Blah Blah Blog – Commit to the Idea

A post from my ancient Marvel blog concerning the need for all concerned to commit to the central conceit of the work.

Friday, 5:22

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

So, back to talking about editing a little bit.

One of the concepts that you need to understand and embrace if you’re going to be a professional comic book editor is this: Commit To The Idea. If you can’t do this, you’re not going to get very far in this business.

There are going to be times when you may be called upon to edit a series in which you have no particular interest as a reader. A lot of guys try to compensate for this by trying to turn the book into something else entirely. (The attempt to make-over POWER PACK into a grim, angsty X-Men style book in the early 90s is a good example of this). But that’s really not the best way to go about things.

What you need to be able to do is to figure out what it is about the character or the book that appeals to the people who like it–or is supposed to–and then Commit To The Idea. Not every comic book is for every reader–and that includes you as editor. You don’t need to like every book you put out, but you do need to be able to look every book in the metaphoric eye and feel that you brought your best game to its production. If you can do that–if you can figure out what the audience wants out of a given book, even if you yourself aren’t like-minded–then you stand a good chance at success.

Similarly, when working in a large shared universe like the Marvel U, there are going to be times when decisions made elsewhere are going to affect what you do. These range from things like “No More Mutants” to “Superhuman Registration Act” to “The Black Panther is Marrying Storm.” You may like these ideas, or you may not like them–and there’s an appropriate forum internally to discussing any reservations you might have, and either convincing people that you’re right, or being convinced yourself. But once the call has been made and the course of action has been charted, your job is to Commit To The Idea. If Spider-Man’s going to be revealed as a clone, and it’s not within your ability to alter that decision, then what you have to do is go out there and make the best clone-Spidey stories you can. You don’t have the luxury of phoning it in, or of walking away (at least not without walking away from the job as a whole.) If you can find a way to do this–if you can find a way to tell good stories stemming from a flawed idea–then you have a good chance of success in this business.

More later.

Tom B

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3 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Commit to the Idea

  1. Thanks for going into this idea. As a writer who has done my own stuff as well as licensed material, I totally agree with finding something about any project that appeals to you without trying to bend it into something you prefer.

    I do wonder what your thoughts are on how, in many sad cases, sales seem to be the ultimate factor in whether or not the idea gets to come to a reasonable conclusion and the idea truly gets to play out in a way that meets the commitment put into it. As a Marvel reader, I can name tons of comics (SILVER SABLE & THE WILD PACK, TERROR INC., many of the MOON KNIGHT runs) that never get to have that conclusion that it deserved, despite everyone behind it being utterly committed to the cause.

    Have there been books that you’ve been committed to that haven’t been able to reach the point you’ve wanted because of low sales? It would be interesting to hear about these instances, if possible.

    Liked by 2 people

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