Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 3

Another entry from my Marvel.com blog of long ago, this one addressing more questions put to me by the readership.

Reader Questions 3

July 30, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

And a few more reader questions, with answers by me:

>This may sound a bit long winded, but it’s all really one question. With the recent trend of getting writers from other media (like say movies and novels) is there other realms of writing and media that you’d like to get new writers from. For Marvel want to bring on a foreign new correspondent because they would have experience that could really flesh out some of the more international Marvel Characters (like say the Supreme Soviets).

2nd question sort of along the lines of the first one is, are you looking to get more focused push on manga styled comics. DC seems to be trying with their CMX line but Marvel’s attempts have been a tad scattershot with things like the Mangaverse and having Kia Asamiya draw the X-Men for several issues. Considering Manga is dominating the bookstore market despite the markets is leveling out, wouldn’t it be in Marvel’s best interest to get a big piece of that pie?

Posted by ex_mutants on 2008-07-28 12:23:14>

We’re constantly interested in new writers from all walks of life, provided they have the goods. I don’t know that we’d specifically be looking for, say, a foreign correspondent to write our international characters, but I wouldn’t rule it out either. The important thing is that they have the talent, and a track record of some kind helps as well. I think overall the quality of the writing at Marvel has increased over the last decade or so, so the bar is set higher in terms of people being able to break in.

I think a lot of people misunderstand what Manga really is. It’s a cultural style of storytelling rather than a particular look or flavor. So it’s not all that easy to emulate simply by drawing big eyes or sailor-suited girls or speed lines. That said, we did recently license an X-MEN Manga to be produced by Japanese creators, so we’ll see how that goes.


>1) Although the usual claim about tie-ins is that they are not essential to following an Event Mini, I’m finding that Secret Invasion itself has been reading as disconnected set-ups and segues that lead elsewhere. (eg. so far, Captain Marvel’s appearances mean next to nothing without reading the Who Do You Trust? one-shot) Plus, many readers I know are enjoying Herc and Cap Britain MORE than the SI mini. You gave us great insight into your editorial work on a single issue by sharing an e-mail with Bendis. Now that we’re at issue 4, I’m wondering if you can tell us about coordinating the overall story and shaping how it unfolds for the reader in the mini, tie-ins, one shots, previews, etc.?

2) What were the most remarkable revelations that hit you about the comics industry as you went from being a fan to a working pro and then from pro to your current lofty perch?

Posted by hamgravy on 2008-07-28 14:43:37>

I have a different perspective that you, obviously, but I’d have to disagree with SECRET INVASION reading like a series of set-ups for other tie-in series. Perhaps it seems that way at this point because you’ve only seen half of it so far, but when all is said and done, and SECRET INVASION #1-8 live together in a single collected edition, I think you’re going to be able to read and understand it just fine, and that elements set up at the beginning pay off by the end. But as usual, you readers will be the final judge. In terms of building the story, it worked the same way as HOUSE OF M, CIVIL WAR or WORLD WAR HULK. The main book and its contents came first, at least in a broad-strokes way. Thereafter, a position paper was circulated to the assorted editors and creators of other books in the line, giving them the outline of the event and soliciting any ideas for tie-ins they may have had. SECRET INVASION was a bit different in this regard in that we knew for certain right from the beginning that NEW AVENGERS and MIGHTY AVENGERS would both be tying in for the duration, since Brian was also writing those series, and that allowed us to organize our backstory in a different way than we would have been able to do had we only the main book.

And I don’t think there was on remarkable revelation; rather, there were any number of little things that I had never really thought about that I had to suddenly consider and learn about. For example, product design wasn’t something I thought a whole lot about when I was a reader. Occasionally there’d be a collection or a book released in a format that I really liked, but I didn’t give it much more thought than that. So it was a bit of a revelation to work under Marcus McLauren for my first month at Marvel. Marcus was fascinated by graphic design and typography, and that was very much reflected in his projects. So suddenly, I was thinking more about what made a good logo, how cover elements sat together on a cover, how to create an overall feeling or flavor for a project through the packaging, and so forth. A lot of these ideas and notions were honed through extended interactions with John Romita Sr back when he was Marvel’s art director. John’s personal demon is his perfectionism, and through dealing with him I learned to be bothered by all of the same tiny, niggling things that would eat at him, including bad tangents and improper overlapping between the artwork and the trade dress. I now drive my assorted staff members crazy with the same stuff.


Ø Im really hoping Marvel Boy’s entrance in the Secret Invasion mini is awesome !! 🙂

Posted by underworldeve on 2008-07-28 16:53:06>

It is. (Not that that was a question…)


Ø I was considering diving into the Essential Iron Man series. A new edition of vol. 1 is coming out in September and Marvel just released vol. 3 in April. Unfortunately, vol. 2 seems to be out of print and I’d rather not jump in on this series if I can’t read the stories in order.

Is Marvel planning on another print of volume 2 any time soon?

Posted by friskydingo on 2008-07-28 18:26:50>

In general, we try to keep our ESSENTIAL volumes in print regularly, assuming we have backorders for them. But with so many of them in our catalogue at this point, there are times when one volume or another goes out of print. But every year, our Collections Department plans out a program of back-to-press releases for both the ESSENTIALS and the MASTERWORKS, so assuming there’s a demand for them—and given the success of the IRON MAN movie, I’d expect there would be—it’s almost a certainty that the volume you’re talking about will come back into print before too long.


Ø- Is Ultimate X-Men cancelled after Ultimatum?
– The sollicitations for Avengers The Initiative say : “The explosive finale starts here!” Does this mean that the series will be axed? With what issue?
– Is there any unannounced major new Marvel Heroes series post Secret Invasion?
– When will the mysterious project that Marvel has been teasing will be unveiled? (Nobody’s on our side)

Posted by softverre on 2008-07-29 05:04:27>

These are all spoiler-questions, so there’s very little I’m going to be able to tell you in regards to most of them. Can’t tell you anything more about ULTIMATUM or what comes afterwards other than that it’s going to be epic. No, AVENGERS: THE INITITIVE isn’t axed—that copy refers to the finale of the SECRET INVASION tie-in sequence. Yes, there are other new Marvel Heroes projects coming in the aftermath of SECRET INVASION. And we’ll be telling you what those teaser ads are all about soon.


ØQuestion: Do you think a book that features true progression would sell? What I means is, for example, a single book that features Spider-Man where he ages in real time without the illusion of change, where there are no retcons, and where things like dead mean dead are followed. I am not talking about changing BND, instead I am interested in a separate book that follows its own storyline. What I would like to see is a Spider-Man book where it starts with Peter as say age 14 and every 12 issues he is aged one year. To me, that is the compromise that is needed to get the fans like me, who like a tight continuity, to be able to enjoy Marvel books again. So to repeat, do you, or anyone reading this, think this would sell?


Posted by rebeldragon on 2008-07-29 08:38:14>

I think you could do a series like this—and over the years, some have been done, SAVAGE DRAGON for example—but I don’t think that series is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, or indeed any of the other classic core Marvel characters. That’s just not how the Marvel characters operate—they’ve proven to be so popular over such a long period of time that it would be foolish to allow them to change so much or grow so old as to not be equally appealing to the new crop of readers who are coming in every generation. In some ways, this desire is a self-centered one on the part of a particular generation, to have the characters age and grow with you. And that’s perfectly understandable, and a desire that’s been felt by all of the assorted generations of readers. However, Spider-Man and the other Marvel characters belong not to one single generation but to all of them, so while we like to put the characters through their paces and watch them grow and change along the way, you don’t really ever want to get to the point in the main books where the characters are past their shelf-life.

Speaking to this question a bit more specifically: when did you start reading Spider-Man? Let’s say for the sake of argument that you began reading the book when Spidey got married in 1987. Assuming that this rule was in place from the get-go (since it wouldn’t be fair to the earlier generations to deny them the same sort of progression), the Spider-Man you first encountered wasn’t a young twenty-something about to be married for the first time—he would have been a forty-one year old, presumably with a full-time job and a career, and precious little time to be web-slinging. And today he’d be an old man of sixty-two, and closing in on retirement. And as much as you say that’s what you want, it really isn’t—and wouldn’t be at all fair to the generations of readers coming to the character in 2008, 2018, or 2028. And I definitely don’t think that doing a series like this would pull back the angry readers you’re talking about, any more than they’ve all suddenly started reading SPIDER-GIRL.

More later.

Tom B

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2 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 3

  1. My first issue of Amazing Spider-Man was #56, released in October 1967. That cover still pops out at me with Spidey and Doc Ock jumping out of the Daily Bugle newspaper. I think Marvel Comics in general look best with that 1967 look. But, I do still enjoy different looking art and am a big fan of the current Eternal series. The only change I would make on that series would be that small blue lettering reversed out of a black background, which isn’t reader-friendly to older readers with more sensitive eyeballs.

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