A former business partner has brought to light serious allegations against Mark Waid’s concerning his business ethics.
On Friday morning, Shannon Pierce-Outlaw posted allegations against Comic Book Professional Mark Waid relating to a business partnership undertaken by Waid and her husband, former owner of Alter Ego Comics in Muncie, Indiana, Jason Pierce:
In 2013, Mark Waid invested in Alter Ego Comics along with his former wife (referred to by Pierce-Outlaw as “his POS girlfriend”) Christy Blanch. Blanch is an academic and a comic book writer, whose credits include Tales from the Crypt, and The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood, and an online course concerning Gender in Comics provided through Ball State University. According to the syllabus, among the required reading for this course was a choice between two of Waid’s books: Kingdom Come or Ruse.
In 2015, Pierce exited the business, leaving ownership of Alter Ego Comics (soon to be rebranded as Aw Yeah Comics Muncie). Waid, when interviewed by CBR.com about this rebranding, spoke briefly as to the reasons behind the failure of his Alter Ego Comics venture, but did not provide any concrete details:
CBR News: Can you explain what has happened to the store over the past few weeks and why your former partner is out of the picture?
Mark Waid: There were a lot of factors that created a situation where I had to offer our partner a full buy-out — none of them evil, none criminal, none cheerful or celebratory — but the heart of it came down to the fact that he hadn’t been treated particularly well or with transparency by his previous partner. Over the calendar year 2014, we kept face-planting against more and more profit-crippling back-tax bills that hadn’t been disclosed to us when we originally bought in. Every time we thought we were current, some other ghost from Alter Ego past would surface; Christy and I had to divorce ourselves from that entity if we wanted to stay solvent. If we were going to continue into 2015, we desperately needed the clean debt slate we thought we were getting when we first partnered up, and that meant reincorporating as Aw Yeah Comics Muncie — meaning that Aw Yeah Comics is now officially a chain!
According to Pierce-Outlaw, when their relationship concluded, Waid signed over his ownership stake in Aw Yeah Comics to Blanch, making her the sole owner of the store.
The allegations by Pierce-Outlaw come amidst a lawsuit filed by Richard Meyer against Mark Waid, alleging ‘tortious interference with contract’ and ‘defamation’ concerning Waid’s alleged role in pressuring Antarctic Press to drop publication of Jawbreakers: Lost Souls. One day before these allegations were made, Waid launched a crowdfunding campaign to support his legal defense in said case. What, if any, effect this will have on the outcome of the lawsuit has yet to be seen.