breather this week. Bryan
Hitch, Axel Alonso, Chris
Claremont and more are waiting in the wings for the usual
troll treatment, but sometimes it's good to pause and take a
quick look around.
Waiting For Tommy XXXV
By Richard Johnston
now and then someone names the comics year as something momentous.
The Year Of Bust (which seems to have gone on for about eight
years now), The Year Of The Sh**hammer (which never really
looked that bad to be honest) or even the Year Of Image (it
year, 2003, is shaping up to be something that actually makes
have been known to swap places occasionally, each offering
creators, retailers and readers a certain experience, which
they then swap for a year or two. But this year, rather than
finding the usual common ground, they seem to have opened
up blue water between them. And rather than diluting their
differences, gravitating towards the centre, before passing
each other on the way, they're entrenching their positions
- making it harder to shift.
ULTIMATES VOL. 1 TPB
is a monolith. Imagine a man with his head up someone's
arse, with his head up someone's arse, etc. The man
at the bottom is in a very vulnerable position. With
so many people to answer to, DC's answer is silence.
Do nothing. Wait it out. Do not expose yourself to the
public eye. Keep steady. Keep schtum.
Take their policy to writing submissions. They don't
accept unsolicited submissions, for fear it could subject
them to a legal case, the kind that could bring them
down. Also, you know, they'd have to read them. Maybe.
Everything has been formalised, working through a fixed
structure. Attempts to break the delays this caused
have only caused different, more complex procedures.
Marvel seem headstrong.
Not only does the right hand not know what the left hand is
doing, but it doesn't want to know. There is no internal consistency
of opinion or policy and decisions can get made by who happened
to be holding the PR stick at the time. People inside that
company hate each other, yet in that battle for supremacy,
much wonder may be wrought. Expect contradictions, a beast
fighting against itself and a glorious mess all over the place.
their submissions policy. Marvel have gone for the 'send everything
in' approach. It doesn't matter who you are, send in 22 page
scripts. There may be a low chance of getting your break,
but Marvel have promised that all will be read, quality will
rise to the top, and currently you have a better chance than
with DC. And because Marvel have targeted online journalists
to write for them, without muzzling their output, they've
totally contradicted their previous statements about creators
all "playing for the team". Books are applauded for their
increase in sales, then cancelled. Books are cancelled, then
continued, then cancelled again. Creators are told one thing
by their editor, another by their publisher. Policy is fluid.
what else? Well New Marvel have proved quite popular at
getting big names onto the books - or rather getting good
people onto the books and then making them big names.
Bendis is now a name thanks to Ultimate
Spider-Man, so is Peter
Milligan and Mike
Allred on X-Statix.
Even the likes of Mark
Millar and Grant
Morrison on the X-Men
titles who were well known to some are now well known
to all. Exploiting their talent to the full, and making
a big noise about it. Yet of late, they've been micro-managing
a number of books beyond what some would consider acceptable.
And if the creators don't like it, well, there's this
new influx of blood coming in through the Epic line.
the other hand have been consolidating what they've got and
trying to headhunt from Marvel. They may have lost Kevin
Smith on Green
Arrow (but have Marvel really got him?) and the
degree to which they have Frank
Miller is debatable, but the Batman
line is full of great talent, the likes of John Byrne and
Waid are being put to good use and there's a fair amount
of talent being developed, especially in the Batman books,
though without the fuss usually associated with Marvel's projects.
There have been a number of attempts to headhunt from Marvel,
but they haven't succeeded to the degree hoped. Their submissions
have also become tighter, certain editors reporting they won't
even look at submissions till the end of the year. Yet despite
all this, despite Marvel having the energy, the verve and
the attitude, DC continue to publish certain works that are
further out than even Marvel would currently dare. Their structures
and systems generate protection for a project that, once approved,
might elsewhere suffer the death of a thousand cuts. Meanwhile,
DC's bread-and-butter work becomes consistently stale. DC's
internal politics are as bad as Marvel's but they are given
less room to thrash about wildly. Revenge is a dish best served
cold, while at Marvel it's served steaming hot in someone's
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