For Impact Comics, did you submit a proposal, or were you told, “this is what we’re doing, write and draw it”?

I submitted a proposal, Brad.  After I knew I was going to be involved in the project, the powers that be were kind of undecided as to who was going to do what.  That’s when I came up with a synopsis detailing what I wanted to do with the Shield.  I think that convinced the editors involved that I should be allowed to do the book.

No one ever said to me,  ‘This is what you’re going to write and draw’.  Although, I’d like to point out that there is a difference between being told to do that, and instances where you’re being asked to create under an editor’s direction, which is what happened with Impact.  That’s one of the important things to talk about here: editorial direction.  A lot of readers, and unfortunately, many creators, seem to feel that if an editor makes a suggestion, they’re interfering.  It’s the editor’s job to guide the team through the creative process, decide the best direction for the title as originally conceived, and of course to serve the best interests of the publisher.

A good editor might suggest a direction based on a thread from a past story, or the next logical step culled from the material creators may be currently producing, or his larger, overall goal for a particular group of titles — things of that sort.

How was the Legend of the Shield written? (just you, or editorial direction, followed by your fleshing it out)

I was the sole writer on ‘Legend of the Shield’.  There was nothing fleshed out for me.  I did confer with Mike Gold and later, Jim Owsley, but only when they saw something as being divergent from what I said I was going to do in my original story outline. I never varied from that.  I will say however, that Jim Owsley was much more active in story planning, but again, I was the sole writer.  I was also following notes I made during group discussions that the creators of Impact had, and that we all mutually agreed to abide by.  The Fly crossover and the Web sub-plots that happened in the Shield, as an example, were things that I worked out with writer Len Strazewski.  After I told him what I wanted to do, he approved it, and offered comments or suggestions that I worked in to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon what we both agreed to.  All of these things had to pass editorial muster as well.  If the majority of things I came up with made it into the title, it’s because I had the same yardstick as my editors:  I was in tune with them.

How involved were you with the goings on in the other Impact books? (Were you kept ‘in the loop’ as decisions were made about other series?)

Whatever the end result of Impact Comics, the intent was for everybody to be kept abreast of what was happening in the other titles.  I did my best to keep myself aware and of course, any decision that affected the work that I was doing I was informed about. I was then given the opportunity to try and achieve my goals and still incorporate any of the larger continuity issues that can crop up when working with other creators in a shared universe.

Conversely, I had a simple rule when dealing with other creator’s concerns:  I asked only that they understand the basic idea of the Shield, that he deals with technology.  And of course, that it would be unfair for anyone else to develop the higher relationships of the series:  Joe’s issues with his mom or dad, his relationship with the original Shield, etc. — all of that was my territory, I felt.

Since it’s common courtesy to do so, what was your first comic book work? ( art and / or writing )

I’m not sure I remember.  Some of the first pro work I did, was either the Elementals work I did at Comico or it might have been Codename: Spitfire–New Universe stuff.  At any rate, they were pretty close together, late in the 80’s.  Sorry!  I don’t remember clearly, so I guess I lose on ‘Jeopardy’!

It also runs together with early work I did on The American.  I enjoyed working with Mark Verheiden tremendously.  I think I learned a lot from him that I later applied to the Shield.

Who first contacted you re: Impact Comics, or was it an open invitation for anyone to “try out”?

I had heard rumors for a long time that Mike Gold was working on a secret project, but I had no idea what it was.  I later found out from Mike himself, that he had drafted many, many proposals as he approached the guys at Archie to revive their classic superhero characters.  I believe it took him quite some time to convince them that they should license their properties to DC.

I had done a number of successful assignments for Mike: Green Arrow, Blackhawk and a few others.  Like any editor that I had a rapport with, I would hit on Mike at the end of one job, for him to give me another.  After I’d established a good track record with him, as someone he could rely on, he clued me into what was going on. As he got closer to actually being able to offer assignments on this same project, I flew out to Chicago, for this sort of interesting, posh, pseudo-Thanksgiving / Christmas get together hosted by Gold and Brian Augustyn, and it kind of went on from there.  We talked, and– well –I guess you get the idea.  Looking back now, it all seemed pretty casual.

I don’t believe there was an open invitation to ‘try out’ as you suggest, Brad.  But it wasn’t some sort of exclusive club either.  I think it really boiled down to people that the editors had worked with and felt were professional.  I think that Mike and Brian were looking for people whom they felt had solid storytelling skills in the tradition of the early 1960’s Marvel Comics.  Mike and I were definitely on the same track regarding that and several other aspects relating to his goals. So that was the common ground between us.

Were you given a choice as to which character you wanted, or was the choice made for you?

Not at all.  Like I said earlier, there seemed to me to be a sort of aura of indecision as to who was going to get which assignment.  I was sort of surprised to find out later that almost right up to the launch point, it was almost a lock that I was going to be doing the Jaguar.  And again, showing an unsolicited proposal for the Shield was what I believe got me the job.  Lobbying of that kind can go a long way towards getting an artist or writer the assignments they want.  Not always, but enthusiasm and initiative will always set you apart in the mind of an editor.

And if you were given a choice, why did you pick the Shield?

As far as doing the Shield, part of it was that it was the launch book and it never hurts to be first at anything.  Secondly, I just simply viewed the Shield as a character I could do something with.  I was only vaguely familiar with his sporadic appearances since the 1940’s.  And as a kid I thought, “Well, he’s no Captain America!” I think part of my rationale, as I approached the assignment, was that no matter what, I wanted the Shield to be as unlike Captain America as I could make him.

Sure, he’s draped in the flag and all that, but the story of Joe Higgins really has little to do with his being a superhero.  I don’t know if people who read the series saw it that way, but that’s what I was shooting for.  It’s really the story of a guy who comes from a dysfunctional family.  A family that’s about as dysfunctional as it can get without the people in it reducing themselves to the level of absolute animals:  fear / threat response and all that.

I tried to deal with the repression of emotion, secret family abuse between his sadistic father and his gentle, idealistic mother — those were the themes that are beneath the surface of events in the series.  The end result for Joe is that he grows to adulthood as a person who really doesn’t know himself.  Hence, all the questioning, rebellion and the near breakdown of anything he did know as familiar within himself. And the subsequent ‘rocking of his world’, when everything he thought he could rely on was stripped away.  Especially when the cause of it was lies and manipulation at it’s worst.

At the planning of Impact ( beginning stages ) were there talks of any titles in addition to ( or instead of ) the beginning six?

Not as I recall. But there was a lot of ‘blue skying’ as Mike Gold used to put it, about future possibilities.  The launch of Impact was far more successful than anybody at DC had anticipated, so I think after that, there were plans laid for The Crusaders and whatever else.  Everybody had what they thought would’ve been good ideas for subsequent projects after the initial wave of success.

Was there anything in particular that you wanted to do with the Shield that you were not allowed to do ( due to continuity, editorial disapproval, etc )?

There was however an overall atmosphere to the series that I wanted to achieve that I felt would have really made things more interesting had I been allowed to do it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think what was done held the readership’s interest as best as it possibly could, but I did have an idea that was slightly different in the beginning.

At that time I saw comics as being more full of action than they had been in many a year.  Titles like X-Men and Avengers were just brimming with the kind of action I had always felt was one of the most exciting things about comics generally, and superhero books specifically.  My original idea for the Shield was to do perhaps 3 issue story arcs with him in exotic locales where he’s never out of the suit.  Then do a slower, more introspective issue every fourth month or so, to show what Joe was really all about: the man behind the suit. And in those issues, he’s only in it enough to make it interesting.  That approach, however, was vetoed in favor of a more generalized character development, which balanced the two extremes.  The rationale against it was that if we went with the action thing, it was felt that the pacing would be too up and down, but again, that’s how I saw some of the most successful titles in comics being staged at the time.  I always saw the Shield as being ideally suited for that kind of storytelling.

What did you have planned for The Shield after #16?

Like any series, the Shield developed a host of situations based on ideas that were both planned and those that were ‘happy accidents’.  Any creator, who tells you that the book doesn’t take on a life of its own over time, isn’t being honest.

I felt that there were a lot of major issues outlined in the first year and a half or so that would have had to be resolved sooner or later, and I feel good about that.  That meant that the Shield had evolved into having a much richer story base than I ever thought it would when I began.  I don’t want to go into too much detail here, and I don’t want to describe anything that might squelch any ideas for ‘what if’ stories that fans of the series may have in their own minds.  Suffice it to say that I would have created situations that tested Joe’s faith in himself and his beliefs even further.  Barnes died, as an example, but could somebody else become another Shield?  There were a few guys left in the Gun Club—–What about the Weapon?  Who is he really?  A guy that full of hate couldn’t let Joe Higgins have the last word about anything, especially as an opponent.  I could go on, but I think you get the idea that there was still a wealth of material that I hadn’t even begun to develop when the series ended.

I heard rumors that the cancellation caused things to happen that would not have happened otherwise, this true?

That may be true in some respects, Brad, but I think that with some minor exceptions I stayed pretty close to what I had originally planned.  As far as Barnes goes, the intention of that was more a statement about creating an aura that the Shield was an entity in and of itself that would continue no matter who wore the armor.  Despite the fact that General Higgins had proposed a program to revive the Shield, it was inevitable that it would happen anyway.  It was just a matter of when and with whom. Killing Barnes provided a dramatic way to mesh the ‘Legend of the Shield’ more closely to Joe himself, by showing that being the Shield had to come back to him.  I hoped that people would see that as Joe being born to be the Shield – that he couldn’t escape it.

You may be implying that the thinking was: ‘Oh no! We’ve put this other dude in the armor and it’s not working!  Quick! Put the other guy back in!’.  Whatever sales were at that point, re-introducing Joe had nothing to do with that.  I don’t recall any adverse reader reaction to Barnes, either.  I think the book could’ve easily continued with Barnes as the Shield.  I genuinely fell in love with the guy during the short time he was in the series.  He represented quite a contrast to Joe:  he was whimsical, funny, and a family man.  He wasn’t as courageous or as noble as Joe.  He may have been shiftier, but in a totally acceptable way.  I guess I’m trying to say you could describe him as calculating without being destructively manipulative.  Barnes was the charming rascal.

And ya gotta love a guy like Barnes who runs around the living room with his kid wearing a dumb ten-cent domino mask that ya buy at Walmart!  He had a sense of humor about himself that Joe just didn’t have and I came to love that.  I really wish now that it hadn’t become as important as it did to kill him.  The book would’ve had a very different face if Barnes would’ve continued in the suit.

Now, in regards to that question, I ask the following 2 questions:

Was Shield III ( Michael Stephen Barnes ) planned to take over as Shield in #13 from the beginning?

No, that was one of those ‘happy accidents’.  I have to credit Jim Owsley for motivating me to do that, really.  One of Jim’s concerns was that the Shield as an idea wasn’t ‘legendary’ enough.  In a roundabout way, I suppose using Barnes cheapened the idea by briefly making the Shield very ‘McDonald’s’-like: one guy quits so you get another guy to put the special sauce on the burgers, if you will.  The end result when Joe returns is that the whole idea of the Shield becomes more entwined with destiny as one of its themes, which, in my view helped it and made it even more interesting.

Working that out showed me how great Jim’s proclivity for sub-plotting really was.  His ability to develop a story over a long period to a real interesting bloom when it finally flowered was inspiring.  I admired Jim very much for that.  The Barnes storyline is a great example of the editor providing input from a past story or the seed of an idea from the creators.  He suggested that it might be a plan to have somebody else in the suit, but left it open as to how I would make that happen. So I picked Barnes from the guys in the Gun Club for it.  This isn’t being told what to write, at least not in my view.  Every good editor that I’ve worked with operates this way.  It’s important for any fan who wants to be a pro to understand this.  The idea that you’re going to have a completely free hand is a myth.

Was the Joe Higgins return ( #15, 16 ) planned before the cancellation notice?

Yup.  Joe was supposed to come back all along.  The months he spent working with Roger, represented a change in his attitude and feelings about his lot in life.  Had the book gone on, I would’ve taken pains to show the details of that.

Who was the guy who visited Dusty in the hospital ( besides the Original Shield )? Firefly perhaps?  And was this guy planned to re-appear later?

You’re right Brad, it was Firefly.  I can also understand your feeling bothered by it. But, unfortunately, when series get cancelled it often happens that there are a good number of unresolved sub-plots.  There are always things that go unfinished.  That’s what happened there.

Firefly was certainly supposed to reappear later, but there just wasn’t time.  I had some loose thoughts about his having done something that would have accounted for the disappearance of the original Shield, but all that went up in smoke when the book ended.

How were you told that the Impact line was being “re-tooled” and that the original 7 series were being cancelled?

A simple phone call.  I can’t say that I was surprised.  For several months, prior to that happening, it seemed that there were too many things that were undecided administration-wise:  Where the line was going to go for it’s potential third year; how Impact was going to address the problem of competing against other things happening in the market that were drawing readers interests at the time and so on.

I felt that many of the creators and editors in question were still communicating well, trying to come up with the best ideas they could to solve these things, but they just never were resolved, whatever thoughts were exchanged.  The end result is that events became very uncoordinated and unfocused and, well—-you know the rest.

Were there plans for you in Impact after Crucible?

I talked briefly with Jim Owsley about the idea of taking over the Comet.  I knew even then that it would have been contingent on the success of Crucible and the willingness of DC to renew the license.  I have no idea what the exact terms of it were but I’m guessing it was a relatively short term deal, so anything after Crucible, would have been greatly affected by how that turned out.

Were there any plans that you knew of for after Crucible regarding any of the titles / characters?

None that I know of.

Why didn’t Impact comics make it through year two?

There are a million reasons and I think it would be really useless to go into anything here that could only be my opinion.  The fact is, the Image stuff happened.  That material was of course pulled-off by the highest profile creators in the business.  It matters little what anybody thinks about their launch, their subsequent respective runs, or their legacy, now that Image has much less of a profile than it once did. They cornered the market then, and it affected every title being published, bar none.

Now, on to non-cancellation-related-questions

What was the difference between the Jim Owsley and Mike Gold eras, editorially?

I think Mike’s approach was to allow any creator as much room as possible and then make any comments or ask for revisions after that.  Whereas Jim was more of a “hands on” editor:  In there right away, making suggestions, and doing his part to steer the ship.

Gold had a unique ability to see the work as both an editor and as a potential fan.  I think he got as much joy as any fan of ‘Legend of the Shield’, when he first saw the pages or when the printed books arrived.  Even more so I think because he was the first guy to read it before anyone else.

Jim was more of a ‘story mogul’.  He was appropriately concerned with what was good story overall.  He was a terrific continuity cop.  He would point out things that I had inserted casually to be used later, when I was never even sure whether or not I was going to cultivate those ideas at some point down the road.  Jim would notice them and say: ‘Look, that thing you did in issue 3, panel 6, page 8, really worked ya know –You should use that.’  And of course, I would have to look it up to see what he was talking about!  I would have almost forgotten it.  Jim really knew the continuity inside out.  Not that Mike didn’t, but I always appreciated Jim’s great attention to detail and his commitment to making sure that nothing of any great potential value was overlooked or wasted.

In a letter column ( I’m not completely sure of title / issue ) there were allusions to a secret “eighth Impact series” and I’m guessing that it was prior to the idea for Crucible.  Any idea what it was?

Well, Brad, that’s sort of hard to say.  I honestly think Mike had a boatload of different irons in the fire when it came to that.  I think what was foremost in his mind was that the ‘eighth Impact series’ should be an original series. To say what it was for certain though, is anybody’s guess.

How much did your Shield proposal differ from the finished product?

I guess that depends on which proposal your referring to.  My original outline was really quite different from what I eventually went with as the series bible.  The bible too was altered slightly prior to actually beginning the launch because Joe Simon had some issues with the Impact version of the Shield originally being named Lance Strong.

Those revisions boiled down to substituting ‘Joe Higgins’ for ‘Lance Strong’ within the body of the outline itself.  And of course, coming up with an identity for the original Shield.  I don’t think at the time that I thought it was going to make that much difference.  And oddly, in the first outline, I went with Joe Higgins as the name for the version of the Shield I was pitching then.  That character though, was a lot darker.  More of a loser, I suppose.  He was angrier, and with all of the life blows I was thinking about laying on him, would’ve reacted in a more violent way.  The Joe Higgins in ‘Legend of the Shield’ was really a silent warrior type:  great inner strength and all that.

In Shield #12, Joe Higgins gives up as the Shield.  In #15, he’s shown working with the original Shield on a new armor.  Was this supposed to be government funded Shield work, or Joe and Roger on their own?

Joe and Roger on their own.  I think it became clear that Roger was beginning to be the positive father figure that Joe had lacked in his biological father.  Roger as he was written was an entrepreneur and an industrialist.  He had basically watched General Higgins corrupt his vision.  By Roger and Joe working on the new armor on their own, Roger reclaims part of what he gave up years before and allows Joe to continue.  He’s living vicariously through Joe to be sure, but I think it’s healthy never the less.

Ok, back to the cancellation, sort of, but on a more positive note.

Do you think Crucible was the way to go to save the Impact line?  Or do you think there was something better to do?  Did you have ideas to save the line at all?

My personal feelings about Crucible are mixed, although I have nothing but the highest respect for the effort expended by the creators involved.  By the time Crucible happened I had moved on to other things and even before that point I think I was focused primarily on the Shield.

When you’re told that the series is going to end, you automatically start looking for your next assignments.  It’s unavoidable that you start to divorce yourself from your passion for it.  I had very few ideas about what could be done to save Impact, and that was based primarily on the vibe that I got from other people who were involved.  They had things well in hand.  I was made aware of the plan for Crucible and I felt confident that those involved would make their best effort to salvage Impact if it were possible at all.

So I concentrated on wrapping up on the Shield and put it to rest as peacefully as I could.  Maybe someday, all those stories I still have in my head about a guy named Joe Higgins will get a chance to come out.  That would be great.

Visually speaking, how did your idea of the Shield evolve?  He’s the only one that was anywhere near the original version (MLJ/Mighty)?

My design approach to the Shield, as far as his costume went, was indeed to try and make him reminiscent of the original Shield. And that was long before I decided I wanted Shield One to be a part of the series.  The original Shield’s outfit was also slightly ‘beefed-up’, to strengthen the visual connection between it and Joe’s outfit.  It kind of went full circle, really, that when Joe and Roger worked together to create a new armor, I combined Joe’s armor from the early issues with the lines of the original Shield armor to come up with yet a third variation.

I found that the basic idea of a character that was a living shield, who was shaped that way in his basic aspect, very easy to work with.  I’m sure that as time went by the armor might have changed again; in fact I knew it would, in much the same way as Iron Man’s did.  It was logical to me, at least.  As much as Mark Bright and Bob Layton always dazzled me with their variations of Tony Stark’s armor, I don’t think I would have ever went that far, though.  Stealth armor for Iron Man? Yes!  Midnight-Pizza-Run-Armor for the Shield?  Sorry!  Not gonna happen!

Were there any characters you felt were harder to draw than others?

Not particularly.  I think the hardest part of drawing any character is getting their mannerisms, stance, demeanor—-things of that nature, correct, so they can be easily identifiable to the reader.  I took pains to make sure that Mannex, as an example, always looked huge and appeared to be lumbering as he walked.  Even when he stood relatively erect, I hope I achieved the effect that he had enormous weight and that when he moved, it took great effort.  I guess it’s up to any readers of the Shield to decide for themselves how well that came across.

There’s so much more to character dynamics than just the delineating the characteristics of their costume or haircut.  Sure, those things are the easy landmarks for showing the reader who’s who, but the real hard stuff is acting and body language.  I always try as hard as I can to send the signals I want the reader to recognize about a given character by using those devices.

Describe your process of coming up with the covers.  Was there one you preferred, or considered your best of the series?

Cover design is a tricky business at best.  I often find that it’s the most difficult part of the assignment.  Not in terms of execution, but in terms of the time it takes to come up with a striking image that will make people want to pick up and buy the book, which is of course the point, isn’t it?

As far as content, trying to interpret the high point of the story is what always sways me.  I try to catch the moment of highest interest, danger or mystery, and present it in a way that generates curiosity for the reader.  This can be portrayed either literally or an interpretive manner.  When Michael Golden came on board as cover editor, they almost all became interpretive, which I think is a good thing.  The covers then began to lean more toward illustration.

Currently, covers tend to be more like posters in design.  I’m generalizing to be sure, but even so, I’m not sure this is always a good approach.  I just mentioned that the interpretive cover is a good way to go because I feel it’s more illustrative. It still works as a cover, though, because it still tells a story, which are what comics are all about.  I’m not too sure that many of the advocates of the poster style of cover care about that.

As far as favorite or most effective? I think generally, with the exception of the cover for issue # 2 and the final issue, I felt the covers turned out pretty well on Legend of the Shield.  DC certainly thought so.  I always got a charge out of seeing them used in their ‘Coming Comics’ store promos.  Issue # 5 was probably a personal favorite, aided beautifully by Matt Hollingsworth’s superb color job.

Do you think it hampered you art to pencil and ink it?  Did you feel rushed?

I personally believe that every artist should ink their own work if they can.  My feeling is that within the boundaries of what is generally accepted by editors of mainstream comics, it’s still important for an artist to have his or her own ‘voice’, if you will; to make their personal statement about any story they’re working on.  Inking your own work, provided you have the skill and facility, is a way to achieve that

If I felt rushed, which was only in the most minimal way from time to time, it was because circumstances beyond my control would often stick a rod between my spokes when it came to coordinating the various work functions surrounding the production of Legend of the Shield.  That’s unavoidable.  Carrying such a large workload is a delicate operation even at the best of times. Sometimes the schedule gets clogged for any one of a dozen reasons no matter what you do.  Keeping the book up to speed is a matter of knowing what to do when those things happen, so you can gain back lost time.

In all my work, be it comics or illustration, I’m always super careful that I give myself enough time to do the job to the best of my ability.  When you know full well beforehand that a given assignment’s deadline is too tight for you to comfortably make, and you take the job on anyway, that’s just being stupid.  It only serves to frustrate everyone involved. And you can be 100% sure that any editor you impose that on will never hire you again.  So, I’m always aware of how much time I have and don’t abuse it or myself to the point where I end up being too burnt out to function effectively on the job. I try to get enough rest, decent food and some time to decompress—those sorts of things.  I’m no more health-conscious than the average person and I don’t want to sound like a nutritionist, but you’d be amazed at how many people wind up being deadline deadbeats just because they fail to pay attention to trying achieve a relatively normal lifestyle while doing creative work.

Do you consider yourself a better writer or artist?

I don’t draw much of a distinction between the two, really. Even if you’re functioning solely as an artist, to an extent, you’re ‘writing’, particularly if you’re working from a plot.  And to be sure, that’s not meant as a put down of any writers who may be reading this.  Writers are an indispensable part of comics and creative work. Writing and art in comics are, in my view, far more closely linked than in any other art form where writing and handicraft come together.  I think the best comics writers understand this.

Creating art for comics or illustration is about creating an image that will be interpreted by the reader in the way in which you intend, so you can get your idea across clearly.  Writing is in my mind similar, except that it entails using words instead of pictures, obviously.  The best knitting of writing and art occurs when dialogue compliments the visuals, rather than describing them, when art extends and enhances the prose rather than just being a bland or alternate retelling of what you’ve just read.

What was your first introduction to the Crusaders ( pre-Impact)?

I think I first saw the Crusaders in the late 60’s or early 70’s, in a paperback book collection of their adventures.  The thing really wasn’t a collection of Crusaders stories per se; it just collected a bunch of the newer Archie superhero stories that I think were written by Superman creator, Jerry Siegel.  I can only assume that they were produced a few years before, during what must have been then, their most recent incarnation.

I can’t recall who the publisher was, but I believe the paperback was called: “High Camp Superheroes”?  It may have been published by Lancer (?) books, who were also responsible for a series of paperbacks that reprinted the early 60’s Marvel superhero stories around the same time? Sorry, to be so vague.I know more about who shot JFK, than I do about paperback reprints.

Later on I guess the Red Circle stuff produced by guys like Rich Buckler and Rudy Nebres and whomever else.  Was there even a proper Crusaders book at that time?  Without denigrating the concept, I have to be honest and say that it’s almost obligatory that when you have a line of superheroes, there will be a team book.  Generally I like the Crusaders, but I’m not sure that their various series have turned out to be anything more than that: the inevitable team book.  I enjoyed the Impact Crusaders book story-wise very much, but maybe the ultimate incarnation of that team has yet to appear.

What was your opinion on the Impact line, as a whole ( I ask this because I’ve talked to other people who knew the older versions of the heroes, and they said “DC ruined the heroes”–although I disagree)

There was an incredible amount of hard work done on Impact by everyone. I think everybody busted their respective humps to do the best work they could.  As far as “DC ruined the heroes”, well, I’m sure there are people who think that the moon had a lot more romance before we went there—-You can’t please everybody.  I respect everyone’s right to their opinion, but I’ve often found that people who say something is ruined, or it isn’t like it used to be, or whatever — I can only respond to that and say; why would you want it to be like it was in the past?  Why would anyone want something new to be only a rehash of what had gone before?  Do you know anybody who prefers rerun TV?

One of the great things about Impact was that the ideas everyone came up with were their legitimate ‘take’ on those characters with as little or as much homage to the originals as each respective team felt was needed:  I believe they were honest creations.  I think in the Shield there was a lot of homage, perhaps less in other titles, but I always saw the whole idea of the line as being to provide a new twist – regardless of how much deviation from the original that turned out to be.

I had no desire whatsoever to revive the Shield exactly as he was in any of his previous incarnations.  That could have worked, but the Impact crews were given their druthers to an extent, and we came up with what we came up with.  Whatever the form of the next publication of those characters turns out to be, those creators will either draw what they can from Impact, or ignore it completely.  I don’t have any problem with that and it’s beyond me why any reader would.

I often find it sad, and always unrealistic, when readers expect an unbroken line of continuity from version to version, especially when series are years apart and from a completely different publisher.  Continuity is a guide, not a noose around your neck.  I think I tried to be a stickler while working in the continuity I created, but I wouldn’t expect that of the guys that come up with the next Shield series.

A Final Word?

My final word on Impact for anyone who reads those titles is the same as for all comics:  Take your favorite day of the week, grab a soda or some potato chips or whatever you like, find a shady tree or yer favorite chair, sit back, read and enjoy.  If ya like, get involved with the characters, read into the sub-plots whatever wild thoughts you’d care to entertain.  Love some of the heroes, hate the villains, wish the Jaguar was real so ya could git a date wit’ her, but above all else, enjoy it as best you can.  Everybody who worked on Impact sure did.