As reported earlier, J. Michael Straczynski recently announced an artist change for his critically acclaimed series “Ten Grand”. Straczynski gave a full explanation of the situation, and took the high road in letting us know what happened while still praising Templesmith’s work. Now, we also hear from Ben Templesmith, through a message published with permission on Straczynski’s Facebook page. Here’s Templesmith’s statement:
“I’ve had an exceptionally s***ty 6 weeks with family health issues and a catastrophic interstate move that isn’t over yet. But those are just excuses for unprofessionalism of which I’m guilty. When the weight of many deadlines is on me and my schedule is thrown off by both work and personal factors I tend to withdraw and I need to fix that.
“I’m happy and sad at the same time to be off the book, it’s a bit of a weight lifted stress wise and I need some real time off anyway. I’m just not built for monthlies. I’m just totally sorry I dropped the ball completely. It’s better with another artist though. If there’s any way you want to keep some continuity with a lesser commitment, free of charge covers or anything to keep some coherence as some sort of apology, I’ll do it to the best of my ability.
“Otherwise, thanks for the opportunity, that I failed to rise to the occasion for. I need to figure out my motivational issues because none of this is about money to me.”
Straczynski noted that Templesmith will still do some covers for “Ten Grand” and that he hopes to work on other projects with him at some point in the future (paid of course, in spite of Templesmith’s offer). CP Smith is coming on board to handle the artwork, and Straczynski promises that once issue #5 is caught up the series will remain on schedule…as noted in this tweet:
Here’s the bottom line for me: Ben Templesmith is a great artist and a good person who hit a rough patch in his life. That doesn’t make him a bad guy at all. I hope that things turn for the better for Templesmith, and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future. And, Straczynski has handled this with honesty and quite a bit of class, taking the high road when some others would not. In the age of social media where rumors can and do run rampant, the best way to handle a situation like this is full disclosure from the beginning – and that’s what we’ve seen here. There is no “winner” here…and in the end no bad guy either. It’s just a situation that needed to be addressed in order to keep an exceptional title on track, and thankfully everyone has parted on good terms. And with that, hopefully we can let this matter rest.