JUST LIKE YESTERDAY!
You know, these days, with the Internet and all, lots of DC’s business is conducted through e-mail and on the telephone. So it IS unusual to see the hallways of DC’s offices bustling with writers and artists!
This used to be normal back when I entered the business—before fax machines!!!—as the writers and artists would actually hand deliver material on a weekly basis. Shortly after Fed Ex became a factor artists and writers started moving away from the big bad city that the comics publishers resided in—probably just so they could breathe some fresh air, though more likely because it was harder for us to grab them when we needed something ASAP!
Nowadays with everyone able to post high resolution scans of the art for any given title—we work with people all over the globe and we don’t even touch the physical art boards here in New York City anymore. (Man, THAT’s weird for a guy whose first gig in comics was photocopying Jack Kirby’s actual penciled art for KAMANDI and/or Walt Simonson’s pages for the Batman/Manhunter team-up back in the early 70s!!! Yup… I was a High School Intern at DC back in the day!)
So, not touching art, or seeing writers and artists in person makes it a real event when the talent comes into town to meet with us about the future!
In these two weeks before Thanksgiving we have Geoff Johns, Pete Tomasi, James Robinson, Sterling Gates, Eric Trautman, Tony Bedard, Keith Giffen, Judd Winick and more coming through the hallowed halls to help plan, with their editors and Dan DiDio, all of 2010-- and beyond-- in the DC Universe!
These meetings for a couple of new series as well as Superman and Justice League related titles are some of my favorite part of making the comics. They bond everyone involved to the goals and concepts shaped and honed TOGETHER and everyone leaves feeling like they are part of the family and that they matter to making the agreed upon stories “the best ever”! (And yes, Families sometimes have “feuds” but even THAT passion can help fuel the Never-ending Battle between the covers!)
I was in on instigating some of these so-called Summits back when I was editor of SUPERMAN… and they all came about because of a dinner a bunch of us had at a convention in Cleveland, IL during Superman’s 5oth anniversary in 1988.
There were a bunch of us Superman types on hand to help celebrate. Jerry Ordway and Roger Stern were there… George Perez was about to join us on the return of Superman TO ACTION COMICS… and the master himself Curt Swan even joined us at this legendary dinner. Together we all went out to discuss an ACTION ANNUAL that would bring George into our team… and would have Curt returning to the Man of Tomorrow as well! The dinner was fun and productive with everyone contributing ideas to the mix—including Curt who was only to draw a few pages in the annual.
When the dinner was over I asked Curt how this “plotting session” compared with the ones he’d done in the old days. He said that it was great—because he was never invited to join in the plotting back then. He was clearly excited to have been involved.
This got me to thinking… excitement behind the scenes always makes for excitement on the page… so we quickly scheduled the first real Super-Summit for shortly after that. And the meetings have stayed a staple of the creative process since then in one form or another.
The excitement in the halls this mid-November promises to translate well for next year… so let them keep inventing ways to keep us all apart—we’ll still find a way to get together and blow everyone away with what we can come up with!
The one thing I’ll never understand is how anyone did comics (or ANYTHING) before Post-It notes were invented! (But even those work best when everyone’s all in the same room!)