EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 8

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 back, everybody, to our ongoing EDITORIAL SIMULATION in progress. Boy, these posts take a long time to write. I’m almost thankful that our Image player vanished, because a good portion of my afternoon every Saturday is being turned over to gaming out the various moves and writing everything up. In any event, we’re only a couple moves from the finish line, so I’m sure that I can hold on another few weeks. But I’ll also be happy for the break. As may our players:

MARVEL OFFICES

KURT’S OFFICE

The Spidey office is attempting to score some goodwill points by getting their move in early this week! Possibly, they feel a bit envious of the reputation that Kyle in the X-Office was getting! But nice job, Spidey office!

You release the Miles promotional image this week, and get some pick-up from media across the globe. As you’d maybe expect, not all of the press is positive, and at least one current affairs program makes some hay out of bashing Marvel’s attempt to politicize a children’s medium such as comic books. But they weren’t happy about the idea of their being a black Spider-Man in the first place, so it’s really just more of the same. On the more localized comic book news sites, you’ve gotten decent pick up, and there’s a small buzz about what the image means.

You get both Peter Milligan and Darick Robertson on board and beginning to produce for the new TALES OF THE SPIDER-VERSE series that you’re launching. Paul Cornell is sad to have been passed over, but he understands the choices that sometimes have to be made.

You’re only able to get limited information from the television side on the BLACK CAT show that they’re developing, because it’s still early days on their end as well. But they’re looking to make it a series that exists in the same fictional world as Spider-Man but also to stand on its own two feet–a necessity, because it’s unlikely that they’re going to be able to get Tom Holland in to do more than a cameo at most. They do give you some broad strokes information that they’re planning on building a regular heist crew around Felicia who can be the recurring cast of the show, and that they’re also thinking about having her get involved with the Police Detective who is pursuing her, not realizing that Felicia is the Black Cat.

Tom Grummett tells you that he feels like he is fast enough to be the main penciler on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN if Phil falls out. He may still need the occasional fill-in issue, but he thinks that he’ll be able to be there more often than not.

Which is good, because Phil calls to let you know that Kyle in the X-Office has offered him the bookends for AGE OF EVOLUTION and he’s going to take them. So he’s going to have to come off of SPECTACULAR pretty well straight away so that he can focus on the X-Event.

On your AMAZING planning, Jorge Jimenez continues to be exclusive to DC, so he’s not available to do issues of AMAZING for you. And going to Olivier Coipel for a fill-in will be dicey, both because he’s a huge resource to deploy and also he’s not always the fastest artist in the field. Most verybody else that you’re considering may be an option according to Talent Management, depending on their availability and their interest. Which is good, because even with the Pia issues, Sara is continuing to fall behind. She may simply not be fast enough to be doing a regular monthly title.

KYLE’S OFFICE

Slow off the blocks this week, and giving up the first poster spot to Kurt! Does this mean that the X-Office is slowing down, that the weekly grind is getting to them?

As you look to spell Dan Mora on the two tie-in issues, the Talent Management group lets you know that Leinil is looking to slow down at the moment and not do so much interior work while he recharges his batteries. So he might be available for cover sin key places, but he’s not an option to come on for those two issues. Ken Lashley, however, ought to be able to make the schedule work if you want to reach out to him.

Phil Jimenez is on board to do the 15 pages each in the AGE OF EVOLUTION bookends. He’s excited to have been asked and to be a part of it, as he’s been a fan of the X-Men ever since he was a reader.

The VP of Ops feels like we can definitely take a run at Sana Takeda–because there’s an expectation that this X-Event will bring in a decent amount of revenue, it’s an investment that all parties are willing to make. And it also pulls in an artist that doesn’t strain our existing resources, and one who’s got a little bit of heat from having done ACTION COMICS with Grant.

You can certainly line up Brian Stelfreeze to do variant covers for all of the chapters of AGE OF EVOLUTION.

As with the BLACK CAT show, the Television crew is still at the early portion of figuring out quite what their series is going to be, so you can get relatively little detail out of them. They’re still locking in details themselves around whatever the new take on the X-Men is going to be in film. So your needs, sadly, are at the bottom of their to-do list.

The EIC appreciates your apology concerning the Free Comic Book Day title, but tells you not to worry about it, that it wasn’t on you specifically to offer something up for it.

SAL’S OFFICE

Sal’s struggles with technology are becoming a running bit around the office. Seems like he’s got the worst luck with computers, telephone answering systems, printers. The Bullpen is a little bit nervous even giving him a stapler for fear that people, places and things are all going to wind up haphazardly stapled to one another.

It’s too late to pull the pages for the FCBD book from IRON MAN, as it has already left house, carrying with it the 10-page section of the first issue of WORLD WAR KREE. When the EIC pulled the trigger on that, it was because time was up.

Humberto Ramos is happy to be on IRON MAN with Jason for the fill-in issues. But it sounds like you’re going to have to find a permanent solution to this series, as while Dylan Burnett hasn’t said anything to you directly (you still haven’t heard from him post-Hospital) he has been making the rounds doing a bunch of press for his new creator-owned series with Donny.

Speaking of Donny, his own production has slowed down considerably, and his focus seems scattered whenever you speak to him, as though he’s trying to feed a whole bunch of different needs beyond his ability to produce. But when you get him on the phone, he’s also a bit oblivious to the problem–he’s talking fast and saying the right things, but there’s no follow-through, and so the schedule on CAPTAIN AMERICA and WORLD WAR KREE is beginning to teeter. Ryan Ottley has run out of script on a couple of occasions, and those days where no production can get done are killing your schedule. In addition, Ryan doesn’t seem the type to call you up when he’s high and dry on script to draw. He just hunkers down and does some commissions or sees to his personal life. So you’re really going to need to be on top of everything in order to get this series to come out on time.

Already, there’s been a minor problem as a delay in getting an issue of WORLD WAR KREE out the door resulted in it shipping a week late–and a minor plot point being spoiled by the release of one of the tie-in issues that actually made its delivery date. It’s not an absolute catastrophe (yet) but it is the kind of ting that can impact negatively on the audience’s enjoyment of the story.

The VP of Sales is miffed that he doesn’t have a promo piece or a cover spotlighting the Thor baby that he can show off to the retailers to help drive interest and increase sales. He’s not confrontational about it, but you can get the sense that he’s taking the position that since you didn’t help him to do his job, he’s not going to be helping you too much by pushing the storyline that hard. Plus, he simply doesn’t have the resources he needs in order to carry that message forward.

This is all dicey enough that the EIC feels the need to have a talk with you. Between missing the FCBD story, not having the Thor promotional artwork in when it was needed and the looming situation around WORLD WAR KREE’s shipping, he tells you that you need to get your house in order or else something is going to need to be done here. It doesn’t matter how good your ideas are if they can’t get to the marketplace when they need to and if Marvel cannot promote and sell them effectively. In some ways, that’s almost worse, a waste of resources and good story material. The EIC tells you that he went to bad for you and your creative team on the Thor Baby story with the higher-ups, and mistakes like this are going to impact on how well it does–which is going to cost him some of his capital with his bosses.

Among your conversation, the EIC indicates that he would be fine with either Khary or Chris helping out on THOR if they were agreeable to it.

MARVEL OFFICES GENERAL

The VP of Sales indicates that he’s hearing from the Retailers that the first issue of WORLD WAR KREE is causing some discord among their customers. As predicted, the fact that a third of the book was handed out for free on Free Comic Book Day is giving many readers sticker shock when they realize that they’re paying a premium price for only 2/3 of the content that appeared to be there. So sales are more sluggish than hoped, and even those customers who have been buying it are complaining about the situation.

The VP of Sales indicates that this is going to put even more pressure on AGE OF EVOLUTION to help make up the shortfall and make sure that Editorial makes its budget for the year. In addition, he feels like the line could use at least one or two “plugs”–new titles that aren’t necessarily expected to generate enormous numbers, but which can keep the title count up and contribute to the overall profitability of the line as a whole.

The EIC has now received a bit more information about the BLACK CAT television pitch that the TV crew is putting together, and the key difference that they’re going with is that, in the series, they are looking to cast an African-American actress as Felicia Hardy. The show is still a ways off, but publishing is going to need to decide how it wants to deal with this situation; whether we should ignore it and just keep doing what we’re doing, or whether we should be working on getting a black Black Cat into the books sooner rather than later–or some other approach.

DAVE’S DC OFFICE

The home of recurring Crises.

After talking with you and thinking about it, Priest writes to tell you that he’s had all of the wind knocked out of his sails by being pulled off of SUPERMAN, and if it’s all the same to you, he’s going to withdraw from doing the proposed VAL-ZOD series–he just cant’ get up the enthusiasm for the replacement book, and feels like his time would be better spent doing other things.

There is enthusiasm in the halls of DC for your SUPERMAN story becoming a larger storyline that can affect the DC line as a whole. That’s something that the Executive Editor would like to get into play as soon as possible. James and Ivan are also excited by the prospect, although Ivan is a little bit daunted by the amount of work to be done and the complexity of that work. The JLA office is ready to tie in with this storyline, and the Executive Editor is ready to wrangle those other offices who might not want to play ball into line.

Sana Takeda lets you know that she won’t be able to return to ACTION COMICS, as she’s got a new assignment at Marvel. Joelle Jones is up to come on for a couple of issues, but she can’t commit to taking over the series entirely–she knows her limits and isn’t prepared to devote that much time to it. So that’s a problem that will need to be solved. Grant is a bit dismayed that he lost his artist on this series.

Felicia is happy to work with Regine Sawyer on LEGION while she’s fulfilling her screenwriting commitments, and the pairing appears to be relatively smooth. But John Romita lets you know that after the first story arc is finished, he wants to shift off of the title. As expected, drawing the multitudes of characters and weird environments that the Legion demands isn’t something that he’s into doing on a longer term basis.

Gail and Afua are pulling together their GANGBUSTER project. But in the interim, it seems like whatever was going on with the character elsewhere in the WB organization has cooled off–again, it’s difficult to get any straight answer about what it may have been. But accordingly, Publishing’s interest in moving forward with the project has cooled as well–nobody is dead set against doing it, but there isn’t any great enthusiasm for it either, no sense that this is something that needs to get done by a certain date. The Executive Editor suggests that if you could work in a role for Gangbuster in your Superman event story and then spin the series out of that–possibly even launching it with a few tie-in issues–that might be a big help to making it viable.

Your Move.

Tom B

17 thoughts on “EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 8

  1. Is the grind getting to me? Not a chance! As Captain America says, “I can do this all day.”

    It looks like my next couple of weeks of publishing is all lined up, and I just need to keep everyone on deadline as we push it all out the door and try to grab sales. I keep in touch with everyone as they hit their deadlines, thanking them and keeping them going. In terms of specific communications/moves –

    I reach out to both Phil Jimenez and Sana Takeda and welcome them to the team, establishing deadlines and getting them to work on AGE OF EVOLUTION. Phil Jimenez will be drawing Al Ewing’s main story, and Sana Takeda will draw the 5-page chapters contributed by Ram V, Tini Howard, and Leah Williams as lead-ins and conclusions to their tie-in issues.

    Hearing Phil’s excitement to be working on X-MEN gets me thinking. I know beyond being an amazing artist that he is also a talented writer, so I will talk to the VP of Sales and EIC about the “plugs” they’re looking for and suggest that we could offer Phil an opportunity to pitch a prestige-style mini that he could both write and draw – a solo character piece or something exploring the team of a specific era, perhaps. If they clear the idea, I’ll speak to Phil about it after most of his pages for AGE OF EVOLUTION are in, so as not to distract him from that.

    I would also be looking to keep Sana on board after these 30 pages are done, and would like to offer her a place as one of the rotating artists on the main X-MEN book, alternating with Paco Medina and the rest of the current art team. This may also allow us to increase our production schedule on the series, if Paco and Sana could keep up with it.

    I do reach out to Ken Lashley and he will take over art duties on WOLVERINE for the two-issue AGE OF EVOLUTION tie-in. I will ask Dan Mora to contribute the covers for these two issues for consistency with the rest of the series so far and to hopefully keep his fans buying during his break, but keep Leinil Yu in mind for the cover of next year’s 400th issue (and maybe by then he’ll be able to do a short-story too). I also start speaking to Ram V about this coming up, so we can plan a big story moment for it. I’ll talk to Sales and Marketing about what kind of issue we want to put together, in terms of size, so that I can start planning additional stories/content within those constraints.

    I keep in touch with Brian Stelfreeze, thanking him for coming on board and getting his variant covers in by deadline, so that we can solicit and get orders in for them in time for the launch of AGE OF EVOLUTION next move.

    Lastly, with no clear details available to me on the X-FORCE TV show, I put it on the back-burner until more information is available. If I get the opportunity to speak to someone who might know more, I’ll ask about it, but I get the impression I’ve got a lot of time before it’s a pressing concern.

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  2. Thanks for taking the time for these moves, Tom. They do look consuming. But are compelling reads. You’ve turned up the heat. I almost sfarted to sweat from these new developments. I wish I coukd hep the editor on Cap & Iron Man. That group seems to be. teetering…

    Two moves remain. Hang in there.

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  3. I feel so bad for Christopher priest. Is it wrong that I’m taking these dramatization seriously? I’m giving James tynion tweets the side-eye now! 😁

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      1. I’m impressed by how professionally Fictional Priest is handling his poor treatment by Fictional DC Publisher. Again, kudos to Tom on setting up scenarios that are interesting and feel realistic. Dave’s been set some interesting challenges for this week.

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    1. Word. I’m loving what Hickman is building on X-Men — that said, I’ve long thought that the X-Office should be leading the industry in diversity and Priest has the experience and talent to lead the charge.

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  4. I reach out to Christopher Priest and express my gratitude for his work, and really wish it could’ve turned out differently. I completely understand the wind being knocked out of his sails, and hope we part on good terms, that’s a bridge I definitely do not want burned and hope we can work together in the future. I have the upmost respect for Priest and his work and should he feel moved to come back, I’d love to find a spot for him!

    As his replacement, I’d reach out to Bryan Edward Hill to take over Val-Zod. His work with Top Cow and later on the Batman and the Outsiders run were great and I think he’d fit the tone that Priest has already set up.

    Sana jumping ship, (ouch) I’d also reach out and wish her the best. She’s incredibly talented, and I hope that she has good memories of this run (again, another bridge not wanting to burn in hopes of future work).

    For her replacement, Joelle can work fill-in issues (to keep us on time) while I reach out to Greg Capullo and dangle working with Grant Morrison again. I’d also call Grant and say, “Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye,” and offer a consolatory pint if we’re in the same town at the same time. Hopefully bringing Greg into the fold will brighten his spirits some.

    With John, I thank him again for his brilliant work. Since he let me know a while ago that the first arc might be it, I’d revisit with my EIC the idea of bringing in Jorge Jimenez to pick up where JRJR is leaving off.

    With Gangbuster and the new Superman story, we absolutely can tie him in…not only tie him in, but make him a critical part of the story! Since Gangbuster is so family driven, his experiences (good and bad) make Jose the person Superman talks to and is the catalyst in Superman’s decision to give Mongul the benefit of the doubt when it comes to needing help with his children. Thus, Superman goes off-world to help Mongul – and triggers the trap. A move that will haunt Gangbuster as the guy who gave Superman ill advice and brought the chaos to Earth.

    For the larger story, as it is family driven, the JLA are roped in when the Pail Vicors destroy part of Apokolips and Orion calls on the JLA who are forced to team up with Darkseid to fend off the attack (while also watching their back from a double-cross from Darkseid). Superman is off-World with Mongul, the JLA are split; some helping the New Gods as well as some staying behind on Earth dealing with the havoc the “sudden” appearance of Mongul II and Mongal have created (with plenty of room for other heroes to chip in) trying to turn Earth into their next War World. To help Ivan with the workload, I’d reach out to Fiona Staples to help with cover work, promotions, and fill-ins as needed.

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    1. PS – I really do try to keep it around 500 words, but I certainly wish I had more, ha ha. My original response was close to 800, and I hope I didn’t cut out the best part for what’s here (mostly regarding Christopher Priest).

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  5. I talked to the Marvel IT team and apparently I had an old computer passed down from Joe Quesada that IT tried to restore but clearly it couldn’t hold up. They set me up with a new laptop now.

    IRON MAN
    Ah… well, it was fun while it lasted with Dylan. I spoke with Jason and he told me he thought something was up but couldn’t put his finger on it. That said, we are both going to see in Humberto has the capacity to continue on with Iron Man. Jason actually told me the story he’s come up with could actually allow different artists based on the whereabouts of the characters.

    I got to thinking… How can I get everything back on track? So… I thought about the last shocking thing in comics, it was Bendis going to DC… Right… I raced to Twitter and Instragram and DM’d Greg Capullo. “Hey Greg,through all your success in Batman, have you ever thought about drawing for Marvel?” Yeah… he didn’t respond.

    I’ve reached out to Kim Jacinto who I heard had been looking for some work and would get back to me based on the conversation. I’ve also had a conversation with Lan Medina and I’m waiting for a response. I told them both that this may not be permanent as certain issues would call for their abilities

    CAPTAIN AMERICA
    After I started putting feelers out ad multiple unresponded emails (potentially lossed in the abyss that was my previous computer) to Matt Fraction, I decided to have a talk with Kelly Sue to ask Matt if I could talk to him. To my surprise she put him right on the Zoom meeting. I asked Matt about the emails and he said he never received them. So then I asked him about Captain America and appreciated the offer but he told me he had some creator-owned project that he was focused on as well as a TV show. So it was a great conversation but I still need a writer.

    I talked to Sanford and he asked me if I heard the news about Donny. I told him I heard Donny was going to focus on creator-owned and he asked me what the plan was. I told him Chris Sebela and he straight up asked me if I thought Chris could handle this book along with his creator-owned work. I told him he could and Sanford said he trusted my judgement.

    One thing I haven’t mentioned to anyone until recently is Chris and I had a long talk at Heroes Con where Chris told me he would love to work on Captain America some day. I told him to stay in touch. This is a golden opportunity for Chris so I don’t foresee foul play. Chris Sebela is on board to write Cap, he’s cool with Powerman being part of the book as he thinks it would feed nicely. Sebela actually said he has an idea, but it doesn’t make or break anything, about adding one or two mainstay characters around Cap. I told him to get his footing with this cast for now and we could talk about more characters later. Ironically enough, he was asking if a villain in his first arc (after he finishes Donny’s) could be Morbius.

    THOR
    The baby Thor birth issue hits stands. While everyone knew something was up, nobody noticed that we hid Kate Foster’s belly in every issue. Promotional art is done and looks great. Walter Simonson had sent me a fantastic variant cover. The best part, the kicker that only the team, myself, and the EIC and the Marvel upper echelon knew about…. The final page of the issue… TWINS! A baby girl and baby boy! And of course Thor’s shocked face with and over the shoulder of Kate Foster, “TWINS?!”

    As for the team is getting back on track and Khary is on board to assist. On a whim I decided to write an essay about Thor and Kate having a baby and what this baby could mean for comics. Having legacy characters create is not easy but if they work we are giving the next generation of true believers their own characters. No longer do the new readers need to feel intimidated by jumping on points. No longer do they need to hear “oh yeah, years ago this happened and that happened it was great, you should go back and read it,” by comic reading pros. Now that can go back and read those books of coure, but why not establish new memories with new characters who grace them with first times? Peter Parker only gets one first kiss, one first marriage, and it doesn’t happen again… Let’s use this Thor baby as an experiment to watch a character literally grow up and get their first experience.

    WORLD WAR KREE
    Donny sent me the rest of his scripts for World War Kree and in that email he asked me to call him. I know why he wants to talk. First, I read the scripts to all the issues and it was great. There was so much energy across the pages. I feel like he was more excited about this book than Captain America. I called Donny and he told me he wasn’t happy with Captain America and that he didn’t want to be on the book. He felt that I was too involved in the story and that’s not how he works. He told me he would continue on if necessary but only to finish the arc. He said he already called Sanford to apologize and he tried talking him back onto the book but Donny just isn’t excited about it. He said he was, however, excited about World War Kree and any edits that need to be made he would be more than happy to help out. I told Donny that he doesn’t have to finish Cap and that I would find a replacement but I do appreciate him sticking out World War Kree.

    Ryan is on point and on time with all of his delivery. Seemingly not impacted by the Donny drama.

    IRON FIST WAR JOURNAL
    Gerry Conway submitted the first draft of the story arc and it’s great. But now, we need an artist who can match the grit. He said he has nobody in mind.

    I sent Ryan Ottley and email to ask what his plans are for after WWK. I’m waiting for a response.

    YEAH… I’VE BEEN BUSY CRACKING THIS NUT…

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  6. Things are going fairly smoothly in the Spider-Office these days, with one big exception (which I’ll get to, of course). Miles Morales picked up some mainstream press; yes, some was negative, but if any story comes out and gets entirely positive reactions, I’ll eat my mouse pad!

    The other new title, Tales from the Spider-Verse starts off with a bang, thanks to a Spider-Punk arc by Peter Milligan and Darick Robertson. Paul Cornell had to be turned down for the first arc, but I remind him that there are hundreds of Spider-characters out there (and new ones to be created as well), if he wants to pitch an upcoming storyline for the book. And now that the first issue is out there, hopefully more writers and artists will start pitching their own takes.

    Hearing about the Black Cat news, I email Kyle Baker first, to see if he is interested in/can fit into his current plans, a new Black Cat (Tabby? Kitten? I’m betting a writer will come up with a better codename, but let’s try to keep “Black” out of her name) that works under Felicia and develops a similar relationship with Miles that Peter (Parker) originally had with Felicia (i.e. sexual tension despite being on opposite sides of the law), and happens to be African-American. If he can’t fit it in or shows no interest, I’ll pass the idea on to Mark Russell and Peter David, to see who is more interested in introducing this new character (minus the ties to Miles). Down the line, if the Black Cat show goes the way they’re currently looking at, then this new character can take over the Black Cat persona, as Felicia retires or takes on a more supervisory role.

    Tom Grummet is all set to take over as the full-time artist on Spectacular. I’m sorry to see Phil Jimenez go so soon, but I understand the desire to work on a big event book. Just to give Tom some extra space (he said he might need the occasional fill-in), I reach out to Paul Pelletier to see if he can handle the next small arc (two to three issues at the most), which should give the book a fairly uniform look (I see many similarities in their styles).

    Finally…Amazing. I’ve tried, but unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Sara is going to work as the primary penciler on the title. I would love to continue to work with her, but I need to move things around in order to do so. Instead of her doing the larger arcs, and getting various fill-ins for the smaller storylines, I’m going to have Sara take the smaller storylines (one to three issues long), and find a new regular penciler for the bigger arcs. Pepe Larraz is my first choice, if Ops feels he’s able to handle a monthly series (with some fill-in help from Sara) and he wants it. Next down the list is Jamal Igle, then ChrisCross.

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