Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 3

A blog post from my old Marvel.com blog, one of another series in which I answered questions posed by the audience.

Reader Questions 3

May 28, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

It never ends! More answers to the questions you wanted to ask!

>1). In the August solicitation of Marvel Spotlight, it seems to mention events that we haven’t yet heard of (the original Human Torch’s return, a new Fantastic Four, and revisiting the Clone Saga in some form). Are these actually upcoming events? >

Yes, and you’ll hear about them all further in the coming months. We just announced THE TORCH, an 8-issue limited series masterminded by Alex Ross, the new FF refers to the oncoming creative team of Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham beginning with #570, and there’ll be news about the Clone Saga shortly.

>2). What is something that DC is currently doing or publishing that you wish Marvel was doing?

Posted by Asian_Pirate on 2009-05-22 21:03:49>

Employing Geoff Johns. Or should that be “renting” him?

> Is there any chance Marvel will get some other legacy characters anytime soon? I thought what you guys did with Cap took guts, and turned out quite well, even it it does just get undone by a certain book this year (although I hope it doesn’t).

Posted by onefinemess on 2009-05-22 22:20:51>

There’ll probably be an occasional legacy character here or there, but as a rule of thumb, I tend to think that these sorts of characters don’t work as well in the Marvel mythology as they do elsewhere. The core of what makes Marvel Marvel is that the people inside the costume aer more important than the costume itself–so the idea that you could have a replacement Spider-Man or a replacement Thor of any duration just feels wrong. Cap is one of the few characters in the Marvel line for whom this sort of thing can work–and even then, it’s only been successful because we’ve been able to make readers interested and invested in James Barnes, regardless of what outfit he’s wearing.

> Why are there several gaps in the site’s digital runs on many series? I understand that not every Marvel comic ever published can possibly be digitized, but some gaps leave me scratching my head. For example, the current Captain America series runs from issue #1 straight to issue #21 but then jumps to issue #26. That’s a four issue gap that includes the famous death issue. This is one example of many similar gaps of important issues. Is this intentional? >

To be honest, I’m not entirely certain. I know that, on occasion, some material will rotate in and out and around that area of the site. It could be that we’re planning to do something with the Death of Cap digital material online around the CAP #600 celebration or something–but I’m honestly not certain.

>I don’t have a second question, but I would like to brag that I had the seriously cool pleasure of meeting Stan Lee today in Brentwood, CA!!!

Posted by punkfunkandjunk on 2009-05-23 01:17:50>

He’s just as cool in real life, isn’t he?

>1. What does it really take for a person to break into the Biz? I’m an Inker (and can do other positions of the CRAFT) and I’ve been trying for decades (I will not give up). I know at times it is being in the right place at the right time. I know it’s networking like a madman. I know it involves a certain degree of talent. I know it’s getting published elsewhere (the dreaded catch 22). I know of other things as well; however what I don’t know or the information that I am lacking is enough to drive a dedicated person insane. I could use any insight that you might care to divulge to me and anyone else who cares to listen. Please. >

As I’ve said in the past, you need talent, perseverance and luck. But there’s also a reality that some folks will need to face: not everybody is good enough to do this professionally. I obviously can’t judge your work blind, Reed, and I don’t want to discourage you in your quest (since perseverance is one of the three things I stress.) However, if you’ve been actively trying to break in for literally decades, and have gotten nowhere, then my first guess is that your work perhaps isn’t as strong as you think it is. If you’re doing everything else right (and you can be honest enough with yourself to have an idea of what you may be doing wrong) then the most obvious deficit that would keep you from finding success would be talent. I also find your comment about being published elsewhere as a Catch-22 as a sign of a problem. At Marvel, we hire the best people and maintain the highest overall standards–just a glance at our line should show that. If you do have the skills, though, you should have no difficulty finding a break among the minor leagues of independent publishing. Unless you’re simply not interested, and haven’t been knocking on those doors. If that’s the case, then perhaps you’re not networking enough like a madman, and need to reassess where and how you’re devoting your efforts. Nobody gets to start at the top in any business, so why would you think you could bypass paying your dues and learning your craft in the minors before we’d give you a shot? Every opportunity to get into print and hone your skills is an opportunity, and should be pursued. In any event, regardless of how negative this must sound, I wish you the best of luck.

>2. I have kind of fallen away from reading comics a bit and keeping up with the current books (Mostly due to economic reasons and 10+ years of attending SDCC [see above]) . I have 2 decades or better of most of the longer running titles. I started sliding back in 96 when I had some difficulties that affected me financially. the problem I have now is that I really don’t like the direction that the line has taken since that point and I really doesn’t make me want to jump back on board. (I had a similar problem in the 70’s with Marvel. That and still being a kid then.) Any way I wanted to see about your opinion about when older readers start tapering off because they don’t like what’s being done. The argument is always “Change”. However lately both major companies are just rehashing ideals and concepts that were done 20-30 or more years ago. it’s not really change if it’s been done in some form.

Posted by Reed Richards Prime on 2009-05-23 03:48:34>

This is sort of a broad question, but if I could pare it down to what I think you’re saying, it’s that you don’t like the current state of the books in our line. And that’s valid–not every comic book is for every reader, after all. And while I would hate to aim your attentions elsewhere, if what we’re doing isn’t floating your boat, there are dozens of publishers out there who are putting out a wide range of material–some of it may be more to your liking. Or there are always collections of the great storylines of the past–we’ve got more stuff available and in print in TPB and Hardcover form than at any time previous.I will take issue with the statement that all we’re doing is rehashing ideas and concepts from the past–I don’t think that’s the case at all. If you publish any group of characters long enough, there are going to be certain themes and patterns that emerge historically over time. The trick is not to just do the same stories again and again, but to find new wrinkles in the material. On the surface, SECRET INVASION and the KREE/SKRULL WAR are both about aliens from outer space attacking the Earth, but they’re very different stories. Still, your mileage may vary, and if you don’t care for what we’ve been doing, no amount of carrying on by me is going to change your point of view.

>I am really enjoying the work of Tom and Ron on the Spectacular Spider-Girl. I was very disappointed when the Amazing Spider-Girl comic was cancelled earlier this year, but I was very excited when May and company received new life in the Spectacular Spider-Girl Digital comic!

With all the times that Spider-Girl has been cancelled over the years I am wondering if Spectacular Spider-Girl is finally ‘safe’ as a digital comic, or is there some criteria for her ongoing survival in the digital world.

The reason I ask this is Spectacular Spider-Girl stories are reprinted in Amazing Spider-Man Family, yet there is no solicit for Amazing Spider-Man Family in August. Does this bode ill for the the Spectacular Spider-Girl digital series?

Posted by tomek97 on 2009-05-23 05:06:07>

As I said yesterday, I don’t think any book is ever 100% ‘safe’ at any point. Especially in the case of a series like SPIDER-GIRL, which has been dogged by the spectre of cancellation virtually since it was launched over a decade ago. Making the move to digital does change the game a little bit, though, when it comes to Mayday, and if we suddenly saw even 20% of the 20,000-or-so readers who always stood up to support her series when it was ready to be axed in the past start subscribing to the Digital Comics Unlimited program because there were new Spider-Girl stories to be had there, that would go a long way towards securing her future.

>.DnA have turned me into a total Cosmic nerd, any plans to add another cosmic book? >

There’ll be some cool cosmic-related stuff exploding out of the climax of WAR OF KINGS. And the switchover of SKAAR to SON OF HULK ina few months should also scratch your cosmic itch in a completely different way.

>2. With the cancellation of Captain Britain, what book should I add to my pull list?

Posted by scott19438 on 2009-05-23 09:54:23>

I can’t claim to know your tastes overall, but it seems to me that the people who were vocal about liking CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI:13 also seem to dig AGENTS OF ATLAS, another quirky, off-beat and distinctive super hero series set around the periphery of the Marvel U. So that might be a title to explore.

More later.

Tom B

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