Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 6

A post from my long-gone Marvel blog in which I answer some more questions from the audience.

Reader Questions 6

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

A new week, and still more Reader Questions:

>Marvel Boy: the great mini
Is the Marvel Boy Premiere hardcover (hopefully !) planned ?

Posted by underworldeve on 2008-03-28 19:10:58>

No plans for a MARVEL BOY Hardcover at the moment. But you never know what might happen down the road.

>My 2nd question:
Why not make an effort to include more bonus material at the end of HC/trades (i get both single and trades sometimes) ?

Doesnt cost you anything but a few extra pages.
Makes the reading experience better (like a double disc DVD) !

Posted by underworldeve on 2008-03-28 19:31:39>

We like to include extras and bonus material when we have the space for it, but we don’t like having to increase the cover price on a collection in order to cover the costs of the extras. The way our printing works, we operate in signatures of 16 pages, so if the collected stories end within less than 16 pages of the last signature, then we’ve got some room to play with. But to add another signature of 16 pages would require us to boost the cover price, and the general audience has indicated to us that they like lower prices more than they like the extras.

>1) How can Marvel ethically justify not paying creators for foreign reprints or media use of their stories/art (cartoons & movie storylines, t-shirts, etc.).

Posted by mcross76 on 2008-03-28 23:28:59>

Ethically, I think it’s all very straightforward. Marvel creators are paid very well for the work they do, and the conditions under which that work is done are all laid out to them. Nobody’s pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes, or being sold a bill of goods. And if you’re a creator whose work is popping up in a lot of ancillary places, there’s going to be a benefit to you, whether that benefit takes the form of bonus payments, higher page rates up front, or any of a number of other options. This is all part-and-parcel of the deal-making paradigm, and is much easier for us to administrate than the seemingly-simpler process of paying for foreign reprints, etc. Like our editorial staff, our accounting department is lean, and the revenue derived from overseas editions isn’t so great that it would justify the man-hours it would take to determine that somebody was owed a three-dollar check for a story that had appeared in Zimbabwe and to cut it. So we find other ways to recompense our creators–ways that you don’t (and shouldn’t) hear about, because they’re not directly tied into a specific program.

>2) One good thing Joe Q did when he took over was “prune the tree” and pare down titles that weren’t as strong or didn’t have a separate “vision”. But now, when I look through the previews order form each month and send my order to the comic shop, I just keep going “wow, there is a lot of VOLUME coming out”. Especially the mini-series, king-sizes, annuals, giant sizes, marvel spotlights, etc. Do we really need 3 or 4 giant size hulk specials in a 3 month span, or 5 Iron Man books in a month? Are you diluting the product and risking some future implosion?

Posted by mcross76 on 2008-03-28 23:28:59>

Well, hopefully, the reason for the increased output is that there’s more business happening in the Direct Market (and judging by the sales chart, the competition isn’t tapping into it.) Hopefully, most everything we publish had a reason behind publishing it, and an existence beyond just simply volume. But the business model has changed, and in a world where it make take two months to put out an issue of HULK, it may be wise to have some ancillary HULK product out there to fill the gap, both in the publishing line and in the hearts of readers and the wallets of retailers. There are also other factors, such as the fact that there’s a new HULK movie on the horizon, for which it would be good to have some quality product on the bookshelves of major booksellers in trade Paperback form–and in order to feed those books, we need to publish those stories in serialized form first. Now, if there’s too much, we’re going to see it in the sales and hear about it from the retailers–and then we’ll adjust accordingly. But at least for the moment, we seem to be having decent sell-through on the assorted titles we’re doing. On a bit of a tangent, I remember that comment of Joe’s from when he first took over, and I think you need to chalk that up to “New EIC-itis”. I’ve seen this happen a couple of times, as new people have ascended to the position of EIC. There’s always a feeling that Marvel is putting out too many books, and there are always some books that aren’t to the tastes of the EIC–and so, the EIC cancels them. It’s only in the months to come that the EIC gets to realize firsthand that it’s not as easy to come up with replacement titles that are unique and will circulate as well or better than the books that were eliminated. I saw this firsthand with NEW WARRIORS, a series that Bob Harras cancelled when he became EIC whose numbers, while not sterling right that moment, were decent enough. Within just a few short years, Bob decided to try to revive the title, because there had clearly been a fan-base there. I think the same sort of thing is true of what Joe said and did at the outset of his tenure as EIC. Nobody needs to love all of the titles Marvel or any other publisher is putting out–so long as enough somebodies do, and support them every month with their wallets.

More later.

Tom B

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