EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 10

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!

Well, this is the final week of the EDITORIAL SIMULATION, and probably this entry will be a short one given that there isn’t any real point in laying out any additional scenarios since nobody will be able to react to them. What I’d like to do for next week is a bit of a post-mortem, so I want to invite the players and anybody else to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section, and I’ll try to address them all next time. Pretty much anything is fair game–and I’d like to hear your thoughts about how this all worked and what it felt like from your POV. And this time out, you don’t need to limit yourself to 500 words necessarily.

MARVEL OFFICES

KYLE’S OFFICE

Phil is happy to get started on the STORM project but he’s adamant about not wanting to fold other artists into it. It’s a personal story into which he’s investing a lot of himself, and the thought that another pair of hands, one less sympathetic to the material than his own, might be handling some of the story is troubling to him.

Sana Takeda is open to hearing more details about your X-MEN plans once you have a writer and a direction in place. In the meantime, she’s going to continue to look around for her next assignment.

Speaking with Leah and Luciano, it’s clear that while there hasn’t been any particular breaking point moment between them, they are not pulling harmoniously in the same direction on X-FACTOR. So while neither one is especially asking to leave or demanding that the other party leave, it’s clear that you’re going to have to make a decision here as to who stays and who goes–who you want to try to maneuver onto one of those plug projects and what shape that might take.

Al’s been happy working on X-MEN all during this period, but as he’s leaving now, he feels it would be best to leave cleanly–both for his own sake (as he’d be going from being the main architect of the X-Men to somebody operating around the periphery, as well as feeling as though he said his peace on the characters and their situation) and for the mental harmony of whoever succeeds him. Nobody wants the graduating class hanging around when the new team comes in–there’s always a sense of “I wouldn’t do it that way” that comes across, intended or not.

Saladin is interested in talking further about X-MEN.

Paco is on the fence about things. On the one hand, he recognizes that X-MEN is a big and steady assignment, and one that can be depended upon. On the other hand, he also feels creatively in synch with Al and there’s an aspect of him that thinks he would be smarter to leave along with his collaborator. So you might be able to convince him to stay on X-MEN here, but you’re going to have to sell him on the new writer and the new creative direction.

The WOLVERINE #400 plan sounds good to everybody up at the offices, so you can begin pulling all of that together.

SAL’S OFFICE

Humberto is going to continue on with IRON MAN with Jason.

It’s absolutely no problem to have Chris Sebela know about the ending to Donny’s storyline in CAPTAIN AMERICA before he begins–in fact, it’s an absolute necessity. But it’s up to you how much interaction you want those two creators to have as the hand-off gets accomplished. You can play middleman throughout the process or facilitate them speaking to one another along the way. Just realize that both creators are free-willed human beings, and so they may decide to contact one another even without you making it happen.

On the 2nd Printing cover for the THOR birth issue, the VP of Sales isn’t happy with your artistic choices. He tells you that he thinks what is called for here is a piece that represents the tone and the style of the actual book. so while Skottie, Mahfood and Chip are all talented, this isn’t the place to go either broader or more experimental. In other words, he doesn’t want you to re-invent teh wheel here, he just wants a nice rolling wheel. And he wants it fast–the longer this takes you, the more time goes by ad the more heat cools around this issue of the series.

On WORLD WAR KREE, the EIC tells you that there’s nothing that can be done about what has already happened. All you can do from this point forward is work hard to try and stick the landing and hope that the ride is ultimately fulfilling to the audience.

Lan Medina will do IRON FIST WAR JOURNAL. And the EIC is happy with the basic pitch. And there’s no problem with using the Punisher in it, both because it’s Gerry and because the War journal name kind of implies that in the first place. And the Wrecking Crew are primarily Thor villains, so assuming that you and Jason have no conflicting plans for them, you should be able to use them here without a lot of additional coordination.

KURT’S OFFICE

Paul Pelletier is fine with doing issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN rather than SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. And that will buy you the time needed for Pepe Larraz to come on board as the regular artist. You’ll just need to keep an eye on Tom Grummett’s production on SPECTACULAR and move to bring him in help if he begins to fall behind on stuff.

The Director of Communications wants to be careful about leaking information about the White Cat character because he’s aware that the genesis of that character began with the casting of the still-in-production and not-yet-announced TV show. He wants to make certain that everybody on that side of things isn’t caught by surprise if said information leaks, and that this won’t jeopardize their own roll-out plans to announce their casting.

DAVE’S DC OFFICE

Everybody is fine with Grant and Greg doing ACTION COMICS while James and Ivan carry on with SUPERMAN–that was likely going to be the way it had to be unless there was some serious wrangling done around Tynion’s deal. It does mean that, between the fact that Greg will be joining Grant mid-run, and the fact that ACTION is a tougher book to sell than SUPERMAN, it’s probably not going to be able to take the number one spot. It’ll still perform well, just now as well as it might have had it had a few more elements going for it.

Alex isn’t going to do a signed version of his promotional poster–doing so would impact too directly on his own side-business in which he sells prints and sketchbooks as well as his originals. But he’ll do the promotional poster for the Pail Vicors storyline. The sales department is happy with this, though the Executive Editor is wondering if we can find a way to use this as a cover as well, since it’s the image that’s going to have the most eyeballs on it.

Brian Edward Hill will get you a write-up on his ideas for the VAL ZOD project.

There’s already a timeline in place for a collection of the first portion of Felicia’s LEGION run–at this point in time, virtually everything that gets published in a serialized format is scheduled for some manner of “in-line” collected edition. DC operates on a strict timeline as to when they believe the optimum time is to release such a collection so as to not undercut retailers who may still have copies on their shelves. If there was a strong reason why such a collection should be accelerated, that’s a case that you can make. But as a general rule, those book collections are going to come out a uniform distance from their serialized publication.

Gail and Afua will begin working on GANGBUSTER in earnest.

Nice work, everybody! SIMULATION CONCLUDES!

Tom B

8 thoughts on “EDITORIAL SIMULATION Move 10

  1. This was a lot of fun. I’m glad that I was able to join in (thanks to that last minute drop-out), and look forward to the post-mortem.

    Something I’d be really curious to see is if any of the creators who were fictionally portrayed here have any reaction to their simulated counterparts and what happened with them.

    Like

  2. So… final thoughts?

    Well, first off, thank you to Tom for running this simulation and congratulations to the other players for making it through.

    I had a lot of fun doing this. I have weekends off from my day job, so it wasn’t hard to find time on a Saturday or Sunday to try to put myself into the head of an editor and come up with solutions to the simulated problems proposed. I often think that if I had known more about this job and how comics are made when I was younger, it’s something I might have pursued, but at this point, if it couldn’t mostly be done by remote, there’s no way I would uproot my family to another country to pursue it.

    It wasn’t the simulation I was expecting. It ended up feeling more like Editorial Fantasy Football, to me, with all of us constantly casting and re-casting our respective series while dealing with a few other problems, and I didn’t really understand how the time scaled. Some things that we spent 2-3 moves on felt like they should only take a couple of days in real time, and then in the next move or two the comic would be out even though I think that would take 2-3 months in real time.

    Right off the bat, getting assigned to the X-office definitely changed my whole experience with the simulation. I was chatting with my friend, Dave, who knows my taste in comics, about it and he called it a “unique pick” for me. I definitely feel like I could have done more with the Spider office or Heroes office, being that I’m more acquainted with those characters and histories, but I still had fun and it prompted me to read some books I might not have explored otherwise, for research.

    Of course, if I had been assigned the Heroes office, it would have been hard to keep to the 500 word limit as I would have spent half of every move plotting a way to get a new THUNDERBOLTS book launched.

    At the same time, clearer rules around what was expected from us as editors might have curbed that. I felt that, as the editor, it was my role to talk to creators about the concepts and characters I wanted them to work on, and let them craft the story, so I didn’t get into specific story details in my moves even though I saw the other editors doing it. I’m curious how often an editor would go to a writer with “I want you to write a Captain America book where he works with the Heroes for Hire to fight Vampires and build it into a crossover about the Kree while you’re at it,” versus how often a writer would pitch the idea they have and the editor would fine-tune it but not go so specific as to dictate guest stars, villains, etc. I know IRL there are editorial summits where stories get pitched, so I’m wondering if that is something that was just too hard to simulate here.

    Lastly, as a DM, I thought Tom did a very fair job of giving everyone a chance to succeed and have fun, but I almost wanted him to be a bit meaner. No one ever had “the sales on your book are so low you need to cancel it” or “you’ve ignored a specific request from one of the VPs yet again and now they’re talking about whether or not you’re the ‘right fit’ here.” I think Dave over at DC got the worst of it, although reality showed us it could be worse.

    So thanks again to Tom and everyone else, and all the best in your non-simulated lives and careers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree about timelapse and defining the roles and responsibilities of an editor. Sometimes people got called out for things I was surprised to hear was even something they were or weren’t supposed to do. Obviously, due to the nature of business, some of this is just part of working life, but still…

      I find the role of an editor to be both fascinating and mysterious. Editors seem to be a frequent whipping boy amongst messageboard rants (and even from disgruntled creators at times) and I wonder if part of the job is to just grin and take it because responding can be a career-endangering activity.

      I’m also curious about how much the broad strokes of a title’s run is defined by the editorial vs. creative, though I have to imagine this varies wildly depending on the title, creative, and editors involved. I just wonder if there is anything resembling “typical.” Or if that even changes from year-to-year or decade-to-decade.

      Bummed about the Image simulation falling off — they are such a different beast than Marvel/DC, that would have been seriously interesting. I hope Erik Merk is doing well wherever he is!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great thanks to all the players and Tom for running the simulation; it has been great fun to follow and speculate on. Dave in particular had some real tough hands played to him that I think he handled well. So some questions for Tom:

    1) In the last two weeks, Sal kept mistakenly writing Kate Foster rather than Jane Foster in his moves. Did Tom pick up on that, and if so were you tempted to hit him with a last-minute lettering/printing fiasco?

    2) What sort of role did you have planned for the Image player? I figured that they would be based out of Image Central rather than one of the imprints like Top Cow or McFarlane that regularly run work-for-hire books; most creator-owned books at Image seem to be a case where creators hire their own editors (like Chrissy Williams on Kieron Gillen’s books or Will Dennis editing the new Snyder/Daniel book). Would the role of the Image player be more about trying to convince creators to work through Image, rather than a competitor like DC, Boom or IDW?

    3) Any chance of the original Blah Blah Blog editorial sims being uploaded to this blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since it came up with the X-Men office, how deeply involved are editors in responding to PR issues like the example with the Wolverine accidental racist image in the simulation or is that something that is more directly handled by the publisher’s communications team.

      Like

  4. How were sales figures neasured in this? Based on what? The writers & artist’s previous track records, factored in with a character’s sales history? Curious to know.

    Thanks for the partial insights to the job, Tom.

    Like

  5. First I’d like to thank you for this amazing opportunity. It was a lot of fun, and a great glimpse into some of the challenges I didn’t even realize editors had to face. As a long time reader of comics, this was amazing to get a sneak peek of some of the behind the scenes (even if it was all fictitious).

    Second, I really enjoyed the challenges of trying to put together writer/artist teams. It was a lot of fun going through searches for artists that had bright and bold styles versus dark and brooding styles and everything in between trying to match up an artist with a writer. I was worried about throwing the ideas I would write into the mix, though. Obviously the pro’s already doing it have a much better track record of workable ideas over my “Wouldn’t it be cool it?” notions. But again, in the fiction world, I probably should’ve brought in the Mongul Invasion/Pail Vicors story idea sooner. The first couple of turns flew past me trying to put the teams together faster than I thought.

    Third, for my questions, how close to reality do things like this happen to editors? I’m not sure how contract work really plays into people jumping on and off titles (and I know when you’ve played this in the past the turns go much faster, so I imagine that’s a harder game due to quick thinking as opposed to plotting and planning over a day or two). I actually imagined more of having to correct errors, stop printing lines before mistakes go out (something is colored the wrong color in a panel, something spelled wrong, etc), so the dynamics of the game was an interesting twist I didn’t quite expect. Also, how often do editors get together to plan out storylines that aren’t cross-title? I imagine the Action Comics editor would tell the EIC, but would it be part of the yearly editor planning meetings I’ve heard about, or would it just be between that editor and the EIC? Planning giant crossovers is always fun in our minds, but I can see now the logistical nightmare of getting all the parts moving in the same direction at the same time. I actually had 3 big crossover ideas I kept meaning to bring up (I believe the Mongul story was the best/most fun, so I went with that one), but our turns kept steering me in other directions (which was also part of the fun, trying to keep things on track, adjusting to blind-side twists, pushing for my teams, etc).

    I could probably go on and on with the questions about the industry (and as a person who would love to get into that side of comics, this really was a unique experience), but I’ll get back to the game itself. I liked that I had some time to think my moves through, so the weekly turn base was good. It allowed me to play out different scenarios based on the writing/artist combos I was putting together in my head before turning in an answer. I have to admit, Legion was probably the most difficult as it was one of the few comic lines I knew next to nothing about (which lead to my faux pas with Alex Ross asking which line-up…I honestly could not think of who would be best in the lineup for a big, time-travelling Civil Rights story). Once that story got started (finally) I wasn’t sure how long/how many turns it would take to tell it before bringing Legion into a crossover, so they never joined the fray. For some reason, in my mind, each week/turn for us equalled one month of comic time, but it felt like that time period/printing period didn’t seem to match on a few moves (hard to know how many issues actually got out to the stores as I pictured one issue per turn, but you may have had something else in mind).

    I also think the word count was a VERY smart move on your part, as I could’ve easily rambled and over-explained what I wanted several times. I do think 500 words cut me off a bit with some of what I was hoping for, but that also taught me to try and be more precise in my answers (and kept me from giving “either/or” answers, which felt kind of like getting two turns in one answer). But, maybe increase the words to 750 if you do this again in the future. Since I ended up with 5 titles (Action, Superman, Legion, Gangbuster, Val Zod), 500 words ran out VERY quickly, ha ha. Or maybe allocate the word count based on how many titles each player is running (if I stayed at the original 3 titles, 500 would have been more than enough…but I was glad to take on the other titles, and I kind of want to see a Gail Simone Gangbuster line now, ha ha). This was fun and I could’ve kept going for 10 more rounds, although I’m sure you’re tired of us and ready for a break, ha ha.

    Speaking of, I’m curious how much your responses to our writer/artist ideas were based on what you knew of the people we mentioned and how much was purely made up for the sake of the game? For instance, does Grant Morrison kind of go incommunicado when starting a story? Or does John Romita Jr do things in a “just to be the good soldier” sort of way (he’s such an iconic artist right now, I can honestly see him taking only projects he’d really want to do and not have to “soldier up”, but that very well could be his personality and work ethic, too).

    I want to say thanks again for the game, thank you to the followers and commenters throughout the game (yes, I’ve read every reply…can’t tell you how much it helped having people pulling for me when Tynion got brought on to Superman), and thank you for answering our questions! I love learning more about this industry and not just how the story comes together but how the working dynamics come together as well (I had never even thought about a media director when it came to responses of online action/news rumors…in the Twitter age, it seems like they can reply to anything at will). I also appreciate you giving me the DC line, as that is my “home” line-up, but shortly after being introduced to Superman, I found Spider-Man and Captain America and would’ve had just as much fun with them, too, but being familiar with Superman and people who’ve had success with him (or that I’d love to see write him) helped.

    I’m very curious about what the other goals were for the Image team, and kind of sad they fell through, but I can’t wait to read the post-mortem! I hope you and everyone else reading enjoyed it as much as I did, would gladly do it again, and who knows, maybe someday we’ll get to do this wacky stuff for real (I mean, you already do, I just meant me, too, ha ha). Keep reading comics, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…they’re some of the best stories out there (DC, Image, Marvel and more)! Support your LCS if and when you can!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At Marvel, do editors get placed on titles or in offices they have knowledge or attachment to? Or is it simply up to them to get up to speed and in love with wherever they’re slotted?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s