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!
First things first here. Another week has gone by and I haven’t heard anything from Erik Merk, our Image player, and no move was posted by him. At this point, I’m afraid that I have to conclude that he’s stepped away from the game–hopefully by choice and not because something terrible has happened to him. So at any point when you read this, Erik, please let us know that you’re all right.
Consequently, we’re going to simply shut down all of the gameplay from the Image side. I don’t think it makes sense to bring in a replacement player this far into the Simulation and with so many moves made–although that would be how a company would have to handle things in the real world if an editor left for whatever reason. So while this will simplify the gameplay a little bit as there won’t be an Image player vying for sales and resources actively, we’ll assume that Image is still a part of the imaginary industry and just won’t specifically address what they’re doing or play out any moves for them.
Also, I feel like there are some places where people are struggling with the 500 word limitation on moves. While I don’t want anybody to write a novel (and the more you write, the more I need to write in response) I’m not going to be a rules lawyer on any of this. If you need to run long on occasion, feel free to do so. Just be judicious about it.
So with our remaining four players and two companies, here we go:
While you reached out to Sal in the MARVEL HEROES office about the use of the High Evolutionary, you received no response. Sal did e-mail you, however, about setting up tie-ins for the WORLD WAR KREE storyline that he’s got cooking. But not a word about the High Evolutionary. So now you’re going to need to figure out what you’re going to do here. You’re going to need Al to start writing so as to make sure his first issue can come out when it needs to, but you may run into difficulties if you give him a green light and there’s subsequently a conflict with the other editorial office.
Apart from that, your writers are all working on their first scripts, which will move into production by your artists in the natural course of doing business.
The question of Jamal Campbell on X-FORCE will be handled further down, once we get to the area concerning Kurt’s office. On the other hand, Leah and Luciano are now in place on X-FACTOR.
The question of delaying the launch of X-FORCE and bringing in the other artists and cover artists will need to wait until the central matter of Jamal is resolved. As such, all of that business is tabled until the next move. However, the EIC mentions in passing that the VP of Sales has already added X-FORCE to his budget in the original launch month since you had put it forward, and so he’s not going to want to lose it and the associated revenue from that month. That’s not an impossible stumbling block, but it is a consideration.
The New Media team is interested in Leah’s X-FACTOR playlist. There may be a way to do something with it online or through social media. Some of this, though, will depend upon what songs and artists are a part of it, and whether there are any lyrics that might be dicier than something Marvel would want to be associated with, and so forth.
On your marketing plan, the Marketing group is open to at least some of what you’re proposing. It’s a bit dicey to simply have creators post their own videos from their smartphones without any editing or oversite–you don’t know how good they’re going to look, how polished the message is going to be, and whether or not they’ll be effective and do more good than harm. For a video component, they suggest that you work through the New Media team so that any such videos can be properly vetted and edited so as to still get across the message that you and the creators want, but eliminating any awkwardness or weakness in production.
In terms of announcing their projects, the VP of Sales is going to want to wait on those announcements for the period of time in which they’re going to do the most to help initial orders from the Retailers. There’s a sweet spot for this: too early, and the announcement comes before anybody can order any books and any excitement may have dissipated by the time you get to actual ordering time. Too late, and you’ve missed the window to impact on your orders. So that aspect is going to have to be timed out properly with everybody. It’s also going to need to fit into the overall strategy for the entire line, when other projects might be being announced or promoted for the best possible return.
The presumption is that you’d like to do the live interviews through Marvel.com since you’ve provided questions to begin with. They’re happy to do this with you–but the VP of Sales indicates that it may be more effective to place such interviews about the new titles with other outside sites, where they’re likely to reach a broader audience. The downside in those instances is that you’re not going to be able to control the questions being asked, although we can negotiate for some oversight on the final piece.
Michael Spicer is happy to color Dylan on IRON MAN for you. The Talent Management team is a shade miffed that they went and came up with possible options for you and you ended up just hiring somebody in the interim, wasting their time. But sometimes that’s the way things happen.
It turns out that Donny may not be as happy about the outcome of your Iron Fist discussion as you had thought when you got off the phone. People are hearing through the grapevine that he’s be telling other creators that he’s not sure that he can work with you, that this move has taken the big impact out of the opening of his CAP story and that he’s having misgivings about doing WORLD WAR KREE. as a result. He hasn’t said anything directly to you about any of these feelings, but reports are getting back to you about it from a number of outside sources.
The EIC thinks that Skottie can do a variant cover, but that you should hold it in reserve for where you thin it will do the most good–whether that’s the issue that announces the pregnancy, teh issue of the birth, or some other key moment. There are enough other things that Skottie needs to deal with, including writing STRANGE ACADEMY, that he won’t have the bandwidth for a regular series of variants here.
The New Media team thinks that they can set up a poll that you can put a url address for in the first issue of the THOR run. But the language is going to have to be vetted by the Legal Department as there can be specific regulations concerning things such as polls or contests. If they’re not going to be bound by the results of this poll, we need to make sure that’s clear in the legal language, and so forth.
Kurt got back to you and indicated that he was speaking to his writers on the Spidey books about potential WORLD WAR KREE tie-ins. No response as of yet from Kyle on the X-Books.
Mark Russell is definitely open to writing some occasional single issue and two-issue stories in order to allow for down time on the part of Sara Pichelli. The VP of Ops reminds you to keep your TPB collections in mind as you go about this. The sweet spot for a collection is 5-6 issues in length. Too few or too many and it tends to impact on sales, as buyers wind up feeling like they’re not getting enough value for the money. So as you block out your story lengths between your different art teams, make sure that you’re building in blocks of 5 and 6 as much as possible.
The VP of Ops also tells you that you need to be judicious about putting resources into play. Every story that you commission needs to have a home, every talent that you activate needs to be working on something that is accounted for. You can’t simply commission a half-dozen single issue stories and then place them later–they’re all going to need specific homes (even if those wind up changing later as needed) so that they can be tracked and accounted for. Also, while he applauds your enthusiasm, he can’t authorize either paying out that much money on that many issues that are not likely to recoup the investment of costs in this fiscal cycle nor can he support tying up creative resources that other titles and editors may need. In other words, you can set up a specific story for a given issue, say your fourth AMAZING SPIDER-MAN or what-have-you, and you can do an occasional everygreen inventory, but you can’t activate as many as you indicated here you’d like to do.
Sara Pichelli finishes her first issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, though she’s a good ten days late with it.
Phil Jimenez wants to draw the Guardians of the Galaxy story in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. Like his idol George Perez, he tends to be attracted to groups of characters, especially ones he hasn’t gotten a chance to draw before.
On the question of Jamal Campbell, the EIC vetos the idea of having both Kyle Baker and Tini Howard on the call together to pitch their projects. That’s not fair to any of the talent, he says–the artist isn’t going to want to make either of the writers unhappy by selecting the other one, and it may even create ill feelings between Kyle and Tini depending on how it all plays out. No, it’s the editors’ job to be the bad guy, deliver any bad news if it goes that way, and to bear the brunt of whatever problems come up. So he asks that you and Kyle give the details of the two series to the Talent Management group and they will put these two options in front of Jamal Campbell and see how he feels. This way, no matter which way this breaks, we can communicate back cleanly to the writer whose project Jamal won’t be working on and minimize any ill will being generated.
There aren’t any free-floating pitches for any of the Spidey family characters/titles that you listed. If you want to get pitches, you’re going to need to solicit them.
Mark is still cogitating on a WORLD WAR KREE tie-in. Peter indicates that he’d be up for doing one.
MARVEL OFFICES GENERAL
The EIC talks a little bit about the latest sales numbers and standings that you all saw last time. It’s a bit of a pep talk–he indicates that a drop of that nature is to be expected when there’s no issue of a big Event series coming out, and that Marvel is still ahead in terms of total market share by a good margin. While it’s not a cry to be complacent, it does acknowledge that the market can be cyclical. The trick is to make great comics and meet our fiscal obligations overall.
The Talent Management group has spoken to Jamal Campbell, and he’s more interested in doing MILES MORALES with Kyle Baker. So that means we’ll need to come up with another artist resource for X-FORCE. Greg Capullo is still exclusive to DC, so that part of the plan isn’t going to be an option–they can look into the availability of some of the other options that Kyle listed. They seem to think that Marco, Aneke and Ken are all potentially viable options depending on how they feel about the assignment.
The VP of Ops indicates that Gerry Conway is under contract to Marvel for a certain amount of work and his current assignment is running down. So we’re going to need to find something else to utilize him on. Gerry is a legacy creator with a long history with the firm that predates all of us, so the VP of Ops wants to make sure that he’s covered without any mishaps. He indicates that if there might be something connected to the Event being planned that Gerry would be a good fit for, that would be great. Or any other opportunity that anybody can come up with.
DAVE’S DC OFFICE
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice:
The Executive Editor tells you that in terms of Alex, to let it go at this point. Alex is Alex and always a bit prickly. He’s also not going to be easy to get into the chair for an assignment such as the one you’re talking about, and it’s going to take him longer to complete than just one fiscal quarter–he’s not that fast when it comes to painting pages, which are complex. What’s done is done, so walk away.
When you call Alex, he says the same thing about doing the special. Interior pages take him far longer than his cover work and don’t pay as well either, so he can only justify the time and the effort for projects that really mean something to him, and those tend to be few and far between.
Priest asks you to give him some guidance on what his limitations are likely going to be on SUPERMAN. He’s a grown up, he knows how this stuff works, but as a writer he feels that it’s his job to push boundaries and to tell stories that are personal and that matter to him, and as an editor it’s your job to keep the ball in bounds. He wants to do material on SUPERMAN that would be contemporary and relevant but he wants to get some indication as to DC’s comfort level on language and content. To what degree can he get into contemporary political and social issues here? To what extent can he talk about race? These are the kinds of questions he’s looking for guidance on, because he’d like to have a lay-of-the-land before he commits himself too deeply to a story that’s going to wind up changed.
Brian Stelfreeze tells you that he’s committed to doing a substantial run on SUPERMAN. Other folks on the editorial floor tel you, though, that they’ve heard sentiments like that before.
It turns out that you can’t get Grant Morrison on the phone. But his assistant tells you that she’ll relay the message to Grant. Sana Takeda, it turns out, has had similar difficulties getting through to him.
John Romita Jr. indicates to you quite honestly that he’s going to be taking a wait-and-see approach to doing LEGION. So he’s on board for the first arc, but given the workload involved, he’s not certain that he’s going to be able to keep his enthusiasm up beyond that. And he wants to be straightforward about that going in.
The Coordinating Editor indicates that DC is looking to launch a series starring GANGBUSTER. Given that the character originally came out of the SUPERMAN titles, it would make sense for you to develop this series and get it up and running. There’s an indication that there’s something going on with the character elsewhere in the WB structure–television, film or animation–but nobody is willing to reveal just what. But this is suddenly a thing that DC is hot to move on.
THE INDUSTRY IN GENERAL
On the news and gossip site Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston reports the following bits of information:
— Is Alex Ross working on a new LEGION launch? There’s been some chatter overheard about it.
— It’s been noticed that Al Ewing has been frequenting UK back issue shops stocking up on old X-MEN titles. Could this mean that he’s got something going on in the world of Marvel’s mutants?
— There might be trouble in paradise as Donny Cates has been heard complaining about his current Marvel editor, and that this seems to be of great interest to the new fictitious Image editor, who would like to have him back in the fold at Image full time. where he started out.