By Jarrod Jones. He squinted up towards that hateful sumbitch folk call a sun and realized noon was a-comin’.
He had been hauling through most of the night to make sure his well-edited copy made it to that rambunctious town known as Marvel, but once he’d met the town gates the man found that Marvel had become, as it generally did this point in the morning, a bustlin’ thing full of rambunctiousness and verve. So it was in that moment that this browbeaten comichand considered to himself, “ain’t there somethin’ else I could be doin’?”
Getting copy handed from glove to desk had become, in his estimation, a daunting thing in this thriving mining town — a town, this shrewd hustler of comics noted, that had already thoroughly spelunked its source materials to the point of monotony, and just keeping up with this particular rat race had finally worn his trusty boots into the dirt.
So it was that Mike Marts took a left at the town gates and decided it was time for a drink. He shoved his way through them swingin’ doors of the saloon and dropped his hat on the bar. “Whiskey,” was all Marts’ parched throat could muster. It had come time — past time — that he got some thinkin’ done.
He surveyed the hall and saw it was near full of like-minded folk, staring pensively into their glasses as the labor whistle rang through the surrounding avenues outside. Not a one moved a limb at the piercing sound. Seems more than he just about had their fill lining coffers for richer men. Something had to be done.
Mike Marts took his libation and went to the table occupied by Joe Pruett, a solid writer by his reckoning, and had himself a good, well-earned sit. “Pruett, I’d say it’s damn-near time we went into business for ourselves.”
Pruett smirked into his rye, and with a wink he responded, “I’d reckon so.”
On that day Mike Marts and Joe Pruett set their minds to energizing the tired ol’ nag commonly known as “The Comics Industry” by lighting a fire underneath hardened scripters, men and women who’d spent too long paying caution to their own futures while finding no peace coming from the well-trodden roads of Marvel or DC or even Image. Marts and Pruett would begin in lockstep, assembling talent as they went along.
And they did meet several good hands along the way, folk who’d nurtured dreams of their own with ambitions that suited their personal inclinations more so than the idea of hustling through yet another gauntlet of fickle editorial demands: Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Paul Jenkins, Justin Jordan, Phil Hester, Frank Barbiere, and Marguerite Bennett would all shake the dust of corporate monotony from their stooped shoulders to step tall alongside Marts and Pruett in a march towards the promising dawn.
And the sound of their boots would crack with thunder towards a bold new future. This new enterprise would be born of an earthquake.
And if this newfound energy was meant to cause an earthquake, then hell. Their new claim would be the AfterShock.