Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Marvel's Civil War Delayed.. And The Spin Cycle Goes On High Alert!

Civil War 4
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

Marvel has announced that Civil War will be delayed, a re-shuffling that will affect not just the core book, but several titles that cross over as well. What a shock... well, no, it isn't really.

The announcement which was posted on Newsarama, goes as follows:

In information released to comic book retailers Tuesday, Marvel has announced that issue #4 and 5 of their hugely successful Civil War series are being delayed.

Civil War #4 [and all its variant cover editions], originally scheduled to be released tomorrow, is now scheduled for September 20th. Issue #5 and all its variants, originally scheduled for next month, is now scheduled for November 15th.

And because of the nature of the storyline, the delays in the main series will affect the related and tie-in titles, like Civil War: Front Line.

In the announcement, Marvel wrote:

“Over the next few weeks, the Civil War proper title and a few of the tie in books that are closely related to the story in the main book will be shipping later than originally planned. In an attempt to accommodate the creative team of Millar and McNiven and keep the artistic integrity and high standards of the event, we will be shifting the following titles:

CIVIL WAR 4 (JUN061952; $2.99) moves to 9/20
CIVIL WAR 4 TURNER VARIANT (JUN061953; $2.99) moves to 9/20
CIVIL WAR 4 TURNER SKETCH VARIANT (APR068201; $2.00) moves to 9/20
FANTASTIC FOUR 540 (JUN061961; $2.99) moves to 9/20
CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE 6 (JUN061955; $2.99) moves to 9/27
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 535 (JUN061938; $2.99) moves to 9/27

CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE 7 (JUL061956; $2.99) moves to 10/11

CIVIL WAR 5 (JUL061952; $2.99) moves to 11/15
CIVIL WAR 5 TURNER VARIANT (JUL061953; $2.99) moves to 11/15
CIVIL WAR 5 TURNER SKETCH VARIANT (JUL061954; $2.00) moves to 11/15
CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE 8 (JUL061957; $2.99) moves to 11/22
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL 1 (JUL061988; $2.99) moves to 11/22
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL 1 (Black and White) (JUL061989; $2.99) moves to 11/22
FANTASTIC FOUR 541 (JUL061965; $2.99) moves to 11/22
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 536 (JUL061941; $2.99) moves to 11/22

CIVIL WAR 6 (AUG062033; $2.99) moves to 12/20
CIVIL WAR 6 TURNER VARIANT (AUG062034; $2.99) moves to 12/20
CIVIL WAR 6 TURNER SKETCH VARIANT (AUG062035; $2.00) moves to 12/20
CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE 9 (AUG062036; $2.99) moves to 12/20
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL 2 (AUG062066; $2.99) moves to 12/28

CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE 10 (AUG062037; $2.99) moves to 1/4/07
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 537 (AUG062018; $2.99) moves to 1/4/07
FANTASTIC FOUR 542 (AUG062045; $2.99) moves to 1/4/07
CIVIL WAR 7 moves to 1/17, Not yet solicited
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 538 Not yet solicited
FANTASTIC FOUR 543 moves to 1/24/07, Not yet solicited


BLACK PANTHER 23 CW December 2006

BLACK PANTHER 24 CW January 2007

BLACK PANTHER 25 CW February 2007
CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE 11 February 2007
Also, starting in November some Marvel will be branded as “Casualties of War” -- similar to how they branded titles as “Spider-Man Unmasked” and “Road to Civil War”. Those titles are:


In December


In January 2007
“The need for these shifts came about as the September [for November shipping product] Marvel Previews #37 was going to press and we were not able to make adjustments,” reads Marvel’s explanation to retailers. “The December Marvel Previews will reflect the changes and additions. At this point we do not anticipate further changes to the schedule. We apologize for the inconvenience but feel that this is in the best interest of the quality of the event and for retailers to continue to realize the immense sales for these books. We are announcing these shifts early enough in the hopes that retailers can adjust their buying patterns for the next few months. Also, we hope the addition of a few more key Civil War titles will make up for any lost sales that result from these moves.”

Of course then writer Mark Millar hops in with his own spin as follows:

When contacted for comment by Newsarama, writer Mark Millar said:

"All I can say is that I'm as surprised by all this as you are. In fact, I only found out about it when I got up this morning and read my email. But you know what? This is a very cool thing for Marvel do to because it would have been so much easier to just go for a cheap fill-in artist instead of pushing back the books. Steve had virtually no lead-time on Civil War and a title with a million characters has proven much tougher than he expected. He and I both assumed a fill-in would be on the cards at some point, but Marvel credit Steve with a huge amount of our book's success and, as a creator, I'm genuinely stunned they spread the project out by another seven weeks to make it work for him. Marvel really took a bullet here. This pushes a lot of cash into the next financial quarter for them and they've really put product over profit here. I absolutely never expected them to work their entire publishing schedule around an art delay, but it's cool that they did and I totally take my hat off to them. Sure, it's horrible when a book we want is a little late, but I can live with a few weeks if it means getting Steve McNiven every issue. Apologies to readers and thanks to many people who were worried this meant I'd got sick again (I'm doing absolutely fine, thanks). This has been the biggest book of the millennium so far and it's clear people are passionate about waiting. But, honestly, it'll be worth it for seven issues of pure McNiven."

Then the kind people at Newsarama post a story with comments by CW artist Steve McNiven and chronically late Ultimates artist Bryan Hitch. Follow the link here for the scoop.

Editor Tom Brevoort follows it up with his spin at Newsarama as well. Follow the link for that complete interview. I would like to quote just one passage at this point:

Newsarama: Tom, first all, first question has to be a simple "why"? What’s the reason for the delay? Mark Millar and Steve McNiven have suggested it was McNiven who needs time to catch up on the series, as well as suggesting a lack of lead-time going into the series was a factor. Is this accurate?

Tom Brevoort: It’s everything. I’m sure Mark would rather I not push this button, but I’ve got a writer with a chronic condition, and a penciler who’s never had to handle a story of this magnitude before, with this many unfamiliar characters and situations (not to mention this much spotlight pressure.) Plus, it’s just a hard book to do. And we did get something of a late start, though that might have been surmountable if this was an easier sort of project—the first page of issue #1 was sent to me by Steve on January 3rd.

“And not that anybody’s going to believe me when I say this, but these delays aren’t at all because we’re changing the story Armageddon 2001-style. There are some elements that are shifting around —hence the new 11th issue of Front Line — but that’s simply an issue of us having more elements on the canvas than we have space for in the remaining pages. But the ending that you will read will be the same ending we spent two days coming up with at our editorial retreat back towards the end of ’05, the one that Joss Whedon visited briefly. Sorry, conspiracy guys!


It sounds like every one is trying to cover their ass and lead us down the path where candy canes grow on trees and daisies taste like nectar. As a customer, I am dissatisfied, and as a business person, I am underwhelmed by the magnitude of excuses.

Don't solicit this stuff if it isn't in the can. Hire a traffic manager who can keep it all in perspective.

Don't tell the readers it is because you care about quality, and that 10 years from now it won't matter. That is just a bunch of posturing. If all the cogs in the machine were working smoothly then this wouldn't even be an issue. Furthermore, don't point fingers at DC for Infinite Crisis having quality problems- at least they got the book out to the readers. If DC wants to back track and correct the art later for the trade, more power to them. At least the customer who goes to the comic book shop every week is still satisfied as well. Quit pandering to the trade paperback readers and ignoring the guy whose dime enables you to make that collection down the road.

Screw Civil War. I am going to go spend my money on timely products made by companies that want my business.


Carl said...

This is why I have been saying for months, nay, years now, that Marvel should sell the few titles I buy from them to DC. Punisher, Blade, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Powers and Supreme Power. Then I could just have all my eggs in one big DC basket...
Oh yes, you should have heard my dealer Scott (a 4 star general in Marvel Zombie Army) blowing up a tsunami covering for this bs. So now our (the disenfranchised fans) new slogan for Marvel is:
Make Mine Marvel.... In November!

Heidi Meeley said...

Yep Carl, I should have listened to you. Will I never learn? Heh.

I am going to support other product, including Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, and Image.

Marvel needs Virginia Romita to come back and crack the whip as traffic coordinator. She wouldn't take any crap!

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

Maybe I'm the only one in comic land that doesn't care that this stuff is being pushed back. In the long run, woudn't you rather read a great story with killer art that the compromised crap that was secret wars? I don't its BS for them to basically say, "look, the artist has never done this before, he's having problems, give him his time". ARt isn't a straight line, its difficult and different people work at different speeds. guys like jack Kirby and Ron Lim who can do this are complete mutants, not even considering the level of detail that is being put in. As a professional comics inker, believe me, the level of work to turn out pages like that is an astonishing number of hours a day without a break. I doubt that you want to have "insert most hated current artist here" come in to cover for a few issues.

Take a deep breath and in a year it won't matter. You'll have a killer bunch of issues to read and you'll be the happier for it!

Good on you for supporting the seattle con. Great Ms Marvel sketch.

Fun blog, BTW, I've linked out to you on my comics blog.

James Meeley said...


I don't think you understand. For my wife (and myself), it isn't because the artists can't do a "monthly grind" that we take issue. We understand that some artists, with the level of detail they put into their work, could probably never hope to do so, unless they sacrifice the quality of their work. We understand that and wouldn't wish for them to do so.

BUT, by the same token, the artists also know if they can HANDLE a "monthly grind", as well as the editors who offer them the jobs.

Frank Quietly, for example, is a great arist with a heavily detailed style. I love his work. Would I ever expect him to provide a monthly series with that art? Hell no. That's why it astonished me that Marvel tried that with New X-Men. They knew Quietly couldn't do that. And, more to the point, Quietly knew he couldn't. So, why was he offered the job? Why did he accept it?

It's only further compounded, when good artists, like Jerry Orway (as an example) have such a hard time getting work, when they have the ability to meet those monthly deadlines. Granted, Quietly's and Ordway's styles are not interchangable, but as an editor, you'd think you would play to the strengths of your artist. If meeting a monthly grind is one of them, then that's who you hire. Not the primadonna, who will barely get an issue done in three months.

A lot of this problem would go away, if editors wised up in that way, if publisher put reasonable solicitations for work on artists who are slower in theire craft, and if such artists didn't try biting off more than they can chew to begin with.

No one is asking for an artist to compromise their quality and vision. But is it so wrong to ask them (and the companies) to use a little common sense when they take up a projects with demands such as a "monthly grind"? There's nothing wrong with not being able to do a monthly book. But it is wrong to take up work deadlines you KNOW you'll never meet. And for that, artists and editors have one on to blame, but themselves.

So, can the BS excuses. Admit you screwed up and work to solutions to address this issue. It's not just going to go away, simply because they don't want to look at it.

Carl said...

Welp, I view it that you want to sell your product, it has to be there so we can buy it. And if you hook me on a story so bad I want to read the next part ASAP and you say, ummmm, well, sorry, it will be ready by 3.5 months, I will not be happy. It's bad bidness. I mean, if someone signed a deal that they would have your back porch deck finished by Oct. and they start it and then walk away and say, we'll have to change that to Jan? Nuh-uh, not that's not how you do it and your company will suffer just like Marvel will have fall-out from this.
Make Mine Marvel.... In November!

Carl said...

Oh yeah, another parting shot:

Since I was at my shop a lot this week, sitting up for a con or going to movies and such, I got to see a lot of reaction to this delay. Scott, my dealer has to explain not only where CW#4 was not, but when the rest of the story was going to continue, the eyebrows of each person shot up high into the hairlines. And he also had to defend this again and again to other disappointed fans and to people who had not heard and wanted CW#4 at the convention. Spin this all you want or don't, bottom line, this can't be good for Marvel's rep or business at all...