A post from my old long-gone Marvel blog on the various Marvel editorial credits and how they work.
People ask all the time about the number of editorial credits on our books. The snarky ones even go so far as to phrase it, “With however-many editors credited, you’d think that somebody would have caught such-and-such.”
Much like everything else, each editorial office tends to handle such things differently. I know that, in some offices, there are specific assistant editors for specific books. But in my office, I like a more free-flowing system, with everybody working on everything according to their abilities and specialties, so that if anybody happens to need to be out of the office, the remaining staffers can carry on without missing a beat.
I also believe in crediting the people who do work on the books. I can remember a time when assistants didn’t get any credits whatsoever. Very specifically, there was an instance when that cheesed me off. It was on the X-MEN ANIMATED GRAPHIC NOVEL, a photo-novel based on the first X-Men animated pilot from back in the late 1980s. Work on turning it into a graphic novel had been started back before I was in that particular editorial office, but the project was left to languish. And then, all of a sudden, it was thrust onto the schedule and needed urgently.
It was a different sort of project, in that there wasn’t a penciler, inker or colorist. Instead, there was a reel of film from which we’d select still images to use as the individual panels. Basically, it was a huge production job, requiring us to grab the right frames, create a mechanical FPO board to show the printer what went where (this was back when we still did all of this by hand, before computers changed the way we all worked), and the book had to be lettered so that the balloons would line up properly with the images once they were in place. It ate up most of a months’ worth of time, and I ended up having to stay late on a number of occasions with the project’s designer to finish it up.
I didn’t get a credit in the book.
That was Marvel policy at the time. I thought that was unfair then, and I think it’s unfair now. So now that things have changed, I try to make sure that the folks responsible for doing the work get credited, even if that sometimes means the editorial credits go on for a while.
And that also means I don’t take a credit on the books Andy Schmidt, Molly Lazer or Aubrey Sitterson directly edit unless there are special circumstances, even though I do a decent amount of work on all of those titles as well, in addition to similar consulting on the Marvel Universe books in the Mark Paniccia office. Because those folks are the editors in question of those projects, and while I might be overseeing them, most of the decisions made about those books on a day-to-day basis are made by them. The editor takes the crap, so the editor makes the rules. These are some of my rules.