Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
The Twitter tirade unleashed by Rob Liefeld last week when he announced his abrupt departure from three DC Comics titles boiled over this weekend as the outspoken creator took aim at Batman writer Scott Snyder and Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort.
On Wednesday Liefeld, who had been writing and penciling Deathstroke and plotting Grifter and The Savage Hawkman, criticized DC for what he described as ‘massive indecision, last minute and I mean LAST minute changes that alter everything” and “editor pissing contests,” singling out Associate Editor Brian Smith as “a little bitch” and “a big dick.”
Snyder, among other creators, came to Smith’s defense on Twitter, writing that, “from my small experience with him, [Smith] has been a great guy to work with. To be fair, I know absolutely nothing of what went on on Rob’s books (Rob has always been really supportive of me and Jeff and others). But I’d feel bad, having worked with Smitty on N.O.T.O. [“Night of the Owls”] and now Joker, […] if I didn’t say that he’s been a stand-up guy to deal with. Again, nothing against anyone, just deal w/Smitty every week now, and I’d feel bad not saying.”
About that time Liefeld tweeted to his followers, “It’s not you. It never has been. It’s Batman.” That apparently triggered a direct-message exchange with Snyder that Liefeld later made public, first by copying the writer’s private comment, “I can assure you Batman doesn’t sell the way it does because it’s Batman. It sells that way because of me and Greg [Capullo],” and then by posting screencaps (below).
“After that Twitter flame-out, I can’t say I’d be in a hurry to get onto that train.”
— Tom Brevoort, Marvel senior vice president and executive editor, responding to a question on Formspring about whether, following Rob Liefeld’s abrupt exit from DC Comics, there’s a chance the creator could return to the House of Ideas.
Brevoort is, of course, referring to the flurry of tweets that began early Wednesday with Liefeld announcing he had walked off Deathstroke, Grifter and The Savage Hawkman because of “massive indecision, last minute and I mean LAST minute changes that alter everything” and “editor pissing contests.” The tirade, which included Liefeld referring to an editor as “a little bitch” and “a big dick,” and giving his name, has continued through this morning.
Publishing | Dark Horse editor Scott Allie explains the publisher’s plan to start numbering B.P.R.D. sequentially, starting with #100, rather than as “an ongoing series of miniseries”: “The reason to make the change was in part how many times [San Francisco retailer and industry pundit] Brian Hibbs told me, ‘Well, really B.P.R.D. is an ongoing…’ And he’s right. Another part of the reason is that as we’ve moved into doing more short stories — two- or three-issue stories — we get those new issue #1’s too often. You do new #1’s to give readers jumping on points, but when they’re coming so quickly it becomes more confusing than anything else. Depending on how retailers rack, you could have two or three B.P.R.D. #1’s on the shelf at a time, and it’s hard for readers or retailer to know what to read next. So while I know it will cause a little confusion to suddenly have #100 out there, a few months down the road it’ll make everything simpler.” [Comics Alliance]
Artist Mike Wieringo and Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald passed away more than a decade apart, but both of them died on Aug. 12–now known as “M Day.” To celebrate the lives of both men, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort has set up a fundraiser on Razoo.com for the Hero Initiative.
“This year, we’d like the celebrate the spirit of generosity and camaraderie amongst the comic book community that both of these creators embodied by encouraging their friends and fans to make a donation to the Hero Initiative,” Brevoort wrote. “The Hero Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping out those members of the comic book creative community who have fallen on hard times financially. Assistance from the Hero Initiative has made a difference in the lives and situations of many great practitioners of our art. This is something that we believe both Mark and Mike would be behind.”
Head on over to Razoo.com to support the fundraiser.
“No, because different characters require different things. This is similar to arguing that it’s unfair that Reed Richards is so smart–that works for his character, but wouldn’t work as well for, say, Ben Grimm. Different character. Also, and take this from somebody who was there as a reader and watched it happen, the marriage of Peter and MJ was absolutely as forced and sudden, probably more so. It’s just had the advantage of having been a status quo for so long that a lot of readers grew up with it and accepted it. We’ve never said that no characters should be married, the point is that Spider-Man, the most popular youth-based character in the entertainment world, probably shouldn’t be married.”
– Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, responding to a fan who asked, “Do you not think there’s hypocrisy in undoing the editorially mandated marriage of Peter and Mj and then doing something like the marriage of Storm and BP and Northstar and Kyle? The marriage of Peter and Mj felt far less forced or sudden.”
When a 4-year-old from New Hampshire didn’t want to wear his hearing aid, Hawkeye came to the rescue — with a lot of help from the Marvel Bullpen.
As we reported yesterday, Christina D’Allesandro’s son Anthony Smith didn’t want to wear his “blue ear” hearing aid because he said superheroes didn’t wear them. So she sent a blind email to Marvel, hoping that maybe that wasn’t true and they could point to one who did.
“Christina sent her touching letter in to the email@example.com address, a general ‘fan mail’ account which is shared by a group of us in editorial,” Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann told Robot 6. “She didn’t know a specific person to write to here at Marvel, and even figured it might get caught in our spam filters, but she sent it in anyway, because that’s the kind of great parent Christina is. And it was her inspiring effort to help her son that touched so many of us here. As a fellow parent of a toddler, I can understand where she’s coming from, so I forwarded the email around the rest of Editorial, asking what we could do to help, and like when Cap yells, ‘Avengers Assemble,’ the gang leapt into action.”
Rosemann said the mail account gets a lot of traffic, the majority of which are messages from fans about specific issues or stories.
Conventions | Thousands of fans were locked out of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo after the local fire marshal declared that the building had reached capacity. The big draw was not actually comics but a reunion of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. [Calgary Herald]
Awards | The Thrill Electric, an online comic created by Leah Moore and John Reppion, Emma Vieceli, Windflower Studio and LittleLoud for the U.K.’s Channel 4, has been nominated for best website in the 2012 Broadcast Digital Awards. [Broadcast]
Creators | Jay Faerber talks about his early ambitions, his current comic Near Death, and what is so special about being published by Image: “The thing about Image is you have absolute creative freedom. Once Near Death was approved, I just wrote it. There were no notes from Eric or anyone else at Image telling me what they think I should do, which is awesome. But it can also be a burden, because if a book sucks, I can’t say, ‘Well, if I had been able to do it my way…’ – because I did do it my way. So working at Image has made me become my own editor. The buck stops here, you know?” [Broken Frontier]
Just as they promised, Marvel announced the return of X-Treme X-Men at Wondercon today. But if you were looking forward to the return of Slipstream, Lifeguard or any of the other characters who starred in the series that ran from 2001 to 2004, you might be a tad disappointed. However, if you were an Exiles fan, like myself, you’ll probably be pretty happy.
Announced during Marvel Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort’s Talk to the Hat panel at WonderCon, X-Treme X-Men will spin out of Greg Pak’s recent run on Astonishing X-Men and will feature some of the alternate reality X-Men he introduced. The art for the series is by Steve Segovia.
“Dazzler is the Marvel Universe character in it,” said Marvel’s Arune Singh. “There is a threat in existence but they have to stop a threat to reality. It’s Greg and that crazy ‘Planet Hulk’ mind of his. If you liked Exiles, you’ll like this.”
Exiles ran for 100 issues and featured the work of Judd Winick, Mike McKone, Chuck Austen, Jim Calafiore, Tony Bedard and several others, but it’s those first issues written by Winick that were really great. The team included alternate reality versions of various X-characters over the course of its run, like the Age of Apocalypse Blink and Sabretooth; Nocturne, the daughter of Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch; a female Sunfire and the shape-changing Morph. It remains to be seen how this series will be set up, but if Pak can capture the fun of those early Exiles issues, I’m on board.
Carol Danvers has gone by Binary, Warbird and of course Ms. Marvel, but later this year she’ll be promoted to Captain Marvel in a new series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy.
Marvel Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort revealed what those teasers were about during his Talk to the Hat panel at WonderCon today. Brevoort said the series spins out of this year’s big Avengers vs. X-Men event. Click over to CBR to see some pages from the new book.
More than three months after Marvel said it was merely delaying the debuts of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Route 666, Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed this morning that the planned revivals of the CrossGen titles “have been shelved for the time being.”
Announced in August at FanExpo Canada, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Route 666 were set to join recent revivals of Ruse, Sigil and Mystic in December and February, respectively, under Marvel’s fledgling CrossGen imprint. Buoyed by nostalgia for the defunct publisher, Ruse and Sigil had solid enough debuts, selling an estimated 28,500 copies each in February 2011. But by their conclusions in June, sales of Ruse had plummeted to about 10,500 copies, and Sigil to 8,900. Mystic‘s August premiere was considerably weaker, moving around 18,800 copies. By October’s Issue 3, that figure had tumbled to about 6,000, suggesting nostalgia only goes so far.
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated Peter Nguyen, Route 666 was to re-imagine the CrossGen horror series, transplanting protagonist Cassie Starkweather to the 1950s, where she was a deputy to U.S. Marshal Evan Cisco. Likewise, writer Peter Milligan and artist Roman Rosanas put a new spin on the Mike Perkins-Tony Bedard espionage comic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, with a young agent ordered by MI6 to assume the role of super-spy Charles Kiss.
Let’s not mince words, the online presence of Tom Brevoort has provided hours of great reading for Robot 6 readers. Given his constant and unflagging willingness to interact with consumers via social media, Brevoort is a quote machine (His Twitter bio? “A man constantly on the verge of saying something stupid–for your entertainment!?”). There’s always a directness (some would say bluntness) to his manner online–making him the ideal subject for an interview. Last year saw Marvel promote Brevoort to senior vice president for publishing. 2011 was a year of some major successes for Marvel, as well as a year where some hard business decisions were made. In this interview, conducted in mid-December via email, I tried to cover a great deal of ground (we even briefly discuss DC’s New 52 success)–and Brevoort did not hold back on any of his answers. For that, I am extremely grateful. Like any high profile comics executive, Brevoort has his fans and his critics (and many in between), but I like to think this exchange offers some perspectives everyone can enjoy.
Tim O’Shea: Whether it’s in your job description or not, fan outreach via social media is definitely part of your job–clearly by your own choice. What benefit or enjoyment do you get from interacting with the fans/consumers?
Tom Brevoort: I’m not sure that I get a particular benefit, except maybe just being the center of attention for a few minutes—maybe everything I do is motivated by ego! I’m a whore for the spotlight! But I started doing this kind of outreach back in the formative days of internet fandom, largely because I like the idea of internet fandom. I know that, if the internet had existed when I was a young comic book reader, I’d have been on those message boards and in those chat rooms all the time, obsessively—just like a certain portion of the audience today. So I like the idea of giving back, of being accessible enough that anybody who has a question or a concern knows where to find me, or at least to find somebody with an insider’s track who might have the background and knowledge to speak to their point. In a very real way, it’s all an outgrowth of what Stan Lee did in his letters pages and Bullpen pages. Joe Q, I think, was really the first person to perfect that approach for the internet age. As EIC he was incredibly available to the audience in a myriad of ways. It’s a philosophy that’s very much woven into our DNA at Marvel. And for the most part, our fans are interesting, vibrant, cool people, especially when you meet them in person.
Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, has begun digging into his archives for The Marvel Age of Comics, his new Tumblr blog devoted to “rarities and original art from the formative days of Marvel.” It launched just yesterday, and there’s already some terrific images, including a page of original art from 1941’s Captain America Comics #6, John Byrne’s character sheet for Kitty Pryde and, above, Jim Steranko’s Christmas card from when he was working on Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“DC extended the terms of their returnability Ponzi scheme for two more months. Until we get to a month in which retailers are ordering straight up, without needing to hit unrealistic numbers in order to qualify for returnability, you guys looking at the limited and skewed charts that you get to see aren’t going to be able to see what is clear to those of us who get to see the actual numbers and track the day-to-day week-to-week sales flow of the business.”
– Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, responding to a question on his always-interesting Formspring account about when, in his view, the Diamond charts will accurately reflect sales of DC Comics’ New 52 titles
Comics | While going through a box in his attic, a Grange Park, Illinois, man discovered a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, that he had bought as a kid. While other copies of the comic have fetched as much as $1.2 million, Chimera’s Comics is selling it for $12,000 due to its condition. [LaGrange Patch]
Comics | Brian Truitt profiles Marvel’s Fantastic Four, talking to Mark Waid, Tom Brevoort and Tom DeFalco about the long-running comic. [USA Today]
Publishing | Janna Morishima, formerly of Scholastic and Diamond Comic Distributors, has joined Papercutz as its first marketing director. [Papercutz]
[Reader question:] Why do writers persist on doing controversial directions/stories that are disliked by fans? We pay good money for these books, so we should naturally get something we enjoy. Consumers shouldn’t feel compelled to vent frustration about their purchases.
[Tom Brevoort:] Writers don’t do stories specifically to piss off fans. Writers write stories about which they feel passionate and invested. As a reader, you’re entitled to one thing and one thing only: a reading experience in exchange for your purchase. And if you like that reading experience, the expectation is that you’ll come back for more. But the audience does not and should never be in control of the stories. Writers are writers because they know how to do what audiences don’t know how to do—tell stories that affect you and move you. It’s way tougher than it looks. Storytelling isn’t a democracy, you don’t get a decision in how the stories go. All you get is your one vote, with your dollars or your feet.
— Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort, drawing the line on fan entitlement. See also Grant Morrison on nerd culture and Bryan Lee O’Malley on A Song of Ice and Fire. There’s something in the air.