EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 5

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:

MARVEL OFFICES

KYLE’S OFFICE

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.

KURT’S OFFICE

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.

SAL’S OFFICE

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.

SALES DEPARTMENT

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

Image 2

Image 1

Image 3

In aggregate MARVEL sales: 520,000. Book average: 52,000

Market Share:

MARVEL– 39%

DC – 31%

IMAGE – 8%

Your move.

Tom B

8 thoughts on “EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 5

  1. > 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.

    This is hilarious!

    Like

  2. I would let Christopher know that I’m going to do my best to allow his story to come through unchanged, as long as the stance does not make the title characters look bad. While I can understand the company being skittish, I’d go to bat for Priest and making his statement, as I personally believe this is a time for bold statements and taking a definitive side.

    With the deadlines approaching, I’d bring in Ray-Anthony to help Stelfreeze finish the artwork in a timely fashion. I’d also reach out to Brian to see if there’s anything I can do to help ease the pressure or make things easier for him. I’d also let the EIC know that I’m bringing Ray-Anthony into a bigger role than just covers.

    I’d send an e-mail to Grant, thanking him for the pages, letting him know Sana is hard at work, and that the book looks great. I’d repeat back to him what I could understand from our conversation, to make sure I’ve understood correctly what he wanted, and have him shoot me an e-mail in return so we’re all on the same page. I’d also let it slip that my grandparents were Scottish, but I still can’t always keep up with Glaswegian.

    The conversation with the EIC about John’s replacements was purely an “if needed” conversation and no calls have been made to anyone yet for taking over. My hope is that John will actually have fun and want to stay on, but I wanted the EIC to know there are back-up ideas in place.

    Without many details to go on, but a book needing to come together, I’d ask for Gail to come aboard and help launch the new Gangbuster run with Greg Capullo and Dave Stewart. I’d put the emphasis on the unseen, uncommon “gritty” side of Metropolis, with Gangbuster going against lower crime bosses, gangs, street thugs at first (Batman:Year One-esque). For Jose Delgado, I also want to expand his family/supporting cast, maybe bring in a wife or daughter who discovers his secret identity, and helps keep it secret from the rest of the family (I’m thinking large family, lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). I’d also ask that Gail use her humor and bring in a new rogues for Gangbuster (if she wants) and doesn’t need to depend solely on Superman villains, however, one or two should definitely make an appearance. Gail’s humor and wit is fantastic, but she can also do dark and dirty. No refrigerators necessary, but plenty of Deadpool-lite type of humor would be encouraged.

    And, as I’m in the hot seat with the Executive Editor about my breach of WB protocol, I’d apologize and own my mistake as a rookie. I was unaware of the proper channels and made the blunder of assuming I could respond and dispel any rumors before they got too big and cost the company more in the future. I’d let him know that it will not happen again, and offer to apologize in person to any of the higher rank myself, if necessary.

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  3. First off, I obviously need to address the controversy with Wolverine. I partner with the Director of Communications (and anyone from the legal department who may need to be involved) to:
    1) ascertain for certain that there was no racist intent on the part of the creative team – both Ram V and Dan Mora – in terms of the imagery and copy presented (as there was with hidden imagery in X-Men Gold #1 a few years ago)
    2) ask Ram V to step away from replying to tweets for a few days so that we can present a consistent message as a team
    3) craft an appropriate response that apologizes, denounces the racism even though it was (hopefully) unintentional, promises to remove the iconography from future printings, and promises to be more judicial in the future, while trying to take into account whatever Ram has already said in hopes we can keep him from being accused of being a liar or a hypocrite or any of the myriad other names people get called on the Internet.

    I’m fairly happy with the way things are running in my office otherwise, but our overall sales are down from when I came on board, even with our new creative teams and the launches of both X-Factor and X-Force.

    X-Factor is my lowest selling title, but I’m hoping the increased promotional effort, with Leah and Luciano’s playlists, coupled with positive word-of-mouth will help attract more readers to it.

    Beyond that, I’ll be taking the VP of Sales’s request into account and also looking to boost sales with a big promotable X-event. Instead of a separate event series, like what WORLD WAR KREE looks like it’s shaping up to be, I will suggest a crossover event taking up one or two issues of each of our 4 titles, with Alpha and Omega one-shots to serve as bookends and boost our sales and output during those months. I will get all of my creators into a chat or conference/video call to collaborate on how we can do this, who wants to take lead, how each series can tie in, and basically workshop our outline.

    I will reach out to the Talent Management team to get recommendations on an artist for the Alpha and Omega one-shots who is available and marketable for an event launch and finale. The writer(s) of the one-shots would be determined by the call/chat with the current stable of writers.

    In response to Sal from the Heroes’ office requesting to use Beast in Iron Man, I would ascertain how he will be used in the story, that he won’t be killed or anything like that, and that it doesn’t interfere with anything we’re doing with Hank, and as long as there are no issues or conflicts, I would approve the request.

    I would also let the VP of ops know that – once my teams have this event cracked for the VP of sales – if nobody else has offered anything to Gerry Conway then I would be happy to meet with him and discuss a mini-series to tie-in with the event or promote a key character, depending on what he wants to do.

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  4. Welcome Wonderers to WEEK 5!

    In seeing the numbers of Marvel, I check back in with the operational staff involved with my marketing ideas from a couple of moves ago. I would like to get the ball rolling on this. IF approved, I would like to incorporate the marketing strategy in my next move.

    IRON MAN
    I checked with the editor of Captain Marvel and we were able to pull a guest spot with her, although, it couldn’t be anything to shake up. I relayed that message to Jason Aaron and he said that was totally fine as the scene he needs her for was a conversation with Tony.

    We had a team meeting and everything went great. Jason is already working on the beginning of issue 4 and the rest of the team is completing issue 2. Dylan is up to issue 3, in fact.

    CAPTAIN AMERICA
    The EIC gave me a call and told me the call with Donny went well, although, Donny did mention that he felt I was getting a little too close to the writing as an editor. The EIC explained that killing characters is a company-wide decision and that’s probably what I was thinking when I politely denied the immediate killing of Iron Fist. Overall, the call went well and the EIC suggested I call Donny to have a friendly conversation.

    I called Donny and we laid the groundwork. I asked him why he wanted to kill Iron Fist in the first place and he basically told me he was uninterested in the Heroes For Hire and didn’t want to disrespect the legacy of the characters. Although he does like Luke Cage, Danny Rand is just not for him. We actually then called Sanford to discuss this. Sanford, ironically enough, agreed about Iron Fist. On that note, I had an idea. What if Iron Fist and Powerman had a falling out because Danny had gotten too aggressive. One that would send Iron Fist out of the book but at the same time make him fair use for other books? They loved that idea and we came to terms with Iron Fists’ departure in the climax issue of this 4 issue arc.

    On that note, I called the EIC and he was happy how everything turned out. He did warn me though, I have to remember Donny might be a flight risk still and that I would need to have some writers in reserve. I told the EIC should that be the case, if I can’t find anyone I would like to see if Sanford thinks he’s up for the gig. He knows this iteration of the character better than anyone as he is reading the scripts and Sanford has an interesting voice. I’m not sure if he would be up for the full-time role of writing and drawing, but maybe it’s an interim experiment.

    THOR
    Kelly Sue is slowing down a bit so we had a Zoom call and she said she was struggling with making the right decisions as far as plot goes and how she can work in some World War Kree tie-ins. I recommended to stay true to the book and don’t force the tie-in. But I told her that I think she’s doing a great job and not to get too far into her own head. Make the decision that feels right and lean on me or Mark Bagley to talk it through. She appreciated the conversation.

    I called the EIC and asked if Mark Bagley could write and draw the Free Comic Book Day issue of Thor and he said, only if I thought Mark had the time. I do and told him that I think it would be a great jumping-on point for our series. EIC approved that. So I called Kelly Sue and told her that idea and she said that would be great because she felt that Mark was just sitting around waiting for her some days. Then I called Mark and asked him if he would have the time and interest in doing a Free Comic Book Day issue as the writer and artist of Thor telling a story to the reader and the story is completely outlandish. Throughout the story Jane would be interrupting like, that’s not how it really happened. Readers won’t know this, but they would be assuming the role of their child. Mark was super happy with the idea and the fact it won’t just feel like “busy work” and he would be able to enhance his book with Kelly Sue.

    WORLD WAR KREE
    Donny sent me the outline of the entire event and the first draft of the first issue and Ryan Ottley send a bunch of artwork and everything looks phenomenal. I sent this all to the EIC for approval.
    Jason Aaron sent me the tie-in work for Iron Man which is smooth.
    Donny sent me his tie-in work on Cap and it’s totally aligned.
    Kelly Sue still hasn’t sent tie-in ideas but I think she will work through it with Mark and find a good, seamless spot.

    This all Said, we can have the first issue by Move 7.

    GERRY CONWAY
    I have an idea for Gerry… What if he took on an Iron Fist book and gave it a tone similar to the Punisher, the character he created? Danny Rand could be a conflicted protagonist who, after a falling out with his best friend, has a new, gritter moral compass? Maybe we can even feature Punisher? Maybe we call it, “Iron Fist War Journal”?

    (NOTE: Sorry this is long, everyone. I tried to keep it as brief and interesting as possible.)

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    1. NOTE: Forgot to mention, Iron Fist War Journal would be based during and maybe after World War Kree. Hence, “War Journal”.

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  5. Can somebody clarify the rules for me?

    I was under the impression that the contestants could only control their own actions in response to the circumstances; and that the responses from creatives, fellow staff, and the marketplace in general were up to Tom (essentially the “DM”).

    I’ve read a few instances of “I did this action — and also — here is the result of that action,” from some but not all of the contestants. If this is something everybody can do, I would just hope everybody would know to take advantage of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For Miles Morales, let’s get an image (either from the book itself or more likely a promo image made specifically for this) of Miles Morales on one side holding a BLM sign, wearing a backpack with a small but recognizable piece of his Spider-Man outfit sticking out. On the other side is his dad, in his policeman’s outfit. The two are obviously yelling at one another. The text reads something like “Father vs. son, police vs protestors, a gripping story ripped from today’s headlines. Can Miles and his dad find common ground from opposite sides of the dividing line? From Eisner award-winning writer Kyle Baker and fan-favorite artist Jamal Campbell, don’t miss Miles Morales: Spider-Man.” I would be happy to accept anything the Communications Director has to offer in terms of sprucing this up to the point of being media-ready.

    Now that Sal has let us know the timing of World War Kree, I pass along that information to Peter and Mark (again, if Mark doesn’t want to participate, I’m not going to force him, especially as one Spider-Man book is already doing so). I also pass along Peter’s idea to Sal with a note saying “I understand this is a little out there with regards to your plans, so let me know if you have any ideas on adjustments that would need to be made, and I’ll pass those along to Peter, or if you’re good with Peter kind of doing his own take.”

    Tom Grummett is definitely doing the second arc of Spectacular, but again, I’d like input from Peter on his next few arcs, so that I can figure out which ones go to which artists (every pair of arcs will be one from each artist no matter what). I’d also like Tom to be the regular cover artist for the book, to give it a consistent look on the stands, which hopefully will help fill in some of his schedule, but should still allow him enough free time to do any work he wants to do on his outside projects (like Section Zero). If he doesn’t have any side projects at the moment, I’d be happy to work with Talent Management to see what side jobs we have for him. I especially think his clean, cartoony style would be great for some merchandise art, if we have any of that sort of work available for him.

    I’ll do what I can to mitigate Sara’s lateness by spreading her pages around to multiple inkers (again, aiming for similar styles as much as possible) as soon as each page comes in, and make sure she gets the script to issue 7 as soon as she’s done with issue 4, so that she has some time to catch up during Pia Guerra’s fill in.

    As for a potential fourth title, I open up the floodgates, and let people know I’m soliciting for submissions of single arc stories of alt-universe Spider-People. Spider-Man Noir, Spiders-Man, Spider-Girl, Spider-Ma’am…any version of Spider-Man that does not reside in the 616 universe. No ongoing story connecting them together. This is completely an anthology book that lets people tell one Spider story with basically no restrictions, since they take place on alternate earths. Sometimes dark, sometimes funny, but always out there! We’ll call it “Tales from the Spider-Verse.” May my (fictional) inbox be flooded!

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