Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 6

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

Reader Questions 6

June 2, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Seems like it never ends–and I’ not sure how interesting any of this really is to people. But here now are some moer answers to your questions!

> Awhile back (so long ago I forget when exactly) we were told there would be some news about Alpha Flight. When will this come to pass? >

As soon as we have some actual news to impart.

>2. Why is there such negativity towards Alpha Flight at Marvel?

Posted by Legerd on 2009-05-24 21:55:23>

I don’t think there is any negativity towards Alpha Flight at Marvel really, Legerd. It’s simply a property that we haven’t been able to crack how to sell to a wide audience. And that’s really been the case almost from the start. When Alpha first appeared in UNCANNY X-MEN, they were these really cool new characters, but somehow once they got their own series, their mystique quickly vanished, and they became just another team of costumed do-gooders running around slightly north of all the others. Even Alpha mastermind John Byrne has admitted that there wasn’t much to them when he came up with them to fight the X-Men, and that he was sort of making it up as he went along during his tenure on the series. But all that aside, there is something cool and interesting to Alpha Flight, we just haven’t found the right team and the right approach to tap into it yet.

>Who actually writes the Spider-Man newspaper strip? (I presume it’s only ghosted to Stan Lee, just like all the other newspaper comics are ghosted…)

Posted by Fetsur on 2009-05-25 04:53:29>

No, as I understand it, Stan does the newspaper strip himself. I think he may have had other hands kibitzing on story plots from time to time over the years, but all of the dialogue and most of the stories come from him.

>Two of the big story arcs JMS seemed to be building towards in his ASM run were the Ezekiel story, which he pretty much rounded off, and a story with a number of oblique references to Peter’s future. Will this second story arc ever pop up again or is it forever consigned to history? >

Honestly, it depends on whether JMS ever comes back to Spidey to touch on it again, or whether one of the newer Spidey writers decides to pick up the ball with it. But like any future story of Marvel’s characters, I don’t consider anything we saw in the days-to-come to necessarily be binding.

>2) Without revealing specifics, has Marvel got anything else in mind for Paul Cornell (or vica versa), now that MI13 is wrapping up?

Posted by cjmcaree on 2009-05-25 05:36:50>

No, we’re never going to speak to Paul Cornell again, that cad, that bounder! Seriously, Paul’s already writing some other stuff for us (including DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS, on sale now) and we’re continuing to bounce ideas back and forth with him for some other projects. In fact, I’ve got a pitch for him here on my desk that I should be reading rather than answering these questions for you. But what are you gonna do?

> Could you please get the ball rolling on “Spider Man : the end” by Lee & Ditko ? You know we’re running out of time!! >

In all honesty, I don’t think this is something you’re ever going to see, Baxtos. Ditko’s made his feelings about not wanting to return to Spidey very clear over the years, so I have to respect his wishes. So I think SPIDER-MAN: THE END by Stan and Steve was AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #38. (On a separate note, I got to look at an entire issue of Ditko’s breakdowns from the ’60s yesterday that had been unearthed–very cool.)

>How would you compare and rate Marvel’s editorial VS. DC’s editorial today?

Posted by baxtos on 2009-05-25 07:01:12>

Putting the typical chest-thumping aside for one second, I don’t know that I can answer this objectively. For one thing, I only really know a small handful of the guys working uptown at this point. And it seems that, as a company, DC has a different set of goals and objectives than Marvel does in terms of their expectations for their publishing line. I’m often astounded by some of the decisions those folks make, but I’m sure that if I walked the halls of their offices, I’d find that they were equally astounded by some of ours. I will say that I think we have an extremely strong editorial crew over here at this point in time. And judging by our overall sales and the reaction in the marketplace, I think our crew is sharper than their crew overall. They do have some folks on their team such as Mark Chiarello who have buckets of genuine talent and ability and are completely terrific at making comics. But at least from my outsider’s point of view, their goals and directives are often way out of whack with what I want to read. (And, of course, people say that same thing about DARK REIGN or SECRET INVASION or whatever too, so your mileage may vary.)

It goes without saying that our editors are better looking…

>After the end of Captain Britain comics, will Paul Cornell be involved in any ongoing series? >

Answered above, more or less.

>Will Young Avengers ongoing return, as well as Loners? >

The Young Avengers are currently appearing in DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS (written by reader questions column favorite Paul Cornell!) as well as MIGHTY AVENGERS, and you’ll continue to see them moving forwards. But we don’t want to put them in an ongoing series until we’ve got everything set just right in terms of the creative team and the landscape of the Marvel U. And as you’ve no doubt figured out, they play a major role in Allan Heinberg’s upcoming AVENGERS project with Jim Cheung, so until that series is over and done with, the best you’re likely to see are limited series and specials. And there aern’t any specific LONERS plans right now, though we did see most of them over in the DARKHAWK two-issue series leading up to WAR OF KINGS.

>Astonishing X-men will get a regular schedule any time soon?

Posted by claudio pahl on 2009-05-25 10:21:03>

Hey–that’s THREE questions! And after four years, hasn’t an irregular schedule become the regular schedule for ASTONISHING X-MEN?

> will we ever see Silver Surfer in a solo title? I loved the series in the 80s/90s. Any chance Jim Starlin has anything else for the character?

Posted by steelcable97 on 2009-05-25 12:08:07>

I think it’s likely you’ll see more Surfer projects in the relatively near future, but I don’t think Jim Starlin will be involved in any of them.

>With the constant delays on certain titles, in this case I’m talking specifically about Thor, are there steps being taken to address the issue? The current run of Thor is one of my favourites, but it would be nice the book came out according to some kind of schedule. I’d even be okay with the book becoming bi-monthly, ala Astonishing X-Men under Joss Whedon, because I’m then not expecting the book each month. Doesn’t it eat into Marvel’s revenue when a book is only published 6-8 times a year instead of the scheduled 12? >

This is all territory I’ve cover numerous times in the past, but let’s dance the dance one more time since you asked. The reason that the current run on THOR is one of your favorites right now is because of the work being done by JMS and Olivier and Marko. And for a variety of reasons, that work takes the time it takes. Now, editor Warren Simons has been running himself ragged producing other Thor-related specials and one-shots to fill the gaps, so that we haven’t had a Thorless month in a good long while. But those books sell only a fraction of what the main THOR series does, and aren’t received as warmly–and for exactly that same reason: they aren’t being done by the guys whose work you readers as a whole are responding to. So, sure, it would be wonderful if we could suddenly have twelve issues of THOR by these guys every year, but it’d also be wonderful if I woke up this morning withthe power to fly (and only slightly less likely.) And just throwing bodies at the book is going to turn off as many if not more readers than the delays in shipping, and that doesn’t help anyone except for those relatively few readers who just love THOR and don’t care who’s working on it. And in terms of the revenue, a THOR book that comes out 6 times a year and sells let’s say 100,000 copies for the sake of argument is more profitable than a THOR book that comes out 12 times and sells 50,000 copies–it looks the same at first glance, but in the first example, you don’t have as many printing or shipping costs, nor the A & E of producing the story and the artwork. And if you’re filling the off-months with THOR projects that themselves sell 50,000 copies, you’re actually ahead of the game for the year. I know this isn’t remotely the answer you were hoping to hear, Arachkid, but this is the reality that we grapple with every single month in terms of achieving our sales goals. The short-term gain looks like it’d be substantial, but that isn’t really the case anymore–and hasn’t been since the days when it was the character that was selling the comics and the creators remained anonymous.

>And I have to echo Legerd’s questions about Alpha Flight, when is the Flight going to be shown some love?

Posted by Arachkid on 2009-05-25 12:28:21>

Asked and answered above.

More tomorrow.

Tom B

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