Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > Letters to CR

Kiel Phegley On Tucker Stone And CBR
posted December 23, 2011

From Kiel Phegley At Comic Book Resources

I hope you're having a very relaxing and happy holiday season. As per usual, I've really enjoyed the year-end interviews a bunch, and while I hate to be a bother, I noticed something in the Tucker piece this morning that I thought I'd write in about.

imageToward the end of today's interview, Tucker mentions that "CBR was going to be the initial home for that [Darwyn] Cooke interview about The Outfit." As much as I like Tucker personally from the brief interactions we've had and as much as I've enjoyed a lot of his writing, I'm afraid his assessment here simply isn't right. To be specific:

1 - There was never any agreement between anyone at CBR and Tucker (or anyone at CBR and Darwyn or IDW for that matter) that any interview he'd conducted or piece he'd written would run on the site. What happened was that around the time IDW was publishing The Outfit, we put in a request to interview Darwyn about the book just as we do with all sorts of projects we find newsworthy. Scott Dunbier replied to our request and said that Darwyn wasn't going to do a lot of comics press interviews and that Darwyn himself had asked that if he be interviewed on CBR, Tucker be the one to conduct.

While there are plenty of times that publishers pitch us on stories or content, CBR has never been in the practice of allowing publishers to dictate to us who is on our staff or what our staff writes. Considering the fact that our staff is more than qualified to conduct interviews with comic creators, be they Darwyn Cooke or anyone else, and that many members of our staff had expressed interest in speaking to Darwyn about The Outfit, CBR owner Jonah Weiland told Scott that we were not interested in having someone not on our staff who he had never spoken with write for our site. For us, it was our people talking to Darwyn or no news coverage for the book on CBR. Simple as that.

2 - While this may be implied in the point above, I should note with absolutely no equivocations that our turning down that interview had nothing to do with Tucker, his work or his opinions elsewhere on the web. I could be wrong here (and Tucker can feel free to pipe up if I am), but it very much feels like Tucker is implying with his comments that the reason we did not accept his interview with Darwyn was because we were afraid of some kind of retribution from publishers for doing business with him or giving him a platform. This is absolutely untrue.

While I was aware of Tucker's work before this pitch from IDW, I hadn't met or interacted with him in any way, shape or form at the time, and I don't believe Jonah knew his work at all. Our objection was to the fact that a writer who we had not had any interaction with at all (and who from that time until now has never e-mailed anyone at CBR about anything as far as I know) was being pressed on us by a publisher. That's an untenable situation for Jonah, myself and our entire staff.

I know this may be a long, rambling response, but CBR (and me personally) take very seriously accusations of our censoring or denying good editorial content to appease publishers. In the over three years that I've worked for the site, I have never known Jonah to be anything but the strongest defender of his staff to write what they believe is true, no matter what publishers or companies threaten him with in retaliation (and considering I once worked for a company where this was not at all the case, I think I can speak confidently to that idea).

I'm not sure where Tucker got the idea that we had agreed to publish his work and then killed it after the fact. I'm assuming this is a simple miscommunication on the part of the people he spoke with (which, again, wasn't us).

I don't want to ruin his rep online, but like I said, when I met Tucker face-to-face last year during New York Comic Con, I found him to be one of the sweetest, funniest people I'd met in comics in a long time, and I wish him nothing but the best in his work online and in life. I just wanted to make sure the record here was correct.

Thanks for reading!