with them. (Not aimed specifically at you, Blaze)

      Really sucks that when it comes to most media (TV, movies, comics, ect) that if you wrote something good once, you're kind of immune unless the mainstream media picks it up. :/

        I do agree with you. thing is they just seem to want to keep using these people.

      You just argued a great reason to hire on writers and artists as permanent rather than have them freelance. That way they would have to abide by company standards, online policies, etc, or risk losing their job. Also if you treat employees well they are less likely to slag off their employers. Your thinking is all backward.

        maybe though, I don't think it would change their behaviour. after all they're still getting work now. if they were actually full hires it'd just damage those companies more.

          In that case they would have a perfect reason to fire them.

          Although the more I think about other stories of people getting fired for breaking policy, like the Guild Wars 2 folks, the more I think you might be right. Bad publicity. This way they can just not rehire. Sadly though it ruins things for artists and writers that want to make a living and have some kind of security in their job that they really should be entitled to in a civilised society.

    Doesn't really surprise me. Marvel want someone to push ckmics out the door and would love for it to be something other than the big four usual sellers (spidey, cap, stark or avengers) so that rhey can see some b tier growth like what King did for Vision, but their writers don't really seem capable of it.

    They have a lot of good writers, but there is nothing coming out right now that really seems to catch the eye.

    People wanna acf like this issue is solely political (and you know what, it probably is a little), but for the most part Marvel has a talent shortage that is starting to show. Their biggest names are stretched thin across so many titles that they are just kinda meh and at the same time they dropped the ball by not securing any anyone new while DC went for the throat poaching every big name it could.

    Maybe Marvel is tired of being woke and going broke. Time to push out entertainment that people will actually buy.

      Oh yeah. I'm sure Marvel is really struggling in the $ department.

        Corporations like Marvel would look at individual departments and product lines for their profitability. Not the entire corporation. Comic sales are down.

          Well as harsh as it sounds, if the comic department is struggling, then start slashing/cutting/firing. If a business isn't profitable, either change up the business model or shut down. Easy.

            I think the issue they had was that sales were going down, then for some reason, they pivoted into injecting a lot of identity politics. It got them positive press but didn't bring in new readers and the traditional base of readers had no interest in it. So sales went down more. So they need to course correct back to what comic book buyers are interested in.

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