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Bruce Buchanan
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 2:42pm | IP Logged | 1  

I completely agree, Ian. There are many other examples of missed deadlines and late books that didn't involve a creator's son dying - why not use one of those as an example? In fact, why even bring the man's personal tragedy into this at all?

I can only assume that the person who posted about a "self-absorbed, vanity tribute to the dead son" doesn't have children himself. If he did, I think he might be a little more sympathetic.

So the writer wrote a tribute story that perhaps wasn't an award-winning classic? I'm willing to give him a pass on that.

Don't misunderstand me, though: I completely agree with the main thrust of this thread that comics creators can and should do a better job of meeting deadlines. Not that hard, really - just work several months in advance, as many people have noted.

 

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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 4:47pm | IP Logged | 2  

I completely agree, Ian. There are many other examples of missed deadlines and late books that didn't involve a creator's son dying - why not use one of those as an example? In fact, why even bring the man's personal tragedy into this at all?

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Perhaps because the issue was solicited and hyped using the tragedy as a 'selling point'.

Which I also think DC should be ashamed of doing. The minute that tragedy was used by all involved parties as an excuse for... anything, really... it becomes less about the product and more about the personalities behind the product and how to make a buck off it. I will commend them for having the 'restraint' to avoid going all 'multiple holofoil gatefold cutout cover' with the issue.

Y'know, when I go to a store, or any type of business, I expect a service to be rendered in a timely manner. As I stand at the cash register, I don't want to hear the cashier go on and on and on and on about how her kids kept her up late last night, or how much of an assh*** her hubby is, or if there was a death in the family, or about how the family car needs a brake job. Do I feel bad about the cruel, hard realities of other people's life? Sure. But as a customer, don't expect me to stand there and be some sort of surrogate relationship or family counselor. I want the cashier to ring up my items and give me my (correct) change when I pay for it.

I have a bank teller that will always stop in the middle of my transactions, with a quickly growing line of other customers waiting, and tell me some BS story about her hubby who's stationed overseas someplace. Does it mean I'm any less sympathetic to the military if I don't give a sh** about every little 'amusing' anecdote she chooses to share with me, while keeping other customers waiting? And yes, I (and apparently, others) have spoken to the bank's branch manager about it.

Some people are all too willing to drag their personal drama out for all to see and hear. "Look at me! Look at me!" And then get all bent out of shape when someone comments on it! Unbelievable!

Once private tragedy is made public it invites, for good or bad, criticism.

And my thanks for not lowering yourself to draggin my children into the issue. Pot, kettle, etc.

Of course, having explained this again, I expect someone to still not 'get it' and still drone on about.being offeeeeeehned by the wording of my initial critique.
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Matt Linton
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 4:50pm | IP Logged | 3  

I think the ultimate responsibility (no pun intended) lies squarely with editorial.  Presumably, they're the one's hiring the creative teams, scheduling the books, giving the go-ahead to solicit the issues.  The problem of late comics could be solved 95% of the time by the editors either realistically scheduling the book, hiring writers and artists who can produce material on the appropriate schedule, and having contingency plans in place if a deadline is missed.  Tom Brevoort's response makes it clear that they don't see a compelling reason to do those things  because the books that are late sell anyway.
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Neil Welch
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 5:40pm | IP Logged | 4  

Being ahead of schedule is a great idea, they definitely need to get to that point. Personal tragedies (such as a son having a drawn out battle and dying from cancer, a dying mother) and natural disasters? One can't really compare those with getting married and moving, I wouldn't think. Hardly the same field of play.

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Michael Kane
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 5:58pm | IP Logged | 5  

 Mr. Byrne, Did you loose any amount of time going through the Divorse with your wife? I would assume something like that could take away your concentration level at the drawing board.
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Chuck Dixon
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 6:19pm | IP Logged | 6  

A number of years ago I was invited up to DC to deliver one in a series of seminars that DC was holding at the time. Basically, the idea was to bring in freelancers to speak to some of the newer editors; to give them a peek into the freelancer life so maybe they would understand how their talents’ lives worked.

So, it was me and Klaus Jansen talking to the whole editorial staff all the way up to Paul Levitz. We opened with a few remarks and took questions. Don’t know if you’ve ever met Klaus but I can assure you he’s one of the more beloved guys working in comics. He’s sharp and articulate and funny in addition to being a triple-threat talent. So, everything was going smoothly until we were asked about our pet peeve.

I think the editors fully expected us to carp about something editorial or maybe late payments. Instead, Klaus and I both agreed that our biggest gripe was freelancers who didn’t make their deadlines. A writer, penciler or whatnot that doesn’t hit his mark makes things difficult for everyone. Jobs with once-sufficient deadlines now turn into nightmarish barnburners. Time is crunched. Paychecks are delayed. We explained that this was partly the fault of editorial because they’d cut slack for some hot talent who consistently ran late while inkers, colorists and letterers were the ones who caught hell. It made no sense to us that a deadline-blower would be coddled because the law of diminishing returns dictated that re-solicitations and missed printing dates hurt the bottom line. Books that might have been profitable because a “hot” talent was on them became loss-leaders because that talent caused the book to ship months late. Then the hot talent would go across the street at the first better offer or pet project that came his way. So there was no real long term reward for cutting slack to these ungrateful tyros.

An editor got into a hot debate with me over this. He wanted to know if we should just never use some of the slower guys and go only with artists and writers who could hit their due date regardless of quality. He used the example of Jorge Zaffino as a guy who was brilliant but could never hit a monthly deadline. A cheap shot since Jorge and I were good friends. I countered with Johnny Romita, who always had problems getting a book in on time but somehow Spidey shipped on time every month.  

I disagreed about Jorge and made the point that some guys might just not be built for monthlies so why give them one?  Things got uglier until a level-headed group editor broke it up by taking my side.

Years later and nothing has changed. I look at Previews each month and see names attached to monthlies and wonder what brand of crack they’re handing out at the big two. They HAVE to know they’ll never meet that schedule.

And every darned artist I know regularly complains that they’re left with only two weeks to pencil a book because the writer had a hard time finding his muse. (or were stuck in that wet paper bag they can never write their way out of)

And does this really have no impact on the book sale end of things? Not when they schedule print dates a year in advance for trades and whatnot. In recent years they’ve had to delay bookstore orders because the “monthly” book to be collected therein is a year behind schedule. Now, when the clown down at the Hobbit’s Cave doesn’t get the three copies of Underwear Patrol he ordered he might stamp his little feet and swear in Vulcan. But when Borders doesn’t get those three thousand copies of Underwear Patrol Vol 9 there will be hell to pay. Plus the penalties charged at the printers.

What I’ve heard in recent months is that these delays in getting this stuff to market is beginning to pile up and impact in a big way on the bottom line. That’s why you’re seeing more and more older, more reliable names pop up in credits on books. They gotta move some stuff to the printers. So, you figure they’re getting their act together and taking ship dates more seriously.

Then you read that Adam Hughes is going to do a monthly
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Jason Fulton
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 6:24pm | IP Logged | 7  

Is there any industry in the world as half-assed as the funny book business?
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Daniel Kendrick
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 6:30pm | IP Logged | 8  

From Dead Like Me...

Rube: [to a hurried woman who sees an acquaintance in line at the post office and moves in line next to her] I have a question for you... is everyone in this line an asshole?
Woman in Post Office: Excuse me?
Rube: Is everyone you just cut in front of an asshole?
Woman in Post Office: No.
Rube: So it's just you then?
Woman in Post Office: I have children in the car.
Rube: I have a cake in the oven.
[pointing]
Rube: He's got three minutes left on the meter. And she's got a lunch meeting. We all have a finite amount of time. Now get in the back of the line. And don't use your children like that - it's shameful.
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Daniel Kendrick
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 6:31pm | IP Logged | 9  

Jason said...
Is there any industry in the world as half-assed as the funny book business?
------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------------------------------

The U.S. Government.
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Andrew Hess
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 8:33pm | IP Logged | 10  

Chuck -

Waitaminute! Adam Hughes is doing a *monthly*?!?

First I've heard of it, and that is bad news for that poor book.

Love the man's work, but monthly is not a word that is in his vocabulary any more, by his own admission.

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Jeff Lommel
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 8:51pm | IP Logged | 11  

It's All-Star Wonder Woman, and is a ways off.  I understand they're intending to give him quite a head start before they begin the run, so we'll have to see.  But really, it's unlikely he can keep a monthly schedule, and they may do ASWW bi-monthly like they (try to?) do with All Star Superman.
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Paul Greer
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Posted: 26 July 2006 at 8:54pm | IP Logged | 12  

Make sure twelve issues are in the can and then solicit bi-monthly just to be sure. Adam Hughes is a great talent, but writing and penciling an ongoing series is a case of, I'll believe it when I see it.  
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