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!
Welcome to Move 6 of our Editorial Simulation game! We’ll dive into things in a second, but I wanted to address one question from the comments first. bserum asked for a clarification of the rules, as it seemed to him that some of the players were creating results on their own for creators and situations that wouldn’t be under their control. To clarify, as bserum mentions in his question, this Simulation is being run along the lines of a table-top RPG (except, of course, there is no table.) As such, I am performing the role of Gamemaster, and so in that role whatever I say goes. But I feel as though any player can try anything they can think of to get a good resolution; creativity is welcome. But just because I might allow something to pass one time doesn’t mean it’ll always be okay to push the envelope in that same manner. GMs tend to be mercurial. But the goal here, really, is to have fun and provide some engaging entertainment to people largely trapped indoors. So that’s how it’s going to go.
Let’s see how our would-be Editors made out this week:
You take all of the actions that you outline in your answer to the situation regarding the unfortunate racist content in WOLVERINE, and that quiets matters to some extent. But there is still a group of hard-line fans who are unsatisfied with the response, who are putting forth claims that Marvel is racist and supports and protects racists. How much of this is motivated by a genuine belief in what is being said, and how much of it is promulgated by audience members who might want to see a different approach taken on WOLVERINE is impossible to ascertain for certain. What is certain is that somebody out there has set up a write-in campaign about it, and your e-mailbox is being flooded with communications demanding that your racist creative team be removed from the title and exiled from Marvel, and that a public apology must be issued. Many of these e-mails are clearly form-letter style, and you get the sense that a lot of them are from people who aren’t even comic book readers, who know Marvel mainly from the television and films, but who are strong proponents of the underlying issue–and whom somebody has aimed in your direction in an attempt to gain some traction for what they want. The Director of Communications lets you know that other folks have been receiving these e-mails as well, including the EIC, the Publisher, and various higher-ups at Disney. But he’s trying to provide some context for everybody about what happened, how it happened, and what steps have been taken to resolve the matter.
Ram V is a bit shaken by all of this–he’s getting bombarded with similar e-mails, tweets and posts all across his social media outlets. It’s definitely putting a damper on his enthusiasm for the character and the series. Dan Mora is taking his share of bashing for it as well, but most people who are shouting seem to lay the blame more directly at Ram’s feet, possibly because he engaged with them when the question was first raised. In any event, it’s a dark cloud to be working under.
The promotional playlist for X-FACTOR comes out, curated by Leah and Luciano.
The VP of Sales is happy to hear that you’ve got an X-Event in the planning,and he encourages you to get it mounted before the last moves of the Simulation, when it will be able to count towards this period’s fiscal budget. He wants to hedge against WORLD WAR KREE a little bit.
The Talent Management team tells you that they’ll try to get back to you with a list of potential artists to anchor your proposed crossover bookends. They will want to know if you intend to use the same artist on both books, or go for separate artists on each. The downside of having the same artist is that the production schedule gets more difficult for the artist at that point (they will have more pages to produce in the same amount of lead time) but the upside is that consistency of talent makes for a more cohesive story and package, and conveys a sense of creative ownership to the audience. For the rest of this turn, though, you don’t receive any suggested names from Talent Management.
Kyle’s office has confirmed that you can use the Beast in IRON MAN, provided that you don’t kill him or do anything untoward with him.
Dylan Burnett is working on issue #3 of IRON MAN, but he tells you that he’s got a surgical procedure scheduled for a few weeks from now. If all goes well, he should be back up and running again in about two weeks’ time–but this means at the very least, you’re going to be losing two weeks on the IRON MAN schedule. The VP of Ops suggests to you that you bring in an additional artist to help carry the load because Dylan isn’t going to need the extra stress in his life while he’s dealing with whatever medical problem he’s addressing.
Bleeding Cool is continuing to post gossip about the fact that Donny Cates is going to be going to Image. They’re hinting that he’s got as many as three creator-owned books set up there already, though they’re sparse with the details. Other creators that you speak with concerning CAPTAIN AMERICA and WORLD WAR KREE ask you about Donny’s situation in passing as well. Donny still shows no signs of any of this in his dealings with you.
The EIC is a little bit concerned about handing CAPTAIN AMERICA over to Sanford to write as well as to draw should things come to that, simply because of Sanford’s limited experience writing stuff, particularly for Marvel. CAPTAIN AMERICA is a key title for the company, and so he’d be worried about putting it into the hands of a novice. He tells you that this isn’t something that needs to be resolved right now, since it’s all just speculative at this point. But he wanted you to know what he was thinking.
On THOR, the VP of Sales wants to know when you’re getting to the birth of the Thor baby, so that they can promote it in a big way and maybe help to spike sales. He’s pretty overt in saying that he wants to let Retailers and Readers know what’s coming here ahead of time so that they order and pre-order accordingly.
Despite your phone call with her, Kelly Sue is still proceeding slowly on scripts, and as a result, the book is beginning to verge on the point where an issue might miss shipping; typically a virtual impossibility on a title that Mark Bagley is drawing. The VP of Ops tells you that you need to find some way to fix this, that Marvel can’t afford to lose the revenue from an issue of THOR in a given month. Sometime when we’re up on sales, we can make an allowance for a title. But given that we’re still short of our sales goals for the year, that rhythm simply isn’t there.
Mark Bagley was willing in spirit, but in practice he’s not a writer, and he’s having a difficult time putting together a script for the Free Comic Book Day release that both you and he can be happy with. Additionally, because of this eating up his brain cells and his time, he’s also slowing down production on his THOR pages, which is making that situation worse. You only got the most recent issue to press in time by splitting up the inking and even the coloring among more than one creator.
At the same time, the VP of Sales would really like to nail down the second story in the FCBD book, which as he’s said in the past, he thinks should be a WORLD WAR KREE lead-in. As we now have a release date for WWK, this story is under the gun production-wise, since teh FCBD offerings need to go to Diamond much earlier than regular comic book issues do.
Everybody thinks that having Gerry Conway work on an IRON FIST project that could spin out of WORLD WAR KREE is a solid idea.
For your promotional image for MILES MORALES, a number of people are going to need to be brought on board before you commission it and have it sent out to the world. This begins with getting the EIC’s buy-in on your story and on this specific image, since it’s on the inflammatory side. And indeed, as this gets discussed, a lot of the conversation revolves around questions such as: by having Spider-Man with a BLM sign and in opposition to a police office, father or no, does the image make too much of a one-sided political statement? Marvel needs to remain fair and balanced in what it puts out there–we want to do stories about the world we live in, but we need to do stories that are for all readers. Different people in different areas have an assortment of opinions in just where the line should be drawn; in particular, the question is raised: if we were to do the reverse of this image, where it was Spider-Man in a police uniform yelling at a BLM protester, would we feel comfortable with that? If not, then we’re probably over the line in the other direction. In the end, you’ll get to do the image and the tagline, but the BLM sign is going to need to be removed from the concept–at that point, everybody feels like its within bounds for what Marvel is comfortable with putting out there.
Peter and Mark both seem ready to do WORLD WAR KREE tie-in stories. The trick, though, is going to be navigating the coordination, since Spider-Man is going to be in both of them at the same time, to say nothing of probably being featured in the main WORLD WAR KREE book as well. So everything is going to have to dovetail together properly. To complicate matters, Peter’s concept for his tie-in story involves Captain America, who has his own series which will also be tying in.
By pulling in multiple inkers on the latest issue by Sara, you were able to squeak it out the door at the last possible moment. But the VP of Ops tells you that it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to do that again, and that you’re going to need to split the book or the arc up in some manner to get it all completed on time.
You can let people know about your TALES FROM THE SPIDER-VERSE series, and some will no doubt come out of the woodwork when you do so (typically, anybody who might be looking to pick up work at that point.) But in order to make this a series you can launch, you’re going to need to commission at least an opening arc and have enough of a story hook for it to get it off the ground. And hurry, because the VP of Sales has already scheduled it so that he can book the revenue against Move 7!
MARVEL OFFICES GENERAL
The EIC lets everybody know that WORLD WAR KREE will be starting in Move 7. Tie-in titles at this point look to be CAPTAIN AMERICA, IRON MAN, possibly THOR, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. The X-Titles won’t be participating, but they are baking on an X-centric storyline for sometime after that. The hope as well is to launch IRON FIST WAR JOURNAL with Gerry Conway out of the Event.
The VP of Ops reminds everybody that, especially now when we’re increasing our title count, we need to be careful about spending within our budgetary limits. We’ve got a finite amount of operating capital to use for the year, so we need to make certain that we’re hiring creators on each title that the sales can support.
The EIC reiterates the need to nail down the second story in the Free Comic Book Day release. We’ve got the THOR story that Mark Bagley is attempting to write and draw, and we’d like to have a second story that was a proper WORLD WAR KREE lead-in. But time is tight, and if we can’t do that, we need to land on something else so that we don’t miss that promotional window. If we have to run some reprinted content to fill the issue, that will be a waste of a resource, says he.
DAVE’S DC OFFICE:
Another beautiful day in Gotham City.
Bringing Ray-Anthony in on SUPERMAN to help out allows you to keep issues shipping on time, even when Brian Stelfreeze goes off the rails on his deliveries.
Grant and Sara continue to be hard at work on ACTION COMICS. The same is true of Felicia and John on LEGION. Felicia does let you know that she’s waiting to hear back about a screenwriting gig, but that she’s hoping to be able to stay ahead enough on the series so that it won’t become a problem.
Gail Simone is happy to work on GANGBUSTER, but Greg Capullo simply isn’t interested in the assignment. He’s got no emotional touch-point with the character and too many other potential offers on hand to commit to something he doesn’t truly want to do. So you’ll still need to get an artist in place here.
The Executive Editor comes to you and tells you that starting as soon as possible, James Tynion is going to be your new SUPERMAN writer. Seems that the Publisher spoke to Tynion during a contract negotiation and offered him the series as part of his wheeling and dealing. So now it’s going to fall to you to let your creative team know about the change–and it’s part of the responsibility to do so in such a way that they walk away not being upset or angry at DC or any of its people. Also, the Executive Editor tells you that the Publisher wants to put Tynion together with a more mainstream artist–or what he considers a more mainstream artist, at any rate. So you’re going to need to let Brian Stelfreeze and Ray-Anthony Height know about this as well as Priest.
The Executive Editor reminds the editorial staff that DC’s close of fiscal period takes place at the end of Move 7, so all books must get out on time, and an upswing in sales would be beneficial. We need to meet our goals for the year, and time is slipping away.