At the risk of causing you further irritation… I noticed you recently heaped praise upon John Byrne on this very board (“He is obviously also a great designer in his own right”
Do you know what Byrne has been doing lately? Creator owned stuff for a non Big Two publisher, IDW: first, resuming and concluding his long interrupted superhero epic NEXT MEN (his Clandestine, one could say), then launching a totally different project, a brand new book set in the sixties, COLD WAR, which he describes as a revisitation of “Ian Fleming and John Le Carre, with maybe a little John Steed”.
Now, I won’t claim to know Byrne’s thinking, so I’ll just say that I merely suspect he is forced to do this because he has burnt all his bridges with Marvel and DC, but he'd still be chomping at the bit to get an assignment as penciler of the Captain America monthly comic-book, gladly abandoning his current projects to “return home”, like the proverbial lost sheep being restored to the fold.
Nevertheless, whatever his reasons are, as a selfish fan, concerned only about my own enjoyment, I’m glad he is where he is, his (hypothetical) loss is my gain (even probably his), and honestly, you don't know what I would give to see you, Alan Davis, in Byrne’s “predicament”: shunned by Marvel and DC, unable to get a gig in the umpteenth revamp of 50 to 75 year old corporate franchises, and having to reinvent yourself in a non-duopoly publisher, left to your own devices.
Of course, that wouldn’t still be as satisfying for me as seeing you hired by the French comic industry, even momentarily, like other US market stalwarts such as John Cassaday
, Sean Phillips
, Trevor Hairsine
,or Humberto Ramos
have been recently or even currently. Now that would be a challenge that lives up to your talent, where you would have to deal with very demanding editors that would exact you to ink and finish your own pencils, to draw extensive and detailed backgrounds and in general to pull your camera back like you’ve never pulled it back before.
But I would settle for a little bit of the adventurousness, within the US market, shown by artists in your league. I put the name Alan Davis up there in the same pantheon with the likes of Byrne, Walt Simonson, Richard Corben, Frank Quitely, Howard Chaykin, Chris Moeller, Jason Pearson… above all of them actually, but career-wise, you have to be the most conservative and pliable to the needs of the Big Two. Almost every other artist of what I consider similar stature alternates between corporate work and creator owned ventures. For instance, Walt Simonson, after years of meager output, just announced a six-issue stint on Avengers, but he seized the pertinent interview about the subject to declare: ”So once the "Avengers" is over from my end of it I may go back and look a little more deeply into creator-owned material and try and head in that direction for a little while.”
Again, you don't know what I would give to hear the same statement, just changing “Avengers” for “Captain America”, coming from Alan Davis’ mouth.
Still, things could be far worse. You could be Brian Bolland, having spent the last 20 years doing nothing but covers, or much worse, you could be one of the accomplices in the Watchmen rapequels.