EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 7

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.

MARVEL OFFICES

KYLE’S OFFICE

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.

SAL’S OFFICE

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.

KURT’S OFFICE

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.

SALES DEPARTMENT

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

Market Share:

MARVEL– 41%

DC – 29%

IMAGE – 9%

Your Move.

Tom B

8 thoughts on “EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 7

  1. I’ve been putting off my replies to the last minute, due to other life stuff, but let’s switch that up this week and jump out the gate first…
    ———————–
    The Thor baby (and possibly Age of Evolution) is planned for Move 9, and I don’t want to get in their way, so we’ll put the Miles promo image out in Move 8 and hope for the best. Still trying to get some mainstream media for Kyle and Jamal (and the book), especially in the “urban” market (not a term I normally like to use, but I can’t find a better phrase).

    After looking over both pitches, I decide that Tales from the Spider-Verse will start with a five-issue Spider-Punk story from Peter Milligan and Darick Robertson. Looking forward to seeing that, and hopefully that will get people excited to pitch other arcs for the series.

    Planning ahead, I reach out to whatever contacts I have at Marvel television to get as much low down as I can on Black Cat (at least a basic pitch for the show). That could be a great book to follow up after Miles’ year-long run, and if we do some minor coordination, it could be good for both sides of the business.

    I hear through the grapevine talk of taking Phil Jimenez off of Spectacular. Without promising anything, I feel out Tom Grummet to see if he’s interested in being the sole penciler on the book, or if he prefers switching off with someone for the foreseeable future. Basically an “If this happens, what’s your preference?” sort of call.

    Amazing seems to be on-track for now (whew!), but I want to make sure that stays the case, so I work on lining up the next fill-in artist for after Sara’s second arc. Artists on my list that haven’t been recruited for other projects of mine continue to be: Jamal Igle, ChrisCross, Olivier Coipel, and Clay Mann. Since I’ve removed a few names from that list by using them on different projects, I’ll add in Jorge Jimenez and Pepe Larraz into the mix as artists I’d like to work with.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. IDK. Wolverine @ only 57K? What’s that based on? The average Wolverine sales? Mora’s previous, indie series’ sales #’s?

    I’m not familiar with Ram’s writing. But Mora is a superstar calibre talent. Put on a mainstream publisher’s book, with one of the most popular characters in comics, maybe in pop culture, and he should help the book reach better than healthy sales.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Small fist pump! After the lunch with the EIC and Publisher, I explain the new title line to Priest and Ray-Anthony and ask Stelfreeze to get to work on the promotional items (covers/ads) for the new line. The Birth of the Val Zod line is here, and I’m very excited to get a POC title up front and headlining. Also, Priest’s story goes forward (unchanged) to fruition!

    In Superman, with the new team coming on, there’s a new challenge coming Superman’s way…Mongul arrives on Earth and he’s ready to….ask for Superman’s help? It seems the Pail Vicor have found new vessels to use for their agenda – vessels that Mongul thought were gone forever – Mongul II and Mongal! Together they’re more powerful than Mongul has ever been, they’ve broken through Mongul’s emotionless state, and they’ve set their sights on destroying Mongul, Warworld, Apokolips, Earth and everything else! Depending on writer feedback and discussion with the Publishers, this can be a Superman arc only, or it can lead to a much larger story to directly combat World War Kree bringing in other heroes (JLA + any unused property in the DC vault) if allowed. The long-run story is that it’s a double cross by Mongul, at first suspected by Supes, then dismissed, then coming to fruition and nearly having Superman and others succumb to the Pail Vicors, but writer influence is always taken seriously.

    For Sana, I completely understand the need for a break, and reach out to Joelle Jones to see if she’s available to fill in for a few issues. She’ll have some of Tana’s work to look at as a template, and hopefully slide into place smoothly. I thank Grant for his pages and that his team is leading the DC charge right now!

    With Felicia, I’d again thank her for being upfront and offer a possible solution of getting some outlines to another writer for script work, and then having Felicia give an edit for approval to keep her story on-course with where she was taking it. I’d ask Regine Sawyer to help with that, if she’s available. It wouldn’t be a full time gig, as I believe Felicia would still be the head writer through this story, but I believe Regine and Felicia can work together on the tone and importance of the story, at least until Felicia is more settled with her movie script. As always, I praise John for his work. He’s a legend and this further cements his place in my artist Hall of Fame.

    I check in with Gail and Afua, make sure they’re having fun while putting together the bones of the story with the reboot of Gangbuster. I doubt I’d need to say it, but I’d let Gail know bringing in a wide variety of voices and perspectives (both good and bad) is expected and desired with this run! Conflict, action, and snark aplenty at her disposal!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Welcome back to the X-Office everyone! Hope I survive the experience!

    I’m happy to see the updated sales numbers move Marvel closer to our goal of a 20% increase, or 668,400 units. We’re at 629,000 – a 12.9% increase – so hopefully we can keep pushing forward and smash this goal.

    My X-books are contributing nicely to this, with X-Men and Wolverine still holding on to top 5 spots on the chart and X-Force debuting fairly well.

    I’m happy to hear that Ram V wants to stay on Wolverine through the tie-in for consistency, especially with the situation dying down, and understand that Dan Mora wants the 2-issue break. I e-mail the talent management team to help secure an artist for these 2 issues. My first name is Leinil Francis Yu, as getting him back on Wolverine, even for just 2 issues, may be a boon to the sales. If Leinil isn’t available, or is outside my budget, I’ll brink Aneke or Ken Lashley back into the conversation, since we didn’t end up using them on X-Force.

    While I am talking to the Talent Management team, I also work through my Age of Evolution artists with them. I need to get this locked in ASAP so the artists can start working and we can get the Alpha issue out for Move 9, which puts the Omega on Move 10. If Phil Jimenez is done his current assignment on Spectacular Spider-Man and can start immediately, I’ll be happy to have him. I’d also be happy to have Sana Takeda if she’s willing to come over from Action Comics, but I know the VP of Ops has said we need to be careful about spending within our budgetary limits, so if it will cost too much to draw her over, maybe there’s someone else we can get on this. I heard Becky Cloonan was recently suggested to the Spider office but they want to go with Darick Robertson instead, so maybe we could get her on this if Sana’s an excessive price or can’t start soon enough. As for Brian Stelfreeze, I suggest that if we can get him, we could get him to do the covers, or a set of variants, for the event – the Alpha/Omega issues at least, all 10 issues (Alpha/Omega, 2 of each series) if it’s not too much, but I’d rather go with faster, more reliable artists for the interiors.

    I offer the EIC my apologies for not offering up anything for the FCBD special. I know he kept saying he wanted a World War Kree related story, and since the X-office wasn’t participating in that event, I didn’t think to put anything forward. I still could have, though, so that’s on me and I’ll own it.

    Lastly, I reach out to Marvel Television to see what info I can find out about their X-FORCE show – characters, pitch, release timeline. Our X-Force comic has launched well and I don’t want to interrupt the creative direction just to connect to the TV show. Not this far out, at least.

    With all those fires controlled, I just try to keep everyone making their deadlines and getting our books out on time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder if the X-Force thing could be an opportunity in disguise.

      If Tini’s up for it, it might be fun if her X-Force team jumps to an alternate reality and encounters an incarnation of the team that resembles the TV version. This be either woven into her ongoing plotting or a brief palate-cleanser between arcs. It could also be an opportunity to give Checchetto a breather and bring in a more cartoon-compatible artist just for the arc.

      In all it could be a way to address the incongruity of these two different teams existing in media at the same time in a way that doesn’t diminish the existence of either. It’s like you’re leaning into it and using it to an advantage.

      — just another half-baked idea from the peanut gallery

      Like

      1. That would absolutely be fun, but I also know there’s a much longer lead-time on a TV show than a standard monthly comic, so I wouldn’t want to start doing something like that now if the TV show isn’t slated to premier until fall of 2021. At this point, if the show is being announced with a cast of characters, I’d look to work one or two of them in to existing stories to capitalize on the attention they might be getting from the show announcement, but hold off on any bigger changes or direct tie-ins until the best time to really capitalize on the premier of the show.
        And even then, it might not be using the show cast in X-Force. Maybe it would be a mini-series with a different title, or a solo book featuring one of the show leads (like Cable or Bishop, for example).

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  5. Hey everyone! This is the second time I had to write this as my first post was lost in the ether of the internet and I had no idea it was missing until I went to show my friend my entry from today. So… sorry!

    IRON MAN
    The talent group team came to me with Humberto Ramos as the filler. Jason Aaron is happy about that. This book is coming along well and Jason has nailed down the tie-in plots for WWK.

    I’m going to pitch to the EIC that 12 pages of this book pertaining to World War Kree would fit for the FCBD space that wasn’t filled by anyone at Marvel.

    CAPTAIN AMERICA
    There have been no signs of truth to the Donny Cates rumors. Sanford and Donny are in a great rhythm and having a lot of fun working together. I haven’t spoken to Donny but our email threads are every few days. The break up of the Heroes For Hire is teased in the 3rd issue and happens in the 4th. It came out really well. The handoff to the spin-off Iron Fist War Journal is going to be in a great spot.

    THOR
    The EIC would like a filler artist so I made a few calls and I found out Khary Randolph and Chris Samnee have some availability so I passed that info to the EIC.

    The Thor baby reveal issue script has been sent to me and if looks good but we are sending it up the chain of command to see what happens.

    WORLD WAR KREE
    Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley are having healthy disagreements but I feel that I need to monitor them a bit. Both are strong about their opinions but they both willing to bend for the greater good. That said, the scripts and art looks fantastic.

    THOR FCBD
    Mark Bagley’s script looks good it he hasn’t started the art though but he assured me he will have it on time. He told me he would be have it done but expressed his concern about his time for the book with Kelly and he said he would need a filler artist. That actually works wel because we are talking about that internally.

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