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  1. #46
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Let's put it another way:
    Marvel is a business. End of the day, they follow the sales.
    Marvel chooses to look at how fans vote at the register as their metric to whether keep books going, whether to cancel them, whether to spin them out into more boooks.
    They use that metric to decide who to hire and who to put under contract.

    Those sales can be used both in ways to produce more of what's popular.
    Those sales can also be used to keep a cult hit going-- because even though the sales may be low, the sales are consistent and unwavering.

    The sales of a video game or movie might be used as an indicator for why Marvel might take a risk on developing a new title.

    Marvel follows the money, because Marvel is a business.
    Business is business. I do it. I respect it. I understand it.

    And I don't intend to argue or discredit that assessment, but I still think criticism of a story's content with "it sells" isn't a valid counterargument. I've been reading these books long enough to know that chasing "sales" at the expense of good creative vision can lead to disaster. You know the Clone Saga - as should any Spider-Man fan worth their salt - and it was such a creative mess by the end that resulted in catastrophic turn-over, leadership firings, reader backlash, and other substantial problems that affected the book for years afterwards... yet it was all driven by initially record-breaking sales and interest in the book and characters. Those "record-breaking sales" did not a great story make, and the damage it did long-term is still partially felt to this very day.

    And as creators - you, me, and anyone else who creates for a living - who the heck should really care about sales beyond the ability to keep a roof over our heads? My most successful work is not what I'm most proud of. That's okay. Iman Vellani's response to The Marvels' box office slump is quite mature for her age;
    "I don't want to focus on something that's not even in my control, because what's the point? That's for Bob Iger. I'm happy with the finished product, and the people that I care about enjoyed the film. It's genuinely a good time watching this movie, and that's all we can ask for with these films. It has superheroes, it take place in space, it's not that deep and it's about teamwork and sisterhood. It's a fun movie, and I'm just so happy that I can share it with people."
    If "sales" are the only indicator of worth, then early arcs of The Clone Saga are the benchmark for all comic book stories, and I don't really ascribe to that.

    Granted, it's always nice when a great book is rewarded with great sales - and I'll continue to pound my desk and tell people to pick up MacKay's Moon Knight and Waid's World's Finest - but people can criticize even the most popular story. And if someone buys it and criticizes it, it shouldn't be policy to disregard that criticism just because that person supported the book financially too and will continue to support it while asking for changes or improvements. Without heeding criticism, we just get more Clone Saga outcomes.
    Last edited by Garlador; 11-18-2023 at 04:14 PM.
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  2. #47
    Ultimate Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainUniverse View Post
    Richard Nixon was a Skrull. Pass it on.

    Oh no you didn't!? LOL!

    This was too good!
    [Quote Originally Posted by Thor-El 10-15-2020 12:32 PM]

    "Jason Aaron should know there is already a winner of the Phoenix Force and his name is Phoenixx9."


    Like a Red Dragon, The Phoenix shall Soar in 2024!

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garlador View Post
    And as creators - you, me, and anyone else who creates for a living - who the heck should really care about sales beyond the ability to keep a roof over our heads? Iman Vellani's response to The Marvels' box office slump is quite mature for her age.
    I love that quote! She's the best! (I've met her in real life-- and there is NO artifice there whatsoever. She's that positive! And that charming! And 100% that enthusiastic!

    The rewards of this job are far more the work itself-- and getting to collaborate with so many wonderful people.
    I am fairly certain (especially at its price point) that my DOCTOR WHO special is not going to set the charts on fire. I did it because I have so much love for that character! And that I could work with Christopher, Matthew, Mike, and the rest of our team. I own the original Adam Hughes cover. And I'm sure that ate up my fee for writing 58 pages... and some.

    SILVER SURFER #11 had about four-to-six months development work put into it on my side of the equation. My rates didn't go up for it. I just wanted to see if I could tell a story like that.

    I absolutely get that money and/or profit doesn't measure how good something is or why we do things. I get that 100%.

    There's an artist whose work isn't it my wheelhouse. I don't love it or hate it. I just know it's not for me. But I totally understand that this artist has both a crazy number of haters AND a devout following who will pick up anything they do. The fact that they have that following says to me that there's something compelling about their work-- even if *I* don't get it. It's GOOD to someone out there. A LARGE number of someones.

    The TWILIGHT movies/books don't appeal to me. I have ZERO opinion on them. But I do know there are a LOT of people who like to trash them. I remember going to one SDCC where hardcore TWILIGHT fans were camping out overnight to make sure that they got into the TWILIGHT panel. And I saw people making fun of them. Why? So TWILIGHT'S not for you. Whatever. Let those people over there support what they want to support.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    If I "misrepresented" your post, then it was in an exact equal measure for how you were choosing to interpret my earlier post. Fair?
    I don't really think so, no. Not when you're unwilling to acknowledge certain points as you argue/speak against what you dislike or find unfair.

  5. #50
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    Think we're getting lost in the weeds here.

  6. #51
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    I love that quote! She's the best! (I've met her in real life-- and there is NO artifice there whatsoever. She's that positive! And that charming! And 100% that enthusiastic!

    The rewards of this job are far more the work itself-- and getting to collaborate with so many wonderful people.
    I am fairly certain (especially at its price point) that my DOCTOR WHO special is not going to set the charts on fire. I did it because I have so much love for that character! And that I could work with Christopher, Matthew, Mike, and the rest of our team. I own the original Adam Hughes cover. And I'm sure that ate up my fee for writing 58 pages... and some.

    SILVER SURFER #11 had about four-to-six months development work put into it on my side of the equation. My rates didn't go up for it. I just wanted to see if I could tell a story like that.

    I absolutely get that money and/or profit doesn't measure how good something is or why we do things. I get that 100%.

    There's an artist whose work isn't it my wheelhouse. I don't love it or hate it. I just know it's not for me. But I totally understand that this artist has both a crazy number of haters AND a devout following who will pick up anything they do. The fact that they have that following says to me that there's something compelling about their work-- even if *I* don't get it. It's GOOD to someone out there. A LARGE number of someones.

    The TWILIGHT movies/books don't appeal to me. I have ZERO opinion on them. But I do know there are a LOT of people who like to trash them. I remember going to one SDCC where hardcore TWILIGHT fans were camping out overnight to make sure that they got into the TWILIGHT panel. And I saw people making fun of them. Why? So TWILIGHT'S not for you. Whatever. Let those people over there support what they want to support.
    I know she's online on burner accounts. Iman could be any of us... (hi Iman!).

    But, yeah. People like to kick other fandoms down at times, and I never really understood that. No, I'm not into Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray. My wife isn't into Power Rangers. I'm BEYOND surprised my wife has fallen in love with Ninja Turtles lately. We all have fandoms we fall in love with, and it's not a competition. Don't like Twilight? Don't see it. Even if it's not for you - or even if it's BAD - who cares? It has the right to exist and engage and delight nonetheless.

    I think long-form stories are trickier, because the elements that fans fall in love with may change or be lost over time. Sometimes that's a good thing (I can't imagine Dick Grayson regressing away from his "Nightwing" evolution) and sometimes it loses sight of what made people fall in love with it.

    To tie this back to Spider-Man, I find it kind of funny reading interviews with leadership from the 90s and 2000s saying they wanted Spider-Man to go back to the formula of the 60s and 70s, and then readers of the 2010s and 2020s beginning to ask for the vibe of the 80s and 90s to return. It's cyclical, but I'm less convinced its generational these days. The accessibility to older comics and stories is greater than any point in history, where before it was much easier to just ignore a comic that came out 30 years ago that's no longer in print.

    For my part, I have to just remember that it's all made-up and no two writers have the same ideas or approach to writing. Pick your canon. People attach way too much emphasis on whether a book is "canon" to the "main" storyline at the expense of better alternatives. It's always a hoot watching people ask "what are the quintessential Batman stories?" only to get a long list of Elseworld stories. A great book that's not "canon" or that has low sales should have equal merit in a reader's mind as any other book so long as they enjoyed it.
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  7. #52
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    Hi, Dan. Just wanted to say that while I've had mixed feelings about some of your past Spidey work, I found Spider-Boy #1 to be one of the most fun comics I've read lately. The helium-breathing villain (Helio?) was hilarious. Thanks for a very colorful, charming comic. I'll be picking up the next one.

  8. #53
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    Thank you! We're having a lot of fun on the book and trying to make some weird/funky choices. And it was a blast working on that SB backup story with my old BATMAN ADVENTURES pal, Ty "The Guy" Templeton!

    There's been a lot of online chatter about "Why do a Spider-Boy book instead of a Ben Reilly or Kaine book?"
    And that's just not the way things work. It's not like there's a specific rota of books that will come out and Spider-Boy is taking their spot.
    SPIDER-BOY is a book that just... kinda happened. My original plans for the character were for him to become part of the SPIDER-MAN cast. After SPIDER-MAN #7, #8, #9, EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #3 sold out and went back to press, Sales & Marketing came to the Spider-Office and asked if we could do a SPIDER-BOY solo. This honestly is a case of "Because you demanded it". Even if you don't count yourself as part of that "you", votes at the register made this title a thing. No joke! So the entire SPIDER-BOY team is VERY grateful for that! THANK YOU!

    Hopefully this title has a look and feel that makes it something unique and fun!

    The conclusion to the adventure with Professor Emilio Helio, The Balloon Man, will be in SPIDER-BOY #2-- out next month!
    SB #2 will also feature an established Marvel U villain, The Taskmaster!
    But if you're liking SB's all-new, original villains like Gutterball, Madame Monstrosity, Hellifino, and the Balloon Man, you won't want to miss SPIDER-BOY #3, which will introduce two more all-new characters to the Spider-Boy Rogues' Gallery!

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    Think we're getting lost in the weeds here.
    No kidding - your statements and replies are not exactly making the situation better.

  10. #55
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    This from the guy whose last comment was, "That's just Dan Slott - don't worry about it."

    Yeah. Like you're here to "make the situation better".
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-19-2023 at 05:20 AM.

  11. #56
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Wait, what conspiracy theory is going around now?
    This is an evergreen problem.

    At a convention panel, Peter David recalled when some readers of his Supergirl run accused him of ripping off a development in the previous episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was ridiculous because the comic was at the printers when the episode aired.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garlador View Post
    This is evading the actual point of criticism - and it is independent of SALES. The AI response I see mirrors what I certainly see everywhere online - here, Twitter, Discord, Reddit, Facebook, etc., so its answer doesn't surprise me. You focus a lot on sales - and as a business that certainly speaks loudest - but narrative criticism and quality is divorced from sales. Some of the most acclaimed works of media outright flop and some of the most intellectually empty stories are huge sales successes.

    But it's never binary, and I wish fans and creators alike would stop treating it as such. I can pay for something and still be critical of it. Often, buying and experiencing it is the only way to be fully objective with your criticisms. I have given money to films and comics and games I hated, but had to experience them first before formulating an educated critique based on those experiences. I'm certainly not alone in buying into a sunken cost fallacy of supporting something I truly loved once far longer than I should have in the vain hope that it will inevitably turn a corner and get back on track.

    One of my former instructors recently mentioned a difficult choice was made with a video game they had developed, one that alienated a majority of their fanbase. But the ones that remained were loyal no matter how bad things got and, more importantly, were willing to pay substantially more for microtransactions and other additional-fee content. They lost over 80% of their players, but the 20% that remained outspent the 80% that left, so the game simply pivoted to catering to those customers that didn't care about the quality and only wanted to keep paying for new cosmetics and weapon skins. The other 80% were never wrong in their criticisms - the game substantially got worse in execution - but if sales are the only metric that matters then it was just business to ignore the majority who demanded better and just appease the vast minority that outspent them each month.

    That's a different medium, but my point remains that criticisms of content are not equitable to sales. As already mentioned, great things often fail while substandard dreck can roll in the cash.

    Edit: to clarify, I'm not targeting any specific books as "substandard". Opinions vary. Some of my favorite titles have been cancelled prematurely, and some stuff simply chugged along. Many of the targets of derision lately have written some excellent titles.
    Sales is relevant to any question about why Marvel does what it does.

    For example, pointing to sales is an appropriate response to the thread question " Is the Spider-Man editorial approach out of touch instead of just spiteful?"

    Someone can say they don't like a comic book, but if they insist that Marvel change it, a valid counterpoint to say that Marvel's not going to be doing anything because the book is selling well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurus View Post
    Because people have never made anything shitty a massive success before. If we’re just going to say that everything that sells is automatically good then we might as well shut this place down. What’s the point about arguing the merits of certain pieces of art if the only metric we use is sales. Just accept that anything that sells is good. How boring would that be?
    But there's a difference between arguing about the artistic merit and arguing about the direction a business should take.

    Quality isn't entirely independent of sales. Good creative teams and well-reviewed projects are more likely to sell well than comic books of average or below-average quality.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  12. #57
    Fantastic Member Hurricane Billy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    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!
    At the risk of likely stating the obvious, would it be correct to assume that it's significantly easier to make a series with one consistent creative team from start to finish for shorter, specific stories than for long term mainline comic runs? For example, the difference between Frank Quietly working on all of All-Star Superman with Grant Morrison, but only working with them for a few issues of their Batman & Robin run from around the same period of time?

    Definitely excited to see the new Doctor Who! From a meta perspective, I think it will be especially interesting to see how Russell T Davies' second go-around as showrunner compares to his previous run. To my knowledge, I don't think that's ever happened in the show's history before- and the changing of the guard with showrunners (and Doctors) typically results in a shakeup stylistically for the show, such as how the first seasons of the Third Doctor were all Earth-based and had the Doctor working alongside UNIT regularly or how much of the first half of Tom Baker's run as the Fourth Doctor infused the sci-fi premise of the show with a lot of gothic horror trappings.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Billy View Post
    At the risk of likely stating the obvious, would it be correct to assume that it's significantly easier to make a series with one consistent creative team from start to finish for shorter, specific stories than for long term mainline comic runs?
    Absolutely! For no other reason than you develop a working relationship with each other and learn each other's rhythms.

    But that's hard to do nowadays because of the level of detail that most artist's put into their work. Art has been veering more towards realism in comics and away from stylized lines & cartooning. That's a large factor in why most comic book artists need more than a month to produce their contribution to the comic. It means that stories have to be written further ahead of time to allow them to draw the longer arcs. It also means that most artists can only deliver 6 to 10 issues a year (instead of 12).
    There are exceptions who can draw 12 or more though: Mark Bagley, John Romita Jr, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Humberto Ramos to name a few. Sometimes the comic is allowed the freedom to be a little late so that the collection can be all of one piece and have one consistent look. That's how it was with Steve McNiven and the original CIVIL WAR event. And that's the leeway they gave me and Mike Allred on Surfer (though, truth be told, I was usually the one eating up the extra time-- because I had to get two-to-three issues of ASM or SUPERIOR out at the same time).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Billy View Post
    Definitely excited to see the new Doctor Who! From a meta perspective, I think it will be especially interesting to see how Russell T Davies' second go-around as showrunner compares to his previous run. To my knowledge, I don't think that's ever happened in the show's history before...
    Definitely in the same boat over here! Can't wait!

  14. #59
    Astonishing Member Mercwmouth12's Avatar
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    Why not just do Spider-boy vs Alpha?

  15. #60
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    Honest answer:

    I've talked about Alpha in the past. Extensively.
    He was never built to be an ongoing thing. Or an actual sidekick.
    His story was meant to be a one-off story, but budgetary concerns got the one giant story chopped up into 3 parts.
    And I don't think it works well that way. (Though I have gotten good feedback from fans who first read the story in the trade-- and read it as one, big story all in one go.)

    The 5 part structure of his original story was meant to be (and this would've been told over the course of 48 or more pages):
    1. A high school kid from Midtown High goes to Peter's lab and gets great power.
    2. Peter feels responsible for him and takes him under his wing as a sidekick.
    3. The kid's power grows to be greater than Spidey's. The kid's a jerk with his power and uses it irresponsibly.
    4. Spidey takes the kid down.
    5. Peter uses his scientific know how to take the kid's powers away. THE END.

    The problem was, we built the kid up to be a jerk so you'd get why Spidey had to take his power away.

    But when the story was teased as "Spidey gets a sidekick" and then broken up into multiple parts... readers got mad because "Spidey's sidekick" was a jerk, and why would we do that?

    And then the bigger problem was... the first part sold phenomenally well and sales/marketing wanted to keep the character around and do a mini-series with him.
    That meant we had to change the ending... and Spidey could only take *part* of his power away. And that's a WEIRD mixed message that makes absolutely no sense.
    It kinda messed up the greater story.

    In my mind, the story was finished after I turned in the script for part three, and I never felt a need to revisit the character again.

    That is night-and-day from Spider-Boy, who we built to be Spidey's sidekick from his first appearance on.
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-19-2023 at 08:56 PM.

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