Blah Blah Blog: Bad Books

A post from my old Marvel blog about sometimes putting out a stinker.

Monday, 5:08

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

I hate to put out a bad book. It’s really disappointing. But sometimes, despite everybody’s best efforts, it happens. Nobody bats 1000 all the time.

There are a number of ways that a project can go south. Sometimes, the flaw is built in from the get-go, particularly if it’s a project that you’re inheriting from somebody else, or a project whose nature is being handed down to you by the Powers-That-Be from above. Other times, you’ve got some idea in your head, and it just doesn’t translate to the page properly. Sometimes you’ve got creators who don’t mesh, who wind up working at cross-purposes. Sometimes you just plain run out of time, and have to crank to get the issue done and off to press. And sometimes you make a bad call–like thinking that two writers on a book will be twice as good, instead of 60%-80% as good, which is what you usually get in that instance.

This all looks so easy to do from a distance, and yet it can be maddeningly difficult. Part of it is that making comic books isn’t science, with hard rules that’ll always lead to a positive result. It’s more like alchemy, where you combine elements in a quasi-mystical way in the hopes of coming up with gold–and even if it works once, you can’t necessarily duplicate that success the same way the next time, even if you use all of the same ingredients.

Not every issue of every comic book is going to be a masterpiece, but so long as everybody’s given an honest effort, I can look that comic book in the metaphoric eye, and stand behind it. It’s when things go wrong early and despite all of your best efforts you wind up putting out a dog that you feel the worst. No editor can make a bad comic book good–he can only make it better (or worse).

The good part, though, is that you get another chance next month

More later.

Tom B

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