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Along with Joe Quesada, he was responsible with taking Marvel Entertainment out of its late 1990s bankruptcy and, through a series of bold (and occasionally seemingly nonsensical) creative decisions, setting it up to become the cultural giant that it is today — and now Bill Jemas is returning to comics, heading up a new “graphic fiction imprint” from the parent company of Rockstar Games.
Jemas shared the news via email to Bleeding Cool, writing that he’s “joined Take-Two Interactive Software to help start a graphic fiction imprint.” Take-Two Interactive is the parent company of Rockstar Games, the studio behind Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne and other properties, and 2K Games, makers of such games as NBA 2K13 and Bioshock Infinite.
Jemas served as Marvel’s president of consumer products, publishing and new media from 2000 through 2003, during which time the publisher introduced its hit Ultimate and MAX imprints — the former being Jemas’ idea — as well as dropped the Comics Code Authority seal, which had been featured on the publisher’s titles since the launch of the Marvel Universe.
Controversial at the time for a public persona that bordered on the offensive to the traditional fanbase, Jemas’ legacy has since undergone a significant reappraisal, with his time at Marvel now considered to be a period of unusual creativity and willingness to try ideas outside of the superhero norm.
Jemas isn’t the first Marvel alum to join Take-Two. Earlier this year, former Marvel associate publisher Ruwan Jayatilleke — whose time at Marvel coincided with Jemas’ — also signed on to the company. Take-Two has yet to announce details about the imprint.
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