Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Michael Turner's cover for BALANCE OF POWER #1:

I know, it's just the cover for Sub-Mariner #1. But I thought it's really fitting for this simulation. One of the Defenders (both the original incarnation and the new one) rising, with a disaster-wrecked city in the background...

Just Some Postin'

Are you posting again today? Is there Wizard stuff you feel like we need to say today? I've got plenty of words left in case you're desperately trying to get 800 words of info pared down or something.

Also, Sean, I really liked your second post. I hope Tom lets you play moderator with maps outside your office and doesn't have the irritating sim VP-Ops tell you this isn't your job. Cause sim-Marvel office sounds cool, like how FBI offices look on TV shows.



Written by Matt Fraction, art and cover by John Romita jr.

"Spider-Man Turner Overdrive". You saw him in Swing Shift. Now watch Overdrive battle Dr. Octopus... Wait, that can't be right. Isn't he supposed to team up with him and fight Spider-Man? What's going on here?

32 pages, $2.99. in stores on November 7.


Written by David Michelinie, art and cover by Paul Pelletier.

"Fall of the Bugle", part 4 of 6. Is the only person that can save the Bugle... Eddie Brock?

32 pages, $2.99. in stores on November 21.


Written by Robert Weinberg, pencils by Adrian Alphona, cover by Marko Djurdjevic.

"The Once and Future King", part 1 of 2. The RISE OF THE DEFENDERS starts here. Magneto is back, assembling a new Brotherhood of Mutants. The X-Men face him at Cape Citadel, where it all started years ago. And before this is over, two X-Men will defect to the Brotherhood. Who? And why? Find out here, True Believer!

32 pages, $2.99. in stores on November 28.

My steps, part two (because I fear that it will get lost in the comments to the other post)

I left out the "looking after the check" part, so I'm down to four steps I posted at Tom's blog.

5.: I tell Paul Jenkins that "Front Line" it is. Are we still missing an artist? If so, how about Mark Bagley? He's a fan favorite and with the exception of an upcoming issue for Mighty Avengers, there hasn't been any news about his next project. As an alternative, how about Lan Medina or Michael Gaydos?

6.: Once the Front Line creative team is finalized, I refer them to Ben Morse. Philip says that there is still space to fill in the BoPow article, so he might want to know who the Front Line creative team is and what other books will tie in.

Possible Concern

I'm really pleased that Tom's noted how a bunch of other editors are trying to get in on BoPow. But it suddenly occurred to me how much MORE coordination this will take. Part of the problem (as we noted earlier) with Civil War was that one delay caused a nasty cascade effect throughout several lines -- something which I'd desperately like to avoid.

Would it make sense to bring the coordination up to the EIC level? Not the editting of actual books, obviously, but someone just saying "Here are the major beats, and when they're going to ship?"

Mike, I know you've put a lot of work into that end of things already, but I don't want you to feel swamped with that and/or lose focus on your own books. Thoughts?

My steps for today. Hoo, I'm busy.

1.: Call Andy Diggle, David Lapham, Ed Brubaker, Goran Sudzuka, Michael Gaydos, Michael Perkins, Jock and Dave Johnson. I thank them for their work on Wolverine and wish them the best under Philip.

2.: Call Matt Fraction, David Michelinie, John Romita jr. and Paul Pelletier and tell them that I'll try to stay the course Patrick had set. Ask them if they are interested in tying into Balance of Power (at least tonally, I'd like the books to be consistent. If they don't want to be an active part of BoPow, at least ask if they could reflect the events of BoPow in the dialogue).
I tell John Romita jr that I'm looking into the missing check thing.

3.: I look into the missing check thing.
What went wrong? Can we trace the check to the point were it got lost? Did we actually send the check? I do what I can so one of our most talented (and popular) artists can get paid. I contact Patrick, maybe he can help. If the check doesn't show up at all, is there any way we can send John a new one?

4.: I'd love to have IRON MAN, X-MEN, HEROES FOR HIRE, NEW WARRIORS, NEW EXCALIBUR and any other book on bord for BoPow. I do everything to keep everybody
in the loop so the tie-ins are consistent without becoming redundant.

5.: Without making the impression that I'm stepping on Jeff Youngquist's toes, I try to keep him up to date about the different books tying in.

Sean, do you think there's still time to get Cloak and Dagger on the way?


Call Ed and explain the editorial shake-up. Tell him I am excited to be working with him, and that I’m sure we can come up with a way for Captain America to take priority without Wolverine falling behind. Ask him if he’d mind a co-writer, and if it would speed the process. If he answers yes to both questions, ask him who he’d like to have aboard and, if the co-writer agrees, bring ‘em in. If Ed can’t think of anybody, suggest re-teaming him with Rucka (if BigMoney shakeups have left him non-DC exclusive), Fraction, or Bendis, or bringing in ??????????????, Claremont, Edkin (I want to offer so many options here, keep suggestions coming).

If Ed doesn’t want a co-writer, let him know that the EIC and I agree he should stay on the book no matter what, and that while we understand that Captain America requires a lot of attention, Wolverine’s another high-selling title, and every month it ships late is a lot of lost revenue.

With JMS and Finch locked into Balance, and Dwayne and Dan coordinating on She-Hulk and FF, I’ll let the creators do their thing, making sure they know I’m available if any problems come up. If Amanda does in fact want somebody else to handle She-Hulk covers, I’ll ask Greg Horn or Greg Land and let Finch know we’d like for him to focus on the great Balancing act. VP Ops wanted Finch off the She-Hulk covers, but if he’d prefer Finch focus entirely on interior art, maybe Garney, Churchill or even Quesada (depending on the manner of his departure from Marvel) could do the covers.

(Mike, I have plenty of space here so if there’s general Rise/Balance stuff for Wizard I could throw it in if you’d like).

Attacking the Rest of the Week

Ok, as I said in my previous post, I think that overall our ongoings are in pretty good shape. I think that, for the most part, we can let those run more or less as is and just keep tabs on making sure that creators are cool.

Phil, obviously, your big two issues are getting things straightened out with Brubaker (see previous posts/comments) and the less problematic issue of covers for BoPow. I don't have any brilliant suggestions offhand. Ian Churchill? Ron Garney? Heh... Joe Quesada might be fun!

Mike, we've got additional BoPow tie-ins. Looks like we'll need a heavier scheduling -- do you want me to take that up?

Get Jenkins started on Balance of Power: Frontline and nail down an artist. (Tom apparently glossed over that bit, but Pat had made some initial calls yesterday.) You'll probably also need to play special nice with Fraction -- he's a key to those sales, I think, and we can't get him on an exclusive. Keep a close eye on Venom, too. Ellis and Micheleine are both using different versions and Fraction was planning on using him down the road.

I can see what's happened to JRJr's check, but I'd like you to actually talk with him (as his new editor) and assue him that a new check is getting cut, and the old one will be cancelled.

OK... so what else do we need to tackle today?

Some Mildly Good News

I just want to take a second to remind you guys to double check the numbers Tom gave us this morning. The individual books are up and down, but we're only 500 books shy of the original numbers from BEFORE all the previous creators jumped ship.

Check out Amazing and FF in particular. Both are up over 80k from a starting point of 55k! That is incredible! I can't speak to Amazing's numbers historically, but aside from the 10 cent issue from a few years ago, the last time FF sales were that high was 1997! Kudos to Phil and Pat!

That means, overall, that if we can get Balance of Power and Balance of Power: Frontline to sell 84k collectively -- and nothing else blows up in our faces -- we will actually hit our goal!

And if we do that... well, I'll just be flabbergasted.

Day 6 Questions

With JMS and Finch locked into Balance, and things going smoothly on She-Hulk and FF since Dwayne and Dan are happy and coordinating, I’d like to offer my editorial services on Balance of Power: Front Lines, mainly because with so many additional books throwing into the Balance of Power arena, I feel like Mike’s going to have his hands full coordinating everything (not to mention Spidey duties, particularly whether or not you might try to swing Spidey into Balance stuff a little more).

The only real concern I have is Brubaker’s productivity on Wolverine; this is the one thing on my plate that really needs to be addressed. Mike, you reference a Civil War style delay; I wasn’t following the title circa CW and therefore have no idea what you’re talking about. Did they just cease publication of Wolverine during Civil War? Cause that sounds like a bad idea. Or did they hold off on a slow-to-fruition storyline in favor of Civil War tie-ins? That sounds irritating, but would theorhetically maintain decent sales.

Do you have any suggestions as to Brubaker’s possible writing partner? If Rucka weren’t DC exclusive I’d think he’d be perfect, having worked with Brubaker in a not-too-removed-from-noir vibe on Gotham Central. We could also in theory investigate bringing aboard a noir/mystery writer, though I don’t know who’s into comics (well, I know Michael Chabon is desperately into both noir and comics, but I doubt we could get any kind of a commitment out of him). What if we had Claremont write with Brubaker; basically Claremont frames everything along the Patch-era lines that inspired this take in the first place, and then Brubaker brings the edge and grit?

My Extremely Severe Alterations to the Current Direction of Wolverine

Mike, I just wanted to make sure I have everything straight. You've already solicited 56, 57's another stand alone Noirverine story, 58's a fill-in emergency issue from Lapham and 59 starts the Brubaker epic?

If the Lapham issue is for emergencies, is there an emergency I didn't hear about? Would it be okay for me to see if 58 can start the multi-parter? Cause if Lapham's is just a stand-alone fill-in, that's the sort of thing that can stay on the shelf indefinitely. Like in theory even until after Brubaker's first arc is done.

Not that there will be any reason to continue publishing this title after Brubaker's first arc is done. Cause in the last issue Wolverine gets killed by a humpback whale. But then we get the following five part limited series by Jeph Loeb and a series of fill-in artists, based on an idea by JMS:



Moving Forward

It occurred to me, guys, that I forgot to mention one thing last night when I was reassigning books. You might've already planned on this, but I think whatever directions the books were going in before they got moved should remain relatively unchanged. Pat put both Spidey books on a pretty solid (IMO), long-term path and Wolverine was also shaping up with Brubaker getting excited about the direction Mike wanted to take it.

I think it'd be generally a bad move to make any significant course-corrections on those books at least until you've established a good repore with your new creators, and gotten their feedback on the types of things they'd like to do.

As I said, this is probably something you've already thought of, but I figured it couldn't hurt to verbalize it.