Black Mask Studios recently cancelled the long-delayed collection of the 2015 miniseries 12 Reasons To Die, telling Newsarama that there were unspecified "production issues at pre-press." Following the publication of Newsarama's story on it, series' co-writer Matthew Rosenberg spoke out on social media rebutting some of the comments so Newsarama reached out for clarification.
Rosenberg tells Newsarama that although the anthology "looked and felt" like a work-for-hire project, it "operated more like a creator-owned book." Rosenberg developed 12 Reasons To Die with Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, Rza, and Patrick Kindlon, but also acted as the project lead - and when it came time put together the collection, several issues came up.
"We could have put out a bare bones version but that sucks. A lot of great folks worked on stuff that didn't make it into the book so I wanted to make sure their work gets shown. There are tons of unused pages of concept art, finished pages, and a few things I had to write and fix," Rosenberg told Newsarama. "It is kind of a big job and I just didn't have time. It was frustrating but I prioritized my family over a book from a few years ago."
Following the final issue of 12 Reasons to Die in January 2014, Rosenberg had family issues which delayed his own creator-owned series 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank (also at Black Mask). Rosenberg was also trying to stay on top of new career opportunities, such as being chosen for DC's inaugural Writer's Workshop in 2015 and then signing a Marvel 'exclusive' contract in late 2017.
"So yes, I could have passed it off to Black Mask or brought someone else in, but again, that would have produced a really bare bones trade that was no fun," Rosenberg continued. "And I really didn't want to leave out all the great folks who worked behind the scenes, let alone write things to explain and contextualize the work. Not to mention putting out a trade at small press without the ability to be around to promote it or sign in stores is somewhat irresponsible in my mind. If I'm going to ask Black Mask to sink thousands of dollars into making the book it's part of a team effort to sell it. And I wasn't available for that part of it. Not fair to them, my collaborators, or the retailers who bought it and expected a level of support I couldn't bring at the time."
Neither Rosenberg or Black Mask has set down a timetable on 12 Reasons To Die's collection.