Quantum and Woody Return Without Creators

Quantum and Woody cover

In an uncertain world, older brands that have already built fans can seem like a safer choice for companies than the risk of developing something new. However, it’s no longer a sure thing that involved, informed buyers will automatically follow your brand name. Consumers often find it important to think about what really made those products so enjoyable in the first place.

Sometimes, it’s obvious. For instance, take Quantum and Woody, a buddy-comedy superhero book created and written by Christopher Priest and illustrated by M.D. Bright in the late 1990s. That book got its appeal from Priest’s unique take on the world and the entertaining way he expressed it — plus the way he was hanging out online to talk about it with fans.

Now comes news that old-property-resurrection publisher Valiant will be relaunching the book in July, since they bought defunct publisher Acclaim’s comic properties. The only problem is that it won’t be the book fans remember, since the creative team is writer James Asmus (who?) and artist Tom Fowler. And without Priest’s voice, I have no reason to try it. So much of the appeal for me was how hard Priest worked to make this book something unusual.

The biggest sign for me that this title won’t be what I remember? The Valiant CEO refers to Priest as “Chris”, which means he’s never talked to the guy. But hey! This zombie title will have variant covers! Isn’t that an old-new thing now?

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15 Responses to “Quantum and Woody Return Without Creators”

  1. Mark S. Says:

    Quantum and Woody was Priest and Doc Bright. Any attempt to bring back Q & W won’t be the same. And it definitely won’t have me as a customer.

  2. Bytowner Says:

    …yeah.

    Ummm. Nope. Not unless Priest gave the thumbs-up.

  3. Thad Says:

    Hearing that Priest and Bright weren’t on the book was disappointing.

    The possibility that they’re not even being compensated — for this or even for the original series being sold on Comixology — is downright heartbreaking.

    Pretty upset over this. Priest hasn’t commented publicly — and you know people are asking him. If everything were hunky-dory I expect he’d have said so by now, but of course I don’t want to speak for him.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dig through some old boxes and see if I can find my Goat Inaction Figure to decorate my cubicle with.

  4. Ralf Haring Says:

    No interest without Priest. The people making the thing are what makes the thing interesting. I don’t know Asmus and Fowler, but would be disinclined to purchase this even if I did know their work since it is a property so closely associated with Priest and Bright.

    The “Chris” mention stood out to me as well since he’s always been so very clear about preferring to be called Christopher.

  5. James Schee Says:

    I don’t even see why this is being made. Q&W didn’t sell much with Priest & Bright in the first place, now you bring two creators who aren’t even names?(Asmus writes Gambit apparently)

    Why? Even if the creators had a great pitch for it, why not just let them be new characters? Why reprise/rework a series that never seemed to find a sizable audience in the first place.(sort of like this last season of Community actually)

    Shame really, Valiant’s relaunch of XO Manowar and Archer & Armstrong have been solid series. This just is a head scratcher.

  6. Johanna Says:

    I don’t know. I suspect the new company wants to get all the mileage they can out of the intellectual property they purchased, but now that information has come out about the poor treatment regarding the previous company’s contracts, I don’t know why anyone would support this title. This seems to be yet another example of a legal wrong being perpetrated just because the creators don’t have huge amounts of money for lawyers to protect their rights.

  7. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    Asmus co-write the most recent story arc on “Thief of Thieves” with Robert Kirkman, and has an Image series that was Kickstarted, but whose name I’m blanking on. (“Bram and” something, maybe?) Both are entertaining books, good reads.

    That all said, rebooting Q&W without, at least, Priest involved is a bad idea.

    On the other hand — it’s another Valiant relaunch. It’s doomed to fail. So I’m not paying it much attention. The only grating thing here is the potential that it might delay the rights to Q&W from reverting to Priest and Bright. (And that might just be the only reason the book is coming, anyway.) This is all speculation, mind you…

  8. hapax Says:

    This is more painful than not getting any Q & W at all.

    I can’t understand who they think would buy this. The original series, as wonderful as it was, pretty much had to be hand-pitched (THANK YOU, Comic Store Guy whose name I have long since forgotten.)

    Anybody who picked it up (and loved it, although the two groups must be identical) would know that it was the creators who made it special.

  9. Johanna Says:

    I am surprised to note that there are apparently Valiant fanboys who are intent on buying anything the new publisher puts out, including this title. Unfortunately, the couple of examples I’ve seen online have also been very rude to anyone who has concerns such as these over creators’ rights.

  10. Thad Says:

    @Augie: The reversion might be out the window.

    From what I’ve read, if a property is purchased at a bankruptcy auction, the buyer has the option of walking away from any contracts associated with it. This is considered a breach of contract — but the bankrupt company, not the buyer, is legally liable for the breach.

    From what Kevin Maguire’s said, Priest and Bright attempted to trigger reversion back before the bankruptcy but Acclaim told them their contract was invalid due to a submission technicality (which is something you might want to bring up the next time a fanboy breaks out the knee-jerk “Well they should have signed a contract, then” response in a creators’ rights argument).

    I’m not a lawyer but the way I read it, here’s how it looks:

    1. Assuming Q&W was Acclaim’s property to sell, the current Valiant may have no obligation whatsoever to honor any aspect of Priest and Bright’s original contract, including reversion or even royalties on the back issues on Comixology.

    2. But Q&W WASN’T Acclaim’s property to sell. It doesn’t matter who at Acclaim conveniently “forgot” to file the contract, it was still a legally-binding document signed by all parties and a witness. As soon as Priest and Bright attempted to trigger reversion and Acclaim refused, THAT’S the point Acclaim was liable for breach of contract, NOT at bankruptcy. Acclaim sold its creditors something that wasn’t its rightful property to sell, and Valiant bought it at some point down the line.

    I think Johanna’s right @ #6: I think Priest and Bright (and possibly Maguire and Nicieza, who also had contracts with reversion clauses at Acclaim) would prevail in court, but that would require actually going to court, which is a financially daunting prospect.

    Priest’s silence could mean anything — that he’s considering legal action, that he’s working on some kind of agreement with Valiant — or it could mean nothing at all. He’s well-known for disappearing from the Internet for months, even years, at a time, and he hasn’t had any involvement with the comics industry to speak of for a long time. Again, I don’t want to speak for him; for all I know everything could be just fine with him.

    But I don’t think so. I’m making assumptions based on the limited information we’ve got, and the limited information we’ve got doesn’t fill me with confidence.

  11. Don MacPherson Says:

    On a semi-related note, I wonder what the status is regarding the rights to Xer0, the pseudo-creator-owned series Priest did with Chris Cross at DC (set in the DC Universe). Given what’s happened with Bloodhound, I can’t help but think Priest could have Xer0 back by now.

  12. James Schee Says:

    There was a preview of this in the back of this week’s Archet& Armstrong. It was okay, but didn’t read like Q&W.

  13. Ralf Haring Says:

    I am not surprised there are still Valiant fanboys. The history of US comics is all about remake, reboot, relaunch. You have people still seriously trying to make Captain Action and Lone Ranger and Green Hornet comics and those were old as dirt before Valiant was a gleam in anyone’s eye.

  14. Thad Says:

    @Ralf: Well sure, but that’s it exactly — those characters have a history and aren’t identified with any one creator or creative team.

    Quantum and Woody is pure Priest and Bright. The idea that anyone would be interested in Quantum and Woody done by anyone else is legitimately strange to me. I know there are people who love Batman and don’t care who’s writing or drawing him, but I did not expect there would be anybody who felt that way about Q&W.

  15. Christopher Priest Returns to Comics With New Quantum & Woody » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] relaunched Quantum & Woody last year, which caused some discussion about whether the title would be interesting without the […]

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