Recently I ran a story in Lying In The Gutters
about Marvel cracking down on some very anti-social behaviour
by employees, namely playing Dungeons And Dragons in their
lunch hour. Clearly there's one so much geekdom a company
can take, and so the activity was banned.
I was forwarded a resulting memo (slightly
reworded in case there's tricks to catch a leak) "Employees
are reminded that giving out information to media sources
not affiliated or against Marvel's interests are not only
against policy signed and agreed upon by Marvel employees
but are also opening themselves to possible litigation."
Remember guys, talk about banned board games
can lose you your house. Best stop it now.
Marvel have had a history of famous leaks,
the most famous being Jim Shooter's memo, referring to Marvel's
readers as "Little F***s" but I especially like the ones asking
people not to leak things. That are then promptly leaked.
Patty Jeres at DC had a similar problem when ex-employee Joe
Illidge started speaking out against the company. She sent
an e-mail reminding everyone not to talk to me. which I received
seven copies later that day.
Anyway, there have been unfortunate parallels
with much of my recent reporting on Marvel and another case
on a much grander scale in the UK. A BBC journalist, Andrew
Gilligan, made some allegations about the Blair Administration
deceiving Parliament and the Cabinet over the Iraq War. He
specified one source in the intelligence services, although
that was later backed up by other sources from other journalists.
The Government went apesh*t, started spinning against the
BBC, the BBC regrouped, and the prime suspect for the intelligence
source, Dr David Kelly, committed suicide. He was then confirmed
as the source, at his family's request.
You know, I hope Felicia's state of mind
is okay right now. P> This week's Lying In The Gutters set
the column record at CBR for the most readers in one day.
It ran a large smattering of pieces, from tens of sources,
all concerned with what had been going down at Marvel and
who was jumping ship to DC. Who was on Batman, Superman, other
titles, the lot. You can read the whole thing here
Some creators weren't best pleased about
being talked about in this way. While the column was being
written, JMS and Bendis vehemently denied moving to DC. Mark
Bagley also joined that group afterwards, and Grant Morrison,
without giving specifics, wrote to throw doubt on pretty much
everything printed about him.
While there clearly were nuggets of truth
in who was and wasn't moving, there were two other conspiracy
One: That the rumours were getting started
by DC employees, attempting to recruit talent to DC by telling
them about everyone else who was signing up as an exclusive.
Whether they were, or not. After all, if you've been told
that JMS, Bendis, Morrison, Hitch, Azzarello, Art Adams and
Andy Kubert had all signed exclusives. well, what were you
waiting for? You might as well sign while the contracts still
on the table - they won't be there forever!
Two. That Marvel were preparing themselves
for what might have otherwise been a devastating Chicago,
as well as San Diego, by creating fictitious rumours that
all their A-list were leaving the company for DC, so that
whoever DC does announce as exclusives, won't look that bad
against what might have been. And if they've got round to
announcing a new Neil Gaiman project by then, and a host of
Brian Bendis' stuff, more's the better. If the biggest story
that DC have is that Jim Lee, the fix-it king, will move from
Batman to Superman, reversing the titles' current positions
in the charts, then Marvel have a shot at taking the PR crown
back, especially with their deal with the WizardWorld organisers.