Here’s one of those weird cases my career seems to be spotted with…
Some time after the success of Archie Vs Predator, Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater called me into his office. He was very complimentary towards me and told me that my work had always been good but that after AVP, I’d “brought it up to a whole other level.” Then he told me about this comic book project that he was working on that he said was “separate from Archie.” The project was called Einstein 9 and it was something he was working on with another person that I never got to meet. I’m really doing the project an injustice with this description but to really bottom line it, it was a super-hero/sci-fi blend with heavy dashes of the X-Men. As I remember it from the pitch, the story involved nine teenagers who derived super powers from fragments of Einstein’s brain. Three of those teen-agers were good guys. Three of them were bad guys although calling them bad guys is a real simplification as some of them still retained traces of being good. The last three were best described as “neutral.” This last trio were identical triplets who reminded me a lot of the X-Men’s Stepford Cuckoos (I think that’s what they were called. I’m talking about those five spooky little girls who hung around Emma Frost for a while. I have no idea where they are now.) This trio was called “The Missing” and from what I read, some of the story involved the first two groups racing each other in a quest to find these girls. Again, I’m painting this with very broad strokes mostly because I going by my memories of this project which was now about two years ago.
Goldwater went on to ask me if I was interested in illustrating Einstein 9. At the time, Archie Comics was killing Classic Archie projects left and right. Life With Archie had been cancelled and the last few remaining Classic Archie books were either already gone or heading towards the chopping block fast. All I was working on at the time were the digest books so I was definitely looking for more work. Hell! I would’ve painted pictures of sad clowns on black velvet if I thought I could sell them. I told him I was in.
I received a script for a first issue along with some character descriptions and a bit of a synopsis for E9’s premise. The first step was to come up with some sketches for the characters. I did an initial round of sketches and submitted them. Some time later, I received some notes on those sketches. The biggest change I needed to make was to draw the characters older. You’ll notice in a couple of these sketches I scribbled the age of the character alongside them. Most of the characters as described in that initial pitch were in their mid-teens. Somewhere along the line, the decision was made to make them each a couple of years older. I drew up another batch with corrections and changes based on the notes. I submitted those revised sketches and I waited to hear on them.
That would be it for me and Einstein 9. Its not that I was removed from E9. I just never heard anything else on this. That’s not exactly an unusual situation in dealing with Archie Comics. I have no idea what ever became of the project or what the status of it is today. I have my sketches some of which I’ve posted here. At least there’s that. I hope you’ll enjoy them. Most of the sketches I posted here are from the second round of sketches after receiving comments on the first round. I have other sketches which I’ll post if anyone is really interested. My favorite characters were Kat and Sean.
What do you think? Please let me know in the comments.