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  1. #61
    Astonishing Member Mercwmouth12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    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.

    I get that, but why not a simple one vs the other or in a flashback? If they ever met during his time around?

  2. #62
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    "If comics take 3 months to make, how was Alpha something that wasn't planned far ahead?"

    It was planned far ahead as one over-sized story for the 50th Anniversary issue.

    Then there was a very sudden and very unexpected budget problem for how much could be spent on interiors for that over-sized issue. The two backup stories that ran in the 50th were stories that had long been commissioned, finished, paid for, and were in the drawer. Using them solved the budget problem. Splitting up the Alpha story into two or three parts was a very last minute decision.

    The interior pages hadn't been drawn yet though. There was still time to either rewrite the entire story and make it fit into the space of 20 to 22 pages. And there was still time to say "Damn the solicits, let's spike the story, and come up with something completely different on the fly." This was a rare time we actually took a lunch over this to discuss our options.Humberto Ramos isn't just a great artist, he's also an incredibly fast artist, and this gave us some options. Steve Wacker was for turning the story into an arc. Brevoort was for trying to tell the story in the space of 20 pages (he kept bringing up that AMAZING FANTASY #15 was one of the greatest Spidey stories of all-time and told in 11 pages). And I pointed out that I was NO Stan Lee, and that most modern day comics didn't have that many panels per page, and if we tried to mimic that we (meaning "me") probably wouldn't be able to pull it off. I kept saying that I wanted to spike it and come up with something new. But that would mean not just coming up with an all-new story incredibly fast, but also coming up with a story that would celebrate Spidey's 50th. Andthat was a tall order.

    End of the lunch we'd all decided that the guts of the story still worked and we should stick with the original plan: Midtown High kid goes to Peter's experiment, gets great power, and Peter has to teach him how to use it responsibly-- that was still a good hook for the 50th.

    If it were a regular Marvel title, we probably could've done a better job of "calling an audible" and switching things up on the fly when the budgetary problem for the issue suddenly reared its head. But we weren't an ordinary title. We were coming out twice a month. And we had a Hobgoblin arc that was already on the tracks and being worked on-- and the second Humberto was done with the Alpha story, he had to immediately move on to ASM #699 and the triple-sized ASM #700!

    Those were crazy days. I still like the premise of the Alpha story. But I still wished I'd spiked it and done something like the ASM #801 story in its place... but I didn't have any concepts like that in my pocket at the time.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercwmouth12 View Post
    I get that, but why not a simple one vs the other or in a flashback? If they ever met during his time around?
    I haven't used Alpha since that original story. And currently have no desire to revisit it. Sorry.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    "If comics take 3 months to make, how was Alpha something that wasn't planned far ahead?"

    The interior pages hadn't been drawn yet though. There was still time to either rewrite the entire story and make it fit into the space of 20 to 22 pages. And there was still time to say "Damn the solicits, let's spike the story, and come up with something completely different on the fly." This was a rare time we actually took a lunch over this to discuss our options.Humberto Ramos isn't just a great artist, he's also an incredibly fast artist, and this gave us some options. Steve Wacker was for turning the story into an arc. Brevoort was for trying to tell the story in the space of 20 pages (he kept bringing up that AMAZING FANTASY #15 was one of the greatest Spidey stories of all-time and told in 11 pages). And I pointed out that I was NO Stan Lee, and that most modern day comics didn't have that many panels per page, and if we tried to mimic that we (meaning "me") probably wouldn't be able to pull it off. I kept saying that I wanted to spike it and come up with something new. But that would mean not just coming up with an all-new story incredibly fast, but also coming up with a story that would celebrate Spidey's 50th. Andthat was a tall order.

    End of the lunch we'd all decided that the guts of the story still worked and we should stick with the original plan: Midtown High kid goes to Peter's experiment, gets great power, and Peter has to teach him how to use it responsibly-- that was still a good hook for the 50th.
    I'm not sure what conspiracy this thread was specifically made regarding. But in my mind it was about whether aspects of dead language were altered following critical reception of dark web. (whether real or imagined by the conspiracy theorists). Or it was about whether aspects of the goblin sins arc were altered following the reception to dead language. And like after all this discourse, it kind of seems like that is still possible based on these requirements laid out here? The three month minimum seems to be adhered too. And this alpha example kind of shows how certain aspects of a story can be tweaked on a tighter timeline. (which is mostly what conspiracy theories that i've seen are talking about) Like the goblin sins story was probably set in stone from the jump. But MJ's involvement could have been adjusted based on what fan reception was like. And the general tone of the story could have been tweaked to make the whole conclusion less grim? These are just examples, and I am not endorsing them here, but these guidelines seem pretty flexible for conspiracy-theorists to continue conspiracy-ing.
    Last edited by Moxxi517; 11-20-2023 at 10:09 AM.

  5. #65
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    It's not something that's done often. If it were, things would really go flying off the tracks. If a book is coming out regularly (especially a book that comes out twice a month), there is not a lot of room to keep doing *big* last minute changes.

    Even in the Alpha example, the following Hobgoblin arc was already deep in the works, and the pre-Superior "Dying Wish" arc had issue #698 being drawn by Richard Elson. All the trains were laid out on the tracks. The only real "content" that was being changed: We weren't allowed to have Peter take ALL of Alpha's powers away, because Sales/Marketing wanted the Spider-Office to do an Alpha mini. And that wasn't really anything we were changing in the art, just in some of the dialogue.

  6. #66
    Fantastic Member Hurricane Billy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    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).
    Thanks again for the response, Dan! I really appreciate your feedback.

    Considering how intense and often harmful the workflow can be for a lot of regular mangakas over in Japan, I can definitely see how this pivot towards more realist art styles in comics has led to comic artists and writers needing to keep their workflow in check. Comics and entertainment are wonderful, but the creators' health should absolutely come first. It's been almost two years now and I'm still devastated from the loss of Berserk mangaka Kentaro Miura.

    Definitely in the same boat over here! Can't wait!
    Absolutely!!! Out of curiosity, do you have a personal favorite Doctor?

    I've always found myself drawn more towards the incarnations like Four, Seven, Nine and especially Twelve myself. Peter Capaldi is such a monstrously good actor!

    -

    To also try and keep some of this post rooted in Spider-Man, I was wondering, Dan: Have you ever considered doing an out-of-continuity Spider-Man comic or mini-series where you had a bit more wiggle room to do your own thing and not be as constrained by the long-standing 616 continuity or the "It all goes back to the shelf at the end" aspect that you've talked about in the past?
    Last edited by Hurricane Billy; 11-20-2023 at 10:46 AM.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    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!
    Awesome! I'm looking forward to it. I appreciate the detailed response.

  8. #68
    Extraordinary Member Jman27's Avatar
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    question Dan what is the process involved in determining which artist works with you to do a story? Like does marvel assign certain artist to the spiderman franchise and then you decided which one you wanna work with? Or do you personally ask the artist if they wanna work with you but ultimately its still up to the artist to decide if they wanna partake in drawing the story?
    "He's pure power and doesn't even know it. He's the best of us."-Matt Murdock

    "I need a reason to take the mask off."-Peter Parker

    "My heart half-breaks at how easy it is to lie to him. It breaks all the way when he believes me without question." Felicia Hardy

  9. #69
    Incredible Member Daibhidh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Billy View Post
    Out of curiosity, do you have a personal favorite Doctor?

    I've always found myself drawn more towards the incarnations like Four, Seven, Nine and especially Twelve myself. Peter Capaldi is such a monstrously good actor!
    I think of Two, Seven, and Eleven as a set of similar Doctors: the Tricksters as opposed to the Magi (One, Nine, Twelve, Thirteen), and the Heroes (Three, Four, Ten). (That said, my personal head canon is that whenever Seven implies he has a plan he's not telling anyone he is winging it and whenever Eleven says he's winging it he has a plan.) Though none of them are pure examples - e.g. Seven has a dash of Magus and Eleven a dash of Hero as well.
    Agreed that Peter Capaldi is a great actor: possibly my favourite Doctor outside the Trickster set.
    Why do you think Four, Seven, Nine, and Twelve are more like each other?
    Petrus Maria Johannaque sunt nubendi

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Billy View Post
    Thanks again for the response, Dan! I really appreciate your feedback.

    Out of curiosity, do you have a personal favorite Doctor?
    The one from Gallifrey. ;-)
    I totally can't play favorites as every now and then I get to meet different Doctors. (Honestly, tho? I really do love them all!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Billy View Post
    I've always found myself drawn more towards the incarnations like Four, Seven, Nine and especially Twelve myself. Peter Capaldi is such a monstrously good actor!
    Heaven Sent is one of the best episodes of DW ever made. And Capaldi pretty much does that ep as a one-man show. He's brilliant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Billy View Post
    To also try and keep some of this post rooted in Spider-Man, I was wondering, Dan: Have you ever considered doing an out-of-continuity Spider-Man comic or mini-series where you had a bit more wiggle room to do your own thing and not be as constrained by the long-standing 616 continuity or the "It all goes back to the shelf at the end" aspect that you've talked about in the past?
    That was Renew Your Vows.

    That was such a tricky one. The original SPIDER-VERSE was originally going to run a year earlier than it did (in the back half of SUPERIOR). That was a fight I lost in the room. In a HUGE way. Axel was the EIC, and he wanted SPIDER-VERSE to take place after Peter had returned to the book (in the flesh). Bendis, Hickman, Remender... everyone in the room except me pushed for this. The only person who had my back was Wacker. In the end, we lost, and Spider-Verse was pushed back a year.

    One of the problems I had with it was that it would push SPIDER-VERSE too close to SECRET WARS. Jonathan said not to worry about it, just to tell my story and everything would be okay. My fear was that in SECRET WARS, I'd be telling the story of 1 alt-u Spider. And wouldn't that be a HUGE letdown so close to a story with 100 alt-u Spiders? Brevoort's take was that I'd just have to find a NEW alt-u Spider that fans could get excited about. I took a night to think about it, and said I knew what would get people excited... the forbidden fruit. Marvel had made it 100% clear that they didn't want to tell stories about a married Spider-Man. And I pitched doing exactly that... but in a side universe. Married Spider-Man would give a LOT of fans exactly what they'd been asking for.

    I was told by a couple of people that that was playing with fire. And that I should approach Joe Quesada (who was our CCO at the time) and see if he was cool with it. So during one of the breaks in creative summit, I did just that. I talked to Joe and asked him if that would be okay. He thought about it. And he said he was really happy with everything I'd been doing on Spidey. Superior and Spider-Verse were practically back-to-back and great sellers for the company. Joe said he trusted me to do it right.

    Jump to the next creative summit... We were all pitching our Secret Wars tie-ins and minis. And I pitched RYV to the room. Adam Kubert was a special guest at that summit. He'd been drawing up concept sketches of a lot of the storylines and ideas people had been pitching. After my RYV pitch was over, he put down his pen, walked over to me, and said, "I want to draw that." I said I'd be thrilled, but that it was really the editor's call. So he walked right over to Wacker and said, "I want to draw that!" And that's how we got Adam Kubert on RYV!
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-22-2023 at 05:38 PM.

  11. #71
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Don't take this the wrong way, but everyone who wrote Peter x MJ seems to paint this picture that they were afraid Joe Quesada was actually going to summon Mephisto and erase your careers.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jman27 View Post
    question Dan what is the process involved in determining which artist works with you to do a story? Like does marvel assign certain artist to the spiderman franchise and then you decided which one you wanna work with? Or do you personally ask the artist if they wanna work with you but ultimately its still up to the artist to decide if they wanna partake in drawing the story?
    End of the day, it's usually the editor's choice.
    There have been times where either I've given my input and it has been taken seriously. Same goes with assistant editors. Sometimes the EIC comes down from on high and either suggest someone who should be used-- or nixes someone else's choice/suggestion.

    Numbers all play a factor. Mainly cost. Some artists' page rates are so high, they can't be put on a smaller title, because it would eat up all of the budget. That can be really frustrating. Because sometimes you have an artist who dearly loves a cult-classic character, but sales & marketing know that placing them on that title will not offset that creator's price tag.

    Sometimes, even if the editor REALLY wants a specific artist on a character, but the EIC or Publisher think that creator isn't a good fit for that character, that can sink things too.

    The flipside can happen tho... Where an artist who is PERFECT for a book gets put on it because the EIC or Publisher made that magic happen.

    It really is a mixed bag. There's no one easy answer I could give you.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    Don't take this the wrong way, but everyone who wrote Peter x MJ seems to paint this picture that they were afraid Joe Quesada was actually going to summon Mephisto and erase your careers.
    It's not that. It's that the powers-that-be worked a long time to try to undo the marriage. Clones, fake deaths, you name it. However people felt about OMD, there was the feeling (at Marvel) that the proverbial band-aid had been pulled off and there was no going back this time. But there were books like SPIDER-GIRL, the MR. & MRS. SPIDER-MAN features, RYV, and things like Peter B. Parker in ATSV, that have made it more palatable for the Marvel of today to tell those stories away from the 616. So that's something.
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-22-2023 at 05:39 PM.

  14. #74
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Slott View Post
    It's not that. It's that the powers-that-be worked a long time to try to undo the marriage. Clones, fake deaths, you name it. However people felt about OMD, there was the feeling (at Marvel) that the proverbial band-aid had been pulled off and there was no going back this time. But there were books like SPIDER-GIRL, the MR. & MRS. SPIDER-MAN features, RYV, and things like Peter B. Parker in ATSV, that made it more palatable for the Marvel of today to tell those stories away from the 616. So that's something.
    And I get that. I don't necessarily like it, but I get it.

    It just struck me that, IIRC, Spencer was apprehensive about asking Quesada about getting Peter and MJ together romantically at the start of his run.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    And I get that. I don't necessarily like it, but I get it.

    It just struck me that, IIRC, Spencer was apprehensive about asking Quesada about getting Peter and MJ together romantically at the start of his run.
    Pretty sure Nick was safe there. Marvel was always very clear that it was okay to have Peter & MJ date, they just didn't want them married.
    I broached editorial about if I could get them back together by the end of my run, but I was asked to please not do that, because having them date again in Nick's run was going to be a big opening status quo change for the book.

    I get that.

    When I was working on the first Spider-Verse I was having a hell of a time wrangling all the various Spider-Characters together. And a number of writers thought they'd be doing me a favor by creating MORE of them in their stories. And I'd be like, "Dude. No. Please stop. I've got enough-- and I've got stuff for them all to do."

    Coordinating this stuff is always weird, especially when you think you're doing the next guy a favor.
    Last edited by Dan Slott; 11-22-2023 at 05:58 PM.

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