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  1. #16
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    I remember a time when I was on smaller "cult hit" books like SHE-HULK and GREAT LAKES AVENGERS and I complained to the powers-that-be that my books weren't being promoted enough. Everywhere I looked the house ads and other forms of promotion were going to the big books like AVENGERS, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and the big events. I argued that if more of that promotion went to smaller titles, Marvel would see a better return because those smaller titles would benefit from that exposure so much more than titles that were already guaranteed hits. Their line of argument went the opposite way-- that the bigger titles brought in more far more revenue and that those were the titles that you had to keep a greater spotlight on with their promotional ads.

    I was also told that I was no different from the writers on those big books-- because they TOO were complaining that they weren't getting enough promotion. And I was told that one day, if I was on one of those kinds of titles, that I would still feel the same way. That stuck with me. Years later, when the promotional materials were coming out for SPIDER-ISLAND, I made a point of going to the powers-that-be to tell them, "Y'know what? I'll say it. I AM getting too much promotion." (They also understood that, yes, I was being a smart ass.)

    I'm no mind reader. I can't tell you how or why (or by how much) each book is promoted the way it is. But I can tell you this much: Marvel is a company. Marvel always wants the answer that will make them the most money. And Marvel *hates* to waste money. They would never do anything to willfully sabotage a comic that they were spending good money on. They never want ANY book to perform poorly. They would never hire a writer, penciler, inker, or colorist for a book they somehow "wanted to fail". They would never want to damage their relationships with those creators. They would never want to waste that editorial office's time on such a counterproductive endeavor.

  2. #17
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    Appreciate the fast response on this. Thank you.

  3. #18
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    Anytime.

    (More specifically... Anytime I'm up too late with writer's block.) ;-)

  4. #19
    Fantastic Member Hurricane Billy's Avatar
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    Just as an aside, Dan, I loved your Silver Surfer run. Norrin and Dawn's relationship was beautiful stuff.

  5. #20
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    Thank you!

    There was a point last year where I woke up, had the best damn idea for how to do a *new* Silver Surfer run, called up Mike Allred, told him, he got SUPER excited, and we decided to run it past Brevoort. I ran the idea by Tom, and he thought it was really good too. But then he asked if we really wanted to roll those dice. We were all so happy with our run-- and how it had a beginning, middle, and a definitive ending. There was such a nice bow on the story of Norrin & Dawn, did we really want to tempt fate and try another Surfer run? One without Dawn. A run that went a completely different direction. We all took a step back and looked at the big picture of it all, and were like, "Yeah. Let's just let that story stand over there... and... walk... slowly... away." I think it was the right call.

  6. #21
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Thank you!

    There was a point last year where I woke up, had the best damn idea for how to do a *new* Silver Surfer run, called up Mike Allred, told him, he got SUPER excited, and we decided to run it past Brevoort. I ran the idea by Tom, and he thought it was really good too. But then he asked if we really wanted to roll those dice. We were all so happy with our run-- and how it had a beginning, middle, and a definitive ending. There was such a nice bow on the story of Norrin & Dawn, did we really want to tempt fate and try another Surfer run? One without Dawn. A run that went a completely different direction. We all took a step back and looked at the big picture of it all, and were like, "Yeah. Let's just let that story stand over there... and... walk... slowly... away." I think it was the right call.
    I wonder how often something like that happens. Not just for you specifically, but with comic creators in general. Has Al Ewing ever woken up one morning and had a great idea for a Hulk story but then he doesn't want to step on his legendary Immortal Hulk run?

  7. #22
    Fantastic Member Hurricane Billy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Thank you!

    There was a point last year where I woke up, had the best damn idea for how to do a *new* Silver Surfer run, called up Mike Allred, told him, he got SUPER excited, and we decided to run it past Brevoort. I ran the idea by Tom, and he thought it was really good too. But then he asked if we really wanted to roll those dice. We were all so happy with our run-- and how it had a beginning, middle, and a definitive ending. There was such a nice bow on the story of Norrin & Dawn, did we really want to tempt fate and try another Surfer run? One without Dawn. A run that went a completely different direction. We all took a step back and looked at the big picture of it all, and were like, "Yeah. Let's just let that story stand over there... and... walk... slowly... away." I think it was the right call.
    Thanks for the response, Dan!

    I was actually going to ask if you and Mike ever thought about revisiting Norrin, but I completely understand your point here! It would definitely be an enormous gamble to make, especially without Dawn being present at all. All the same, I'm just glad that the both of you made the run that you did with the ol Surfer. I'm admittedly pretty mundane in that my absolute favorite superheroes have always been the most obvious contenders (Batman and Spider-Man), but the Surfer was always another personal favorite of mine when it came to the less commonly known comic characters.

    That said, even if it's not on another Surfer run, any chance you might team up with Mike again for another story down the line?

  8. #23
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    Always! Mike, Laura, and I love working together-- and we talk about characters we would love to try our hands at all the time. A month or so ago we teamed up to do a short story with one of Mike's favorites, the Silver Age Captain Marvel over in the MARVEL AGE #1000 anthology. It'd be great if we could get our schedules to line up for a longer project.

  9. #24
    Astonishing Member Mercwmouth12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Always! Mike, Laura, and I love working together-- and we talk about characters we would love to try our hands at all the time. A month or so ago we teamed up to do a short story with one of Mike's favorites, the Silver Age Captain Marvel over in the MARVEL AGE #1000 anthology. It'd be great if we could get our schedules to line up for a longer project.
    What about and x book as a apart of the new line launch?

  10. #25
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    My comfort level is two books (or two books and change) a month.

    Once I committed to writing SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (which, technically, is a continuation of SPIDER-MAN) and the new SPIDER-BOY book, that (happily) filled up my dance card.
    I've also committed to doing one 58 page DOCTOR WHO special a year for the next two years, and those are pages I do during any gaps in my regular monthly work.

    That's about 322 pages of material a year that I initially plan on doing. And that gives me the maneuverability to work on secret side projects (like consulting on ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE for 4 years) or taking on more convention appearances (which I've been doing more and more because they give me time to travel and spend time with my loved ones).

    Sometimes the projects I'm committed to will need me to do more work than was planned for (Free Comic Book Day issues, making some of the issues double or triple sized, adding "Alpha" and "Omega" specials to the mix, and so on). When that happens, there are two possible scenarios: I do it all myself-- which involves a lot of all-nighters, me getting really cranky, and sometimes getting rundown and sick... like when I did the extra giant specials for EMPYRE tie-ins, double-sized FF issues, and FF tie-ins for the Marriage Special and Incoming. Or, we do the more sensible thing and I call Chris Gage and ask if he's free to co-write a couple issues with me. But these are rare things that only really happen when Marvel needs me to do extra work on top of the 44 pages of plots and scripts I do for them every month.

    Every now and then Marvel will reach out to me and ask me to take part in side projects like AMAZING FANTASY #1000, CARNAGE: BLACK, WHITE, & BLOOD, CONAN #25, or MARVEL AGE #1000... and then I have to weigh if my schedule can comfortably adjust for that. Recently I was included in a MOON KNIGHT: BLACK, WHITE, & BLOOD project in its early days. And then when I got a better look at how my schedule was shaping up, I pulled out with enough time for the editorial team to comfortably find a replacement.

    The earliest part of a comic pro's career is the hustle to find work-- and that stays with you. It makes it really hard to turn work down later in your career, but it's a practice you've got to learn or you'll quickly find yourself in a position where there's too much on your plate. Turning stuff down hurts. I think a large number of my most fervent detractors would lose their minds if they actually got to peek behind the curtain and see the things I've had to say "sorry" to. (Tho I have told people about the time I stepped down from ASM, Axel offered me the chance to take the lead on the entire X-franchise, and I respectfully turned it down because I didn't think I'd be a good fit for X.) :-D

  11. #26
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    While this is ostensibly a Spider-Man thread, every time Dan shows up I just want to talk more about his runs on She-Hulk, Silver Surfer, Batman, and Fantastic Four.

    My wife would push me out of the way to talk about Doctor Who. I’m ignorant there.
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  12. #27
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    Thank you! I had the best time working on She-Hulk, Batman, and Fantastic Four.
    And working on Silver Surfer with the Allreds was a dream. It's so rare nowadays that you get to work on a series for a good stretch of time with one (and JUST one) creative team with no breaks in between. I kinda wish all my assignments were like that.

    And, if you have Disney+, you should absolutely give the new DOCTOR WHO era a go-- especially when the 15th Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) shows up. When new Doctors start up that always makes for a great jumping on point!

  13. #28
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    One of my favorite sleight-of-hand bits of trickery from a very toxic section of Spidey fandom:

    Chip Zdarsky has said in a couple of quotes that the reason he wouldn't want to work on ASM was dealing with said fandom.

    He specifically has said, "...I can't picture the scenario where I'd take that job. It just seems to be a ludicrous amount of work for a readership that has too many specific ideas of what should happen, and get too angry when their expectations aren't met."

    That's a pretty crystal clear quote. But I have watched members of the most toxic sides of Spidey fandom use some Grade A pretzel-twisting "logic" to spin that what Chip was really talking about was the demands of editorial.

    There is a section of online fandom that loves to take on the role of mindreader and explain to you what people behind-the-scenes are/were really thinking when they've made story choices and/or career choices. It's all very silly.
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-18-2023 at 02:08 PM.

  14. #29
    Fantastic Member Kurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    One of my favorite sleight-of-hand bits of trickery from a very toxic section of Spidey fandom:

    Chip Zdarsky has said in a couple of quotes that the reason he wouldn't want to work on ASM was dealing with said fandom.

    He specifically has said, "...I can't picture the scenario where I'd take that job. It just seems to be a ludicrous amount of work for a readership that has too many specific ideas of what should happen, and get too angry when their expectations aren't met."

    That's a pretty crystal clear quote. But I have watched members of the most toxics side of Spidey fandom use some Grade A pretzel-twisting "logic" to spin that what Chip was really talking about was the demands of editorial.

    There is a section of online fandom that loves to take on the role of mindreader and explain to you what people behind-the-scenes are/were really thinking when they've made story choices and/or career choices. It's all very silly.
    I really don’t see the point of getting bent out of shape over what random people on the internet are saying. Seems like a waste of time too me.

  15. #30
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    One of my favorite sleight-of-hand bits of trickery from a very toxic section of Spidey fandom:

    Chip Zdarsky has said in a couple of quotes that the reason he wouldn't want to work on ASM was dealing with said fandom.

    He specifically has said, "...I can't picture the scenario where I'd take that job. It just seems to be a ludicrous amount of work for a readership that has too many specific ideas of what should happen, and get too angry when their expectations aren't met."

    That's a pretty crystal clear quote. But I have watched members of the most toxics side of Spidey fandom use some Grade A pretzel-twisting "logic" to spin that what Chip was really talking about was the demands of editorial.

    There is a section of online fandom that loves to take on the role of mindreader and explain to you what people behind-the-scenes are/were really thinking when they've made story choices and/or career choices. It's all very silly.
    I tend to not speak or assume what anyone else's intentions are, but I understand that in general fans are trying to parse what statements like these actually mean in how it relates to them and their core issues. Spider-Man fans are told (often justifiably) that they are extremely vocal and "unpleasable" and that expectations are never met. In Chip's case, him saying that about Spider-Man fans seemed particularly pointed, in contrast to getting basically that very same fan backlash soon after over on Batman and "Gotham War" (I trust he'll nail the landing, but I'm a patient man).

    In general, however, I try and step back and ask WHY fans and readers are so vocally unsatisfied. That's doesn't seem to be an incurable problem. I don't see that nearly as prominent with other books and other fanbases - even majorly popular ones like Wolverine or Superman. I follow other creators on certain titles with their social feeds full of positivity and praise. It seems uniquely - or at least predominantly - a "Spider-Man" problem. But then I see nothing but overwhelmingly positive response to Marvel announcing titles like Spider-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man that incorporate status quos that have been heavily requested for years. Those fans don't seem "unpleasable". Their expectations seem to be met and thus they're happy.

    I digress, and I again try to remain objective, so I did an experiment with the most objective source I could find - a soulless AI algorithm - and asked ChatGPT what the biggest problem fans have with Spider-Man as a comic is currently.

    This is the response:


    There is certainly nuance here, but I find myself thinking the robot here might be onto something. The "problem" seems simple enough that even a machine can identify it, but it would take a true creative type to fix it.
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