Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 7

Another post from my long-ago Marvel blog in which I answered a string of questions posed by the readers.

Reader Questions 7

June 4, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Forced to skip a day due to the pressures of geting books out the door, but now I’m back with more answers to your questions. Might even be able to finish this up today.

> what is planned about the Eternals..I’d like to know if we will see them in their own title or incorporating in the MU someway ? >

The regular ETERNALS series has ended, but you’ll likely see them turn up around the Marvel Universe from time to time.

>What can you tell us about Rom the Space Knight ?

Posted by wildasparagus on 2009-05-25 13:06:09>

I can tell you that Rom was a licensed property, based on an action figure, and so we no longer have the rights to use him.

>I’d like to know more about an ongoing HOWARD THE DUCK written by Ed Brubaker…
or is that only rumors ?

Posted by bulgarianyogurt on 2009-05-25 14:58:02>

I’m not even sure it qualifies as rumors. More like somebody’s fever-dream. No plans for this at all–Ed’s got much more important projects to be working on right now.

>As editors, how do you determine what new monthly titles you will develop, especially with the overall market seeming to be shrinking? For example, I love the Avengers the reunion limited series and would love to see that turn into a monthly. For that to happen would the limited had to have sold so many copies or do you launch new titles if there is a compelling story to be told for the characters regardless of projected sales. I hope that makes sense. Thanks!

Posted by jlanhammd on 2009-05-25 15:09:24>

In terms of launching an ongoing rather than a limited series, it really does depend on the factors you cite, such as interest in the marketplace, what the creative team is and what story we’re trying to tell. There’s also an element of gut-feeling that goes into making these decisions as well–sometimes you just get a vibe that the time is right to launch this character or that character in a big way.In terms of NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION, that whole series was predicated around the idea of telling that specific story of Clint and Bobbi. And while there’s certainly other stories that could be done with the two of them, and a perfect set-up in place at the end of REUNION, it’s more likely that we’ll do some manner of follow-up limited series rather than springboard the characters into an ongoing. Sales on the REUNION limited were good, but that has a number of extra factors going for it (use of the NEW AVENGERS name and logo, and the direct spin-out from SECRET INVASION) that wouldn’t be present in a Clint/Bobbi ongoing series.

>After watching the Star Trek movie, I got to thinking about how timeline changing events can and should be handled with great care and still be pulled off successfully. I think the new Star Trek movie surprisingly did it well, but I am having a harder time defining what exactly was done right.

So when Marvel does a timeline changing event, how do you feel it should be handled just right? What kind of things must be done in order to make such a transition?

Posted by DRock1 on 2009-05-25 23:39:10>

We haven’t really done any timeline-changing events, have we? The only one that comes to mind is “One More Day”, and I think I’ve exhausted every available syllable on that subject. But talking about STAR TREK for a moment, I don’t think the reason that movie worked was because of the timeline-changing, I think the reason it worked was because the characters (and the actors playing them) were so engaging and fun. I genuinely believe that, if you’d just done the same movie and the same basic threat without the time-travel element, and just assumed that it was a new reboot of the franchise, it would have done just as well.

> Are there any plans to complete the collection of John Byrne’s Alpha Flight run? A second volume was solicited last year but never arrived. (I’d love to see the Claremont/Byrne Marvel Team-Ups collected too, but I guess the latest MTU Essentials volume might rule that out.) >

I think there’s a desire to do more John Byrne ALPHA FLIGHT collections, yes, but the first one didn’t perform all that well (which is no great surprise, seeing as how we don’t have a successful ALPHA FLIGHT project of any sort at the moment, so interest in the property is at a bit of a low point out in the world). We may get around to more volumes eventually, but it doesn’t seem to be high on the to-do list right this moment. And there are no plans that I’m aware of to collect the Claremont/Byrne MARVEL TEAM-UP stories, though a few of them have turned up in other places such as the zero volume of John Byrne FF Visionaries.

>Likewise, any plans for more Roger Stern Spider-Man Visionaries… particularly as by volume 3, we’d be onto the classic Amazing run with JRJR?

Posted by rolhirst on 2009-05-26 06:43:10>

This is the same sort of deal, I’m afraid. The first Stern Visionaries volume wasn’t a huge success, so we’re putting our more immediate efforts elsewhere right this second. I think if we wanted to reprint Roger’s AMAZING run with JRJR, we’d do that under another title at this point.

>When is the Young Avengers (proper) title going to resume, i am assuming that when and if it does it will still have the same creative team as before

Posted by tsull2121 on 2009-05-26 10:23:12>

I answered the first part of this question a day or two ago–there won’t be an ongoing YOUNG AVENGERS series until after Allan and Jim’s AVENGERS project concludes. And that’s far enough away that nobody can make any promises as to what the creative team might be. In the meantime, we’ll continue to do YOUNG AVENGERS limited series whenever the mood strikes us.

>I hope to ask this politely, and don?t intend to offend. Why is so much effort and talent being used to tell previous Marvel classic stories within the Ultimate Universe? Why aren?t the original stories, original plot twists, and original versions of the characters good enough for new readers? I understand the intent was to help new readers avoid 40 years of back story. What happens when there are enough, in other words too many, back stories for the Ultimate Universe? I ask only because Bagley and Immonen should always be telling first run stories, not re-hashing what someone else has done before. On the one hand, we?ve got digital comics, Omnibus collections and trade paperbacks, so the source material for any reader is out there and exists. Conversely, we?ve got the Ultimate Universe, the Heroes Reborn Universe, The New Universe, The Future Past Universe, The Zombie Universe, Age of Apocalypse Universe, House of M Universe, Deathlok Universe, Peter Porker Universe, What If Universe(s) ? and I suspect I?ve missed a few universes. Perhaps the problem for new readers isn?t back story, perhaps its outright confusion between what character, what time line and what universe. Maybe it?s time for Marvel to have a DC Comics Crisis of its own for new readers, instead of an Ultimate Universe? >

I hardly think the Ultimate Universe is doing nothing more than retelling previous Marvel stories–there’s a bit more to that universe than that. Starting that universe from scratch allowed those creators both to world-build with a foreknowledge of many of the ideas and concepts to come, and therefore tie elements of the Marvel canon together in interesting ways that weren’t possible in the organically-grown Marvel U. It also allowed them to view these characters, stories and situations with a 21st Century eye. As much as I love all of those early Marvel books, they’re very much of their time, not only in terms of their sometimes-goofy story content, but in the way those stories are told. And that can be off-putting to the readers of today. It’s like expecting them to be enthralled by the television programs of 45 years ago. Some people will come to those stories and love them just fine, but the vast majority of potential new readers find those tales dated and quaint and stodgy. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reworking those concepts in an attempt to make them work for the younger readers of today–especially since it’s not like we’re doing away with either the importance of the original stories in the Marvel U, nor not reprinting those old stories again and again. And I don’t think Marvel needs any sort of a Crisis–all that would do is to limit the possibilities for stories that don’t fit inside a very narrow box. There’s a way to tell any story and make it accessible to a novice reader (the STAR TREK film we talked about a few questions back is a good example of that), but we folks working on these stories often become so familiar with our own storylines and our own history that we shortcut the information to one another and to the hardcore fans, because we all know what we’re talking about already. That’s the kind of stuff that turns a new reader off, when he can’t even understand what a story is about, and he’s given no way to hook into and care about the characters involved. Plus, at this point the Ultimate Universe is years old, and it isn’t hurting anybody.

>Is there any chance of Marvel getting back in touch with the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, and doing another series? The 70s books are a must read for any Merry Marvel Marching Membership B?Wana, and I?d appreciate any back story you might have on those books, why discontinued, ill feelings, etc.

Posted by mouthbreather on 2009-05-26 11:36:38>

No plans to pursue more ERB material at this point, mouth. We’ve mostly moved away from doing a lot of licensed series in the past decade, with the exception of situations that hold a dramatic potential to expand the audience and draw in new readers (the Stephen King books, Ender’s Game, Halo, etc.) And I wasn’t around when the previous ERB titles were being done, but I would guess that the reason they were discontinued is that they were no longer profitable enough to justify continuing with, and I don’t believe that there’s any animosity on anybody’s part on either side of the equation about them.

> I understand that Marvel is not accepting unsolicited submissions at the moment, and that you guys are constantly looking for new talent anyway, but is there any way that Marvel could start a monthly “New Talent Showcase” or something so that a larger group of lesser experienced writers/artists get a one-time shot to give their best to the world? I understand that the indie labels and the internet are a great way to get started, but I would love to see Marvel getting more involved in getting young talent started as opposed to swooping in after the fact. >

Honestly, no. And the reason is very simple: while every prospective creator in the world would love to contribute to such a project, nobody in the world really wants to buy it. And these days, with the opportunities for digital publishing on the web as well as the indie market, there really isn’t the same kind of a need for that training ground as there might have been twenty years ago. The name Marvel stands for the highest level of professional quality when it comes to making comic books, and that’s a reputation we guard thoroughly. We put out or stinkers just like everybody else, but our standards are very high. You need to prove that you’re ready to meet those standards before you’re going to have a shot at working on a Marvel book. We hire a ton of young talent all the time–you just need to look at the books to see a whole slew of new faces popping up in them–but only from those folks who’ve proven that they have what it takes.

>2) Can Yost/Kyle go back to writing the New X-Men? Please? I promise I’ll buy three of each issue if you take the newer, younger characters currently being butchered by Fraction and Guggenheim and gave them back to Yost/Kyle. I have yet to find anything either of them has ever put in print that is not completely amazing.

Posted by bpmcgackin on 2009-05-26 12:52:46>

No plans for Craig and Kyle to return to NEW X-MEN any time soon, but they seem to be keeping their plates full with X-FORCE and assorted other mutant-related projects. (Though when it comes to butchery, weren’t Kyle and Yost the guys who mowed down a dozen or so characters in the course of their run? Talk about butchers–!)

>Whats the most common way that writers and artists join certain books? I’m talking about guys who already work at Marvel. Do the writers/artists tell you they want to work on certain books and from there you try to make that happen, or do you decide that certain creators would “fit” with certain books, or is it more “Millar and Hitch are pretty popular, lets see what they can do to Fantastic Four’s sales.” >

It’s a little bit of everything you list, really. As we work with people, and carry on conversations with them, we begin to learn which creators have a real love for which characters. From there, though, when a particular series opens up, the editor in question along with Joe Q will cast around for the best available person to take over that series, based on their own opinion as much as anything else. Since you mentioned Millar and Hitch, let me do a walkthrough on FF to quickly break down how the last few creative teams came about. When Waid and Ringo finished up their time on the series, having an FF film on the horizon, we knew we wanted to get one of our bigger creators on board, so we approached JMS and cajoled him into taking on the series, pairing him up with Mike McKone. But after a year or so, JMS got busy enough during the CIVIL WAR tie-in issues that something had to give, and that something was FF. So, needing somebody who could step in and pick up the baton halfway through, I thought of Dwayne McDuffie. Having worked with Dwayne, I knew that he was a huge FF fan (and I had promised him more than a decade earlier that if I ever got the series I would hire him to write it.) So I called him up and enlisted him to write up through the end of CIVIL WAR. Hearing that JMS was leaving FF, and having concluded their time on ULTIMATES, Mark and Bryan reached out to me about the possibility of them taking over the book at some point, which sounded good to me. Knowing that they’d need lead time, we planned a starting point, and then I asked Dwayne if he’d stay on through that point to bridge the gap. (And Dwayne ended up doing three additional issues right at the end to help buy us more time.) As Mark and Bryan began to approach the end of their run, I began to think about who could replace them, and it dawned on me that the previous teams had all been veterans. I thought it might be a good idea to bring a younger writer with a fresh voice in, to mix things up and hopefully approach the characters with new eyes. Jonathan Hickman ended up being that person, and I put him together with the more-established Dale Eaglesham to help balance out the pedigree and experience level of the title. What happens from here is anybody’s guess.

>What, do you think, is regarded at Marvel as the best story arc of the last 10 years? There must be stories that you, as a company, have put out that have made you think, “we nailled every bit of that.”

Posted by dugdale24 on 2009-05-26 13:32:58>

This is such a subjective question that it’s hard to answer for certain. I think that most people around here would probably point towards CIVIL WAR as the best recent benchmark of both commercial and quality success. But there are plenty of others as well. ASTONISHING X-MEN by Joss and Cass, for example, was very strong, as was ULTIMATES by Mark and Bryan, DAREDEVIL by Bendis and Maleev, X-FORCE/X-STATIX by Milligan and Allred, CAPTAIN AMERICA by Brubaker and Epting, and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN by Bendis and Bagley. For me personally, the best run I’ve ever been associated with was the Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo FANTASTIC FOUR.

And that’s a wrap, people! Thanks for playing! A special post tomorrow, and then back to business as usual on Monday (hopefully with a long-delayed Trading Update.)

Tom B

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