Matt Fraction, better known as the husband of superstar writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, exposed a rampant nepotism problem in the comic book industry in an interview with Comic Book Resources today. In the article, Fraction describes the process of pitching an Adventure Time comic to BOOM! Studios with a highly inexperienced co-writer: Fraction's own six year old son, Henry.
We kneeled -- well, I kneeled, he stood, I'm tall, he's only tall for a six year-old -- across the table from Shannon Watters, the book's editor, who Ryan North, writer of the main book, put me in touch with -- and a large group of incredibly gifted cartoonists that are a part of both the "Adventure Time" books and BOOM! itself were there too. And we just told the story we came up with the best we could in the order it needs to be told to see if they'd be interested in letting us write it up. You'd have thought we were a doubles act, it went so well, he and I. It was great. I was so proud of him.
Fraction went on to reveal that this is an industry-wide problem, as the daughter of "The Great One" Brian Bendis has secured work for his six year old daughter at Marvel as well:
Well, a few places. I'd seen Brian Bendis and his daughter Olivia cook up "Takio" and was jealous. I want to say she was about six when they started.
And BOOM! CEO Matt Gagnon let slip that this isn't the first time the publisher has published high profile comic books by the children of powerful writers:
Early on in the 'Adventure Time' comics, we had Chris Roberson and his daughter Georgia write a story, as well. That's what's so amazing about this show.
BOOM!'s staff wasted no time in sucking up to the little prince, with KaBOOM! Line Editor Shannon Watters praising Henry while simultaneously admitting that she was willing to publish the story without even knowing how it ends!
Henry is a total champ, and I can't wait to finally read the ending of his story since he and his dad wanted me to be surprised!
To make matters worse, later in the interview, Fraction even admits that Henry stole elements of the story from the work of another writer, Joseph Campbell, whose 1949 comic Batman: Monomyth was considered the Watchmen of its day:
The amazing thing came when Henry started to pull from the story-stuff in his head and turned it into a straight-up Joseph Campbell thing. Nobody will believe me but as he started to talk through the story, it grew a structure, right out of monomyth. There's a brother battle, a night journey, a cave. Wholly unprompted by me. Amazing.
Folks, how long are we going to let professional comic book writers use their power and influence to get cushy jobs for their young children? Clearly, this problem has spiraled out of control if Fraction, Gagnon, and others are willing to speak about it public so brazenly. But what can we as comic book fans and the comic book media do to stem the tide of nepotism before it swallows the industry whole?!
Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! So, which publisher is gonna give my seven year old daughter Phoenix a job as the next superstar comic book artist? Just look at this Kirbyesque monster creation!
She's already clearly leagues ahead of Humberto Ramos in understanding anatomy! Comics publishers, hire this kid, and I'll keep quiet about all this. I promise.
We'll keep you updated when a release date is revealed for the Fractions' story, and you can find BOOM!'s Adventure Time comics in your local comic shop every month, along with a ton of great All-Ages comics from their KaBOOM! line.