Wednesday, May 16, 2007

EIC Random Thoughts

All -- Could you do me a favor when you're posting stuff on Tom's blog? Could you include a title for each post that has something consistent in it? Like "Updates From Spider-Offices" or "X-Editor News" or whatever. The titles come through in a bold, bright blue color and that'd make it easier for me to scan through and make sure I don't miss your comments/thoughts.

Phil -- Wish I'd thought of this sooner, but I'd like you to look into seeing what we need to do get a comic adaptation of the FF movie going. Are we too late for it, can we get creators on it fast enough, what legal hurdles do we need to jump through, etc? I'd suggest intentionally using drawings that do NOT look like the actors so we can bypass getting their autorization/consent for artwork. (Don't know if you saw the (real) version that came out with the first FF movie, but they did the same thing there.) If we can get something out in time, put some reasonable, but not pricey, talent on it. (I'm seriously thinking of folks from smaller presses that not many readers have heard of and are eager for a shot at the "big time.") If you can get it done in time for the movie, just go to it -- I'll trust your judgement; no need for further approvals here.

Amazing Spider-Man solicit (feedback wanted)

Part 1 of 12

Written by Matt Fraction
Pencils by John Romita Jr.
Cover by John Romita Jr.
Variant Cover by John Romita Sr.

Reveal your secret identity to the world? Check. Have your aunt get shot because people found out that secret? Check. Lose the job you’ve held most of your adult life? Check. Go head to the head with the latest, deadliest incarnation of the Sinister Six? Yeah, you can check that one off, too. Iron Fist writer Matt Fraction teams with John Romita Jr., THE pre-eminent Spider-artist of the last two decades to make Peter Parker’s life even MORE miserable. Wait – is that possible? And just why does Doctor Octopus want to get his tentacles on a mysterious letter signed by…..Richard Parker?!?!?!
32 PGS/Rated A……$2.99

Spectacular Spider-Man solicit (feedback wanted)

Fall of the Bugle
A story in 6 parts

Written by David Michelinie
Pencils by John Byrne

Two of fandom’s favorite Spider-creators mark their triumphant return to the webslinger with a Brockbuster! The Daily Bugle, one of New York City’s longest running and most successful newspapers has fallen on hard times! Publisher J. Jonah Jameson has been humiliated by the revelation that one of his own photographers was under the mask of the webspinner that Jameson spewed Venom over for years in the editorials of his newspaper. In the wake of the devastating super-hero war, ace reporter Ben Urich has moved on. Now, the Bugle Ed faces the Ultimate deadline: boost his paper’s sales or his board of directors is ready to stop the presses – forever. Oh yeah, and one of the Bugle’s most infamous competitors is watching the dreaded deadline doom from the sidelines with delight. Who, you ask? You really think we’d reveal something that important in an advance solicit?
32 PGS/Rated A……$2.99

What I need from my EIC.....

Okay Sean, I'm looking for some help from you on a couple of fronts.

Todd McFarlane hasn't responded to an initial inquiry as to his availability for a run of covers for Spectacular Spider-Man. I figured if he got a call right from the top *cough- you* it might go a long way to making him realize how much we value his work. We've got a special run coming up on Spectacular featuring a couple of Spidey's most famous past creators. Think what a special event it would be if one of his most FAMOUS artists ever made a return, if only for covers? Look how popular his Ultimate Spider-Man 100 variant was!

Anyways, lemme know, because if not, I've got to let John know we'll be looking for him to do the covers on his run as well. BTW, you ever confirm things with John? I hadn't heard. I know he works fast, so I'm not too worried about his capacity to meet the deadlines, but I really want to get a few issues in the can early. David is ready to roll as soon as we get his penciller on board.

Over on Amazing, I'm thinking of pulling in rising star (Sorry JMS!) Matt Fraction for the 12-issue arc that John Romita Jr.'s already signed on for. I'm figuring on JRJr doing covers, though it sounds like we've got his dad on board for at least one variant, most likely for the first featuring our new creative team.

Can you check on these items and get back to me? Thanks......

Two things before I really go to bed

Okay. I can't sleep. I guess I'm getting used to staying up the whole night because of the different time zone. However, here are two ideas I had.

Philip: How about calling the event "Ultimate Alliance"? First of all, thanks to the videogame, that name is already familiar to Marvel fans. And if Rich Johnston or Steven Saunders get wind of the name, rumors about a Marvel Universe/Ultimate Universe crossover will come up. Fans don't like the idea of such a crossover (this isn't DC after all), so if we reveal that the Alliance consists of Namor, Victor von Doom, Black Panther, Magneto and whoever I have forgotten, it will come as a positive surprise.

Sean: About the whole "Big Money Comics" situation... We could use this to our advantage. Their company is new. Steve Wacker is a great editor, so he knows his stuff. "Big Money" reeks of a huge budget, reminescent of the early Crossgen.
Let's face it, their comics will probably be successful. But nobody knows that yet for sure.
So how about a crossover between Marvel characters and Big Money characters? That way, if Big Money really is as successful as I predict (because let's face it: Why else would Tom include them in this simulation?), we can use their market power to spotlight our characters. If they tank, we can say that we at least tried to help them off the ground.

If you don't mind, I would like to contact Steve Wacker for a X-Men/Big Money League crossover that would run in its own book, separate from the characters' ongoings. Does he have interest at all? Which Big Money characters would be suited best for this project?

Out for the Night...

Okay, I'm going to go see Spider-Man 3 again. I'm going with girls. I know you don't believe me, but it's true. Let's everybody really try and get it together so that Sean can put out some more overarching goals to combat Big Money tomorrow.


Sean, I also think it might be good to try and get this in front of Tom as soon as possible, possibly as my second move today, definitely with a post from you explaining your reasoning behind it etc.:

After the previously posted three arc stories in Fantastic Four and She-Hulk, instead of a crossover as previously suggested, these two books will instead both be published under a RISE OF THE DEFENDERS banner for three issues each, as will the fourth and fifth issues of Mike's UNCANNY X-MEN (and presumably several other books in the Marvel Universe). In She-Hulk 21-23, She-Hulk and the FF will investigate the previously described and dubious actions of Doctor Doom. In FF, we will follow Doom, Namor, Magneto and T'Challa as they join together as the Defenders, a group with the express purpose of protecting the world from American Initiative Imperialism. After these books have been released, the following linewide crossover will occur, anchored by this limited series:


In this title, we will bear witness to the world's most devasting and unexpected natural disaster, a massive tectonic plate shift, a disaster that will level much of the East Coast of the United States, wipe Miami off the map, drive the Mole Man and his domain up from under ground, crash the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in Times Square and just otherwise wreak havoc.

The first issues of this limited series will follow the Initiative and Underground American heroes disjointed and unsuccessful efforts to save their own cities. We'll see Spider-Man contemplate how little he can really do in the face of such adversity, witness the X-Men struggle to make sense of the disaster, and watch the Fantastic Four as they desperatley try and figure out what they've done wrong, and how bad things must be in the rest of the world.

However, the middle of this series will mark a major turning point for our heroes, as they see that the rest of the world went relatively unharmed, protected by the efforts of the Defenders. Slowly America sees its allies England and Canada request aid from this group whose members number some of the most reviled villains around. And as tensions rise and the debris builds up, we lead to a dangerous conclusion, not only for the fates of all the heroes of the Marvel Universe, but also for an Atlantean Prince whose love for the wife of another man leads the world as we know it to the brink of devastation.


Patrick I'm not trying to poach from you


Sean, is there any way you would ask Byrne (if he declines to work on a second-string Venom-based Spidey book) if he would have any interest in helming the She-Hulk and the Fantastic Four L.A. book?

I'm comfortable letting him write it and draw it, or plot and draw or just write and let Amanda pencil the thing; however he'd like to contribute. Since that's not a title that's going to tie into the events that much, I'd give him total freedom.

And that would, at least initially, comfort lots of people, both fans of the FF and She-Hulk alike.


So Sean, it looks like Stephen King was deep-sixed. Disappointed, but not totally shocked. It was worth making a run at him, though.

I appreciate any help you provide on the John Byrne recruitment for Spectacular. Believe me, I know he's a lightning rod for debate, particularly on the internet, but seriously, the guy is a legend. It's a shame his reputation has been derailed by some of the off-camera skirmishes that have distracted from his work. And as far as Spectacular being a second-stringer, whoever said it can't outsell Amazing? Wouldn't that be terrific validation for Michelinie and Byrne if they were able to show how great storytelling can make or break a book?

And I'll be one of the first to admit - Venom hasn't always been one of my favorite characters, either. But who was it that said there are no bad characters, just bad writers? Let's let Michelinie and Byrne prove to us that there's a great Eddie Brock story lying underneath the surface. And who better to bring it to us than the man who penned his first appearances?

As far as covers go Spectacular, do you think Byrne would be able to handle those duties as well? If not, how about reaching out to another of Venom's grandfathers, Erik Larsen?

I'll be back here shortly with lots more.....

Point of Clarification?

Sorry guys, just getting behind the computer for the first time today, and am slightly confused.

What happened to our posts over on Marvel? I'm trying to track the train of events, but the times on the some of the postings on this blog seem off, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what happened. We didn't get our posts up before Tom checked in?

Any clarification is appreciated, and I'll be blogging shortly.....

Sean? Defenders or not?

I need to tell Bob Weinberg if his fourth and fifth issues (the one with the fill-in art) will be "The Road to Defenders" tie-ins or not.

More Defenders Thoughts

I'm beginning to fear that I may not have enough moves to implement the necessary set-up for the Defenders.

I'm considering scrapping the four part crossover between FF and She-Hulk plan I'd outlined and replacing it with a four part Road to the Defenders Arc, same books.

This may be a bad plan because it basically requires people to pick up a couple of issues of She-Hulk in order to follow what's arguably the most globally important story going on.

The She-Hulk/California book sequence doesn't matter that much in the scheme of the Defenders so once she's in her own mini I'm not worried about keeping her int he loop, and it might be better character motivation if crossover with the FF shows her that she really wants to be part of the FF again, but not a part of it here in gritty New York.

So maybe Sean we could use second 500 word turns today outlining the crossover. We're currently (between what I do in FF and what Mike may do in his 4 and 5 Uncanny) basically 5 issues away from being able to start the Defenders/Disaster miniseries. I'm worried about waiting too long to get the wheels in motion as well as waiting too many issues to start it up, for fear that we won't reap any sales benefits from the actual event.

Also, Mike made an interesting point on Tom's blog; you may want to take actions to sign several people as exclusives, so we don't have to fight with Bigmoney.

Solicitation Texts, Additional

Philip just did, but I still don't know if Brubaker will take over Wolverine, or if Andy Diggle writes the first issue. I guess Patrick has similar problems with Amazing Spider-Man, now that Stephen King is out of the picture.

Oh, and one other thing. How about we pitch other titles? Additional books? If we do (and they are approved by Sales management), would they add to our sales? It could be a shortcut to the 504'000 books. Unless additional books would raise our goal.


Since King's been ruled out as a possible writer...

I really feel like the only thing that could possibly boost our sales sufficiently, in light of a big new third comics company who's starting up and will presumably take up some market real estate, at least initially, is a major freaking stunt. One of these is, as I've expressed a million times, way more appealing to me than the other.

One: Kill Spider-Man or Wolverine.

It'll sell books. It's a terrible idea but it'll sell books and we'll reach our target.

Two: Linewide crossover.

If we can't add a mini to the lineup, you can cancel She-Hulk and use its spot. I think it would really behoove us all to pitch some ideas and see what best works with the directions we've all taken our titles.

I've already suggested my Defenders pitch, which I've merged with Sean's Natural Disaster pitch. My original Defenders pitch has the X-Men in a pretty prominent role dealing with the addictive mutant drug but it doesn't jive at all with what you're doing in Uncanny. Question, my man Mike: outside of crossovers, do I have your permission to use Magneto in my FF Road to Defenders Arc?

Here's a different crossover idea:

By JMS and Brian Hitch

Thor returns to the Marvel Universe in an incredibly shocking way. The Post-Ragnarok Asgard is in shambles, and a reborn Loki and Thor are competing for rulership over it. Instead of general elections, however, the new monarch will be decided by who is worshipped by the greatest number of people. So Thor and Loki attempt to convert as many of Earth's population as they can to worship them. Things get violent. Things get rough. Again, Spider-Man and Wolverine are crushed by a whale and die.

Another idea:

By Jeph Loeb and Mark Silvestri or Ed McGuinness

Reed and Peter capture Mac Gargan from the Thunerbolts, removes the Venom Symbiote from him and genetically engineer it to be less aggressive but no less powerful and then give it to all the heroes of Earth because an army of Symbiote infected bad guys are making a beeline for Earth. Spider-Man and Wolverine are crushed by a whale that's been infected with the Venom Symbiote. They die.

By Bendis and Frank Cho

A mysterious woman claiming to be the Scarlet Queen takes over the Hellfire Club and does some seriously bad deeds, including (not joking this time) killing a fairly prominent character, perhaps even Dr. Strange. This Queen bears no resemblance to the Scarlet Witch, but her reality altering powers do. So the heroes who have managed to stay out of her spell (being She-Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Uncanny X-Men as well as Spider-Man and Wolverine who, because of the Scarlet Queen's reality altering powers, are both crushed by a whale and die) are led by Hawkeye to find the Scarlet Witch in her hiding place and try and convince her to take out this dangerous new threat, who is revealed to be an alternate reality daughter of hers or something weird. I don't know. Let Bendis figure it out.

By Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness

Everybody wakes up one morning and the Joker is Emperor of the universe.


It winds up that all the heroes of the Marvel Universe have been hanging out in Cancun on the beach and we've just been watching their clones for the past twenty years.

These will continue to degenerate, so you stop. The first three have elements that are useful.

X-Office: My moves for day two.

Tom wrote:

> Robert Weinberg will take the UNCANNY X-MEN job.

> Adrian Alphona will take the UNCANNY X-MEN job. The VP of Operations
> warns you that Adrian isn't fast enough to do twelve issues a year--and
> especially starting under the gun like this, you'll likely need a fill-in artist
> after around four issues.

First step: Check if Michael Ryan is available for a two-issue fill-in work. He has worked with Weinberg before (Cable) and followed Alphona on Runaways, so the style change shouldn't be too jarring.

If he's unavailable, I'd like to borrow X-Men's fill-in artist Humberto Ramos for that story, scheduled for issues four and five of our run.

If both don't work out, I ask Kaare Andrews about the two-issue fill-in.

Step two: I ask Robert Weinberg if he minds doing a first look feature for Wizard, spotlighting the characters. Also, I need sketches for new X-Men uniforms by Adrian (and perhaps Marko Djurdjevic, if he wants to pitch in). If Robert and Adrian agree, I give Ben confirmation for the First Look.

Step three: I ask Robert Weinberg if his schedule allows to work on Issues two and four simultaneously, so our fill-in artist could get a head start.

Tom wrote:
> Ed Brubaker is intrigued by the approach you describe for WOLVERINE,
> but isn't sure about his schedule. He'll get back to you.

I try to get a writer for a one-issue story (like between Guggenheim's and Loeb's runs) to buy myself more time. I really would love to have Brubaker on Wolverine, so if he needs a breather between Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine, I’ll ask Andy Diggle to pitch in for one issue.

> Mike Perkins will take the WOLVERINE assignment, presuming that Ed
> or another writer he likes is also on the title.

If Andy Diggle is okay, Mike could come on board with his issue. If not, he'd come in with Ed and we’d need a different artist for Diggle's story. Is Jock available?

> Dave Johnson will do covers. The VP of Operations reminds you that Dave
> can sometimes vanish off the map, so you'll want to keep an eye on things
> and have a back-up plan if something comes up or Dave runs late.

While I have Jock on the phone, I ask him if he'd mind doing two or three covers we could shuffle in when Dave misses a deadline. I tell Dave that his covers should be Wolverine on a motorcycle, Wolverine fighting generic goons, nothing too story-specific.


Waiting for your approval, Sean.


I've got plans this evening that will go well past the assigned deadline so I'm going to have to post this afternoon. Fortunately it sounds like I'm being told to start on a slower burn, so it's less likely that Sean's going to have any objections to the following more self-contained 3-issue arcs:

Creative Team Request: First thing, ask Amanda Conner if she'd like/wouldn't mind having to draw only 14 pages or so for each of these first three issues, so she's got some room to settle in, the remaining pages bein flashbacks to She-Hulk era FF drawn by John Byrne (alt. Paul Ryan, alt. Amanda Conner). If this is approved, the following would reflect Byrne's or Ryan's involvement:


New Creative Team Dwayne McDuffie & Amanda Conner (with John Byrne!)
Cover by (John Byrne?) Amanda Conner (alt. Horn, alt. Land,)

Jen's last mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. pits her against villain she first faced during her days in the Fantastic Four. Featuring flashbacks to classic times drawn by John Byrne!

McDuffie & Conner (and Byrne!)

Jen's final mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. takes a turn for the worse as Psycho-Man steps up his game and Jen remembers how much easier her job is when you're not all alone.

McDuffie & Conner (& Byrne!)

Jen digs deep to put an end to Psycho-Man's rampage and makes a fateful decision about her future. With an appearance from the modern-day Fantastic Four (only on the l!

New Creative Team Dan Slott and Mike Deodato Jr.
Cover by Ed McGuinness

As the New Fantastic Four team up with the Mighty Avengers for a charity softball game against Force Works and the Rangers, Sue and Reed Richards take a long hard look at their relationship, and Sue says four words that will rock the foundation of their marriage forever.

Slott and Deodato Jr.


The New Fantastic Four assist Namor in thwarting a horrifying sea monster in New York Harbor, whether he wants their help or not! The Silver Surfer shows up to deliver a prophetic message from a most unexpected source! Gravity demonstrates why it's a good thing he's not dead anymore! Oh, and Reed and Sue reappear to officially rejoin the Fantastic Four.

Slott and Deodato Jr.

The Original Fantastic Four, Black Panther and Storm pool their resources with Namor and Gravity to either help the poor mutated sea monster or put it out of its misery! Action! Derring-do! A profession of love! The Thing gets covered in sea monster slime! Oh, and a surprise guest shows up at the Baxter Building!

Tom, can I include the Black Panther book in the crossover?

Then I'll coordinate on the upcoming crossover, double-checking if anybody needs fill-ins for an issue so we can stay on schedule (I'd be willing to find Deodato a replacement for the She-Hulk Crossover so he can get a head start on the Road to Defenders arc, and if either McDuffie or Slott wanted to take those issues off for some breathing room I'd see if the other would like to write all 4 issues of the crossover).

I'll check with marketing about whether or not they've got enough lead time on the described FF/She-Hulk/FFLA/crossover promotions and beyond.

Finally I'll send an email to Wacker congratulating him on the job. As counter-programming to that, I've pitched several crossovers to the EIC because I really feel like we need a linewide event to compete with this brash young upstart.

Day 2

We've got competition.

Steve Wacker founded his own company. Expect trouble for us down the road.

Also, we posted our plans too late.

Crossover Pitch: A Fusion



Written by Brian K. Vaughn (when you wish upon a star)
Pencils by Mike Deodato Jr.
Covers by Todd MacFarlane, Jack Kirby, Leonardo DaVinci and the cavemen who drew the famous cave drawings everybody's always talking about

Having already established the Defenders in my run on FF, this series will serve to (literally) shake up with Marvel Universe with a cautionary tale of complacency and the perils of public opinion.

The first issue will feature the Defenders announcing themselves to the world, with Namor being their leader, and will also feature Doom realizing that a natural disaster of insane proportions is imminent. He will be almost happy when he realizes that Reed Richards doesn't see it coming, for all his genius, he's somehow missed this. The issue will end with massive worldwide calamity as you describe.

The second issue I envision as a NY heroes centric, claustrophobic terrifying day in which none of them really get what's going on (Spidey and Reed at the forefront; the one trying to save as many people as possible, the other too upset that he missed this). The whole time everybody's worried about the rest of the world but all they want to do is save NY. The President orders everybody out of the city ASAP and the heroes try and stay to help people who can't buy their way out (echoes of Katrina). Oh, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier crashed in Times Square. Tony Stark is in critical condition. The Mighty Avengers are fractured, the New Avengers can't even reach other. Near the end of this issue, Reed or someone comments on how the rest of the world must be even worse We then reveal that the third world has actually suffered the least of anybody thanks to Doom and the Defenders.

Issue 3 demonstrates the ineptitude of the Initiative as a whole to deal with a major crisis as well as the incredible success enjoyed by the Defenders. Near the end of the series, the President rejects the Defenders' offer to aid the American East Coast with recovery. Most major cities in Florida (including Miami) have been washed away, New Orleans and most of the Gulf is under water again. But America doesn't want the Defenders' help. We also learn that Namor is angry that Doom prevented him from at least saving Sue Richards.

Issue 4 the Defenders continue their spike in the polls of public opinion. To the shock of the Americans, allies such as Canada and England accept Namor's aid. Doom is trying to play Namor against Richards though. Doom sees Richards as the only thing standing in his way of conquering America and eliminating it as a distraction from his plans of a worldwide Utopia in his image. So Doom once again allows but does not construct cataclysmic events, this time a team of Defenders' aid workers helping recovery in Cuba, who are killed by the Florida Initiative Team for infringing on American Waters.

Issue 5 is a terrifying attack by Namor and the Defenders on a shattered New York City; they aim to take out the Avengers. Namor has the previously descried final scene with Sue and Reed Richards (that's still how I see this thing ending) and ultimately apparently commits suicide. Though this is not Doom's plan, it suits him well enough, as he becomes the leader of the, though somewhat less trusted after Namor's attack, still very popular Defenders.

SheHulk Titles Brainstorming

Just kicking around some title ideas for She-Hulk in another meeting. (Love that mutlitasking!) I'm not married to any of these, but it might give you a jump start on the types of things I'm thinking of...

She-Hulk's Guide to Hollywood/LA/California
She-Hulk's California Girls
She-Hulk & Human Torch: In Search of California Girls
She-Huk's Beverly Hills Heroes
She-Hulk & Human Torch: Hollywood Heroes
She-Hulk's LA Torch Song
She-Hulk: I Love LA


Uh, guys, none of our posts from last night are on Tom's Blog.

I'm going to go ahead and post everybody's moves again in one big entry, clearing noting that this should be disregarded if the posts show up again later.

The Marvel Boards are going to be our undoing...

Crossover Idea

Only got a few minutes to drop this out there. This is only a proposal, mind you! I want to know what you guys think or can build off.

I think the "war" theme is starting to wear on fans. Civil War, World War Hulk, Silent War, etc. It's getting a little heavy, so I want to try a different tact.

What have we NOT seen the Marvel heroes really go up against? Mother nature. Oh, sure, they've disappated the odd storm, or tidal wave or what have you, but not mother nature IN ALL HER FURY. What if they had to deal with a sudden, literally seismic shift of the tectonic plates? You'd have earthquakes all over, water rushing in where there wasn't any before, possible new volcanos cropping up, old "dormant" volcanos suddenly blowing up, mud slides, rain storms... the works. How do the heroes deal with that unilaterally? How much can Storm do to prevent disasters? What does Spider-Man do during an earthquake in NYC? That's what I'm thinking for a one or two issue "event" - unique title with a solid creative team just showcasing the actual BOOM moment(s).

Then, the tie-ins can be (up to you guys whether you want to tie into it or not, or for how long) how your heroes deal with the immediate aftermath, and perhaps what happens in specific locations. Does California just break away from the US or does it sink into the ocean? What happens to Japan? Do looters/super-villains take advantage of disruptions in security systems -- either at the prisons they're held at, or the banks they try to rob? Does Dr. Doom try to step in and get government contracts to rebuild?

Just a proposal, like I said. Allows for lots of individual flexibility per title; doesn't necessarily pit hero against hero, but could; lots of location possibilities; fairly (IMHO) new idea for the Marvel Universe... but this by no means The Sean Show or anything. If you guys don't like it, or don't think it'd work, we can still look at other options.

More later.