Let Brubaker know I appreciate him sending in some pages so Mike can at least get started. We’ll try and streamline this process as much as possible, and I’ll stay on Ed to get the remaining 15 pages of script in as soon as possible. Even so, if we have to delay Wolverine a week or two, it’s not the end of the world (and hopefully Wolverine will still count into our sales figures).
I contact any editors who’ve worked with Finch before, such as Axel Alonso or Tom Brevoort, and ask them if David has a habit of sequestering himself at his drawing table. If they tell me that David going dark right before a deadline is a normal, though irritating, part of his process, I’ll cool down a little bit, though I’ll still take certain steps regarding the production of a cover for Balance of Power 1.
If, however, David’s former editors have no idea what I’m talking about, and tell me that David is usually extremely available during the entire process, we move from DEFCON 3 to DEFCON 2, and I inform the joint chiefs that they should be prepared to move to DEFCON 1 at a moment’s notice. My immediate concern is no longer getting a cover out of Finch in a timely fashion; it’s about replacing him on the book. We’ll need somebody who’s fast, who can bring the heat, who’ll attract readers, and who can start right away. Good freakin’ luck. Jimenez is too slow. Pulling Deodato off FF throws too many wrenches in the works (I'm wracking my brain; suggestions would be great, though there's clearly plenty of time). Man, this’ll teach JMS to trust my judgment.
Even if I get word that David Finch is more often than not out of touch as he puts the finishing, uh, touches on his work, I will nevertheless go forward with the production of a simple, in-house cover for Balance of Power, not entirely dissimilar from Civil War: The Return, something like this:
Except, you know, based off a drawn image with drawn clouds, but you get the general vibe. If Finch comes through whatever layout is used here could still be employed as the series' cover template, or maybe as the cover for the trade, but what I'm mainly trying to convey is that my solution to not having a cover is to create a minimalist one such as this.
I will direct everyone, since we are at least under DEFCON 3, that all radio call signs used by our forces must change to currently-classified call signs—MEANING, if the fact that we are producing a cover for Balance of Power gets back to David Finch, there will be hell to pay; as much as I’d like to (and quite frankly should have as soon as he started grumbling), I still cannot justify burning any bridges with David. Balance of Power has to ship beginning of January, and the best way to accomplish that is with him aboard.
No rush here. We have plenty of time to get this together.