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  1. #1
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    Default Things to keep in mind when concocting behind-the-scenes conspiracy theories...

    The internet loves coming up with all kinds of reasons why things happen behind the scenes.

    That said, here are some important common sense things to keep in mind when concocting (or examining) your next behind-the-scenes conspiracy theory:

    On average (and when kept on schedule), comics take three months to produce from start to finish: spring/approval/plot/script/pencils/inks/colors/letters.
    Even though they come out monthly, the production is staggered (one issue is being written while another issue is being drawn and another issue is being colored, etc.).
    Sometimes a book can come out within two months. Other times they take four or more. NO BOOK comes out within a month. That's silly.
    With that in mind: NO issue/story is going to come out as a "direct response" to some current controversy. And it's even crazier to believe that an entire storyline (of multiple issues) would ever do that either.

    New titles/books have to go through a process to get approved and become new titles/books. Because of how long it takes to physically produce a comic-- and then ADDING in the process of the company approving a creative team (while factoring in all kinds of logistical challenges like that creative teams availability, scheduling, and cost)-- there is no way a book can instantaneously come into existence as a direct response to any shift in the market place. (For example: The SPIDER-BOY book came about because of the reaction to the sales of SPIDER-MAN #7, #8, #9, and EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #3. EOSV #3 was released in June. Books are solicited 3 months ahead of time in the catalog. The soonest we could get a book done-- especially an over-sized first issue-- was a book that would be out the following November.)

    Just a couple things to keep in mind.
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-15-2023 at 12:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Some concrete dates provide examples.

    The fastest turnaround I'm aware of for a single issue if Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 #36. It was a response to September 11 published two months later (November 14.)

    It had the advantage of John Romita Jr, one of the fastest artists on the planet. It is very much not the norm, and a single issue story which interrupted ongoing stories.

    Amazing Spider-Man #583 with the Obama meeting (a five page back-up story) was published on January 14 2009, in response to Obama's election on November 4.

    So two months is the absolute max. It also seems to me that this is something Marvel doesn't like to do, given how rarely it happens.

    Maybe Marvel should do it more often (any editor reading this had made a mental note to blacklist me) but there's no indication that they do it regularly.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  3. #3
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    Comics, the most amazing medium of meticulous planning and utter chaos.

    My conversations with creators typical boiled down that they hope for the best, try not to get upset when their 36 issue epic is cancelled after issue 4, and keep trying with something new until it resonates with readers.

    All anybody is ever doing is experimenting with the ingredients on hand and hoping they have a tasty meal ready by the time the buzzer is hit. The story marches on and can affect dozens of other books and teams, and one can only build the tracks so fast.


    “I don't have inspiration. I only have ideas. Ideas and deadlines."
    - Stan
    Join the "Spider-Fam" Community! - Celebrating Love and Advocating for Our Hero to Beat the Devil! - https://discord.gg/VQ2mHzBBFu

  4. #4
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    I'm just going to keep adding to this, because it's fun.

    Things to ask yourself before commenting on a panel (or panels) pulled from a story:
    Are you reading those panels in their full context?
    What happened in the story earlier?
    What panels followed this cherry picked excerpt?

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Wait, what conspiracy theory is going around now?
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
    X-23: "I know there are people who disapprove... Guys on the Internet mainly."
    (All-New Wolverine #4)

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member CaptainUniverse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Wait, what conspiracy theory is going around now?
    Richard Nixon was a Skrull. Pass it on.

    Last edited by CaptainUniverse; 11-15-2023 at 09:24 PM.
    "The Enigma Force is not a tool to be manipulated by mortals. The Enigma Force comes to those it deems worthy. What temerity, what arrogance, makes you think you are worthy? Have you not all made mistakes? Unforgiveable ones?" - Captain Universe

    "Call me an Avenging Angel, Baron, come to safeguard Earth...call me CAPTAIN UNIVERSE!" - Ray Coffin

    "You're my heart, Mary Jane Watson...you're my jackpot." - Peter Parker

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member Tendrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Wait, what conspiracy theory is going around now?
    Forget it, Weblurker, it's the Spider-man forums.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Wait, what conspiracy theory is going around now?
    That's just Dan Slott - don't worry about it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    The internet loves coming up with all kinds of reasons why things happen behind the scenes.

    That said, here are some important common sense things to keep in mind when concocting (or examining) your next behind-the-scenes conspiracy theory:

    On average (and when kept on schedule), comics take three months to produce from start to finish: spring/approval/plot/script/pencils/inks/colors/letters.
    Even though they come out monthly, the production is staggered (one issue is being written while another issue is being drawn and another issue is being colored, etc.).
    Sometimes a book can come out within two months. Other times they take four or more. NO BOOK comes out within a month. That's silly.
    With that in mind: NO issue/story is going to come out as a "direct response" to some current controversy. And it's even crazier to believe that an entire storyline (of multiple issues) would ever do that either.

    New titles/books have to go through a process to get approved and become new titles/books. Because of how long it takes to physically produce a comic-- and then ADDING in the process of the company approving a creative team (while factoring in all kinds of logistical challenges like that creative teams availability, scheduling, and cost)-- there is no way a book can instantaneously come into existence as a direct response to any shift in the market place. (For example: The SPIDER-BOY book came about because of the reaction to the sales of SPIDER-MAN #7, #8, #9, and EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #3. EOSV #3 was released in June. Books are solicited 3 months ahead of time in the catalog. The soonest we could get a book done-- especially an over-sized first issue-- was a book that would be out the following November.)

    Just a couple things to keep in mind.
    Dan: Thank you for taking the time to explain the process. It is fascinating how the logistics of a comic book actually works, and at least for me, understanding how the creative process works ( or doesn’t work ( COVID being an obvious non controversial example)), makes me appreciate the writer/artist etc more ( even if the story is not my favorite like Beyond).

  10. #10
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainUniverse View Post
    Richard Nixon was a Skrull. Pass it on.

    Nixon said he wasn't a crook, but he never said he wasn't a Skrull.

    No wonder they called him "Tricky Dick."

  11. #11
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    Reminder/refresher:

    Comics and minis that are scheduled to take advantage of different movies, TV shows, and video games are harder to schedule when studios and game companies move around the release dates.

    This isn't rocket science. Comics take (on average) three months to produce. That's the bare minimum of wiggle room when physically putting the book together-- and also the bare minimum time you can put a book on the schedule because the catalog dates retailers place orders on are three months into the future.

    So, in a best case scenario-- in a world where you could snap your fingers and a book goes into production-- that three month window is how fast you could move once a movie, TV show, or video game cements their release dates. Three months once you've now put the train on the tracks.

    But the thing is, we don't live in a best case scenario world. There are other factors that have to be taken into account before a new project (ongoing, mini-series, one-shot, etc) can be created. The editorial team needs to put together a creative team for that project. Maybe it's something they assign to creators, maybe it's something they accept multiple pitches for (with the other creators knowing that that's the case). Either way, editorial is going to have to read through pitches and work back and forth with potential creative teams.

    The project also has to get priced out/budgeted. Different creators cost different amounts. Different creators might be bigger draws for the project-- some projects/characters/premises might have a history of only selling so much. The numbers need to be crunched so that this new project is something that Marvel knows will be profitable for them in the end. This also has to be weighed against different creators' availabilities to work on that project AND how long each creator usually takes to complete a project like that. It's a very big and daunting process-- and this all needs to take place while an editorial office is getting out their full slate of regular monthly books AND factoring in that initial three months or so it will take to get the first issue done.

    It's easy to armchair quarterback this stuff and say, "Hey, that movie and/or video game is coming out. Why doesn't Marvel have a book ready at the time of its release?"
    But in the real world, it's not such an easy thing to pull off.

    That said, one of the ways I broke into the super hero side of the industry was me-- as a freelancer-- taking a step back, looking at this kind of situation, and making a rock solid/common sense pitch to an editorial office. Back when I was writing licensed books for DC (Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, etc.), I noticed that they were pretty late to the game launching their DC Adventures books. Both the BATMAN ADVENTURES and SUPERMAN ADVENTURES comics went into production many months after the shows had launched. When JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES was announced, I wrote up a pitch that DC should develop the book far ahead of schedule so that they could have close to a simultaneous launch with the TV show. (I know this sounds incredibly simple, but no one was moving on it. There's an expression by designer Scott Love that goes like this, "Only the most foolish of mice would hide in a cat's ear. But only the wisest of cats would think to look there.")

    The office liked my pitch, moved ahead on the JL ADVENTURES book, and since I was the only freelancer who knew that job was available, I had half a dozen springboards/story pitches in with absolutely no competition in sight. I sold four of those stories. After I turned in a couple, the Justice League editor said that they were good concepts and when he imagined them w/o the Adventures Style art, he thought they would have also made great regular DCU Justice League stories. He asked me if I wanted to pitch some DCU projects... and that first round of pitches is where my ARKHAM ASYLUM LIVING HELL mini-series came from. That was my kick off point for all the rest of my super hero work at DC and Marvel.

    So I do get it. I get that when you take a step back it feels obvious that a company should have those kinds of tie-ins ready to go at the proper time. But having worked in the industry, where I've gotten a good look at how the sausage is actually made, I also understand how and why it's not always that easy a feat to pull off.
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-16-2023 at 04:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Mercwmouth12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Reminder/refresher:

    Comics and minis that are scheduled to take advantage of different movies, TV shows, and video games are harder to schedule when studios and game companies move around the release dates.

    This isn't rocket science. Comics take (on average) three months to produce. That's the bare minimum of wiggle room when physically putting the book together-- and also the bare minimum time you can put a book on the schedule because the catalog dates retailers place orders on are three months into the future.

    So, in a best case scenario-- in a world where you could snap your fingers and a book goes into production-- that three month window is how fast you could move once a movie, TV show, or video game cements their release dates. Three months once you've now put the train on the tracks.

    But the thing is, we don't live in a best case scenario world. There are other factors that have to be taken into account before a new project (ongoing, mini-series, one-shot, etc) can be created. The editorial team needs to put together a creative team for that project. Maybe it's something they assign to creators, maybe it's something they accept multiple pitches for (with the other creators knowing that that's the case). Either way, editorial is going to have to read through pitches and work back and forth with potential creative teams.

    The project also has to get priced out/budgeted. Different creators cost different amounts. Different creators might be bigger draws for the project-- some projects/characters/premises might have a history of only selling so much. The numbers need to be crunched so that this new project is something that Marvel knows will be profitable for them in the end. This also has to be weighed against different creators' availabilities to work on that project AND how long each creator usually takes to complete a project like that. It's a very big and daunting process-- and this all needs to take place while an editorial office is getting out their full slate of regular monthly books AND factoring in that initial three months or so it will take to get the first issue done.

    It's easy to armchair quarterback this stuff and say, "Hey, that movie and/or video game is coming out. Why doesn't Marvel have a book ready at the time of its release?"
    But in the real world, it's not such an easy thing to pull off.

    That said, one of the ways I broke into the super hero side of the industry was me-- as a freelancer-- taking a step back, looking at this kind of situation, and making a rock solid/common sense pitch to an editorial office. Back when I was writing licensed books for DC (Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, etc.), I noticed that they were pretty late to the game launching their DC Adventures books. Both the BATMAN ADVENTURES and SUPERMAN ADVENTURES comics went into production many months after the shows had launched. When JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES was announced, I wrote up a pitch that DC should develop the book far ahead of schedule so that they could have close to a simultaneous launch with the TV show. (I know this sounds incredibly simple, but no one was moving on it. There's an expression by designer Scott Love that goes like this, "Only the most foolish of mice would hide in a cat's ear. But only the wisest of cats would think to look there.")

    The office liked my pitch, moved ahead on the JL ADVENTURES book, and since I was the only freelancer who knew that job was available, I had half a dozen springboards/story pitches in with absolutely no competition in sight. I sold four of those stories. After I turned in a couple, the Justice League editor said that they were good concepts and when he imagined them w/o the Adventures Style art, he thought they would have also made great regular DCU Justice League stories. He asked me if I wanted to pitch some DCU projects... and that first round of pitches is where my ARKHAM ASYLUM LIVING HELL mini-series came from. That was my kick off point for all the rest of my super hero work at DC and Marvel.

    So I do get it. I get that when you take a step back it feels obvious that a company should have those kinds of tie-ins ready to go at the proper time. But having worked in the industry, where I've gotten a good look at how the sausage is actually made, I also understand how and why it's not always that easy a feat to pull off.
    I really wasn't feeling it for that new Batman trailer. Felt not like Batman and the announced joker year one feels like that could have not been rushed

  13. #13
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Dan, do you know when Marvel decided to create an ongoing Peter and Miles team-up comic? The marketing for Insomniac's Spider-Man 2 focused quite a bit on Peter and Miles working together. The game came out in late October 2023, and the first issue of Greg Weisman and Humberto Ramos' Spectacular Spider-Men launches in March of 2024. From an outsiders perspective, it feels like the comic should have launched a little closer to the game's release.
    Last edited by Kevinroc; 11-16-2023 at 04:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    Not sure of all the inside baseball of this specific title, but just from the creator side of things-- hypothetically, let's say you're putting together a team, and you want both a Spidey writer AND a Spidey artist with some history/cred/appeal. And you find out you can get SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN legend, Greg Weisman on board-- and you know that one of the all-time great Spidey artists, Humberto Ramos might be available soon. Then you have to find out when both of these creators are free. What are their schedules like? When is the earliest they can start? Is Greg working on a TV show? What projects does Humberto have to finish? And so on.

    There are a lot of factors that can keep a book from going straight into production. Sometimes there are false starts. Or different teams at first. Or maybe there are rumblings that the project you're tying into might shift dates. There was a point where the SPIDER-MAN book was going to launch around the month of ATSV. There was a time when I was going to make an arc of SPIDER-MAN feature an Ant-Man team-up so that it could take advantage of the QUANTUMANIA release. When do you pull the trigger on a SPIDER-PUNK mini-series? Do you aim for the ATSV launch? Or 6 months before so you can have the trade ready for the launch? It's trickier than it looks from the outside.

  15. #15
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    Hi Dan, I was wondering if you could clear up a "conspiracy theory" (for lack of better wording) regarding Lost Hunt?

    Some fans noticed that when JMD's mini came out, it didn't receive any promotion from Nick Lowe the way ASM and other satellite titles did. Some fans found it weird, especially since satellite books typically need more promotion than the main book that everyone knows (and especially since the other satellite book at the time still got a good amount of promotion).

    Anyways, some fans suspect that that was deliberate because Lost Hunt was in-line with the pre-OMD marriage status quo than the current Wells/BND status quo. Personally I don't believe it and think it's a ridiculous stretch. I also agree that conspiracy theories are futile and counter-productive (and in some cases can even be toxic). That's why I was wondering if you could put the ridiculous theories around that to an end. Do you know the reason Lost Hunt barely got any promotion compared to all the other books?

    EDIT: Should have said "advertized" instead of "promotion".
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 11-16-2023 at 09:34 PM.

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