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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/7/2002 10:28:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>What I don't get is, in the past, (i.e. silver age and back) writers and
>artists could produce not just ONE title and get it out on time, but
>SEVERAL. Granted not all were their best work but the fact remains that
>todays writer/artists should really be able to churn out ONE book a
>month, as this is all many (JMS, KS) are asked to do.

Well, that and write 2 other books for Top Cow, write a movie for MGM, write
and produce a TV series for Showtime...it ain't like I'm sitting around eating
bon-bons here....

That said: Let's set the record straight here, shall we? I've been writing and
selling professionally for 30 years. During that time, prior to last year, I
could count the times I've missed a deadline on one hand. That's it. In 200
TV episodes, 3 published novels, 500 published articles and short
stories...five examples. In 30 years.

Last year I fell off the face of the earth and got slammed by the worst patch
of work I've ever faced. The thing about writing is that you put a lot of
things out there knowing that only about 1 in 10 ever gets picked up. When
several happen at once, it's great but it kills you. I explained the situation
to Marvel and they said it's okay, take the extra time. They would rather have
the book done *right* than done Tuesday.

So there was a bit of a slowdown on this one front, because if an issue is a
week late, it's a week late, no serious harm to Marvel (in fact, resoliciations
sometimes went up from original figures). It had to be that way because if you
fall behind on a TV series, it's $125,000 per day down the tubes. I had to
make the responsible decision on where to slow down for a bit.

SInce then, I have not only been delivering on time, in the last 6 weeks alone
I have turned in 3 full scripts for ASM -- that's one every 2 weeks, boys and
girls -- and I expect to keep that up for the next month or so to get really
ahead of schedule.

So in this discussion, let's *try* to have a little persepective, shall we?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/8/2002 2:25:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>I know you are getting your own Spidey book but I still wish you could stay
>on ASM. It is the best it's been in YEARS. Unbelievably good.
>Oh well. Has the title for the new series been decided yet?

I think they're just gonna call it SPIDER-MAN, but I haven't heard that
conclusively. I think Kevin's gonna take a very different slant to his
approach to ASM, so I may transplant wholecloth what I've been doing on ASM to
SM and let him have a clear field.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/8/2002 10:38:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>The chirping will stop if quality Spider-books start coming out on time from
>you. Establishing a reliable track record is important.

My "track record" covers 30 years, it didn't start with ASM. On B5 alone I
wrote 91 out of 110 scripts and we never missed one shooting day. The scripts
for the next batch are already in and stacking up. But I ain't looking to
establish something in my career that I've long ago established. That's simply
how I've always worked.

>If you are confident that you will be able to meet your deadlines, then
>there's
>no reason for worry or defensive posts.
>

Nothing defensive about it, just laying out the facts. Funny how some folks
don't think there's anything *antagonistic* in being critical, but there's
something *defensive* in correcting those facts.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/13/2002 8:16:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>As you sit here for X number of hours every week, silently poring through
>the newsgroups, glued to the screen, pause for a moment and imagine Kurt
>and Priest and JMS (and your fellow posters) sitting, silently poring
>through the newsgroups, glued to the screen... Kind of eerie, isn't it?

THE POSTS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! RUN! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! NOW!!

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/19/2002 12:01:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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>Spider-Man has been on time for 40 years, and lately he hasn't been.

You gonna back that up with figures? You mean in 40 years it hasn't been late
ONCE? Show your work, pal. It's one thing to come on here with broad
proclamations, another to put your facts where your mouth is. Or didn't you
expect anybody to call you on this?

>It has understandably upset people.

Is that why the circulation has more than doubled since issue 30 and is
hovering just below the 100,000 per issue figure? Is that why it's currently
the #4 book and creeping up on #3 fast?

> The only thing to do now is to start putting the book out
>on time or fire the tardy people. That's the only way to rebuild the good
>will
>of spider-fans.

Funny...I kinda thought that telling good stories was the way to go here.
Silly me.

And again, how many times does it have to be said? The glitch was a one-off
that had a temporary cascade effect. I'm now 4-5 issues AHEAD of schedule on
scripts. Don't take my word for it, ask John Romita, Axel Alonso, Joe Q,
anygoddamnbody at Marvel. Not that the facts seem to matter here, but just for
amusement's sake....

As for the goodwill issue...and please show cause why you should be entitled to
speak for "spider-fans" as a group, were you elected, did I miss another
primary?... as noted above, sales have almost tripled since the change-over, so
I don't think the problem is with the fan base, which is only expanding, not
contracting.

It's with a handful of very loud individuals who can't Get Over It, who have
never ever been late with anything in their own lives, or else how could they
justify bitching about somebody else getting hammered by deadlines so heinous
that he missed a couple of deaDlines for the first time in 30 years with the
result that they suggest that these people (viz: me) should be fired for being
"tardy."

Some people like to demand in others a degree of perfection they do not require
of or manifest in themselves.

The "spider-fans" you refer to, the 90% of them who send in emails and letters
and the like, are generous, kind, understanding, and want to see their
character portrayed in dynamic and interesting ways, they don't sit perched on
the Diamond comics shipping list like demented vultures. (I've been reading
comics for something lke 35 years and I never even knew what a Diamond shipping
list WAS until I started writing comics.) They have criticisms, and they find
goofs on my part, and I *like* that, because I learn in the process, so I can
make the next script that much better for their insight. They're good,
intelligent, informed *readers*.

You speak for them about as accurately as you speak for the prima ballerina of
the Bolshoi.

As for the rest, as noted, I'm currently 4-5 scripts ahead. In another couple
of weeks I'll be 5-6 scripts ahead.

But you'll always be a dunderhead.

I can live with that deal.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/20/2002 6:41:00 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

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>However, it should be pointed out that JMS has maintained a monthly schedule
>more often than not with his work on Amazing Spider-Man. Issues 30-34 came
>out
>on a monthly basis. Issue 35 was late, and issue 36 came out the next month.
>Issue 37 was late, but issues 38 and 39 were released in the following two
>months. Issue 40 was late. I count 3 late issues, and 8 issues maintaining a
>monthly schedule. I think this is an important distinction to make.

One other thing, only because I keep forgetting to mention it...the publishing
schedule was also kicked slantwise by a) September 11, and b) the desire to
drop in the script for issue 36 as a memorial to same. We kinda dropped
everything to make that work, and that also slowed things down on the
production side.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/20/2002 11:05:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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> As you well should know, the problem with putting things out on an
>erratic schedule is that you face the possibility that the fans will
>EVENTUALLY lose interest. Out of sight, out of mind. I would imagine
>that you wouldn't have been happy if the stations that were airing
>B5 were changing the broadcast time from week to week and not
>even showing it at all on three randomly chosen weeks out of every
>nine.

Actually, the schedules *did* change on the stations on a regular basis,
especially in places like Boston, and we just rolled with it...and episodes
were held back and aired in only groups of 3 or 4 for ratings purposes every
year...so there goes that analogy, which was totally not in the same situation
to begin with. You're comparing apples and oranges. But for now I'll let you
call oranges apples just to deal with this.

>What would you have done if one of the scriptwriters for B5 gave you
>a similar sob story? Would you have held off on filming an episode until
>he could finish the script? Would you have told your distributor, "Harlan
>was really busy this week working on that V.I.P. script for Columbia, so we
>don't have a B5 episode completed for broadcast. Call us back in couple
>weeks when his schedule may have cleared up" ? If the distributor and
>TV stations complained, would you have pointed at the show's good ratings
>and told them to shut up? What would allowing something like that happen
>do to your professional reputation in the television industry, even if it
>happened only once?

Unfortunately, once again the fact that you don't know what you're talking
about is blatantly obvious. In a TV series you have a variety of writers doing
a variety of scripts...and I've had EXACTLY that sitaution come up again and
again on various series. If writer A has a real and serious problem and can't
deliver, you drop in a script by writer B in its place. Hell, we did that on
Jeremiah this year, when a freelance script came in late and we had to bump up
another to fill its position.

Once again, apples and oranges. The comic book industry doesn't work that way.
You can't compare the two.

>Well good. I guess Spider-Man is no longer at the bottom
>of your list of priorities, at least for the moment.
>
>

And THAT'S the line where you reveal yourself as a dickhead.

Spider-Man was *never* at the bottom of my list of priorities.

You, however, are.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/21/2002 11:56:00 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

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>The difference, it seems, between you and I is that while I, too, would wish
>the books weren't late, I evidently don't consider it as important as you do
>(this is just my guess based on your posting history recently and not meant
>as an insult) and don't turn any displeasure I have with the books being
>late into a personal attack, which is how you are coming across.

Just as an additional FYI...ASM 41 is coming out next week (the 30th), which is
about 3 weeks after 40. So we're now coming out early to catch up. 42 will
also come out quickly, art schedule allowing. Not that this will make much
difference to the usual suspects....

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Smith to pen AMS; JMS to launch new Spidey comic
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 5/22/2002 1:00:00 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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>Hey, at WonderCon, JRJR said he has never met or spoken to you, outside of
>scripts, one angry email. That seems really odd. I don't know if you use a
>full script or a plot, but do you find it easier or harder to get your
>stories
>across like that?

Actually, I can't recall an angry email, so he may have been joking there...as
for the rest, we haven't met only because we just haven't been in the same
space at the same time, I'd love to meet him at some point (and I imagine I
will at SDCC if he's there).

As to the scripts, I write full, detailed scripts, it's just what I do...just
as an example, from issue 42....

PAGE ELEVEN

Six equal sized panels, each a page in width.

PANEL ONE

Spidey's POV to the city in BG as he heads toward --

PANEL TWO

-- Jenny who is being drawn into the vortex. We may want to blur her and/or
the rest of this panel, to indicate motion blur, that this is all happening in
the same split-second --

JENNY
Let --

PANEL THREE

Same as panel one but closer to the target.

PANEL FOUR

On Jenny, still being pulled in, blurred --

JENNY
-- me --

PANEL FIVE

Same POV shot but he's now closer to the neighborhood --

PANEL SIX

On Jenny being pulled in, blurred --

JENNY
-- GO!


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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