Saturday, May 12, 2007

Chaos! Indeed Pt 1: The Best Job I Should Never Have Taken

I met Brian Pulido a long time ago-- I think it was maybe 1990, right around the time he was publishing EVIL ERNIE #1. It was a splatterpunk book with some interesting angles to it, and (most interesting of all, to me) it was set in Long Branch, NJ... mere miles from where I was living as a teen and twentysomething. Brian was an interesting guy as well, intense and passionate and a great pitchman for his indy title. Activision in LA playing video games (which is both more and less fun than it sounds), I got in touch with Brian about writing some card backs, 'cause Chaos! was selling LOTS of card sets then-- it was just one of those "out of the blue" queries I sent out looking for work, since playing video games is not the ticket to vast fortune you might expect. He wrote back and put me in touch with Chaos!'s managing editor. She assigned me some card backs, I wrote 'em up and all was going well.

So well, in fact, that Brian asked if I'd consider a job with the company. He asked me to come out to Scottsdale, AZ, and talk-- which I did-- and we gabbed about the comics, the way they were going and what might be done with them. He was interested in my having done the WILDSTORMS! game and thought I had some good ideas about where Ernie, Lady Death et al might go next.

It was a huge ego stroke and it was comics (again!). When Brian called to offer me a job as "development editor," it took me all of a second to say yes. Money? Didn't matter, it was more than I was making. Moving? Yeah, I'd have to break a lease but heck, it wasn't going to cost me more to live in Arizona than LA. (HA!!)

Before I moved out, I had dinner with Brian, Clayburn Moore and Bill Liebowitz (the late, great presence behind Golden Apple Comics in LA), where we talked action figures and toy lines. I suggested accessory packs, which didn't go over all that well, but it was a good dinner and very productive; Clay was slated to the Evil Ernie figures and was very eager to get working.

When I moved out of LA-- a process that entailed renting a U-Haul and hiring a handful of day workers to move my stuff onto the truck-- I was eager and nervous myself. I moved in and spent a lonely weekend before starting work.

Once at the office, though, the Chaos! gang was cool, with Cheryl (the office's admin assistant) helping me find a place to live and everyone else welcoming me on board. I was given a nice office space, settled in and started reading everything Chaos! had published, while drafting a few ideas about games and long-term storylines.

I'd been in the job for a couple of weeks when the managing editor announced she was leaving and moving cross-country. This should have set off warning bells, especially when she said she thought the company would be in good hands with me as managing editor.

Oh boy.

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