DISCLAIMER: All individuals, sales figures, situations and occurrences involved in this editorial simulation are completely fabricated as part of the game, and do not in any way reflect the actual real-world opinions, viewpoints or situations involving any of the creators or titles named. THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION!
We’ve had a bit of an unexpected result this past week, as only four of our five players posted moves. Erik Merk, the Image player, didn’t show up–or if he did, his move didn’t post through properly in the comments as it needed to. Hopefully, everything is all right with Erik (in these days, that’s a genuine concern) and he was just the victim of some technological snafu. Erik, if you’re reading this, please contact me and let me know that you plan to continue. In the meantime, we’re going to take the perspective that the Image editor was away on a vacation this week, and so everything simply continued to roll along without him.
Otherwise, here we go:
Al seems to be on board with writing X-MEN and Paco Medina and his crew are happy and even enthusiastic to be given such an important series to work on. That all said, the ideas Al threw at you heavily involve a character, the High Evolutionary, who is under the auspices of the MARVEL HEROES office, so you’re going to need to coordinate with Sal as to whether Al will be able to use the character when he wants to, in the way that he’d like to, and for as long as he’d like to, and that doing so won’t derail any of the plans cooking in the HEROES are.
Ram V is up for working on WOLVERINE. As he’s worked in concert with Al Ewing before, he’s feeling extremely comfortable in the seat and in coordinating with the main X-MEN title.
The EIC and all of the other players who would need to budget and approve a new series, running P & L (Profit and Loss) reports and checking to see that such a new title seems likely to be able to make its margin and add to Marvel’s bottom line, are fine with your plan to launch both X-FACTOR and X-FORCE. The decision you need to make now is who goes where? You’ve got both Tini and Vita on deck as writers and Jamal and Luciano as artists, so you’ll need to pair them off on the assignments (or bring in additional or alternate people as you see fit.)
Sara Pichelli taking the lead position on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN seems to make everybody happy. Everybody except the VP of Ops, who tells you that Sara’s always been a bit too slow to handle a monthly book, so you’ll need to have your back-up and triage options prepared well in advance; you’re likely to need them.
In his characteristic style, when you lay out your strategy for Peter on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, he says, “Oh, so it’s MARVEL TEAM-UP then.” But he’s open to trying to give you what you want here–he prides himself on being a working writer who can deliver the goods on pretty much anything. He indicates that he’ll probably start with a Spider-Man/Guardians of the Galaxy team-up, because that will be unexpected and he’s got a new liking for the Guardians based on the two films. When you tell him about speaking with the artists about who they might like to draw, he gives some degree of ascent but thereafter doesn’t really follow through with it. Peter is unlikely to call up an artist to shoot the breeze.
Tom Grummett will take on alternating duties with Phil Jimenez on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN.
On MILES MORALES, Kyle has responded positively to the work of Jamal Campbell and indicates that he’d be up for doing the book with him. Unfortunately, Jamal is set to be one of the artists on either X-FACTOR or X-FORCE for Kyle, so you guys and the EIC are going to need to decide where it would be best to deploy him and what you want to put in front of him–either a specific title that you want him to work on or else a choice of options for him to decide on. Either way, Kyle’s involvement in teh project feels to you like it hinges on Jamal drawing the series.
On IRON MAN, Dylan Burnett is ready to come on and do the series with Jason. In terms of the coloring situation, though, the EIC tells you that he thinks that, while Laura’s colors would certainly help to elevate Dylan’s work, there are probably better uses of her time and energy throughout the line, to say nothing of not weighing down the title further with her heavier rate against the margin. He feels that the Talent Management group should be able to come up with some viable options for colorists who can make Dylan look good here.
Separately, the VP of Ops tells you that the division of expenses on Marvel titles doesn’t work the way you’re laying it out. You can’t “borrow” from one title to pay against another–each book needs to maintain its margin on its own, regardless of how much savings there may be on another title in the same office. It’s Darwinian. There are times when a particular initiative may be important enough to the organization for one reason or another when the need to hold the line on margin will be waived in the service of this other objective–but those instances tend to be few and far-between. Too many of them, and suddenly you’re not making margin for the whole line, and people start losing jobs.
Your conversations with Donny have gone fine so far as you indicate, yet there’s a nagging sense of something in the back of your mind–as though some of what you’ve been saying isn’t quite sticking. And indeed, Donny’s first script comes in for CAPTAIN AMERICA, and he’s got the Heroes for Hire in it, but he kills off Iron Fist unexpectedly on Page 19. When you call him up to ask him about this, he launches into a description of his sweeping three-year plan and how this moment is a crucial lynchpit to everything that’s going to happen coming up. “And at the end we can bring him back, ” says Donny, “Although we don’t have to, and probably really shouldn’t.” He also tells you that he’s talked to Sanford about his story plans, and the artist thinks they’re all Dope.
The Senior Staff at Marvel along with you have a meeting to talk through the question of Thor and Jane having a kid, and it’s a rambunctious meeting with story ideas bouncing in a lot of unexpected directions and people also speaking out strongly against the whole idea. One of those who’s opposed is Joe Quesada, in his role as creative director. He says that he thinks there’s no way that giving Thor and Jane a kid doesn’t age them and make them seem older (he realizes the irony of saying that about a centuries-old God). But ultimately, the Publisher is open to moving ahead with the story provided that the EIC is comfortable with the direction that you’re going in, so he’s going to need to be kept in the loop as you, Kelly Sue and Mark build this storyline out.
The EIC likes the idea of Donny and Ryan being the creative team on WORLD WAR KREE. Now you just need to get them both into the seats, work out when you can get the project done by, and then build a structure for other titles to tie in to what you’re doing and solicit tie-ins from the rest of the editorial staff.
DAVE’S DC OFFICE
In another part of this great land, the following is playing out:
As you were able to put together a competitive financial offer and the Image editorial office wasn’t answering calls this week, Christopher Priest has decided to go ahead and sign on to do SUPERMAN. In terms of the artist, people are excited by the notion of Brian Stelfreeze doing the book but they’re also aware that Brian hasn’t helmed a steady run on a title in a very long time–he’s been much more hit-and-run, with fill-ins and second chair artists often required. So people are up for you to put him on the book, but you’re going to need a back-up in place, If that’s Ray-Anthony, so be it.
Grant Morrison is up for another go-around on ACTION COMICS. As opposed to many creators, Grant feels that ACTION is really the primary Superman title, the one in which the character originated, the one with the longest history to it. So it’s his preferred Superman home, actually. He’s on board to do a year’s run, and then you’ll see what happens. In some ways, he’s looking at this as being structured similarly to ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, where he tells a complete, tightly-plotted story that touches on all of the key aspects of the Man of Steel’s world over the course of a year. Sana Takeda likewise is both available and excited to work with Grant and to do Superman.
John Romita Jr is a bit reluctant to take on LEGION OF SUPER HEROES with its bevy of characters, but he’s a good soldier and he’s willing to give it a try if DC thinks it’s an important initiative. With John in place, Felicia Henderson is willing to commit to her involvement as well.
You hear through the grapevine that Alex Ross is a bit flummoxed that he never heard back from you when he asked about which version of the Legion you’d be featuring. The folks you talk to say that Alex’s comment was, “Typical treatment from DC.”
ERIK’S IMAGE OFFICE
Joe Straczynski is a little bit frustrated to not have answers to his questions about ownership splits and how artist collaborators will be compensated on his big SF project. He understands that people take vacations, but he’s also hungry to get an artist or artists into place and to bring the story to life while it’s still bubbling in his brain.
Christopher Priest leaves you a message towards the end of the week regretfully begging off from the Black Creators initiative due to the fact that he is taking over SUPERMAN. He jokes that, given history, he’ll probably be available again to work on this in a month or two once DC realizes what they’ve done.
The other creators that you’ve begun speaking with on this initiative and on the proposed POST APOCALYPSE, CRIME NOIR and IMAGE VISIONS books are all still interested in hearing more, but with you out this week, nobody could move ahead with any of these plans.
Brian Stelfreeze leaves you a message asking you to call him back. While he doesn’t say specifically what it’s about in his message, Priest mentioned something during his message that makes you think that maybe DC is talking to Brian about doing SUPERMAN as well. If so, he may be unavailable for your IMAGE VISIONS roll-out unless you can convince him to do your project instead.
For the sake of maintaining parity, I’m assuming that there were three low-impact Image titles that could be scheduled for this release window.
Diamond sends you all the latest sales figures, rankings and market share for the industry. This all still pre-dates any creative changes that you have been making, since most of them are still in process. As usual, we will look at this through the lens of the Marvel offices, so the DC and Image numbers are concealed. It goes something like this:
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – 93,000
WOLVERINE – 64,000
THOR – 38,000
SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN – 32,000
IRON MAN – 27,000
CAPTAIN AMERICA – 24,000
MARVEL Limited Series – 14,000
In aggregate MARVEL sales: 381,000. Book average: 47,625
MARVEL – 37%
DC – 32%
IMAGE – 8%