Sunday, May 20, 2007


I'm pissed. As in "angry", not as in "drunk".
What's the matter with inventing replies like "Paul Jenkins was really receptive of the idea"? That's cheating. And not in a ha-ha-funny way. While you're at it, why don't you write that you spoke to Stephen King and he found a gap in his schedule so he can actually write Spider-Man after all? Oh, hey, Alan Moore called. He wants to write Balance of Power! And Jack Kirby, who I just found out returned from the dead has agreed to offer the artwork. For free!

Not. Cool. And I can't imagine that Sean approved this.

Couldn't you come up with possible replacements or what led to this? Be prepared to have Tom rip you a new one tomorrow.

The least you could have done is you could have told us of this idea.


Patrick Cook said...

Michael, I'm absolutely flummoxed. I truly have no idea what you're zeroing in on. Did I break some rule here that I'm missing?!?!?!?!

Michael Heide said...

Imagine this as an old-school pen&paper role playing game.

Tom is the dungeon master. We are the players. And then there are the writers, artists, other editors and departments at Marvel, NPC's (that's "Non Player Characters") whose actions and reactions are decided by Tom.

Let me repeat that: BY TOM.

Posting that you ask Stephen King if he's interested in writing Amazing Spider-Man? Predictably futile, but playing by the rules.

Practically posting that Matt Fraction isn't interested in getting signed by BigMoney Comics? That's not.

But my biggest gripe is not that you decided to play God.

My biggest gripe is the way you went at it.

We all agreed on posting our moves here, so we can discuss certain points, so Sean can approve our plans or explain why he's against them.

And now you write a post here: "Those are the points I'm going to include in my post to Tom", getting approval, and then including a bombshell like that a couple of minutes before the deadline.
If you really had no idea that deciding what your writers and artists will say to your plans is wrong, why did you try to slip it in under the radar like that?

Patrick Cook said...

Michael, I still honestly don't understand where I tripped up, but if I did, I apologize for breaking any of the unspoken rules.

I thought that everything I included was what I was speaking of. I sprung off Sean's ideas on Frontline and the standalone, with suggested teams, and potential backups.

With regard to any of the creators, all I indicated was that I've had conversations with them. If any of them announce tomorrow they're heading for Big Money, so be it, that's the way this plays out. I didn't say any of them had committed to staying with us and not following Wacker, just that I'm in continuing discussions with them about where they're going. If one of them gets pulled from me tomorrow to head to Big Money, that's the way of the business.
I can promise you, I never in any way intended for it to appear as though I've closed the deal with any of them. Just that I'm continuing to talk with them and this is what we're talking about. I can tell you this, even in re-reading my post it was never my intention to indicate that Fraction is a lock to stay. Just that he and I are talking like an editor and his writer would.

Seriously, no harm intended here, and apologies for anything perceived as such.

Michael Heide said...

How can you know that Matt Fraction is still committed to Spider-Man? That he's "EXTREMELY RECEPTIVE" to the idea of hitting all sorts of comic news websites? That he's interested in writing a blog to hype Amazing Spider-Man?
How can you know that Paul Jenkins is interested in a Balance of Power: Frontline series?
How can you know that Casey is interested in the flashback issue, let alone that he wants Tom Scioli on the book?

Okay, maybe I overreacted. You know what, I'll take a break, smoke a cigarette and calm down. I'm really interested in what the others have to say about this.

Sean Kleefeld said...

First off, Mike, I hope you've had that cigarette! :)

I totally see where you're coming from but, seriously, it's only a game and not worth getting upset about. That being said, I do owe you and Phil an apology for not having brought the point up and dealing with it earlier. I didn't realize it was getting to you, and I'm sorry I didn't act on this sooner.

Pat, let me start by saying that I'm not upset. But I do agree with the general point that Mike is making.

In a role-playing game, whether that's this one or D&D or some computer adventure game or whatever, you -- as a player -- only have a say over one person: your character. In this game, your character is "Pat Cook, Editor". You can tell Tom what your character does, but it's up to him to tell you how other people act and REact.

It's okay that you say that you call up Jenkins to talk about a new series. But what Jenkins' response is -- or if he even responds at all -- is not for you to say. You said that he "seemed interested" but you really don't know that. You don't know how any given character will react; that's what Tom is for. So you can say, "I call Jenkins and ask him if he wants to work on a new book" but you can't say, "I call Jenkins and he says he's interested in writing a new book." Do you see the difference there? I ask the question in all seriousness because if you don't, I'll be happy to try to elaborate further. I want to make sure we're all playing by the same "rules."

Like I said, I'm not upset. Tom seemed to be ignoring that aspect of your posts, so that was what I did as well. I don't know if you've really played RPGs before or what rules may or may not have been established, but it does go against the spirit of role-playing if you get to determine what your character does as well as how people react.

To Mike's other point, that concerns me a little more. We agreed at the outset that we would use this forum for discussions and Tom's blog for simply posting our actual "moves." Your note about the BestBuy thing confuses me because, yes, we did discuss the idea here, but I had not brought it up in the forum with Tom as an actual move and therefore could not have an answer on it. (Again, reinforcing that Tom is the one who can provide us with reactions.) Admittedly, it was a lapse on my part to not ask about it -- and for that I apologize, it IS a question worth asking. But asking for a response to a question I clearly have not yet asked raises some questions in my mind.

The ADA thing was a little odd, too. Not quite as confusing as the BestBuy idea, since you pose it as "Can we have a conversation about this" question. Of course I'd be happy to talk about those kinds of ideas. I like to think that I've been pretty open about listening to suggestions. But that discussion should happen here.

Tom's forum, in respect to this game, is for WHAT IS. I call Matt Fraction. The sales of FF are this number. Brian Vaughan declines my exclusive contract offer. Mike apologizes to Weinberg. This forum is for WHAT COULD BE. What should our "event" be? How should we solicit this series? Would it be alright if we tried this? How can I achieve that?

Again, I'm not mad. I'm not trying to upset you. But I am just a little concerned that you might have a different set of experiences and expectations that might be significantly different than not only us, but also Tom. I want all five of us (I'm including Tom) to do well in this game first of all, but I also want us to enjoy the experience. It should be something that we can all walk away from with a great deal of insight, experience, enjoyment, understanding... And I don't want you to be someone who walks away feeling shortchanged because your expectations of the game run counter to what the game is designed to be.

Patrick Cook said...

I'll plead guilty here, at the risk of getting pummelled. No, I don't play RPGs, and pretty much never have. Did D&D once when it first started decades ago, but that was pretty much it.

I see your point, but again, confess, none of this was done to box the creators into moving forward. I actually thought by saying at one point that he "seemed" interested could even come back to bite me in behind, when he potentially jumps ship. My thoughts are that these guys could have hung up the phone with me and then called Wacker and said they're his. That's actually what I'm expecting, and then I'll say damn, I thought they were staying put.

And yeah, we've all had our heads spinning with all the ideas being kicked back and forth. I know I've read them all, but I also know I haven't replied to them all.

On the marketing stuff - which is absolutely coming down on you in the end - I thought I was just brainstorming. I also figured Tom would weigh in on them and blow them out of the water, as he did with the movie theatre giveaways.
From my end, the back and forth on this is a teaching tool. Clearly, Mike didn't approve of certain wording, but it was not written in a manner that was intended to undercut anything that folks are doing throughout the sim.

Michael Heide said...

I'm calm.

And I'm sorry if I overreacted in my original post. I just felt stabbed in the back by you, I guess. Pair that with the caffeine I consumed in the last few days, and the result is the unprofessionalism displayed by me.

Patrick Cook said...

Hey, no harm, no foul.

Just don't take Fraction for Uncanny.

Michael Heide said...

I still hope I can keep Weinberg.

Philip Schaeffer said...

Wow, I go away for a few hours and look at what happens...

Philip Schaeffer said...

Oh, but I will apologize to Mike here about posting word of Magneto turning bad. I posted that and was gone from a computer before your comment came up. How about T'Challa just thinks Magneto's mad, or maybe he's just using his coffee cup. The point is they're distracted with each other when Doom and Namor are launching an attack on American soil cause neither T'Challa nor Magneto would have been down with that. Sorry to encroach on X-Office business (though I thought I'd posted that plot point before and it had not been met with objection, that's the only reason I posted such officially).

Michael Heide said...

No harm done, Philip. I actually posted objection here in the respective comments section (I think), but it might have been too late for you to see.

plok said...

Might I suggest that there could be a good reason for T'Challa to have a heightened suspicion of Magneto (even though Doom is right there, too, ouch!), and that's because he may know the tiniest bit of something about what happened during House Of M? Through Storm; through some other kind of high-level grapevine or espionage connection; maybe even through Hawkeye; whatever. Maybe he doesn't even know enough of the full story to make solid connections, but perhaps his panther-senses get something weird and guilt-ridden and secretive off Magneto, which combines with whatever knowledge he's gleaned to make him want to keep an eye on him? Because Doom's never been unpredictable by nature, but rather a schemer with consistent goals; however Magneto is a wild card, with a ridiculous amount of personal power. So Magneto could make moves fast, just by turning around, whereas whatever Doom may be planning on, at least T'Challa can be certain that he has a plan...meaning, whatever Doom may or may not be up to, it is a matter of "balance of power", and therefore it would at least be theoretically manageable by other words, Doom is content to play chess, confident in his intellectual superiority play, but Magneto is capable of upending the board, and could destroy the internal balance of power of the Defenders group himself in about one minute. After all, he's been good, he's been evil, he's apparently recently been involved in a huge secret disaster that nobody's saying much about...his goals are far from intelligible, and that makes him potentially a very loose cannon as far as the Defenders' global profile goes, more dangerous to their mission than even Namor's famous temper.

(Although, who leaves Doom and Namor alone in a room together, like ever? Oh well...)

Anyway, just a thought! Hope you find it useful, if you need to.

Love the efficient way you guys settled your misunderstanding here, by the way; as we all know, online interactions can so easily get out of control where good will is absent...