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Wait, What? Extra!: The Accidental Text Edition

Graeme McMillan

Okay, so here’s what happened. Jeff and I were emailing each other about recording a new Wait, What? tomorrow (Still to come this week on this very site: Ep. 22.2), and what started as our talking about what we should talk about ended up becoming… well, I guess it’s the first all-text episode of Wait, What?. So, sing the theme tune for yourself and we’ll dive right in mid-conversation…

Graeme: And, yeah, we really do have some news to talk about tomorrow, huh…?

Jeff: Yeah, the news is going to be something else.  But here’s how bad my memory is: Did we even mention the possibility of Axel becoming EIC when we starting talking our picks?  I kinda feel like we did but I’m really not sure….

Graeme: I’m pretty sure that, if we did, we pretty much ignored it in favor of Brevoort. Shows what we (I) know.

Jeff: I’m okay with it if we did a “he’d be interesting/great but clearly it’s going to be Brevoort.”  Because I’m still surprised it’s not Brevoort, to be honest.  I wonder if his “it’s okay to be a dick on Formspring if I think I’m right” approach cost him?

Graeme: I honestly am convinced that Brevoort must’ve turned it down, still, or else pissed someone off. It was clearly his for the taking, and his new gig is clearly a booby prize.

Jeff: I agree–in terms of just what he edited and how it sold, he must’ve been the guy.

I can’t imagine him turning it down, though…or maybe he did because…uh, I dunno.  If he’d taken it, he never would’ve had a shot at DC?  (Though I think he already burned that bridge?)

Graeme: I’m pretty sure the DC bridge shut down as soon as Bob Harras got the nod. It’s not often I agree with Erik Larsen, but in this case, I share his disbelief that Marvel made the guy who brought the Spider-Man and X-Men books down in sales gets the gig, instead of the guy who made the Avengers books into the top franchise at the company.

Jeff: Exactly. Avengers *and* Civil War. There’s got to be some other factor at play.

It could be, maybe, that Alonso has done a better job of nurturing new talent than TB?  Also, that Deadpool thing, though a really weird fluke, might’ve looked really good on paper…

Graeme: Honestly, I think it might just be that Alonso looks “newer” and more exciting than Brevoort to TPTB.

Here’s something that struck me yesterday: Does this herald a shift in writer power over there? Alonso has never edited a Bendis or Brubaker book, but he’s the guy who brought Fraction into the company.

Jeff: I would think it would have to, wouldn’t it?  Though didn’t Fraction come into the company via Brubaker and Iron Fist?  Was that an AA joint?  Aaron is Alonso’s but Brevoort brought in Hickman?

I think what Alonso has got is he’s kept a dead-end imprint (MAX) going at suprisingly solid sales for much longer than anyone could expect.  I think he’s got really, really good relations with talent and, up until he got promoted too high, he made recruiting new talent a very big deal.

But yeah, I’d love to be Victor Gischler right about now…

Graeme: I wonder whether Alonso will stay on as even an executive editor at this point. Who’ll take over the X-Men books?

Jeff: My guess is: no.  When I talked to him at NYCC, he was already in the “sorry, but you have to talk to the editors who work under me” phase of things.  He said at that point he’d moved too far up to really spend time developing new talent and that it would have to be for his editors to handle.  And that was three months ago.

So I would think all of his people move up to his books and he moves up to handling the PR and hype (which, as I think we’ve talked about, he’s not especially good at) and wrangling talent and direction (which he is good at, as long as you don’t look at the resulting bottom line–but, then? How can you?)

It might be classic Peter Principle at work; we’ll see.

Graeme: But how involved in new talent development is an EiC, really? I think this promotion might take him out of his comfort zone – and what he’s good at – and leave him in a weird place. One potential plus: Other editors may try and learn from his efforts, and be more experimental and better talent wranglers? Maybe? That might be too optimistic, though.

Jeff: I meant “wrangling *current* talent,” as opposed to “new talent.”  I’m probably not paying enough attention but it appears like–although the x-books aren’t selling–they’re moving in a cohesive direction and the talent have been on the books for a decent period of time.  I just suspect Alonso’s books run a lot more smoothly (though I can’t tell if that really holds up in the shipping schedules–or if Marvel even pays attention to those, even a little). I also wonder if he’s also juggled a lot more talent–my perception (again, probably incorrectly) is that Brevoort has worked with only a handful of the same dudes, and the projects also end up delayed–like, a lot. (Cap:Reborn, Civil War, any big Bendis project).  But I’m probably really off-base on this.

Graeme: Yeah, Alonso’s definitely brought a specific direction to the X-Books, but I’m not sure if it’s one that’s not pretty much over now: I mean, from Messiah Complex to Second Coming, that’s the arc, right? Is there really anywhere else for it to go now? I haven’t been paying too much attention to the X-Books as a franchise lately, but it seems as if it’s playing for time, esp. with the relative lack of noise surrounding “Curse Of The Mutants.” You’re probably right about things running more smoothly under Alonso’s eye, however. Maybe that’s why he got the gig over Brevoort: He can keep the trains running on time more successfully.

Jeff: I’m only triangulating based on teasers and the panels I sat in on (trying to cadge work) but I would guess “Cyclops pays the price for everything he’s done” is the real conclusion to the X-Men arc and it wouldn’t surprise me if that comes down during/just after Fear, Itself. (And maybe that’s why Curse of the Mutants played for time?)

[BTW, I was thinking how you could actually have a book called “Exile” now that would make a lot of sense, because the mutant community is so small, you really could have them decide to exile a character from San Francisco/Utopia.  And they could kind of wander the earth, helping others and sobbing over the way the community that has shunned them…kinda classic Marvel stuff.  It almost seems cliche for it to happen to Cyclops, though.]

Graeme: Random question: How involved do you think Joe Q will be in publishing from now on?

Jeff: I’m kind of at a loss as to where he goes or what he does now unless he becomes something like what Stan did for the company, and becomes the main interface between Marvel and Hollywood. (which in this case would be Marvel Hollywood.)  I think Marvel has to keep him in their back pocket in case things don’t work out (and because, frankly, I could almost see him and Palmiotti making a go of publishing now that Q’s got the tall Marvel dollars) but I don’t know what his place is or will be.

Graeme: Well, Joe Q has become Geoff Johns, weirdly enough – The conduit between Marvel Comics and Marvel Everything Else – but I don’t really see him being able to leave publishing alone, to be honest… I also don’t think that he can realistically ever be officially seen to come back as EiC without it being a major embarrassment for the company, although I wouldn’t be too surprised if he keeps a hand or several in for the next few months, at the very least. He really has become the new Stan, which is interesting.

It’ll definitely be an interesting year for Marvel, though…

7 Responses to “ Wait, What? Extra!: The Accidental Text Edition ”

  1. Oh, Mr. McMillan, I do declare! You, sir, have made my day. I can actually read one of these instead of (sadly never) finding the time to listen to your radiogram broadcasts and thus being cast into the commenting wilderness like a man with a big sad face. Cheers! Really.

  2. You should re-create this at the beginning of the next podcast, like an old-time radio play. Maybe add sound effects like foot-steps and slamming doors.

  3. I could have sworn Brevoort previously said/wrote (possibly on Formspring) that he has no interest in being EiC and wouldn’t accept it if it was offered. Did I imagine this or does anybody else have the same recollection?

  4. So, anyone know what exactly a “senior vice president of publishing” does, anyway?

  5. Joseph: Yeah, I remember the same. Of course, it’s also possible that he just didn’t want to say “Yeah, I want my boss’s job!” publicly before there was an opening.

  6. You guys seem to have a fairly firm understanding of what all these editorial jobs involve

    Any chance of someone writing up a piece of what each role is roughly responsible for for the less informed such as myself?

  7. Joe Quesada actually said – though I can’t remember how he phrased it – that the guy he’d want as editor in chief after him has the same first and last initials. He said this around 2004 or 2005.

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