Fifth Column, Part Eleven

Continued from Part Ten

Sariah pointed to one of the comic books on the wall. “Remember that one?”

Rick nodded. “Small Packages #1. It had some of my best work.”

“A lot of these are, Rick. See, here is Payday #25. That was one of the better covers we put out.”

Rick pointed to another frame. “I see Jesse kept some of your best work. You were in college when you drew this. Captain Justice #595: ‘Bon Voyage.’ The farewell issue.” Rick pointed to one picture. “This wasn’t my best work. Commander Justice #220: ‘Twin Tower Tears.’”

“That didn’t matter to Jesse. It was the only comic for a real hero on 9/11.”

“I never understood that. Most of us wept on 9/11, but we got over it. Not Jesse. It seemed to define him.”

Sariah glanced over the far wall’s  col-lage of citations and thank you letters from the President, police departments, the FBI, and others for the work Jesse and the com-pany did, and this didn’t include commenda-tions received as the Sword. “If 9/11 defined Jesse’s life, he chose a good thing.”

“What does this have to do with my merger offer?”

“Everything. Frankly, I would sooner burn the building to the ground and person-ally hold on to every copyright rather than sell out to Awesome Comics. If your writers are the best in the business, how come we’re beating you in sales?”

“Your characters have a deep loyalty with readers, and your husband created one heck of distribution network.”

“That’s not all you can’t replicate. Your characters are all anti-social anti-heroes. No-body in their right mind would want their kids to use your heroes as a role model.”

“Glass houses, Sariah. We don’t publish Payday.”

That’s one I wouldn’t mind killing off. If it had been up to me, Sword Comics wouldn’t publish Payday either.

“Payday is sold with a parental advi-sory. It’s mild compared to your titles, and I’m not going to allow you to do the same thing to our heroes.”

Rick smiled. “I see there’s no point talking to you now. But, Sariah, I’ve gotten used to getting what I want. And it’s not a habit I intend to get out of. I will own Sword Comics, and I’ll get it for less than half of what I offered today.”

Sariah shuffled papers on her desk. “I think you know the way out.”

Continued…Next Monday

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