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 are now at the halfway point of our Editorial Simulation–it is Move 5, which represents for the Marvel players the close of a fiscal quarter. (The DC player, let us remind you, has his fiscal quarter close at Move 7.) So let’s see how our contestants made out this week:
Even before you need to get the EIC involved in the conversation you hear back from Sal in the Marvel Heroes office that Al’s plans for the High Evolutionary present no conflicts on his end. As such, you let Al know that he’s good to proceed on scripts. Al takes your message about Bleeding Cool to heart, though he assures you that he’s got no truck with that website and wouldn’t have answered questions from them if posed even without your caution.
Jamal Campbell is apologetic for taking the MILES MORALES over X-FORCE and he appreciated your reach-out.
As things are up against the wall in terms of getting X-FORCE out in this fiscal quarter, I am going to assume that you move ahead with any of the available creators on your list, and that you listed them in the order of preference. So Marco Checchetto will come onto X-FORCE with Tini and work will commence, only slightly rushed, on a first issue. Tini, by the way, is fine with the choice of Marco.
Leah is fine with doing some promotion surrounding her playlist for X-FACTOR, and Luciano will contribute his own songs and music into the mix as well.
The VP of Sales is looking at that back half of the Simulation period, and with the WORLD WAR KREE crossover not completely locked in, he’s looking for some big promotable story in the X-Line to help drive sales, in case WWK can’t come together in time–or even if it does and it’s not as successful as we’d like.
The Communications Director lets you know that there’s a situation going on. Apparently, there was a sequence in a recent issue of WOLVERINE that has provoked a strong response. On one page, there’s some iconography in the background that, when taken in concert with the copy in the panel, some people have concluded makes a racist statement. Ram V has been asked (well, attacked) online about it already and has responded once or twice, confusedly. But the situation seems to be blowing up.
Before you can send out a press release to the mainstream media about MILES MORALES, it’s going to need to be set up and vetted by Communications, to make sure that everything there is above board and in line with what Marvel and Disney need and require. The Communications Director is skeptical that you have enough here to interest mainstream media in. There’s a ton of sources all competing for attention, so you really need to have something simple and strong and juicy to engage their attention and garner their coverage. Like us, they are working to capture eyeballs for revenue as well, and the CD doesn’t feel that the broad mandate of real world and current events is going to be enough to get people on board. You’re going to need a specific story with a specific hook. He tells you, though, to be careful about how you combine your images and your copy, as he’s been spending his day dealing with the online WOLVERINE brouhaha.
Peter David needs to know about the timing of WORLD WAR KREE so that he can fold any tie-in plans into his overall planning (Mark Russell will need the same.) But he’s already got a few ideas percolating, some of which seem a bit far afield from the central concept of WWK as far as you understand it.
As you consider who should be drawing the second arc on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, the Talent group reminds you that Tom Grummet’s waiting on a script for the series to draw, and that while he doesn’t have work, he doesn’t have income. We need to keep our creators fed, and if there’s a difficulty with that, you should work with Talent Management to help line them up with interim work they can take on in the meantime.
You and Mark are able to work out the story lengths of your various arcs in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN to accommodate the lengths of the eventual collections. Pia Guerra is up for trying to do the first drop-in story you’re proposing, which will go into issues #5 and #6 after the opening four-part arc.
Sara is apologetic about being behind on her AMAZING deadlines and promises to try to do better–she’s working as hard as she can. But you don’t really see any great improvement in her speed as she moves into the next issue.
Elsewhere, Phil Jimenez runs late on his first SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN issue. He tells you that it took him a little while to get into a rhythm with some of these characters that he’s never tackled before, but he thinks he’s over the hump for the most part. And hey, it’s a story with the Guardians in space, so in a worst-case scenario, that means there’ll be lots of empty outer space backgrounds.
On IRON MAN, you’ll need to check the Captain Marvel guest appearance with the editor of that title–and that should probably be done before Jason writes the script, just to be sure that he’s on safe ground and won’t need to go back and do a rewrite that could have been avoided. As it turns out in this instance, there isn’t any problem with Captain Marvel showing up in IRON MAN then, so you’re good.
Similarly, you’ll need to wait to hear back from Kyle in the X-Office as to the availability of the Beast in upcoming issues of IRON MAN.
The handwritten apology to the Talent Management team was maybe a bit overkill given that they’re in the same office space that you are, but they appreciated the gesture.
The EIC tells you that Donny may be a flight risk, but we also can’t go around killing off our characters willy-nilly, so it’s probably better to push that death back as you had advocated, especially since Donny has already done the work to revise it. He says that he’ll do a reach-out to Donny directly himself to take his temperature and to make sure that he’s still committed to his Marvel assignments. In his dealings with you, Donny has given no indication of any particular unrest on his part outside of his usual manic energy.
Walt Simonson is up for doing a variant cover on your THOR launch issue.
On THOR, you’re running into another problem. Mark Bagley is so fast and so regular in his deliveries that he’s outpacing Kelly Sue’s ability to deliver scripts to keep him fed. Mark finds himself losing a couple of days’ work in-between issues, which isn’t making him happy.
MARVEL OFFICES GENERAL
The VP of Ops reminds everybody that Gerry Conway is nearing the end of his current assignment and that we are obligated to find him another productive place in the organization. The EIC reiterates this need, with a little bit of irritation, saying that if the team can’t find a workable spot for Gerry within the line where we can make good to one of the creators who helped to build the Marvel Universe, he can.
The VP of Sales reminds everyone that Free Comic Book Day is coming up and that as in years past, we’re going to want to create an offering for it, something that will promote key upcoming releases that we’ve got on the horizon. As in the past, this will involve getting two 10-page stories done, and way ahead of time as Diamond requires the FCBD books to be completed well in advance of Marvel’s own in-house schedule. Sales thinks that if we’re moving ahead with WORLD WAR KREE as our big Event series, we should produce some sort of new lead-in chapter/teaser as half of the book; he’s open to thoughts as to what the other half might be.
The EIC mentions that as Marvel moves into the second half of the Simulation, we need to get our title count up in order to maintain our sales numbers and market share and meet our financial goals. The X-Office has already expanded their output to 4 books, so they’re full-up, but everybody else should be looking for ways to create more relevant product that we can add to the production schedule.
Sales, OPS and the EIC indicate that as it seems like editorial is committed to doing WORLD WAR KREE as a big Event series that we need to get it scheduled so that we can coordinate our tie-ins and make sure that everything comes off as it needs to. As a start, he looks to you, Sal, for an indication of when you believe the creative team can deliver the series (in terms of Move number) to begin.
DAVE’S DC OFFICE
Meanwhile, in the Great Hall of the Justice League…
Priest tells you that what he’s concerned about isn’t vulgarity or rating per se, it’s putting forward a particular stance on a given issue. He’s run into many situations over the years where he’s wanted to do something that he felt was benign but which whatever company he was working for was skittish about, and so it wound up being changed after-the-fact and doing damage to the point of the story he was trying to tell. He appreciates your support, however, and he’s starting to get into the actual writing of the series.
Brian Stelfreeze is running late enough on his SUPERMAN work that the Coordinating Editor tells you that you need to bring in help for him immediately, now. Ongoing titles cannot be allowed to miss their ship dates–DC takes this very seriously.
Grant Morrison has turned in script and Sana Takeda is working, but you still haven’t been able to get him on the phone with any regularity, And the one time you did manage it, it was difficult to understand what he was saying. You’re not quite sure how much of this could be chalked up to his strong Glaswegian accent or whether he was literally semi-incoherent. Or maybe you’re just not sharp enough to keep up with him.
The Executive Editor tells you that you shouldn’t reach out to a replacement creator while the current creator is still at work, as that will only undermine everybody’s confidence in the initial creator, in this case John Romita Jr. So you can have informal “If it ever happened that the book was open…” sorts of conversations, but you shouldn’t be offering people assignments that don’t yet exist. These people make their money by making comics, so any point at which they don’t have material to work on because you’ve put them in limbo, they aren’t earning a living.
On GANGBUSTER, you still can’t get a whole lot of specifics on what might be going on with the character elsewhere that is prompting the interest in doing this series. But the clock is ticking, and people up on staff are growing a bit more restless that there isn’t a book coming together yet. So you’re going to have to make your best move and then hope for the best.
The Executive Editor comes storming into your office, barely letting you get a word out. He yells at you that rank-and-file line editors shouldn’t be talking directly to any media–that’s a violation of WB protocols! And especially an unofficial rumor site such as Bleeding Cool. If there’s something that needs to be communicated, it needs to be vetted through the proper channels and then delivered by the appropriate Executive of necessary rank. You get the sense that somebody may have gotten on his case about this breach of protocol from higher up. Either way ,you’re in the doghouse with him big time.
Diamond sends you all of the latest sales figures, rankings and market share for the industry. At this point, your first flight of titles have begun to start shipping. As usual, we will look at this through the lens of the Marvel office, so precise sales numbers for the DC and Image titles are concealed.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – 97,000 – Mark Russell, Sara Pichelli
X-MEN –87,000 – Al Ewing, Paco Medina
WOLVERINE – 63,000 – Ram V, Dan Mora
SUPERMAN – Priest, Brian Stelfreeze
ACTION COMICS – Grant Morrison, Sana Takeda
X-FORCE – 45,000 – Tini Howard, Marco Checchetto
CAPTAIN AMERICA – 43,000 – Donny Cates, Sanford Greene
SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN – 43,000 – Peter David, Phil Jimenez
LEGION – Felicia Henderson, John Romita Jr
THOR – 39,000 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mark Bagley
X-FACTOR – 36,000 – Leah Williams, Luciano Vecchio
IRON MAN – 35,000 – Jason Aaron, Dylan Burnett
MILES MORALES – 32,000 – Kyle Baker, Jamal Campbell
In aggregate MARVEL sales: 520,000. Book average: 52,000
DC – 31%
IMAGE – 8%