Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

Amazing Spider-Man Message Board >> View Post
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Post By
PDT

In Reply To
Menshevik

Subj: Re: Would resurrecting Harry Osborn be a good idea?
Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:26:52 pm EDT
Reply Subj: Re: Would resurrecting Harry Osborn be a good idea?
Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07:54:24 pm EDT

Previous Post

> > That's a poor excuse for an excuse. As Mr. Honey Bunny said, all it would have taken would have been a line here and there, Flash needn't even have appeared on-panel. And even accepting for argument's sake that there was an overarching need for #14 and the final issue not to further Flash's subplot, that still leaves 9 other issues. if he "needed" to move things at his own pace, he should not have written within the framework of a franchise like Spider-Man, where one title is always affected by the others (and Spectacular was not the flagship Spider-book) and a professional writer has to roll with the punches handed to him by editorial and the creators of related titles. Lord knows that Peter David, who over the years has had a lot to suffer in this respect is much more of a pro in this respect and usually can be relied up to tie up the loose ends, even when a title's run is cut ended abruptly (vide Captain Marvel vol. 3 and 4, Supergirl and Young Justice).
>
> ALL writers move at their own pace, buddy. It's the way EVERYONE writes comic books. Writers aren't usually told what to write, they're just put on a title and told to run with it. Which is as it should be. The only circumstances when writers are told what to do on titles is when there's editorial interference, such as when editors ask a writer to write a specific story, or when what they're writing ties into another story (usually seen in the form of a big crossover event). Which is fine and all, and a lot of writers might be good at doing that, but it's not an ideal state for writing and creativity, and it doesn't create adequate work conditions. Which is why so very often you hear about writers (or less commonly, artists) leaving books because they don't like having stories or story concepts forced on them. Writers are not mouthpieces for editors. Simply put, it's not a writer's job to write what editors tell them to write, beyond creating on the foundations of the book they are given (such as Spider-Man).

You wishing this was the case does not make it so. The fact is that there is quite a range of possible relationships between writers and editors etc., from one person doing both jobs to a very hands-on editor putting very strict limits on a writer's scope to be creative. Former DC editor Mort Weisinger for instance was known for ordering his writers and artists to do stories to fit existing covers. In general writers had to conform to very rigid guidelines in the so-called Golden and Silver Ages, and these days writers still often have to take into account limitations imposed on them (e.g. these days it is customary that stories have to combine into arcs of a certain size so that they can later be collected into trade paperbacks). And as in many creative processes, egos can collide (not all creators leave because of differences with their editors, some quite well-known conflicts were between co-plotting writers and artists, e.g. Lee/Ditko and Claremont/Byrne).
And please let's not go overboard as far as creativity goes - Jenkins created neither Spider-Man nor Flash Thompson nor was his treatment of their relationship an innovative or even all that noticeable departure from what had gone on before.
>
> Furthermore, the Flash subplot is not something that was editorially forced on Jenkins. He's the one that wrote Peter and Flash's friendship in Peter Parker: Spider-Man, he's the one who wrote the story where Flash is crippled, and he's the one who was writing the story of Flash's recovery. It was his baby, his thing, and you gotta let the man work it the way he intended to work it from the beginning.

It is not Marvel's or the editor's job to provide a writer with employment for as long as he wants or "feels" he needs to get on with a plot. As far as I can judge, Jenkins had time enough to deal with Flash's recovery and as far as I know he was not actively prevented from continuing to use Flash by his editor. Was the story in which Flash was crippled and put into a coma worthwhile despite being abandoned unfinished? You may think so, I'm skeptical.

> You wishing this was the case does not make it so. The fact is that there is quite a range of possible relationships between writers and editors etc., from one person doing both jobs to a very hands-on editor putting very strict limits on a writer's scope to be creative. Former DC editor Mort Weisinger for instance was known for ordering his writers and artists to do stories to fit existing covers. In general writers had to conform to very rigid guidelines in the so-called Golden and Silver Ages, and these days writers still often have to take into account limitations imposed on them (e.g. these days it is customary that stories have to combine into arcs of a certain size so that they can later be collected into trade paperbacks). And as in many creative processes, egos can collide (not all creators leave because of differences with their editors, some quite well-known conflicts were between co-plotting writers and artists, e.g. Lee/Ditko and Claremont/Byrne).

This is in no way contradicts what I said. What I am saying is, writers are given titles to write. That's how it is. They come up with the stories they want, and they write those stories. The only time it doesn't happen that way is when there's editorial interference, to varying degrees, as in the cases you mention. And like I said, sometimes writers can roll with that, sometimes they don't.

> And please let's not go overboard as far as creativity goes - Jenkins created neither Spider-Man nor Flash Thompson nor was his treatment of their relationship an innovative or even all that noticeable departure from what had gone on before.

He made Flash a vegetable, moved him into Peter's building and had Peter taking care of him. HOW is that not a departure from what had gone before, when their interactions were usually either as friends, or as a bully picking on someone?

> It is not Marvel's or the editor's job to provide a writer with employment for as long as he wants or "feels" he needs to get on with a plot.

It may not be the explicit job description, but it's the way it's usually done. Unless...once again...there's editorial interference. For a simple example, just take a look at any run - any run, really - where seeds to certain stories are planted years before those stories are written. Three off the top of my head right now, for example, are Brian Bendis' runs on Daredevil, New Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man (but then Bendis is famous, or perhaps infamous, for his slow buildup, and editors don't interfere with it, and never have).

>As far as I can judge, Jenkins had time enough to deal with Flash's recovery

Again, it's not in the fact that he tells the story, it's in how he tells it. If he wanted it to be a slow buildup, that's his way of dealing with it, if he wanted it resolved right away, again, that's his way of dealing it.

>and as far as I know he was not actively prevented from continuing to use Flash by his editor.

Far as we know. Since we don't really know what exactly went on there, I think it's fair to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt.

>Was the story in which Flash was crippled and put into a coma worthwhile despite being abandoned unfinished? You may think so, I'm skeptical.

Was it worthwhile? Well, no. I would have liked to have seen Jenkins resolve it, which as I've said a couple of times, I think it was pretty clear that he wanted to do it, but I'm not really going to hold it against the guy knowing that editorial intervened a lot during his run and then he had the title cut short.

We know at least four ways in which Marvel intervened during his run. The first two (or three) arcs were requested to be made longer than your typical Jenkins arc (which was often one or two issues long), the Queen arc that was forced on him, the Sins Past sequel arc which interrupted his run and written by another writer, and the title getting canceled. God knows how else they might have intervened. Keeping that in mind, I feel pretty comfortable giving the guy the benefit of the doubt in regards to the way he dealt with the Flash subplot.


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