The Self-Destruction of the New 52 Part 3
The job of a writer is to tell a story. To create a successful story it must have an intriguing plot, make compelling and memorable characters but most importantly it must entertain the reader.
In comics the job of an artist is to create a visual representation for the ideas that the writer attempts to create.
The job of the editors, for a company like DC or Marvel, is to set up parameters for the writers and artist not to hinder their creativity. A good editor can inspire a writer with a single idea.
There are times that because of an editorial decision the writer and artist encounter problems along the way. This can happen for a lot of different reasons.
An example of this is when DC wants to replace a character for another one or change the roster of a team for any number of reasons. These things are inconvenient but they are also inevitable for the most part.
However this is not what is happening at DC. The problem with the editors is not just random mandates to improve sales or coordination with the titles. The #1 problem with the editors is INDECISION.
“I didn't mind the changes in Superman, I just wish it was the same decision issue 1 or issue 2, and I had to kept rewriting things because another person changed their mind, and that was a lot tougher…”
- George Perez on Superman
Creating comics requires teamwork, the writers, artists, inkers and colorist; all are as important as the editor. The current problem with DC is that we are reaching a point where the editor has too much power than what they should have. There is a struggle between writers/artist and editors, and the editors seem to have the upper hand. This wouldn’t be so bad if the editors had an idea of what they were doing.
One editor may have an idea and impose it to the writer and then another editor higher up will overrule it. This is not an effective system at all because it doesn’t allow the story to flow naturally. This sudden change of ideas might end up with also changing the writer or even changing the editor.
“The only thing I was told was that they wanted a different direction for the book. I had a 10-minute phone call with the outgoing editor, who gave me the news. I asked what direction they wanted, but since the editor was leaving staff the next day, he didn't really know. So that's all the information I was given. I haven't heard from anyone else, beyond a call from the book's new editor to work out details on my last issue. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised, since I'd been making the revisions and changes that had been requested by editorial as the book evolved. But it seems like they want something other than what I was giving them…”
-Ron Marz on his departure from Voodoo
It is understandable to eliminate the things that do not work but I don’t think this is the right way to do it. Wouldn’t it be better to find a way to make those things work?
DIGGLE and FIALKOV and..
On July 25 of 2012 Andy Diggle tweeted that he had got the biggest job in his entire career. Andy Diggle is not a new writer, he has been in this game for a long time and has had amazing and critically acclaimed projects like The Losers, Green Arrow: Year One and Adam Strange: Planet Heist.
The aforementioned “Biggest job in his entire career” was rumored and later confirmed to be Action Comics, he would be taking over the title after Grant Morrison. He was suppose to take over
on (with) issue 18 but it was delayed to issue 19 because Morrison needed a little more time to complete his saga. However on March 20 of 2013 Diggle announced that he was not going to be writing Action Comics.
Later it was announced that Tony Daniel was going to take over the writing duties for the next two issues and after that he will also be gone from the title. Issue 19 will be the only issue written by Diggle, issues 20-21 will only slightly carry on the plot.
I am putting emphasis on these dates for a reason, they are 9 months apart from one another. This is common knowledge but comic books take around three months to complete from the first stages to the final product. Even if Diggle announced that he was leaving the title on March 20th the decision had to be informed to DC before that.
Diggle did not just do anything during those 8-9 months, he would have had written at least 6 issues of the series on that time. Not to mention he could have had plotted at least the entire first year and maybe even part of the second one.
Yet the only thing that is going to be used is one single issue. Maybe it is because the second and third issue contain subplots that need to be removed but the point is that whatever Diggle planned for this run, those plans are not going to happen.
At the same time, this was happening when Geoff Johns announced that he was ending his nine year run on Green Lantern. All of the Green Lantern writers were leaving and were being replaced by a brand new team which included Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of I, Vampire who was now taking over Red Lanterns and Green Lantern Corps. Sadly he would have the same fate as Diggle and would need to quit both of these books leaving only one single issue ready and the rest to be re-worked by other teams.
“Just a quick note to confirm what everyone knows, I am no longer the writer of GLC and Red Lanterns for DC Comics. There were editorial decisions about the direction of the book that conflicted with the story I was hired to tell, and I felt that it was better to let DC tell their story the way they want. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’ll miss working with the entire Green Lantern team.”
-Joshua Hale Fialkov
Changes on creative teams are not something new. In fact these things are just inevitable because a team from an ongoing book will eventually reach the
conclusion of their own stories and give the reigns to a new team. However that is not what is happening here, these changes aren’t the product of Diggle and Fialkov reaching the natural conclusion of their own stories, at the contrary those stories didn’t even begin.
This is the result of the editors having NO IDEA what the hell they want.
Diggle quit from his “Biggest job ever” out of professional reasons. That means that writing Action Comics was NOT A GOOD THING for his career, that “Biggest job ever” is just a mirage. This became a warning for any new writer who might come along.
As for Fialkov he said it pretty clearly, he is letting DC tell the story that they want to tell.
This is a pretty bad message for both the public, for any writer and aspiring writers who want to write for DC because this is saying that writers are just nothing but interchangeable cogs. That their input doesn’t matter.
Writers are not interchangeable; you cannot expect the same product from someone like Snyder as you would from someone like Liefeld.
And here is the worst part. This is not something New.
- Green Arrow had four different creative teams since the new 52 began.
- Fury of the Firestorm had three
- Superman had three
- Superboy had three
- Stormwatch four teams
- Legion Lost had two
- Hawkman, Grifter and Deathstoke were taken over by Rob Liefeld who then left and was replaced by different creative teams. Two in the case of Deathstroke.
- Voodoo had its writer and editor changed after just five issues
- John Rozum left Static after just three issues
- Jim Zub got accepted to be the new writer of Birds of Prey only to be replaced by Christy Marx without having made a single issue
Of course there are cases ok books that get fill ins by other writers like on Teen Titans for scheduling reasons, or new creative teams like on Swamp Thing because the writer ended their run. These are none of those cases and you can believe that there will be more just like these, just like with Diggle and Fialkov.
What the editors need is to allow the creators to create, and to keep consistency in their plans.
END OF PART 3