Over at Comic Book Resources, they've posted a Batman vs. Robin interview Jonah Weiland did with producer James Tucker, character designer Phil Hourassa and yours truly at WonderCon in March. The interview is in two parts and I've embedded them both below. Enjoy!
And, if you're so inclined, you can purchase your copy of the movie right here. (How's that for a hard sell?)
I'm going to sound like a broken record, but... I really think some sort of cross between Legends and Born Again, with Batman, J'Onn, Max, Oberon, Guy, Beetle, Booster, Fire, Ice, Guy, Dmitri, Ralph, Sue and Karen would be spectacular. Maybe keeping the 80s setting, with a Rumaan Harjavti vs. Reagan thing as context. And maybe they could do an animated version of Maguire's art!ReplyDelete
Great idea. And if I was in charge, Rafa, I'd green light it today!Delete
What would you do if Marvel or DC offered you an editorial position? Would you take it.
And if you would, but they don't, I think you should just go to their offices, sit at an empty desk and start to tell people you are an editor, while you snatch scripts from people's hands, start making comments, and having conversations, all of which are unsolicited.
No definitive answer to that question, Jack, but I would certainly be en to considering it. I've enjoyed the freelance editing and story consulting I've done in recent years...and my writing workshops have been a joy...so the idea of working with a group of creatives, sharing the wisdom of a thirty five year career, and helping guide thei creative visions is very appealing.Delete
But it would really depend on what the offer was.
Please ignore the typos. I'm still figuring out this iPad.Delete
That is why you should use a keyboard, like an adult.Delete
Seriously though, I think you... or at least someone like you is sort of what comics need right now. You've written for a long time. You wrote before the movie boom and after. you survived the editorial mandates of the 90s, quite a bit of experience has been gained.
I think many of the problems comic face come back to editorial. There is too much in some areas, like big events reigning supreme and overtaking almost every book and sort of phasing out shorter tales, and too little in other areas, like standing up to writers sometimes. Good writers who o a lot of good stuff seem to go a bit nutty as they get big. My theory is that this is because of fear of upsetting a cash cow. Sometimes you have to tell people they need to mix it up, or that they have a bad idea.
Then there are writers coming to the big two to boost there indie work, since they own it they sit on some good ideas and save them for that. I think an editor needs to say, "look you do indie stuff, that's great, but if you aren't going to give us your best shot then you may need to hit the bricks."
Then there is the lack of grooming of NEW talent. Everyone wants a big name, they don't want to look for their potential. Sure there are examples here and there, but they are few and far between.
Most importantly, you were a writer. I looked over my comics last week to see who was editing, and I didn't notice any of them as a writer. While I suppose you don't need to write to be a good editor, it does really help. I have never had one who isn't, and none of mine have. It adds an important perspective, that honestly is needed to fix many of the issues I listed and others. Having an editor that was not a writer is not bad in and of itself, but having a staff of editors with almost no writers in it is probably not a great idea.
Most importantly, with comics seemingly not sure what they are these days, they need someone to anchor them. If there is one thing that is true for all businesses, it is that they all need a mix of old and new blood. Marvel and DC seem to be pretty good at the new on the editorial staff (you know considering) but everything before 200 seems to be forgotten. Come to think of it they seem sort of in that 15 year rut. Maybe they need a few of you and a few new guys too.
Editors should not be people you just pitch too and check for continuity and spelling errors. I think that is what those who never had editors think they do... which may explain the issue.
I think it does help for an editor to be an experienced writer (back in the day, Jim Shooter insisted that his editors write so they could understand the process), but, at the same time, some of the best editors ever in the business—Julie Schwarz and Karen Berger come to mind—weren't writers. So it can work either way, if it's the right person sitting behind the desk.Delete
That involves training, naturally, and it also involves an inherent talent. Some people can be editors for years and never really get it, others can walk in the door on day one and discover they've got an intuitive talent for the job.
And, yes, editors shouldn't just be people you should pitch to. The best editors are the ones who know how to support and encourage a project; know when to step in, know when to step back and let the creators follow their vision. That's another point: in my experience, it should always be about the editor supporting the creator's vision, not about the editor pushing his or her vision on the creators.
There's lots more to say on this subject...maybe an entire post...but that's my two cents for today.
To be fair, didn't Berger have a Journalism degree? Its kind of hard to get one of those without doing at least some writing.Delete
As I said not being a writer doesn't mean that you'll be a a bad editor, but there is a problem when you have a staff almost if not devoid of them. Didn't Gruenwald become a writer after editing?
I agree with your point about supporting the writer's vision... to a point. Editor's exist for a reason...marketability. If a writer's vision conflicts with what the reader wants there needs to be a compromise. The writer has to be shaped to fit that some times. The key is to make sure the vision is not lost in fitting it into that mold. Yes it is a very big mold that can except a lot, but it does need to fit.
Frank Miller gets a lot of flack for his 21st century batman stories (among others), but I think 2 words could have fixed them Denny Cr..er..O'Neil. O'Neil got Batman, h was perfectly fine with alloing stranger ideas, he knew what fans wanted, he knew how to work with Miller, and Frank respected him already.
I hope you found some more change in your pocket fpr this for this topic.
Karen did indeed have a journalism degree, Jack, but I think she'd be the first to say that writing wasn't (to quote Star Trek) "her first best destiny."Delete
And I don't believe she's written a single comic book story.
Re: supporting the writer's vision. When it comes to—as they call them—corporate characters, it's the editor's job to be the custodian of those characters; they have to make sure the writers don't break them. When I was writing Spider-Man, for instance, I had tremendous freedom to tell my stories my way, but Danny Fingeroth was always there to make sure I didn't go over the line. At the same time, Danny hired me because he wanted my unique POV on the character. It's a fine, and vital, balance.
Exactly what I meant. Its all about the balance, or compromise. Of course that goes beyond corporate characters. Even indie books have to move product. Or just literary magazines have this responsibility. In the end it doesn't matter how good your ideas are if no one is reading them. Which is the job of the editor to make sure that stance is taken.Delete
My experience with creator-owned work has been that, once a company agrees to publish it (and, of course, that decision is based on commercial concerns), I'm pretty much let alone to pursue my vision, my way. No one told me how to do MOONSHADOW or BROOKLYN DREAMS or ABADAZAD or SAVIOR 28. But I was surrounded by people who understood, and supported, my vision. But I'd be hard-pressed to find more than a word in each of those projects that was changed from my original script. And I may be exaggerating by a few words.Delete
My point about indie books was more about helping writers bring out there best, and less about shepherding projects like the big 2 would. And since in all those cases you were at least somewhat established you probably wouldn't need it as much.Delete
However, I recently read an indie comic that sounded interesting, but the pacing in the first issue was so slow I decided to bail on the whole series. Something that could easily have been fixed by an editor. So, maybe your point has some gravity, and it isn't entirely a good thing.
I agree that it absolutely depends on where a writer is on the learning curve. But, even then, if I'm editing someone's indie book (which I am right now), while I'm training them, I'm honoring their vision of the story, not trying to impose my own.Delete
You know, since you seem to be agreeing with me, you could have just typed, "you're right." and saved some time for yourself.Delete
The Captain America story I always thought was missing was one were he goes to Germany or Japan with the Avengers to fight villains, in the time after being recently unfrozen and struggling with the fact that it is not the war. How intellectually he knows it is not the same, but emotionally he is still stuck. It would have been very recent for him.ReplyDelete
These are two groups who did terrible things, I always thought it was weird we never had Steve dealing with THAT difference between now and then, I get Stan not doing it, he was a vet and it was still very recent, but there have been so many trips back in time for stories, to explore different eras, why is the most obvious story not utilized.
Of course you would be surprised how much Hasn't changed in those two countries, so who knows.
I didn't read they story, as I recall the writer of it thought he was too cool to tell his website loyal reader that it was coming out.Delete
I also don't know much about the SHIELD at all. I will say that I think you got the reason why in that statement.
In the 60s I'm sure part of it was that Lee was.. hell, is a vet. It was still probably raw, even 20-25 years removed.
Afterwards I think the idea became that it would be seen just as you said... racism. Though I'm not sure that is a fair charge for such a story. I understand that is the one BIG no for Cap, however even if you remove the facts that Japan is is still somewhat racist and xenophobic as a culture, that the Korean and Brazilian minorities there are treated horribly, and that tourists in Berlin are still told that if they are gay or Jewish not to go to certain part of the city because you'll be asking for trouble, or the studies that show anti-semitism is alive and well in Germany, or forget the atrocities that boggle the mind commuted by both countries in that very war he fought in, even if all those things are pushed aside, Steve Rogers would still be only maybe a month removed in his mind from having their armies shooting at him. The more cynical parts of me want to think that it is a similar mindset as to why schools will not mention the horrible things that the Japanese did while studying WWII, and that it is placing politics over learning and respect for history.
Of course that is just the most cynical parts.
Interesting points, as always, Jack.Delete
I just noticed my earlier reply talking about the Shield story and saw that it was barely in English! My apologies. I must have been typing very quickly! In fact, I'm deleting that mess right now!
And I'll say again that your CAP idea is a strong one. It could really be a vehicle for an emotionally and philosophically changed story.
Here's that earlier reply again, in English:Delete
Cool idea, Jack. I did a Shield story for Archie last year that dealt with the main character's inherent racism where his World War II enemies were concerned; but most of the action took place during the war. I think the story you posit could be a great one.
So to the casual observer, I'll look like I was conversing with myself? Gee, thanks for making me look nuts. Oh, I kid.Delete
Fine, FINE! I'll write the story, submit it to Marvel, and have them say , "NO! No unsolicited work." Then I'll be sad.
Well I assume that's what will happen,.
Or you do what I did with my CAP idea: Create a new character. Yeah, that's what you should do. I see it now: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MESSIAH 37.Delete