Just watched Justice League “Twilight” on Cartoon Network. No one can call the cartoon version of Superman a pansy again.
But feel free to call me names after you read this column. Light beer Rage this week. I spent much time with grilled meat, fireworks and alcoholic melee. And now that the 4th of July fun is over I only wish to nap and watch cartoons.
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Captain Marvel and Fallen Angel writer Peter David recently posted an interesting message in his daily blog over at http://peterdavid.malibulist.com regarding fan comments on the Hulk film. He says that’s he’s disappointed in the joyous reaction that many posters are having over the Hulk’s underperformance at the box office.
- This warped sense of vindication, this joy that one of the more thoughtful entries in the superhero film genre is not enjoying the wide audience success of
- . The German word “Schadenfreude” summarizes the attitude nicely: It means to take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes.
But the most interesting part of Peter’s post is his disclosure of old Hulk script ideas.
- Guys…you think the script they filmed had problems? I read earlier drafts before any of the current creative personnel were aboard. No Betty. No General Ross. No resemblance whatsoever to the comic book in any incarnation. The Hulk got around by tearing off the roof of a car, hopping in and driving away.
Instead poor performance simply encourages Hollywood money men to be less inclined to invest the kind of money that’s required to do comic book movies right. This is Not A Good Thing.
This Has A “Hulk Need More Leg Room!” Value of Five Out of Ten
Speaking of Hulk, National Geographic has published an article entitled The Hulk: Fact Or Fiction? at news.nationalgeographic.com. The essay discusses the scientific merit of the film’s use of gamma spheres, adrenaline boosts and mutated DNA.
Yeah sure, Mr. Wizard, but is it possible for Hulk to drive without getting a freakin’ cramp?
This Has a “Solve That, Science Bitch” Value of Eight Out of Ten
Moore On Epic
Marvel Editor Stephanie Moore has been busy answering more questions about Epic at X-Fan. This week she spent a lot of time addressing the content of the rejection letters. Some rejectees asked Moore about specific phrases in their letters, such as “You have a rich imagination and a lot of interesting ideas, but your skills in structure and executing a story need developing before you’re ready to write for comics”. There were also questions about “character introduction“. Moore responds:
- Moving on… “you need to learn more about story structure” means you need to focus on building a plot that effectively communicates the point of your story. When I say “point,” I mean what you are trying to say with your story, the reason you are telling it. If you can’t answer the question “Why are you telling this story?” with something beyond “It’s cool,” you need to rethink it.
What we mean by “introducing” a character is showing us who they are and what they’re all about through their actions. We don’t need to know what radioactive substance gave them their powers to get that. We just need to see them being, well, them. Example: if you are trying to introduce Wolverine, you should not show him sitting in a board meeting talking about investment options. You should also not give a quick summary of the Weapon X project. You should show him doing something characteristically Wolverine-esque, like starting a bar fight or something. Don’t feel pressure to cram your character’s origin into the story unless it IS the story.
Moore adds that she does not want to get into the specifics of what the various rejection letters say, but maintains that “they don’t contain false information — we don’t have time to get too specific, but we think about what needs work in your script before picking which letter to send you. In short, you don’t get the “structure” letter if you don’t need it.”
One of the issues that comes up on the board is the wording of Marvel’s rejection letters. Many of the X-Fan posters believe them to be condescending. Moore replies to their concerns and asks for advice:
- There are two options: we could send 1) letters that contain very general comments about what we had problems with in the submission, or 2) letters that say “thanks, but no thanks” and give no reason as to why the submission was rejected. Obviously, there would be less opportunity for people to be offended by the second option, but would also give people absolutely nothing to go on. At least with the first option, you can say to yourself, “hm, my script had structure problems,” and then come to this forum and ask me questions about what we’re looking for in terms of structure.
So maybe we’d be better off with a “thanks, but no” letter that contains no real information. Consider this my question to you, everyone: would you prefer this?
Okay, I had a thought about this whole rejection letter thing. Many of you are dissatisfied with the “condescending tone” of the letters, so how would you word them if it were up to you? Show me how a non-condescending rejection letter would sound.
Moore also takes so time to give advice as well. When asked about the kinds of stories to pitch, Moore says she is all for submissions that take supporting characters and use them as leading characters, and doesn’t mind stories that may be similar to those of the past.
- When I say I want to do a NEEDLE book, I’m not kidding. We really will do a book about the most random-ass Marvel character if you come up with a great story for him/her.
As for repeating the work of an earlier story… frankly, I don’t have a problem with stories that are similar to stories we’ve done in the past. If you do it well and you have a unique voice, who cares? It’ll still be worth reading.
Other advice from Moore includes:
- EPIC stories should be directed at the new reader, so theoretically, the best EPIC submission editor would NOT be familiar with the Marvel Universe. Actually, I’ve found that people intimately familiar with the Marvel Universe are actually TOUGHER to please because they’ve heard all the Marvel stories and are particular sticklers for “originality” — which isn’t really a big concern of mine. I mean, I’ve read my share of comics, but I didn’t come out of the womb with a comic in my hand like some of the guys I know, so I’m not likely to be turned off by a “hey, something kinda like that happened in Amazing Spider-Man #53” situation.
The bigger point I want to make here, though, is that it shouldn’t matter whether the editor is familiar with the character or not — the writer should be able to tell a story that anyone, fan or new reader, will enjoy.
- The structure note refers to the way your plot is built, not to the format your script is written in. Pacing is part of plot. So is character introduction, scene crafting, all those good things. We are talking about the way you structure the events of your story so they communicate the basic idea your story is trying to get across.
- An EPIC book has to sell about 12,000 units to remain worthwhile to Marvel.
- We prefer not to do things explicitly set in the Ultimate universe, yes.I cannot stress this advice enough: give your script to somebody you know is not going to be careful with your feelings and ask for their feedback. Sometimes, being too close to an idea or character can blind you to whether your ideas are being communicated effectively – it’s so clear in your head that you can’t see it’s not clear to others. If we had time, we would give specific feedback on every script, but we simply can’t. The next best thing is to have someone else read it – they may not know exactly what kind of storytelling Marvel wants, but they will at least be able to say whether they enjoy it. Also make sure the editor you choose for this purpose is not very close to the characters you’re writing, either.After giving these pointers Ms. Moore also found time to address the recent decision to drop the creator-owned option from Epic.
- This question is being discussed at levels in the company much higher than myself and to the best of my knowledge, nothing concrete has been settled at this point. But what may happen is that creators may instead have the option to sign a New Character agreement, which gives the creator financial participation in the character while still giving ownership of the property to Marvel.
This should not stop you from sending in non-Marvel submissions, however. Just don’t sign the Writer’s Work-Made-For-Hire contract along with your submission. If the submission is accepted, we will either offer you a Creator-Owned contract or a Work-Made-For-Hire contract and New Character agreement. If you’re not happy with the contract we offer you, you would still have the right to withdraw your story from us and take it somewhere else.
Unknown creators may also have another option according to Moore, who says that some thought has been given to an Epic anthology title.
- Of course, people would have to KNOW they had that option in order to prepare submissions accordingly, so of course we’ll announce it if such a project is greenlit.
Finally Moore says that there is definitely a first cut for submissions and adds that a few proposals that have made it past round one. But when it comes to getting first cuts approved, Moore admits that she doesn’t really have the power to greenlight a book.
- If something makes it past the first cut, we all end up reading it, and eventually it is forwarded to Bill and Joe, who are responsible for making the final decision.
This Has A “Submit to Jemas” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Building A Brand New Pool
I’m hearing that Gail Simone’s upcoming 3-issue run (#13-15) on Agent X will definitely be the last of the series. But very soon after the cancellation a new Deadpool series will begin.
This Has A “Pool Boy” Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Dark Little Spider
A couple days ago Comicscontinuum.com posted 34 images of the new MTV Spider-man cartoon and revealed some information about the second episode which airs on Friday, July 11 at 10:30 PM EST. The site confirms rumors of a darker tone for the series. Titled, “Sword of Shikata” the second ep features Gina Gershon as the voice of Shikata, a warrior hired to capture Spider-Man.
- The episode, previewed to the press, shows an edgier side of Spider-Man than in previous animated versions. Shikata uses her sword to draw blood and decapitate, and Spider-Man uses words like “damn” and “hell.”
Other voices include John C. McGinley as Richard Damien (a rich mogul who hires Shitaka), Clancy Brown as Damien’s thug and Ed Asner as Officer Barr.
This Has An “Amazing Friends Can Kiss My Ass” Factor of Ten Out of Ten
I‘ve been told that a massive overhaul is in the works for DC’s Green Lantern series. Supposedly it will happen early next year and will be taken on by A list talent.
This Has A “New Emerald Dawn” Factor of Five Out of Ten
Back to the PAD
In more Peter David news, the writer announced that he’s close to closing a deal on a new project.
- It’s seemin about 99% that Leonard Kirk and I (and possibly Robin Riggs) will be reteaming for a new creator owned, six-issue series from Dreamwave called
- . More on this as it develops.
Oh, I thinks it’s also worth mentioning that Peter’s new Fallen Angel #1 is on sale this week. Look for a Q & A session with the writer and SBC’s Tim O’Shea later this week.
This Has A “I Liked That Glory Girl From Buffy Season 5” Value of Six Out of Ten
On joequesada.com, Joe was asked whether he liked (Waiting For Tommy) columnist Rich Johnston’s promotional posters featuring celebrities who like comics. It took him a month to reply but he finally did a few days ago. He says:
- I hate them. They are so embarrassing and uncool. If I was a kid I would look at this and think “how desperate must the comics industry be?” See what everyone is missing is that geek and nerd culture is slowly becoming cooler than Justin and Christina. God, those ads would be the death of us. Comics need to get presented to the mainstream as counter culture, that’s what makes us cool, we’re edgy as all h#&%
Here’s a look at some of the posters Quesada despises..
This Has A “Waiting for Tommy’s Response” Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Site of Creation
Since this is a light week I promised Aaron Mehta (a nice guy from MillarWorld.biz) that I’d mention WTComics. I’m not affiliated with the site in any way, but it seems like a great concept. But rather than explain what the site is about I’ll let the press release tell you.
- How many times have you opened up a comic and then put it down in disgust, thinking “How could the writer have written that?” How many times have you looked at the art and shouted, “Come on! How could he have gotten that wrong?” And how many times have you started your on comic masterpiece, only to give up half way after convincing yourself that no one would ever want to read it?
If you’ve done any of the above, then you might want to start learning about Working Title Comics.
WTComics started off as a comic project from the MillarWorld.biz forums.
The basic idea was to have a bunch of us just get together and produce some short form comics, throw them on the internet, and have proof that we actually accomplished something. The idea soon expanded, however, and the site has grown past its roots. We’re now looking to become a home for any comic book fan who wants to produce something and have it shown free to the world, via http://www.workingtitlecomics.com
What are the benefits of putting your work up on WTComics? First, you’ll have a built in network of support personnel who are more than willing to help you refine your script, or give you feedback on your art, or suggest some ideas if you so require. We can help you find an artist for your piece, or a letterer, or a colorist. Plus, you’ll get immediate publicity through our weekly update system. Secondly, putting your comic up with WTComics means that you have the freedom you can’t get by publishing an independent comic. Want to do a six page short comic? Many of the comics online right now are of the same nature. Want to do a full length comic? We’ll gladly put it up for you. Want to do a prose piece with a few single panel illustrations? We’re just waiting for you to email it to us.
Finally, Putting your work on WTComics means that it is free, one hundred percent. No charge to you, no charge to the readers, no banner ads and absolutely no pop ups. If you’re a creator looking to get your name out there, or just a fan who has a script lying around from 1989, then your piece will finally be seen by the entire online community.
We’re not associated with Mark Millar, but we have gotten some attention from professionals.
Artist Ethan Van Scriver says, “If there’s a better way to get into professional comics than actually just drawing your own comics, I wasted 19 years of my life. During that time, I did what the fine folks at WORKING TITLE COMICS are now doing: comic books MY way…. WORKING TITLE COMICS is for creative people with motivation and some blasphemous and upsetting ideas. Enjoy it.”
Park Cooper (www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com) has this to say about Working Title Comics: “WTComics isn’t obsessed with how great it’s going to be or how to be the new get-rich-quick thing. That’s what’s great about WTC… Make a comic, slap it up for all to see here, make more comics, slap ‘em up here for everyone to see. This is IMMEDIATE. It’s the immediacy of a graffiti mural when a novel is still under revision at Knopf or Random House… it’s Punk, it’s DIY, it’s pure speed comics.”
So there you have it. WTComics is free, it’s easy to use, and we’re just waiting to hear from you. If you want visit the site, go to http://www.workingtitlecomics.com and if you want to join up give Aaron an email at Mehta@globalfrequency.org. (Note: If you have a script all ready to go, send a copy to Carlos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS If anyone has any rumors to share please send them to me at email@example.com or IM me via AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name is Automatic San. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s appreciated.