So DC editor Steve Wacker left DC for Marvel. And even by the insane standards of Newsarama overreactions, the Newsarama fanboys insanely overreact with accusations of unprofessionalism and disloyalty.
First, the obvious: Wacker could have given a year’s notice he was leaving, but as soon as he said he was going to Marvel, Dan Didio pretty much had to stand over Wacker while he cleaned out his desk. Senior employees don’t get to work at one company while they’re planning to go to work for the major competitor.
Beyond that, I find it interesting that the unwashed masses seem to believe that Wacker is single-handedly responsible for the success of 52, and that things are likely to fall apart without him. While I’m sure Wacker is incredibly hard working and deserves a lot of credit for pulling off a weekly comic with a massive creative team and a couple dozen storylines involving half the DCU, it’s not like it’s some pet project he’s been doing in his spare time. He’s likely got a small army of assistants, for one thing. And for another, 52 clearly enjoys nearly unparalleled corporate support: This is the event for DC, and it has a lot riding on it. As such, Wacker must have a lot of clout at DC: If he needs an extra artist, I’d imagine he gets it; if there’s a question of 52 or Firestorm shipping late, there’s no question at all. Again, Wacker deserves lots of credit, but 52 is the 1000-pound gorilla in the movie theatre, and Wacker is the gorilla trainer standing between order and carnage – if he wants bannanas, he gets bannanas.
The other interesting assumption seems to be that Wacker will be doing a weekly comic, or something similar, at Marvel, because obviously he knows how to keep a book on track. Again, it’s a flawed theory: In keeping 52 on track, Wacker has managed to avoid one of the major causes of late books: Superstar artists. 52 has a stable of solid, reliable artists – and with Keith Giffen providing layouts, there’s a certain amount of consistency from artist to artist. That’s significantly different from a Bryan Hitch or Steve McNiven, whose detail-heavy art is a headline attraction. It has nothing to do with quality, but the approach – Ultimates sells largely because of Bryan Hitch, while 52 sells because of the story and characters. (at least in theory)
There was an interesting hint in Newsarama’s story about the John Ostrander & Tom Mandrake fill-in arc on Batman, where Dan Didio said
There are certain books that I feel we can take less liberties with: Batman, Superman, Action and Detective. They can’t miss because of the history, the numbering, and what it represents to the company. So, from my standpoint, when we go into those books, we have to go into those books with the understanding that at some point, we’re going to break the run of particular talent.
There are some books that run on their own schedule because the talent is paramount, and others that run on a monthly schedule because it’s important there be in issue of Batman every month. 52 falls into the latter category – it’s a weekly comic, it has to be a weekly comic, and there’s no way you can do that the sort of artists that are popular these days. Wacker isn’t selling an individual creator, he’s selling the entire DC Universe.
Lastly, via Johanna, we get a column by Marvel editor Tom Brevoort, wherein Wacker’s new colleague admonishes internet fandom for having their heads up their asses, but then gets a wee bit defensive comparing the outcry over Wacker’s departure to the one over Civil War delays:
Frankly, I’m appalled at some of the things that are being posted about this situation, and this editor. Derogatory, insulting, know-nothing posts that really all translate back to one simple idea: “I’m afraid I won’t be able to have the comic book I want when I want it.” I lived this firsthand a few weeks back, when we announced that CIVIL WAR #4 was going to be delayed. There were something like a dozen pages of posts, all rallying support for the beleaguered retailers, and all those new readers who’d come into reading comics with CIVIL WAR and who would now be hopelessly lost forever because the book would now be late. And all of those posts really said the same thing as well: “I’m afraid I won’t be able to have the comic book I want when I want it.”
That much of the reaction to Wacker’s departure is ignorant and derogatory can’t really be questioned, but the Civil War comparison doesn’t really hold up. People are mad at Wacker because they don’t understand how publishing works and are generally insane. People are mad about Civil War delays not because they can’t have the book when they want it, but that they aren’t getting the book when Marvel said they would. It’s a lot of insane ranting and overreaction in either case, but out of very different motives. I suspect Brevoort, who normally seems like such an astute guy, may be getting a bit burned out.