A post from my old Marvel blog concerning how the audience sometimes views the editors.
From the pages of the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: ONE MORE DAY SKETCHBOOK on sale in a week or two, here’s a sketch of me that Joe Q did while sitting in a meeting. It captures the essential grumpiness, the quintessential air of irritation that I tend to project.
Last week’s blog entries took me back to 2003, especially the responses, both here and elsewhere around the net, to the Thor/Superman fight in AVENGERS/JLA #2. You’d think that no time had passed at all since that issue had been published, and these arguments had been originally put forth. Once again, I’m a traitor, a mercenary, a liar and a fiend, at least in certain quarters.
And that’s made me think about the larger circle of it all. There was a time, back in the late ’90s. when I was seen in some fan circles as the “great white hope.” Some of that was that people were liking the books I was editing that, but some of it was also, I feel, that I wasn’t so much at the center of things. Because the closer to the center you get, the more people you’re affecting, and the greater the chances become that you’ll piss someone off with something. You can’t swing a dead cat but for hitting somebody who thinks Joe Q is Satan, Brian Bendis is the antichrist, Mark Millar is an Al Qaeda mastermind, Axel Alonso is the enemy of all that is good and decent, and JMS is the devil. And the same thing is true with the folks in charge across town.
The thing that’s sort of funny to me is how a new, younger breed of editor has risen to take my old place as the great white hope. Whether it’s Andy Schmidt or Warren Simons or Steve Wacker or “whoever’s editing WORLD WAR HULK, that guy knows what he’s doing!” (Mark Paniccia), there are quarters where this is spoken as gospel truth. And what’s funny to me is that nobody on the outside really has any idea how much (or how little) input and effect I might have on any of the projects they love at the moment. And assuming that their careers continue to rise, it’s only a matter of time until Warren, Steve and Mark are traitors, mercenaries, liars and fiends. (Andy Schmidt avoided all this by leaving staff.)
But this is all par for the course. You can’t become an editor hoping that people will love you–it’s a losing proposition. Some will, of course, but not everyone. And the higher up you go, the more ire you’re likely to leave in your wake. All you can do is focus on getting the job done, making good books, and let the chips fall where they may.
Creators get the credit; editors get the blame.