It's not your usual Sherlock Holmes-style mystery series that's part of a larger cosmic tapestry, but then, CrossGen wasn't your usual universe. In 2001, writer Mark Waid, then employed by CrossGen Comics, created Ruse, a Victorian detective series in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, set in the fictional city of Partington, which happened to look a lot like London, on the fictional planet Arcadia, which happened to look a lot like Earth. It won rave reviews from all corners for its incredibly well thought-out plots and depth of characterization, but Waid eventually left the series due to conflicts within the company, and the series ended when CrossGen went under.

Fast-forward to today; Marvel Comics is relaunching the cult favorite series, and who better to write it than Waid himself, a core part of the Marvel team for years? Many of the trappings that were associated with the old CrossGen Universe have been stripped away, in favor of a more down-to-earth, real world take which Waid originally envisioned for the series. But at its core remains Simon Archard, the world's greatest detective, and his lovely assistant Emma Bishop, who take on the mysteries that baffle lesser men (and women). The duo are back for this new miniseries, and I spoke with Waid to learn a bit about what he has in store for them.


Matt Adler: How did your return to Ruse come about?

Mark Waid: Senior Editor "Seniorin'" Steve Wacker made the call. It was that simple. He teed it up.

MA: How does it feel to be back writing the series? Did you have any trepidation about returning?

MW: A little nervousness initially, only because I wanted to make sure we all had time to do it well. Luckily, Steve bought me as long a deadline as he could.

MA: What is it about Ruse that makes it a concept worth revisiting?

MW: That the lead characters, Simon Archard and his partner (or as he puts it, "assistant") Emma Bishop are so much fun to write. Their relationship changes from page to page, but it's always interesting.

MA: How much does this iteration have in common with the original series? Will the Sigil concept still play a role?

MW: Marginally, but not in any way that will make new readers confused. In fact, while if you were a longtime fan you could read this as a "return" to what you know, it's targeted towards readers who aren't familiar with the series. Ground floor, everyone aboard!

MA: What does the story of this miniseries center on?

MW: Simon's dealing with two cases at once. Someone's targeted his allies and former assistants. Meanwhile, there's a gambling syndicate that's moved in on the city and is sparking a "gambling epidemic" among citizens. The two cases seem unrelated. Hmm.

MA: Mirco Pierfederici is scheduled as the artist for the first two issues, but it's recently been announced that your collaborator on The Unknown, Minck Oosterveer, will be coming in with issue #3. Can you tell us a bit about what this means for the look of the book?

MW: Mirco's astounding, first off. Wow. Bang-on character likenesses, and he knows how to really draw the world around Simon and Emma as well. Minck's style is fully compatible–readers won't notice a jarring jump–but he and I have an existing rhythm as a team, and I'm eager to see him get more exposure here in the States.

MA: Do you envision Ruse as standing alone, or as part of a larger "universe" with the other CrossGen books Marvel is relaunching?

MW: That's Marvel's call, not mine. I supposed a shared "universe" is possible, but I think Marvel's being smart in positioning each of the new CrossGen books as something you'd want to read, not something you feel like you have to read to get a complete story.

MA: Are you planning to go beyond this miniseries with Ruse? And are there other CrossGen properties you'd be interested in tackling?

MW: Again, sales permitting, I love writing Ruse. But I'm eager to see the other CG properties in other hands; though I co-created Sigil with the amazing Steve Epting, Ruse was always my first love.

MA: What else do you have on your plate these days?

MW: Still slugging away on Irredeemable and Incorruptible from BOOM! Studios, and as far as other projects…ask me again Saturday evening!


Matt Adler looks forward to reading more Mark Waid mysteries.


  1. The only RUSE I’ve read were the first 12 issues that Waid wrote. It was quite enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to this series.

  2. I’ve been meaning to find the original series for a while now, as I’ve heard it was pretty great. I’m glad this is coming out on a light week for me.

  3. Can someone ask Waid why Irredeemable & Incorruptible is so bad. Seriously the 5th and 3rd, trades respectively were so hard to get through, had such high hopes for both, the first Incorruptible trade was really awesome. Dropped. Also why only four issues in one trade? Deplorable

  4. Man, do I love this series from the original Crossgen. I thought that this was an interesting concept. A Sherlock Holmes-esque character with a women “sidekick”. Only she isn’t a side kick so much as an equal. I think this would make Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s head spin, but it is a good translation into our era. Love Mark Waid and cannot wait to see what he does with these characters even further removed from the sigil. 

  5. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to this. I added this to my pull list literally as soon as it was solicitated. I had the first trade of this book and I read it so much that it literally fell apart a year or so ago (sad, sad day).

  6. Best news today.  I loved this series.

  7. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    This was fantastic. Loved it loved it loved it. 

  8. I think Mr Waid meant he co-created “Crux” with Steve Epting there at the end. Everyone knows Andrew Hennessy created Sigil.