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

In Reply To
PDT

Subj: Re: Would resurrecting Harry Osborn be a good idea?
Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 at 04:07:46 am EDT
Reply Subj: Re: Would resurrecting Harry Osborn be a good idea?
Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:26:52 pm EDT

Previous Post

> 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.

> > 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.

No. Editorial action (which you call interference and someone else would call an editor doing his job) is not as exceptional as you make it out to be. If writers can't deal with that, they should not work on something like a Spider-Man book - where a writer is part of a team of writers - but work on something where they can call the shots (like Dave Sim did on Cerebus).

> > 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?

Having something bad happen to a supporting character is not in itself original writing, it is one of the oldest plot elements in the book (so a lot depends on how well it is executed). Peter and Flash had been portrayed as good friends for a long time before and they tried to help each other when one of them got into trouble, so nothing new here. The departure may have been when Peter first helped Flash and then for all appearances completely forgot him. Way to go with his sense of responsibility!
>
> > 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.

Wishful thinking as opposed to the realities of the business.

>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).

Planting seeds for future stories is a different thing from starting a story and then abandoning it. Especially if, like in Flash's case, the storyline is unresolved and involves an ongoing emergency at the place where main character lives.

>
> >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.

But Jenkins chose neither of the two, he simply dropped it like a hot potato. (If it's indistinguishable from forgetting about it, then it is not slow buildup, it's NO buildup).


> >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.

Your exoneration of Jenkins depends on refusing the editor the benefit of the doubt. Assuming that it was the editor's fault also presupposes that he went through an abrupt change of mind about a storyline he had supported before, which I'm not prepared to do without more evidence than we have at the moment.
>
> >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.

You may not hold it against him but others are perfectly in their rights to do so.
>
> 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.

But the matter is bad enough that he needs you to give him the benefit of the doubt.