Comics

Joss Whedon on X-Men

Posted by Sulkyblue (25th May 2004, 10:43) - http://www.ugo.com

A detailed interview with Joss about his upcoming stint as writer for Astonishing X-Men. Really outs himself as an utter geeky fanboy ;0) There's some Serenity stuff at the end.


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read biography for - karne

 karne ( 25th May 2004, 17:43, Rank: GSV )  reply

' and a uncredited writing credit on the first X-Men movie gives him just a bit of credibility.'

bit too much credit maybe ]:=8)

oo look I'm a WeyrLeader!


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 27th May 2004, 02:01, Rank: Patrician )  reply

I don't normally read X-Men comics, but I may well try this one out based on Joss Whedon's other work. That said, I do have some concerns about how regularly it will come out. With his last comic ("Fray"), it took over 2 years to publish 8 issues (#1 in June 2001, #8 in August 2003).

More generally, this does seem to be a problem for people who have a background in TV/cinema and then come into comics. The article refers to Kevin Smith - it took him 10 months to do 7 issues of "Daredevil". When the comic is supposed to come out every month, it's not ideal to have a couple of three month gaps in the middle of your storyline. He didn't do too well on "Green Arrow" or "Black Cat" either.

And then of course there's "Rising Stars" (by JMS). #1 came out in July 1999, and #21 (the most recent issue) in December 2002, with no ETA for the remaining three issues. Aside from his current dispute, that still includes some lengthy delays (4 months between #18 and #19). I like his writing, and I think he's a good person, but I'm fed up of being left dangling. So, after the next issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" comes out (the end of a 3 part story), I'm dropping my subscription to it, and I won't be reading any of his other stuff until/unless he finishes "Rising Stars". It's not that I expect to change anything by a boycott, just that from my personal point of view the benefits no longer outweigh the costs.

So, does that mean I'm against writers hopping mediums? No - I think all 3 have done good work. But I do question whether they're well suited to a monthly title, and I'll be wary as a reader.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 27th May 2004, 09:44, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

Joss does comment that he's working to deadlines, so fingers crossed. Even if Joss is writing and I am an X-Men fan, I'm not hugely likely to pick the comic up to buy. I might be tempted on a collection of them, but not the individuals. I find it far too frustrating to get stories in such small chunks even if there's 'only' a month between them.


read biography for - dormouse

 dormouse ( 27th May 2004, 22:02, Rank: Jedi )  reply

re jms he ranted about this a few days ago - see (lists.cs.columbia.edu). No idea about Rising Stars.


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 27th May 2004, 23:21, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Well, credit where it's due - "Amazing Spider-Man" has been coming out on schedule for the last year or so.

I think the main thing that bothers me about "Rising Stars" isn't so much the delay itself as the uncertainty about whether the final issues will ever appear. This is mainly a problem because it was hyped as being a complete story, with a beginning/middle/end, rather than a series like Spider-Man that's been going for decades, and may well continue for years to come. By contrast, "Astro City" has also had big delays (due to the writer's health problems), but he reacted by shifting over to single issue stories. That way, it's a nice treat when a new story comes out, rather than a problem that people are left hanging.

More specifically, assuming that JMS resolves his dispute about "Rising Stars", that's no guarantee that the final issues will actually get published. There is precedent for this...

A few years ago, "Ghost Rider" had low sales, so the writer was told round about #92 that #94 would be the final issue. Fair enough - it happens, so he wrote the next two issues to wrap up all the storylines. So, #93 came out, and the final page said "To be concluded". However, sales dropped further, and Marvel decided not to publish #94 after all. That was in January 1998, so six and a half years later there's still been no resolution to that storyline. It has been suggested that Marvel could post the script on their website as a freebie, since that wouldn't cost them much, but I think it's unlikely. Particularly with talk of a film coming out (which wouldn't have much in common with that issue), it would probably wind up confusing new readers more than it would make old readers happy.

Then there was the "Blade" mini-series, intended to cash in on the success of the film. The idea there is that they say "There are 6 issues altogether, no more, no less", as opposed to an ongoing series where they just say "We'll keep publishing it until we stop". That got cancelled with #3 (in September 1998). So, if you bought the first half of that story, and were hoping to get the second half - sorry, you're out of luck.

And then there are cases where an individual title is doing ok, but the company runs into problems. That happened to Acclaim in 1998 (not a good year for comics!), so "Quantum and Woody" got cut-off in mid-story. It was granted a brief reprieve (when the company tried a smaller scale operation), but then got axed again. They also published "Turok", which I really enjoyed, and that ended on a cliffhanger (the hero's ex-girlfriend turned up and told him she was pregnant). It got relaunched a few months later as a hybrid comic/magazine, but it was entirely focussed around the computer game, so didn't follow on from the previous issues at all.

A more recent example is "Young Justice", which was a victim of its own success. That was a comic about teenage superheroes, e.g. Robin and Superboy. The comic did well, and so Warner Bros turned it into a cartoon ("Teen Titans"). However, they made some changes to the concept, and the upshot was that the existing "Young Justice" and "Teen Titans" comics both got cancelled last year and replaced by a new "Teen Titans" comic with some characters from each.

The point of all this (aside from getting a rant off my chest) is to recognise the trends. Even when all the creative team, publishers, etc. want to produce a comic, they may wind up being unable to do so if the demand isn't there for it. And if there's a conflict between a comic and a film, then the film will win. That's understandable from a business perspective - a popular comic will sell about 100,000 issues per month, whereas millions of people will go to watch a popular film. So, if the remaining "Rising Stars" issues don't get printed before the film is released, I doubt that they ever will be.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 28th May 2004, 10:48, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

WOW! Does anyone else read that brief message thread Dormouse pointed at and desperately what to give the good Mr JMS a chill pill? I don't think there was any particular reason to get quite so narked and ratty at the poor person offering up an excuse. I find his response somewhat offensive as he goes so far off the deep end at someone who is, presumably, a fan. And he still didn't address the original question of whether that missing issue was late or whatever.

And shouldn't JMS be working on something else? Hasn't he been repeatedly dropping hints about a new upcoming B5 project that he's working on?


read biography for - dormouse

 dormouse ( 28th May 2004, 16:30, Rank: Jedi )  reply

*shrug* people rant, as we all know too well, and they usually have good reasons. in this case it's not the first time on this subject so i wasn't surprised.

also note the context (or rather lack of) that you get with the b5jms list - you only see the immediate post replied to, not the whole thread. Or indeed the history of whatever group that was posted in, or any previous conversations with the poster.

He did answer: "The truth is never as colorful as a really good lie, and the truth in this case is that both ASM and SP, among a few other books, ran into some production glitches and got delayed. That's it."


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 28th May 2004, 17:23, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

fair point about the taking out of context bit, it just struck me that it could have been more politely phrased. I always adopt benefit of doubt on message boards - assume person meant no offence until it becomes clear otherwise. Ranting is one thing, that came across a little more targetted and personal. *shrug* And I hadn't noticed the valid excuse as I skimmed the acronym. Has there been any further word on the B5 project?


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 28th May 2004, 17:34, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Michelle's right about the wider context - you can see the rest of the first thread here: (groups.google.com)

In fairness to him, he did sort of answer the question about the missing issue. He said "SP 9 hits next week", where "SP" is an abbreviation for "Supreme Power". However, he was wrong about the issue number - #9 came out last month, and #10 came out two days ago. Of course, that then means that if he's just handed in #13 then he's "only" 3 months ahead of schedule, rather than the 4 months that he claims, unless he meant #14 rather than #13. It's not really a big deal that he got the issue number wrong, but if we have to guess at what he meant then I think people can be forgiven for getting confused. Regarding the B5 project in particular, that's apparently not a TV project (according to message 11 in that thread) - presumably film instead?

As for his comment about lying, I've been careful to cite issue numbers and dates, so that I'm stating verifiable facts rather than just saying "X sucks", so I stand by my previous comments. Meanwhile, he is exaggerating a bit, e.g. when he claims that there have been no delays in "going on two years" - there was a 6 week gap between issues of Spider-Man last year (21st May to 2nd July). This is in addition to the delays that he referred to in the second message Michelle linked to. Again, not a big deal, but if he's going to take the moral high ground about telling the truth...

More generally, I would say that JMS is now keeping to a schedule with his Marvel work, but it took him a couple of years to get to that point. Similarly, Keven Smith and Joss Whedon hit big delays with their first forays into comic writing. So, it does seem that experience in other media doesn't automatically transfer over to comics. That's not to say that TV writers should be banned from comics, or anything like that - after all, everyone has to start somewhere. It's just that if I wanted to start writing comics then I'd start out with a couple of fil-in issues rather than going straight into a high-profile monthly title. So arguably it would be better for the "celebrity writers" to do the same thing.


read biography for - dormouse

 dormouse ( 29th May 2004, 10:36, Rank: Jedi )  reply

i've not seen anything yet on the b5 since the film hint. will post if i see more of course :) i leave the comics news from b5jms to the actual comics fans to post ;)

An interesting point made in that newsgroup thread that hadn't occurred to me:

Less tangible but maybe even worse, potential collaborators/producers who got wind of an inaccurate post like this one could rule out working with him out of hand -- on projects we'd all like to see -- assuming he's overcomitted. That costs him money, and deprives us of cool stuff. Everybody loses.

Of course, I have no idea how many producers actually cruise usenet, but someone who read it here might post the same on aintitcool, or superherohype, or whatever. You get the idea.


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 30th May 2004, 15:58, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Coming back to the original topic :), here's a review of Astonishing X-Men #1: (www.thexaxis.com). Basic summary: it's a decent comic, but not the momentous special event that it was hyped up to be.

The point about rumours costing people work is valid, but arguably you could say the same thing about casting rumours, e.g. "X is the new Dumbledore/Superman/Batman".


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 31st May 2004, 09:50, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(whedonesque.com) - a collection of links about the X-Men comics filtered from this great Joss Whedon Blog.

No one in any professional industry will ever make a decision based on rumours, particularly any from non-professionals. Casting rumours will be checked up with agents (any publicity is good publicity) work performance/efficiency will be checked with managers and references sought just like any other job. No one listens to fans/trolls, they just look at the numbers, if jms' comics sell even if they are late (for whatever reason), he'll keep getting the contracts.


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