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, everyone, to Week Seven of our ongoing Editorial Simulation, in which a quartet of fans play the part of comic book editors working for the Big Two companies (down from the Big Three, as our Image player has vanished without word–I sincerely hope he’s all right.) This week we’re at the close of the Fiscal Period for the DC player–so let’s see what everybody did and how it all worked out.
First off the blocks yet again is Kyle, who is gaining a reputation for speed in terms of his ability to make decisions and deliver books within the office.
The situation regarding the drummed-up controversy on WOLVERINE is beginning to die down. You’re still receiving a certain amount of communications from people following the pattern of the write-in campaign template, but they’re fewer and further between. Internally, concern about the situation has abated for the time being as it’s become clear that every warranted action has now been taken.
Dan Mora is probably going to need to take the issues of AGE OF EVOLUTION off as you suggest simply from a production standpoint–he’s a fast artist, but even with that, that’s a lot of issues to get through in a row, and the longer he goes, the more lead time gets eaten up. So he’s happy for the built-in relief. Ram V, on the other hand, wants to stay on for those issues. As the crossover represents a good opportunity to expose readers to the title who may be following the other X-Books and not WOLVERINE, this seems like a good opportunity to capture some of their attention. So Ram doesn’t want to miss out on that possibility.
The VP of Sales wants to plug AGE OF EVOLUTION into his planning, but he needs you to nail down where you’d like to put it. He suggests that he thinks it would do well at Move 9, for what that’s worth.
The Talent Group comes back with a number of options for artists for your bookends. In particular, they think that this project may be a big enough thing that it’s worth blowing up SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and making Phil Jimenez one of the artists here. While Phil has been slow, as it’s only a 15 page commitment on each bookend since he’s only be doing half of them, that would seem to be more manageable for him–and as it’s a big series that can hopefully bring in a good amount of revenue, it’s also probably a more valuable place to put him rather than mid-run issues of SPECTACULAR. They’re also wondering if it might be possible to lure Sana Takeda here with a big story like this, since she’s getting some attention on ACTION COMICS across the playing field and it would shine a spotlight on her, as well as not taxing artistic resources that are already in play for Marvel. There are also some rumors that Brian Stelfreeze may be coming free of his SUPERMAN commitments, but the fear there is what it always is: whether he will be able to follow through and get the books done on time given his haphazard track record. Still, the commitment per issue isn’t that daunting.
On IRON MAN, Dylan is just about ready to go off for his two weeks under the knife, so you need to get his substitute in place here. You’ve discussed options with Jason Aaron but haven’t yet been able to come to any consensus. Jason’s taste doesn’t follow any pattern that you can discern, so you haven’t been able to easily categorize the kind of artist he’s going to be most simpatico with. But time is up, and you need to get somebody into the chair.
Over in the world of CAPTAIN AMERICA, the EIC tells you that he would have been more comfortable with Jason Latour before some of the stuff that’s come out about him over the last week or two. But he’s comfortable enough with either Chris Sebela or Matt Fraction should the need arise.
The VP of Sales has now locked in the Birth of the Thor Baby for Move 9. He’s going to want you to get a cover or promotional image done in advance that can be used to hype the story, and which he can share with retailers in order to get them excited about the release.
Progress on Kelly Sue’s part has seemed to improve with your daily check-in ritual. But the VP of Ops tells you that with Bagley still working on the FCBD story, you’re going to need to bring somebody in for at least an issue here–while you’re producing at a more regular clip now, there’s still the time that you lost in getting here, and everything is still running closer to the wire than anybody would like.
On WORLD WAR KREE, a conversation with the EIC and the VP of Ops indicates that you should be able to run a page long on issue #3 to account for the unexpected spread that Ryan Ottley turned in. That’s not a thing that can happen willy-nilly, but given that this is a big Event series and expected to book a significant amount of revenue, the cost of one additional page on that issue shouldn’t be fatal to the margin.
Gerry Conway is working up his thoughts on the IRON FIST WAR JOURNAL series. You’re going to need to cast an artist for this soon.
The EIC stops by to give you some news, and he’s not all that happy while he has to do it. Nobody stepped up on that second 10 page story for the Free Comic Book Day release, and now we’re looking at the prospect of having ten blank pages. This is a critical problem. Especially given the VP of Sales’ preference to run something relevant to WORLD WAR KREE in the book, and having no other option, the EIC tells you to select a ten-page sequence from the first WORLD WAR KREE issue that can run in that slot. It’s a bad option, because the story wasn’t designed to be pulled apart like this, and it means that readers are going to be getting a big chunk of that first issue for free and out of context. It’s likely to hurt the reception to issue #1 of WORLD WAR KREE, but at this late stage it can’t be helped.
On MILES MORALES, argue though you might, you’re not moving the apparatus on your cause–that protest sign needs to stay out of the image. Once the umpire makes a call, it’s time to move on, and by continuing to push against it, regardless of your good motivations, you’re beginning to rub people in the organization the wrong way. The EIC reminds you that, yes, we want to be telling stories about the contemporary world that we live in, but ultimately we’re a commercial enterprise and ultimately it’s Marvel who owns these characters. If the company isn’t comfortable with something and you’ve failed to convince people that you’re right, then that’s the end of it.
If you’re going to try to get the word out about this storyline, then you’re going to need to time the release of the promotional image against a given Move so as to best get a result and capitalize on the promotion by capturing readers.
Your WORLD WAR KREE tie-in issues are locked in and all story matters relevant to them have been massaged through with Sal and his team. Donny and Sal have helped you to coordinate Spider-Man’s pathway through the storyline, at least in the broad sense, so that you’ve been able to calibrate your two tie-in books and not run into any narrative jam-ups. It does mean that there’s one sequence that’s a little bit awkward if somebody sits down and really stares at it, but that’s the cost of doing business.
Mark Russell will build an issue of AMAZING such as you describe to help get Sara through the choke-point. Stephanie Hans will illustrate it, which ought to turn out nicely.
On TALES FROM THE SPIDER-VERSE, both Peter Milligan and Paul Cornell have story pitches that you like, so you’ll need to decide between them. On the artistic side, the EIC is a little bit concerned about Dan McDaid drawing the launch, but he would be available if you wanted to press your luck. Also possible are Darick Robertson and Becky Cloonan, so you’ll need to make a final choice and get this title cast and into production.
MARVEL OFFICES GENERAL
The EIC expresses his displeasure to the group that we were forced to pull pages out of the first issue of WORLD WAR KREE at the last minute to fill the FCBD book. He stresses that we need to be more on top of the situation, making sure that we support one another, keep the larger overall aims of the organization in mind, and follow through when there’s something that’s needed.
Apparently, with the first issue of WORLD WAR KREE coming out, Image has taken the opportunity to announce a trio of new creator-owned series that Donny Cates will be launching. Nobody is quite sure what this means for Donny’s work at Marvel, but it’s an awful lot to add onto his workload. More distressing is the fact that Dylan Burnett is the artist on one of the new titles–he’s clearly not fast enough to be doing both that and IRON MAN, but apart from his momentary surgical sabatical, nobody knows quite what this means. And up to this point, nobody’s been able to contact him, presumably due to his procedure and recoup time.
There’s some talk out of Marvel television that they’re in the process of developing a couple of new shows: one built around the BLACK CAT and the other a different take on X-FORCE. So this is food for thought as we move ahead. In particular, the X-FORCE that they’re talking about doing is a very different approach than what Tini and Marco have going on in that title–different cast, different broad premise.
DAVE’S DC OFFICE
Feeling closer to the fire-pits of Apokolips these days.
You have your lunch with the Executive Editor and the Publisher, and while they are sympathetic to your position, they indicate that the offer that was made to James Tynion was part of a contract negotiation; it’s now contractual. So as not to be in breach of that contract, Tynion needs to go onto SUPERMAN and everybody currently working on it is going to have to vacate.
That said, everybody is fine with working the timing so that Priest and Ray-Anthony can finish out the Fiscal Period, and also with lateraling them over to a new VAL ZOD launch title in order for them to finish their storyline. Everybody is also happy with the notion of Ivan Reis handling the SUPERMAN series with James Tynion.
On ACTION COMICS, Sana indicates that she’s going to need to take a little break to recharge her batteries creatively, so she’s going to have to skip a couple of issues. You’ll need to work out how to manage for those months.
Felicia continues to work hard on LEGION, but she’s definitely slowing down a little bit in terms of her delivery on scripts, which is concerning given what a machine John Romita Jr is in terms of producing pages. She’s apologetic about everything and very up front about the situation, and she tells you that she’s doing the best she can given the fact that the screenwriting project is moving forward and she needs to get a draft of that screenplay done. She’s hopeful that things will return to normal afterwards.
Afua Richardson is happy to come on board and to collaborate with Gail on the GANGBUSTER pitch.
Diamond sends you all of the latest sales figures, rankings and market share for the industry. As usual, we will look at this through the lens of the Marvel office, so precise sales numbers for the DC titles are concealed.
WORLD WAR KREE – 115,000 – Donny Cates, Ryan Ottley
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – 94,000 – Mark Russell, Pia Guerra (WWK tie-in)
X-MEN –83,000 – Al Ewing, Paco Medina
ACTION COMICS – Grant Morrison, Sana Takeda
WOLVERINE – 57,000 – Ram V, Dan Mora
SUPERMAN – Priest, Ray-Anthony Height
CAPTAIN AMERICA – 51,000 – Donny Cates, Sanford Greene (WWK tie-in)
SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN – 44,000 – Peter David, Tom Grumett (WWK tie-in)
X-FORCE – 42,000 – Tini Howard, Marco Checchetto
THOR – 41,000 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mark Bagley (WWK tie-in)
IRON MAN – 40,000 – Jason Aaron, Dylan Burnett (WWK tie-in)
LEGION – Felicia Henderson, John Romita Jr
X-FACTOR – 33,000 – Leah Williams, Luciano Vecchio
MILES MORALES – 29,000 – Kyle Baker, Jamal Campbell
In aggregate MARVEL sales: 629,000. Book average: 57,182
DC – 29%
IMAGE – 9%