Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sean's History in Comics, Part 4

Late in the 1990s, I stumbled across a job opening that allowed me a brief "career" in comics. A company called American Entertainment had recently started an online magazine called Mania. The idea was that they could use their magazine to sell some of their goods. The job opening itself was for a person who could review the Heroes Reborn comics, which had recently begun coming out.

I called up the editor and we chatted for a bit. He was looking for someone who could not only talk about the new comics, but put them in context to their larger history. He was interested in comparing these updated stories with the originals. Even though I hadn't read more than a half dozen issues total of Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers, I was armed with the knowledge I had picked up from repeated readings of the old Marvel Handbooks. I convinced him that I knew what I was talking about and I became a paid comic book reviewer.

Of course, that only lasted for a little over a year, when it was discovered that there there were some shady financial dealings at the corporate level. Mania closed down and American Entertainment was not long after. Ross Rojek has since been arrested for, among other things, mail fraud.

Thus came to an end my brief brush with comic professionalism.

2 comments:

Gregg Allinson said...

I always kinda wondered what happened to American Entertainment. If memory serves me right, they advertised fairly heavily in Marvel Comics and Comics Scene in the early '90s.

Sean Kleefeld said...

They did advertise quite a bit, indeed. That's largely why, at the time, I was quite eager to do freelance work for them.

I remember about a year after I started, though, my editor wrote to me (and the other freelancers) a quick message that said something like, "Stop everything you're doing! I don't know if we'll be able to pay you guys any more. Don't do anything else until you hear back from me." Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we got bits and pieces of information that basically amounted to Mania shutting down because it was just sucking money from A.E. and it wasn't long after that that I started hearing rumors about A.E. itself having some questionable accounting going on.

It was a nice gig while it lasted, but I have to admit that I was glad to stop doing the reviews. I wasn't really enjoying the comics as much because I was trying to write the reviews so quickly after they came out. I couldn't just sit back and enjoy the books for what they were.