Friday, May 25, 2007

Philip's Day 9 Stuff

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.

14 comments:

Michael Heide said...

I think that cover design is too close to Civil War's. Wasn't one of our original plans to distinguish ourselves from the last Marvel regime? So far, we haven't come up with many differences. Sean is continuing Joe's Newsarama column. We have a massive event in the works that directly follows Disassembled and Civil War. We rely on Marvel mainstays like Ed Brubaker and Dan Slott.

Instead of copying Civil War's cover design, we should go in the opposite direction. Maybe even change the Marvel logo (http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/174-marvel_logo.jpg).

But then again, changing the Marvel Logo would ape DC's current direction.

Philip Schaeffer said...

That may have been one of your original plans, but distinguishing myself from the preceding incarnation of Marvel was never my intention, as I think I've pointed out quite often. My goal was to do things as similarly as possible to the massively successful Quesada operation, but that's mainly because I have no creativity nor sense of adventure.

That being said, the cover design is purposefully close to Civil War's, with an inverted color scheme (sort of). I would love to just have a big David Finch drawing as the cover, but that seems not to be an option, and this is the fastest method of generating art available.

Vallen said...

Hey don't you have someone exclusive sitting around waiting for an Ultimate Wolverine book that doesn't seem to exist? I don't recall him ever being late on a book. Bad at female anatomy maybe but late? And you'll certainly have the sales...

Michael Heide said...

Too slow. If Finch won't reappear we need someone fast. Someone like Mark Bagley or John Romita jr (who's currently working for us on already-solicited issues of Amazing Spider-Man, so that'd slow him down).
Bringing in Michael Turner at this point, we could get a cover, but not a whole issue.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Mark Bagley? or Ron Lim? They can do quick, solid work.

Tim

Philip Schaeffer said...

My brain keeps coming back to Bagley. That makes a lot of sense given time constraints, though I can't recall if he got taken out of play at some point. Besides, I don't know if he's tonally right. Not like I have the option of being picky at this point.

I know Ron Lim's not right. JRJr would work, but he's tied up. Ditto for Deodato (who was ultimately my first choice for this project). Sean floated Immonen at some point; I don't know how fast he is but I don't think he's got the right vibe, either. Epting's way too slow.

Maybe if we ask Jim Lee to draw it whenever he has a spare minute it will take so long as to cause a rip in the fabric of space time and the whole thing will appear complete on my desk this afternoon.

Michael Heide said...

Sounds like a plan... :)

Michael Heide said...

No, seriously. We have to go with Finch. After the letter you wrote JMS, he will be more than just irritated if someone else now does the book.

Plus, I can't tell with our wonky schedule (write the solicitation text today, watch the book's sales tomorrow), but I'm pretty sure we already solicited the book with Finch as the artist. Meaning that if he doesn't pencil at least 50% of the book, it becomes returnable.

And we wouldn't want that...

Philip Schaeffer said...

Hey, behind Deodato (whom I wanted mainly when I envisioned this as a different story), Finch has always been my first choice. I like Cheung's stuff but I never really thought he was the right pick.

Hopefully this is a JRJr letter lost in the mail style test, where the answer is to wait it out and trust that things'll work out.

Except we already had that lesson, didn't we?

My big mistake was not replacing Finch much earlier, like when he first started whining.

And you're absolutely right, Mike, it's going to be a huge, huge problem if Finch doesn't do the book.

Except right now it's possible that he hasn't done a damn thing on it. And that's a really big problem.

Anonymous said...

heh, should've given the book to John Byrne.

Michael Heide said...

Well, think about it this way: If Finch hasn't started pencilling yet and the book misses its shipping date...

We will have to resolicit the book with a different artist and delay most of the books tieing in. Or we ship the book with a different artist (like Bagley) and accept that the book is returnable. Which would only hurt us if readers won't buy it. I guess that JMS and the plot are still enough of a draw to hook readers, so we'd only have to pulp a small percentage of the print run, especially if Finch's replacement is an artist of high quality.

But what does Finch have to lose? If he doesn't fulfill his contract, Marvel won't give him further work. And when word of mouth gets around, other publishers (including Big Money, I'd guess) might be reluctant to hire him. Meaning he will lose money.

Philip Schaeffer said...

Clearly we have to do whatever's necessary to ship that title on time, because if we don't, it won't factor into our final sales figures and there's no way we'll hit the target anyway.

Anonymous said...

Plus, you have ED BRUBAKER writing a knock-off of your big event which ships at the same time! Never trusted that Brubaker...

I think getting your book out on time is priority one. Also, if Finch can't act professionally, it's his own fault. Right? I think one more phone call to him should do the trick. "Unless I hear back from you ASAP, I will assume you are off the book and I will be forced to give the book over to another artist. Call me back."

And then the back-up plan if you don't hear from him...

Vallen said...

It may in fact be ultimatum time for Finch. The cover was a misunderstanding he blew WAY out of proportion and he's acting unprofessional about pitching a fit. Is he exclusive with Marvel? Because the implication may be that he's talking to BigMoney. If that's the case you guy's are getting screwed.

Incidentally since somebody else brought him up in this thread, where is Ed Brubaker finding the time to write an event comic for BigMoney if he's "too busy" writing Cap and Wolverine? Especially since he's already Marvel exclusive...