Graeme McMillan wrote:Tom Brevoort on how things are done at Marvel, in terms of important decisions:Everybody takes a blow to the gut at some point where a story they thought was going left suddenly is going right because someone had a better take on it. But those turns don’t happen against the will of the creators involved. If Brian was absolutely dead set on not killing Ultimate Spider-Man, it wouldn’t have happened, or he wouldn’t have written it. If we were convinced that Ultimate Spider-Man must die and he didn’t want to do it, it would have been Jeph Loeb or Jonathan Hickman or Nick Spencer. But the fact that Brian wrote it should tell you that he got on board with the idea. He came to embrace it. The first moment it came up I’m sure it sent a chill down his spine, but it’s a story. He’s a storyteller sitting there, thinking about it, tossing the ideas around and seeing if it works. And he found a way it worked for him. That’s why our creative environment is better than anybody else’s in the business at this point. We have fans that poo-poo us without really understanding how this all goes down. They think that either every creator just does what they want or that everything is mandated from above or that everything is decided by a star chamber of five guys in a secret location. Maybe that’s how other people do it.
Okay, I can’t be the only person who doesn’t see a large amount of difference between “everything is mandated from above” and “If we were convinced that Ultimate Spider-Man must die and he didn’t want to do it, it would have been Jeph Loeb or Jonathan Hickman or Nick Spencer. But the fact that Brian wrote it should tell you that he got on board with the idea,” right? The latter just means that Bendis got behind the mandated from above idea, but admits that, if he hadn’t, he would have been replaced on the book. In what way isn’t that mandated from above?
I think I know what Brevoort was trying to say – Essentially, When it was discussed in the room, Bendis liked the idea and ran with it - but when you’re trying to argue that everything is collaborative, adding in things like “if we decided it’s the way we were going to go and Brian wasn’t onboard, someone else would have written the book” pretty much entirely undercuts the entire point.
I admit, I’ve occasionally thought that “editorially mandated” was a strange, straw-man argument to use when complaining about the direction of comics, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, some of my favorite comics have been “editorially mandated” – Half of the Silver Age stuff at DC came from Julie Schwartz or whoever coming up with an idea and telling the writer to make it work – and, secondly, I’m not sure why something being “editorially mandated” necessarily makes it a worse idea than something a creator comes up with themselves (For example: Superman walking across America for a year to find himself and/or the true America? Not editorially-mandated, but also not a particularly good idea. If the editor of the Superman titles had nixed that idea because he’d decided to mandate that Superman stories should feature the Man of Steel flying around Metropolis doing good deeds and rescuing kittens from trees, would that have been a bad thing?).
The issue gets cloudier with the advent of franchises and creative summits. To use the example of the death of Spider-Man: It wasn’t Bendis’ idea, according to Brevoort’s own account, it was Mark Millar’s. It messed with years’ worth of plans Bendis had created for an Ultimate Spider-Man title that starred Peter Parker, but he was convinced that it would be the best thing for the book and/or the Ultimate Universe, and so came up with what we saw conclude last week. So… is that editorially mandating the storyline? Is it creator-led? Because, after all, Millar came up with the idea, so it’s not as if it was an editorial decision… but at the same time, it contradicted and ultimately – no pun intended – overwrote what the creator of the book was intending to do, to the extent of killing the title character and relaunching the book. So which is it?
(Consider, as well, things like the creators of the X-Books. When Jason Aaron comes up with the idea for Schism, does that mean Rick Remender or Kieron Gillen or whoever has to change their plans because of editorial mandate, or creator-driven impulse?)
This isn’t claiming that there’s no such thing as “editorial mandate,” because – well, clearly, there is. But it is protesting the idea, I guess, that there’s some kind of massive line separating that from creative decision, or that one is necessarily “better” or more worthy than the other. Bad ideas are bad ideas – and vice versa – no matter where they come from, and the reality of comic publishing is far more complicated than creator vs. editor.
DennisMM wrote:Now I have seen it all. In the new Marvel Previews, they solicit a Hulk poster. The image is blacked out and marked "CLASSIFIED." There isn't even an artist credit. How the FUCK are you supposed to order a poster if you don't know what it looks like? WHY would you order a poster if you don't know what it looks like?
Sometime in February, 1984, my secretary (it was okay to say “secretary” in those days) the wonderful Lynn Cohen told me that Bill Sarnoff was on the phone. Not his secretary, Bill Sarnoff himself, holding for me.
Bill Sarnoff was the Big Cheese, I forget his exact title, of the publishing arm of Warner Communications. Among the operations under his purview was DC Comics.
Bill introduced himself, as if that was necessary. What he wanted to talk about was licensing the publishing rights for all DC characters to Marvel Comics.
Holy hegemony, Billman!
Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser‘s work can be seen in any number of Marvel comics these days. In fact this week sees the release of writer David Lapham and artist David Aja’s Wolverine: Debt of Death one-shot, featuring Breitweiser as colorist (Be sure to enjoy CBR’s preview of the one-shot). Regular readers of What Are You Reading? know how much of an unabashed Jeff Parker/Gabriel Hardman’s Hulk booster that I am–and it is that series where I really started to appreciate Breitweiser as a colorist. This email interview was an effort to discuss her work mostly in general terms, so admittedly I did not discuss the Wolverine one-shot, but focus on some of her ongoing series work. My thanks to Breitweiser (who can also be found on Twitter) for taking the time for this discussion, despite her continually heavy workload. I am also deeply appreciative, that when our conversation led to her discussion of recent specific work, she was kind enough to provide examples of the pages for us to use.
Rich Johnston wrote:Jason Aaron is attending the Spanish comics convention at Avilés. Where one French blog is reporting that he appears to have told the adoring crowd that Marvel’s 2012 event will be co-written by the five so-called “Architects” of the Marvel Universe, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Brian Bendis, Jonathan Hickman and Jason himself, also suggesting that such a book may be drawn by Olivier Coipel.
Checking it out however, Jason has clarified that while he said he might be working with the Architects on a mutual project, he didn’t said it was an “event” or indeed Marvel’s big 2012 event. I’m also told Olivier hasn’t committed to whatever his next project is.
Always worth checking these kind of things.
Tyrone_Shoelaces wrote:Awesome graphic novels that even non-comics readers will love as gifts
Timothy Callahan wrote:In 1978, the legendary Will Eisner released A Contract With God upon the world, a masterpiece that launched the graphic novel craze that would eventually compel your local Barnes & Noble to push aside mid-list Sidney Sheldon and Chuck Palahniuk novels to dedicate upwards of twelve feet of shelving to books like The Walking Dead Volume One, The Walking Dead Volume Two, Persepolis, and Superman: Earth One.
That's the simple and untrue history of the graphic novel, and of A Contract With God in particular. Decades hence, we know more about how what we call the graphic novel came to be, what A Contract With God had to do with it, and how this seminal work was not always viewed with such esteem.
Allan wrote:In 1976, Gorilla Grodd, the super-intelligent ape, was appearing all over the DC universe, even starring as a regular in Secret Society of Super-Villains. In an attempt to make his star shine even brighter Cary Bates proposed a Grodd solo story — one which might have eventually led to a solo series. The resulting Grodd of Gorilla City, however, never saw print. Scripted by Bates and Elliot S! Maggin, it was drawn by Joe Barney and Carl Potts, with inks by Terry Austin and Bob Wiacek. While no one is very sure, it’s possible that the project was overseen by editor Julie Schwartz — he was after all the company gorilla guy!
Begun under the regime of Carmine Infantino, the subsequent publishers could find no suitable outlet for the completed tale and Grodd of Gorilla City was finally abandoned in late 1977.
Which is a bit of a shame, really. A super-hero series starring a super-intelligent simian protagonist is just what the Bronze Age was crying out for I reckon.
A more detailed history of this unrealised project, including interviews with many of the creators, can be found in Back Issue #15, published by Twomorrows.
Benito Cereno wrote:The names of many of comics’ greatest creators of the Golden and Silver Ages of comics — Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Jerry Siegel, and, increasingly in recent years, Bill Finger — are deservedly well known by the average comic fan. However, the name of the writer of some of the best-selling comics of all time, and the creator of some of comics’ most enduring characters, Otto Binder, is utterly unknown to many comics readers, making him perhaps the medium’s most underrated writer.
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