I'm a longtime Jerry Ordway fan, going back to the early 1980s when he was Roy Thomas' go-to artist for DC's Earth 2 comics, like ALL-STAR SQUADRON and INFINITY INC. He has a strong, clean style as a penciller, inker or both.

My only minor quibble would be that his people sometimes look a little static -- more like action figures than people in fluid motion -- which made him a better choice for covers. But I'd buy a Jerry Ordway comic before I'd buy most comics on the shelf today.

I understand what you're saying, Allen. Your old friend Erik Larsen has made a similar point: How can any comics pro be surprised when he's shoved aside, given that he was working on corporate-owned franchises and given that this fate has befallen three generations of comics pros? Or as Erik puts it, if they fucked Jack Kirby, you think you're gonna get a break?

However -- I'm sympathetic. When Ordway came into the comics industry, the game was mostly DC and Marvel, period, if you wanted to make a decent living. Outliers like Dave Sim doing their own books were just that -- outliers. So Ordway went along for the ride and plied his trade, being popular and in demand right up to the point that he wasn't anymore.

It's easy for us to sit on the sidelines and say, "Hey, get off your duff and go create your own comics and market them and see if you can license them for TV and movies! Be the next Robert Kirkman!" But the last Robert Kirkman was in his 20s when he did his thing, not approaching old age, with a family and mortgage. If Ordway can't afford to slog away now for $9,000 a year for several years in hopes of making a success, I understand that.

Incidentally, Herb Trimpe wrote a similar essay a dozen years ago after Marvel fired him during its 1990s financial turmoil. Keep in mind that, around this same time, Scott Lobdell was making $85,000 a month for drawing X-MEN. And I'd say Trimpe is worth four or five Scott Lobdells in that Trimpe actually can draw things.

Anyway, if it wasn't clear to guys in Trimpe's generation or guys in Ordway's, let the message ring clear to eager young artists sending their submissions to DC and Marvel today: You almost certainly will not make a career of that. Save your money, have a Plan B and consider doing your own comics.