Blah Blah Blog – Viewer Mail

Another post from my old Marvel blog in which I answer some more questions from the readership.

Viewer Mail

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

Another week begins, and I’m fresh out of ideas for topics. So let’s go to the mailbags and see if we can’t make do with a couple questions from the audience:

>I think its fascinating that your story is the basis for that FF Special. Shouldn’t you get some sort of credit beyond editor? Do you ever feel slighted being listed as “just editor” when you do that much of the writing. Since most of the audience just sees you as a spell-checker, wouldn’t you like more credit?

Posted by IanZL on 2007-06-11 14:48:00>

Ian, I didn’t write the issue in question, Dwayne McDuffie did. And while I may have come up with some of the ideas that led to us winding up with the story we ran, I’m perfectly fine with the accreditation of that issue. This is all part of the editor’s job, after all–and it’s always wise to remember: Creators get the Credit, Editors get the Blame.

>Is this Ironman who is currently in the comics the original Tony Stark that died during the Crossing?’

I know that Marvel officially stated that Teen Tony upon returning to the 616 Marvel universe retained the memories of the original Tony Stark that died from the mainstream Marvel universe. But just retaining the memories does not necessarily mean that this ‘new Ironman’ is the original merged with the Teen Tony and Heroes Reborn Ironman. All that it means is that this is a Tony Stark who remembers and has the memories of the original 616 Ironman. So, follow up questions to my original question that need to be answered too, are these

‘Upon returning to the regular Marvel Universe (616), did Franklin Richards resurrect the 616 Marvel Universe Tony Stark that died and merged him with Teen Tony? Does that mean that this Ironman possesses not only the original Ironman’s personality and mind but also his soul too? Is his soul off somewhere enjoying an afterlife or is it back in this Ironman’s body?’

I know I am asking semantics but please be as precise as possible answering all these questions. >

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: See AVENGERS ANNUAL 2001. Longest answer: you’re speaking about fairly metaphysical issues concerning a fictional character. So at a certain point, the best answer you can ever receive is, “This is the way it is.” So yes, the current Tony Stark has all the memories of all the experiences of the two or three Tony’s you’re speaking of. Beyond that, how is anybody to measure what makes him one but not the other–especially when one of the others was his own younger self pulled from the past. There’s a point at which continuity and history becomes a headache-inducing nightmare. This is the way it is–best thing to do would be to roll with it, and move forward.

>Who makes the final decision on covers – both art and layout. For example the current issue of Ms Marvel has the banner moved lower to accommodate the art – is this the artists choice, do the artist and the editor talk about these things in advance? And I notice that X-Men, Uncanny and New X-Men have brought back the top left corner boxes (with little heads) – who decided to bring that back? Cheers!

Posted by NewChad on 2007-06-13 03:51:58>

A variety of people. For each cover, the artist in question does a sketch, which is looked over and approved by both the individual editor and the editor in chief. Working off of their feedback, the artist makes any necessary adjustments, and then creates the final cover art. In terms of cover elements, there are certain general guidelines that we follow most of the time (for example, we like the MARVEL slug to be red), but within that, you can do anything that the EIC and the various sales people will approve. In the case of the X-MEN corner boxes returning, that was a decision made by the X-Men Editorial Team along with the EIC and the Publisher and members of the sales and marketing team.

>It seems to me that one of the biggest differences between a Writer and an Editor is the final amount of control. As someone who likes to control his output, and a writer, I could see that it would be some-what frustrating as the Comic Writer to write up your script and send it out, hoping that as much as can gets through to the published version. But in your place, once you’ve decided everything – correct me if I’m wrong – that’s it, it’s done.

Between the two, it seems that a connection based on trust would be necessary to keep both happy in their work, as well. Especially the Writer. Because if a Writer didn’t trust their Editor, having to hand off their hard work to them to get sliced up would probably be terrible. But if a Writer has an Editor they can trust, it would lessen the blow to hand them work that they can trust the Editor will do justice to and improve via his/her lofty view of it.

Is this dynamic true to life? And out of curiosity, are there ever problems with this Writer/Editor relationship? Do you get ticked off, hurt Writers? You already mentioned Editors who establish TOO much control…how does that end up affecting the Writers you hire?

Posted by PseudoSherlock on 2007-06-13 09:40:41>

As a general rule, people in the editorial department don’t want to do any extensive rewriting of scripts or dialogue. That’s what the writer is getting paid for, and his name is ultimately on the work. So when there are adjustments that need to be done, we try our best to involve the writer in that process as much as possible, so they can see what’s being done before the story sees print, and can affect the outcome. On extensive corrections, we’ll typically ask the writer to make the changes himself.

But there’s always the potential for things to go wrong, especially since the writer’s first loyalty is to his story, whereas the editor’s first loyalty has to be to the book. There are times when those two points of view are in conflict. And not every situation is resolved equally, or to everybody’s satisfaction. But as in all things, you do the best you can, hopefully without malice, hopefully not simply for the sake of changing things. And yes, you hopefully develop a relationship of trust between the writers and the editors which allows both to share a comfort zone. And an editor who routinely runs roughshod over his writers is going to find it very difficult to get the best people to work with him, once word gets out to the community.

>Why are you single-handedly DESTROYING marvel comics Joe???What did this company do to you that made you decide to foul up everything Stan and Jack created?!?!?! More importantly, why are YOU fans letting HIM?!?!?!?!? I thought the reason that Galactus was omitted from the movie was to save money, NOPE.1. Wrong there, as you obviously spent a pretty penny on that RIDICULOUS storm cloud. 2. Silver Surfer could never single handedly destroy Galactus- unlike how you’ve single handedly thrown this whole company down the toilet. 3. I have to thank you, cause now I’ll never have to wonder what working for you would have been like, I ALREADY know.4. Our comics are set aflame, as I’ve convinced all the persons on our street to never go Marvel again. Until a) You’re FIRED. or b) You’ve passed.

Stan please take it back!!!!!!!!

NMME(no more marvel ever)

Posted by dont go there on 2007-06-16 01:32:12>

So wait–you know that Joe Q has nothing to do with the movies, right?

More later.

Tom B

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