Robot 6

Quote of the day | Tom Brevoort’s bad-comic blind item

Yesterday in Reading Circle, we read a competitor’s book that was one the absolutely most amateurish pieces of drek I’ve ever seen. I don’t really want to name the book or the creators, because that feels like a different sort of bashing, but this book embarassed itself. From the folks involved and the company involved, you’d expect a better minimum set of standards. Made worse by the fact that one of the principle creators is a key player at the company, and displayed an utter lack of storytelling knowledge or understanding of how comics work. We put out our share of stinkers, but if one of my editors turned this book in, they’d be on probation, at least. Comics are expensive these days, and so every issue, every shot, must count. We need to have better minimum standards. All of which is hopelessly cryptic without naming the book, of course, but there you have it. It made me want to slap someone.

There’s more craft evidenced on the plastic bag of FF #587 than on the whole of the issue we read yesterday. One of our editors read it and was appalled by it, so I thought it was worth further study by the group. Sometimes, a bad example teaches more by example. An absolute lack of understanding of character, theme, scene, pacing, lousy tinny dialogue, incompetent artwork…it was just a red hot mess. And editorial oversight was ineffective, if even engaged. The editor in question is now in my mind, so if he ever applies over here, he’d better have a good story to tell.

Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort in a no-punches-pulled (except the name of the book, of course) Twitter takedown of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad comic from some other publisher. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty harsh thing to say about Drawn & Quarterly and Adrian Tomine’s Scenes from an Impending Marriage. Haha, jk, LOL — what book do you think he’s talking about?

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56 Comments

Outsiders by Dan DiDio.

You know the picture you guys use make him look like a bigger dick. I think that’s intentional.

Titans, gotta be Titans. That is be biggest piece of crap out there from the big two.

Didn’t Marvel produce the ridiculously sad Marville?

I generally think this kind of bomb-lobbing is just childish, but, all in all Brevoort’s being quite reasonable:

1) “We put out our share of stinkers…”

2) He isn’t naming names, or even dropping hints.

3) Fact is, I have no doubt in my mind that one can point to multiple new comics, in any given week (some of them from Marvel but by no means exclusively from them) which really do merit this much negativity. It’s questionably to say that things were tremendously different at some given point in the past, but there are plenty of awfully bad comics on the stands.

Batman: The Dark Knight

it’s Hush 2

God, I wish he would just shut up. Seriously. If he’s not going to name the book, then his comments are just completely useless.

I know DC puts out some really shitty books, and when I buy them and read them, it pisses me off and I’ll trash those books in a review on my blog. But coming from some Marvel big shot who constantly takes cheap shots at DC, it just comes across as petty and pointless and lacking class. You don’t hear any DC editors commenting publicly about how shitty Marvel books are.

He’s just talking shit on twitter. It’s making news items out of it and feeling the need to comment on it that makes it a “big deal” when it’s not. Let him talk shit 140 characters at a time and ignore if you want.

“Titans, gotta be Titans. That is be biggest piece of crap out there from the big two.”

Except the guy writing it is such a nobody I can’t remember his name. (Looks it up at DCcomics.com, Eric Wallace, yeah, AND he’s no major mucky muck at DC like DiDio is) and it’s nowhere near as bad as the utterly nonsensical, idiotic, sub-literate stuff in Outsiders.

But Basque, you’re not hearing a Marvel editor commenting publicly about how shitty a DC book is, at least not in this case. As you yourself point out, he didn’t name the book, and there’s no way to know who published it.

I wouldn’t necessarily think of DC.

Maybe the book that spawned Brevoort’s comment is published by a different company.

This coming from one of the top guys at the company that gave us “Identity Disc”?

After Shadowland, you kind of lost your right to smack talking Brevoort.

It’s “principal,” not “principle.” If you can’t use the language correctly, Mr Editor, you will lose your Twitter privileges.

I found it possible that it’s Outsiders – no one seems to have a kind word for Didio’s writing – but his work in Wednesday Comics showed at least a basic competence. And the artists on Outsiders have been capable talents like Tan and Giffen. Surely Breevort isn’t going to diss Giffen after all that Keith did for Marvel in the past decade.

I will go out on a limb and say that he ISN’T talking about anything Waid did for Boom, though.

“We need to have better minimum standards. [...] the plastic bag of FF #587″

It’s an Anchorage Steamer.

DiDio’s Outsiders or Scott Allie’s issue of Buffy.

Any chance it’s Spawn 200?

who cares, why make such a general comment? its like a bad fortune teller, talking in generalities that it could be any number of bad titles by any company. it seems like hes just pimping the fantastic four death and thats just sad. in my opinion most comics by all publishers suck and are just plain awful. making a statment like this to make a quick buck on what is more than likely a ‘short death’ for johnny storm anyway, is pathetic!

el_caifan

Saying that the writer is a big guy at the company who publishes the book is the biggest clue possible. Make a list of crappier than thou books that have come out in the last week or two by someone who plays a big role in the company. The list is short.

And how many times does he have to state that he’s being cryptic. How much freakin’ validation does he want?

Subtext of it sounds very Image’y to me. I don’t think it was D.C. “A competitor.” Not THE competitor. I don’t think he’d necessarily say that, of course, but it just doesn’t feel like he meant DC.
Beyond that, though… no clue.

Are they ever going to do Reading Circle videos again?

i would guess since Tom said competior it could be a dc book like maybe Titans or out sider’s or even the current version of jl. but till Tom is convinced to reveal the book or name of the guy who caused his posting. the mystery remains

This guy is the biggest tool in the comic industry. I’ve got an idea, why don’t you stop worrying about what your competitors are doing and work on putting out good comics in the Marvel U. If you did that then maybe I would pick up more than two Marvel titles. Or you could just keep putting out more Thor, Deadpool, and Wolverine titles because we need more of those.

Didio’s Outsiders was the first book that came to mind. Beyond that, maybe the Larfleeze special from Geoff Johns…?

@Sean

“But Basque, you’re not hearing a Marvel editor commenting publicly about how shitty a DC book is, at least not in this case. As you yourself point out, he didn’t name the book, and there’s no way to know who published it.”

Oh, please. It’s not like it’s the first time he talks shit about DC. He knows damn well people will assume he’s talking about a DC book, whether or not he actually is.

All I know is I’ve seen a lot of quotes here and on other blogs from Marvel editors and execs taking obvious shots at DC, and I almost never see DC doing the same thing or even bothering to respond to them. I’m all for a little bit of friendly rivalry between the big two, but these days it seems like Marvel could show a little more class.

But hey, maybe it’s the bloggers who are reposting these comments who are biased? I don’t know.

Either Lint or Love and Rockets #3

It’s like the old saying says, “People with glass cases full of superhero statues shouldn’t throw stones.”

Lint, def.

Brevoort knows his Panter and his Lichtenstein and takes umbrage at any “homages”.

Sean T. Collins

January 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Basque, I listed Grant Morrison’s Batman comics as my #4 best comic of 2010, I read and enjoy Green Lantern, The Flash, Brightest Day, Astro City, and Joe the Barbarian among others, and I do freelance work for the company, so you tell me how biased against DC I am.

Well, how many “competitors” does Marvel have in the market these days?

And how many of that publisher’s books feature work from “key players” at the publisher?

Brevoort didn’t name a book–probably because some of the folks working on it will eventually work at Marvel–but he narrowed it down to about a half-dozen.

This might have more traction if I’d ever seen Brevoort say anything positive about the competition. I’m kind of sick of the guy’s endless sniping at the folks across the street, and I’m saying that as someone who’s buying more Marvel Comics now than at any point in the last ten years. Going back to Quesada’s “porn star” comment about Superman and JMS’s slipping snarky comments about DC into an issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel’s movers and shakers have generally had really tasteless things to say about their competition, and that’s ridiculous in such a small, close-knit field. Almost all the “principle [sic] creators” at DC have worked for Marvel in the past; JMS wrote Spidey and Thor, Morrison wrote X-Men, Johns had the Avengers reins, Paul Cornell was on SWORD and Captain Britain, etc. I understand the need for rivalry and competition; what I’ve never understood is how there can be such animosity (and frequently, such one-sided animosity) when there’s so much transfer between the houses. And so much overlap between the audiences.

Frankly, I miss the days when Marvel’s honchos would use the phrase “Distinguished Competition.”

I could name a few Marvel books that would fit that description as well. Especially these B.S. tie-in books to their main event series or the 487 Captain America books that are coming out right before the movie. Just utter garbage.

Marvel is the only company that continually rips on their competitors. I just wish that they would just focus on putting out decent and quality books themselves instead of always looking to hammer another company’s output.

Has anyone read the latest FANTASTIC FOUR? Is that their idea of a GREAT comic book? Sheesh.

Sean T. Collins

January 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Well, how many “competitors” does Marvel have in the market these days?

And how many of that publisher’s books feature work from “key players” at the publisher?

Brevoort didn’t name a book–probably because some of the folks working on it will eventually work at Marvel–but he narrowed it down to about a half-dozen.

That sounds about right to me, Caleb. I will say that I figure that by “competitor” he means publishers that work in the same genre(s) as Marvel more than publishers who are battling Marvel for Direct Market supremacy, necessarily, but yeah, a single-digit number of books sounds right either way.

@ Sean…

I actually meant being biased against Marvel. In the sense that by reprinting their douchebags you’re making them look bad. :)

oops. That should’ve been “their douchebag comments,” not “their douchebags.”

Eww.

I think tom’s trying to take the focus off of the lousy books marvel puts out. Books that take a 1-2 page scene and expands it to a whole issue and mini-series based off of events or a scene from an event that ended years ago.

I’m guessing he had that comment waiting and ready for any given week, to unload at a time where he felt it was likely to draw some attention. Any editor could say the exact same thing and have it be construed in a million different ways. Just attention-grabbing BS.

Tom Foss, if you haven’t seen me say anything nice about the competition ever, it’s because you haven’t been paying enough attention, or looking in the right places. Just this past week in the T & A column on this very site I praised the success DC’s had building GREEN LANTERN into a central franchise within their line.

I have no problem with being complimentary towards the DC work (or anybody’s work) I like. I ‘ve said on numerous occasions that I consistently read and like virtually all of Geoff Johns’ books, and virtually all of Grant Morrison’s books. And I thought that the THUNDER Agents revival was tremendous, which is one of the reasons that Nick Spencer is working on projects in my office now.

That all having been said, I clearly and biasedly believe that we at Marvel do it right more often and more consistantly than DC does. No great surprise there. And while it may not be to your tastes, I kind of enjoy the rivalry between the two outfits. If nothing else, it’s a lot more interesting than when everybody is nice and gets along perfectly. But even more crucially, none of these things are press releases. It’s just me spouting off on my Twitter account, like half of North America does. It’s not really meant to be all that meaningful. And I don’t have any control over what of that gets picked up and turned into Robot 6 pieces or what-have-you (nor shoudl I) or how the information is presented (some of the last few lines quoted above were in response to various questions asked back to me by people on Twitter in response to what I’d said, and lose some of their context here.)

All that being said, the particular Non-Marvel title that we read and dissected at the Reading Circle this week was especially onerous, irritating, amateurish and impenetrable. And like you and every other comic book reader on the planet, I’m allowed to spout off when a book so inept robs me of ten minutes of my life. Your Mileage May Vary, of course.

Tom B

Hey, Tom!

Can’t be as bad as canceling Nova and GoTG and giving us all these crappy Thor titles!

Not to mention Chaos War!

Since it’s pretty clearly a DC book I’ll guess Titans.

Hey Tom:

Business integrity

Can u haz it?

“And like you and every other comic book reader on the planet, I’m allowed to spout off when a book so inept robs me of ten minutes of my life”

Spout off in private, at your Reading Circle, sure. But spouting off in public without naming the book is pretty pointless. Without naming the book, we don’t know what the terrible work we should be avoiding is. We don’t know what we should be looking at to take away ‘how not to do it’ lessons from. Which leaves zero value to be had from what you’ve said.

Basque, I read and enjoy Captain America, Secret Avengers, Criminal, Incognito, Ultimate Spider-Man, Powers, Incredible Hercules, Hulk, Thunderbolts, Fantastic Four, and Invincible Iron Man, and I do freelance work for THEM as well, so again, you tell me if I’m biased against Marvel. :)

More to the point, actually, you’d be hard pressed to find an editor in comics I respect more than Tom. If everyone in the industry were as forthcoming and incisive as he, my job would be a lot easier.

How can anybody seriously argue it’s likely not a DC book? If it’s not DC why would he bother to take such a public and yet veiled shot? I doubt the higher ups at Marvel and DC even consider the other guys competition- what are they maybe 5% of the market COMBINED. Even if it’s not DC he KNEW everybody would think it was simply by not naming the company.

It’s funny though because I dont read any Marvel books so I could easily use his criticism against the books he thinks are so great. Does Nova really compare to L&R New Stories? What an insular world he lives in to even notice a difference in quality. DC has put out more books that could actually be considered literature to the 99% of the world who doesn’t care about funny books. But yeah, the media jumps every time you kill a character to tweak sales so keep pretending you’re doing a good job while the industry contracts around you.

Hey, Sean – just to be clear – I meant to say you were biased either way. I just said that I see more comments from Marvel editors taking shots at DC than I see comments from DC editors taking shots at Marvel. From which I concluded that either Marvel does it more often than DC does, or the blogs I follow tend to pick up those stories or quotes more. That’s all I meant by the bias comment. I wasn’t questioning your integrity or anything. I follow both Robot6 and Attention Deficit Disorderly, and I always enjoy your writing and reporting.

God damn it. Why can’t I re-read my comments before posting them.

“I meant to say” should be “I never meant to say”

It’s okay Mr. Brevoort. I don’t like LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES either.

“Has anyone read the new Fantastic Four?” I have. It was great, just like every issue Hickman has done. And whoever guessed the Larfleeze book – you crazy. I thought that was a lot of fun.

I wish Brevoort would choke on that stupid ass hat he wears so we could all be saved from his ramblings. He acts like he is the captain of the entire comics medium, when Marvel is just as much to blame as anyone, if not more, for the waves upon waves of crappy comics published.

terrible hat lol

January 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

I agree with Chris. First, the hat is embarrassingly awful. It’s nice that he wants to have some sort of distinct accessory, but that thing is retarded.

Secondly, why does this guy keep rambling? And why does the comics community care? This isn’t Joe Q, DiDio, or even someone who actually writes comics. It’s a guy who gets the direction of the company dictated to him by Joe Q, and big writers like Bendis and Millar. Then he goes and tries to assert some authority by critiquing the work of people who can writing talent. But I digress.

Are his frequent and inane comments a foolish marketing strategy or is he really desperate to appear as someone who matters in the industry? If this were Axel, I’d roll my eyes and chuckle a little bit, since Axel has edited a TON of great books. But Breevort criticizing others after years of overseeing countless money-grabbing cross-overs and rebooting every series with a new #1 issue every 6 months. LOL indeed.

I ‘ve said on numerous occasions that I consistently read and like virtually all of Geoff Johns’ books, and virtually all of Grant Morrison’s books.

And that should narrow it down to, let’s see, three books, and one of two different writers? Depending on how generously the adjective “key” can be interpreted? Actually, I’m gonna guess it’s one of the three books written by people who are either ex-publishers or current co-publishers, since a guess made in the comments was Finch’s Bat-book, but given how much work Finch got at Marvel, it would be weird for a Marvel editor to hate his work so much.

UNLESS that’s the key, like, “Hey, this artist did okay work for us, but now he’s doing really terrible work…his editor must be awful.”

Man, I HATE guessing games like this…I can’t resist playing along, but there’s no way to ever win.

And people wonder why letters columns are dead.

really? no one else thought he was talking about JLA?

I gotta admit, it’s pretty neat to have Tom Brevoort specifically reply to me. It’s true that I don’t watch everything he says, but the occasional bits that make it to Robot 6 have a standard theme. Perhaps it’s myopia, but I don’t see the same coming from, say, Bob Wayne. It’s true that half of America spouts off on Twitter, and it’s true that Tom Brevoort has a right to say whatever he wants. Having the right to do something, however, does not make it good taste to do so. I would think that the power of having a high-ranking position at Marvel comics would entail the responsibility of conducting one’s public statements in a fairly professional manner, and I don’t think the usual Robot 6-worthy comments from Brevoort come off as very professional. Although this one isn’t quite as bad as his statement awhile back that DC’s $2.99 price point was because they don’t care about the quality of their books.

Now, that would be a different story if there were response in kind from DC, you know? If this were the typical kind of comment from both sides on Twitter, that’d be another story. But for some reason, if Jim Lee and Geoff Johns are tweeting about the inferiority of Marvel’s books, they never seem to make the newsblogs. I agree that rivalry is generally a good thing, but when only one side is engaging in the rivalry, it looks instead like bullying.

That being said, I don’t know that rivalry makes things more interesting. I know I’d rather read another round of Amalgam Comics than “Marville,” that’s for sure.

But good on him that he likes Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison’s books. One might get the opposite idea from the way he sniped at Blackest Night and Batman #700.

If anything, then I would like to know what type of probation the editors of Ultimatum and Wolverine: The Best There Is eventually received.

funkygreenjerusalem

January 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

If it’s DC, I nominate Steel #1.

Being part one of a crossover, I could see it being on someone at Marvel’s list to check out, and boy it was terrible.

There’s more craft evidenced on the plastic bag of FF #587 than on the whole of the issue we read yesterday

Even in jest, one shouldn’t take pride in bringing back polybags.
It’s an icon of one of the worst periods in American comics history – why in gods name would you want to bring it back?

Basque:

I meant to say you were biased either way. I just said that I see more comments from Marvel editors taking shots at DC than I see comments from DC editors taking shots at Marvel. From which I concluded that either Marvel does it more often than DC does, or the blogs I follow tend to pick up those stories or quotes more. That’s all I meant by the bias comment.

I reckon there’s two factors in this one…

Firstly, Marvel, as a company, seems to have a big bee in it’s bonnet that compels it to act like it’s the underdog against DC, despite the fact it dominates the industry.

Second, DC editors have only just come out of being ran by Paul Levitz, who was strongly against that sort of thing, whereas Marvel editors were being led by Quesada, who loved to talk trash (hilariously, having some of his most famous slag offs/complaints about DC happen to his own company).

With Paul gone, there’s the chance DC editors will start speaking out, and with Joe gone, there’s the chance Marvel editors will stop.
I doubt either one will happen – especially as a key Marvel editor thinks it’s more interesting – but there’s the chance that corporate culture will shift at either company with the change in heads.

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