Commenter Matt Little wanted to know the truth behind rumors about how quickly Igor Kordey had to draw issues of New X-Men when he substituted for Frank Quitely.
The answer is truly amazing. Here it is, courtesy of an interview with Kordey at Newsarama (No credit, so I presume it was Matt Brady who conducted the interview…a really nice piece, by the way).
Newsarama: When you came to Marvel, what was the impression that you were under in regards to your workload? Was it going to be, from the outset, just one book, or were they (or you) wanting to look to expand your load to include more projects?
Igor Kordey: It was just Cable in the beginning. I would always deliver finished artwork a bit ahead of time. I knew, by previous experience, that anything can happen to you physically, and that is better to have episode or two in stock in advance, that to be late.
At same time Mr. Tischman, the writer, started to be involved in writing for some TV serial and being late with scripts. I started to ask for new jobs, to fill bigger and bigger gaps. So came Black Widow, and bit later, an offer to fill in for New X-Men. Issue #120 was first, and after I did it in ten days – pencils and inks, editors were so happy, that they offered me #119 to do – the other guys were still late with their part.
And then it started: offers for Captain America and the Storm “Arena” story; everybody wanted me to work for them. I phoned and said: I can do it, but if you like me so much, give me higher rate per page. After two days I was offered exclusive contract – and the rest is a legend.
NRAMA: Over the years you were at Marvel, it seemed as the pendulum of quality swung in wild arcs, with your Cable and Soldier X being quite solid, while your New X-Men fill ins, while good, had almost a manic energy behind them, and in the eyes of a lot of readers, not up to the quality of your Cable work. What happened? Were you just overloaded?
Kordey: Yes. In May of ’02, I ended up finishing four books in parallel: the last Cable, the first Soldier X, the last part of Black Widow and New X-Men #124. It was insane! And it was logical to fail, at least in on one of them – New X-Men happened to be that horrific book.
NRAMA: In those days where you had what many artists would see as an overloaded plate, what was your timetable to complete a full issue?
Kordey: A week. The Shi-ar arc looks really horrible, but I still like my Fantomex arc – it’s strong, man! Actually, I received a lot of support and appreciation for that arc from numerous fans from Europe, who were ecstatic about such grittiness and expressiveness in X-Men world.
NRAMA: That said though, did you ever turn in an issue where you felt it wasn’t up to your normal standards for quality?
Kordey: …from today’s point of view, many of those books are bellow my standards of quality…that’s the fact. I got lost in delusions that this expressiveness is the right way to do it, and nobody stopped me. I received a very polite call from my X-Men editor about necessity to become slick, but at that time I didn’t have a clue what the heck is that suppose to mean, and nobody complained too much as long as books were coming on time.
I think, that’s the crucial moment – nobody said “Hey, stop! Wait a second! Put yourself together! Let’s work it out together; this, this and that is wrong! Try again and take it slow…” I was my only judge, jury and executioner all the time. In the publishing industry editors are skippers, they navigating the writer through all storms, whirlpools, and quicksand of novel writing. Those are people with vision, and for most comic editors you can not give such attribute… I never had luck to work with strong visionaries like, Axel Alonso, for example.