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Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Takes Shots at DC

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Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Takes Shots at DC

Postby LOLtron » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:09 am

Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Takes Shots at DC

It's not confusing to fans. Axel says so.



Source: CBR

Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso stopped by publisher whorehouse Comic Book Resources today for his weekly standing feaured interview that in no way constitutes an inappropriate relationship between publisher and media outlet. Amidst the usual talk of how excited Marvel's latest super-mega-crossover event makes him, Alonso answered a pre-approved question about Marvel's ridiculous numbering system, where all the issue numbers have decimal points, some of which aren't even real numbers:

Getting into Original Sin itself -- some of the numbering for the tie-ins, like the story that Waid and Kieron Gillen are doing with Hulk and Iron Man running through #3.1-#3.4 of Original Sin -- I could see people viewing that as difficult to follow. Do you see that at all, or does it seem fairly straightforward in your mind?

Alonso: I only bought into this program when I understood the advantages it presented for positioning in the catalog, for the clarity it would provide to retailers. There are lessons you learn about the way retailers order, and how they look at projects in the catalog, and where you need to position them. What we've come up with is the best strategy for retailers to understand exactly what they're ordering, but fans to understand exactly what they're buying. This numbering strategy won't be confusing to fans when they go to the store.

When [Marvel SVP, Sales and Marketing] David Gabriel unveiled his numbering strategy for the "Original Sin" tie-ins, I was skeptical and so was Tom [Brevoort], who edits the series. But David adequately addressed our questions and concerns, and we now understand the logic of the plan. The "OS 3.1" etcetera numbering keeps it easier for the retailer to order from Diamond. But when fans go to the store, what they'll see on the stands is "Hulk vs. Iron Man" #1.

 

Wha? How is that not confusing? Of course, it's CBR, so they just let this slide. What can you expect from a website that doesn't even bother to ensure that images sent to them by publishers don't contain brutal rape scenes with erect barbarian penises before blindly posting them to their front page like obedient lapdogs.

They did press an issue later in the interview, however, or at least pretend to so that Alonso could take a bunch of shots at rival DC Comics:

This week, DC Comics released partial solicitations for September 2014, with no creative teams, as of yet, listed. It certainly sparked discussion online -- what was your reaction when you saw that?

Alonso: I think it's dangerous to tell retailers and fans, "Hey, check out this cool lenticular cover! Who's writing and drawing it, you ask? Nevermind, check out this cool lenticular cover!" If I were the writer or artist of that issue, I'd wonder why my involvement is being concealed. And if I were a retailer or a fan, I'd be skeptical that I'm being asked to literally buy a book for its cover. I'd assume the enhanced cover is camouflage for a fill-in issue.

At Marvel, the important thing is story and the talent that bring you that story; covers are a selling tool that should wrap around a good story -- they are not what we are selling. The fact that it's Stan Lee and Jack Kirby doing "Fantastic Four," Frank Miller doing "Daredevil," hell, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo doing "Batman" is extremely relevant. It's the creative teams that mine the gold of our characters. That's the driving philosophy behind Marvel NOW!: Find the best creators to tell the best story. "Elektra" #1 has cool variant covers by Paolo Rivera, Bill Sienkiewicz and Skottie Young, but they're meant to shine a spotlight on the story by Haden Blackman and Mike Del Mundo.

That said, this September, amidst the sea of lenticular covers, [Laughs] you'll find a comic book that tells a huge Marvel story. We'll be unveiling details about it this weekend at C2E2, and the draw, as always, is the story and the exciting team that will bring it to you. I am very excited about this series.

 

Thank god, I was beginning to get worried Axel wasn't excited about enough stuff in this interview. CBR pressed on:

In this instance, it could be that the creative teams have not been completely determined yet.

Alonso: I find that really hard to believe. For one or two titles, maybe, but for the whole line? From a production standpoint alone, each of those issues should be in outline form, at the very least, just in order to hit deadline. No, it's a strategic move to put up big numbers in the month of September, and don't think anyone benefits from it in the long-term.

 

And finally:

It hasn't been this exact circumstance with Marvel, but Marvel has obviously employed different cover gimmicks, also.

Alonso: We use enhanced covers to create theater and drive sales for new series, but they are always used to support content -- to support the story that's being told. They are not used to camouflage content. The acetate covers on "Origin II" announce that the book is special, but the book is special because it's a big story, brought to you by two top creators.

And look, this is not part of the ongoing discussion of the tactical use of variants. Used in moderation, variants help publishers launch books and they put money in retailers' pockets. That's not what we're talking about here; we're talking about selling covers, not comics.

 

So basically, it's different when they do it. Possibly because Axel is more excited about it than Dan Didio. My favorite part of the interview, however, is the fact that, though blogger extraordinaire Albert Ching is conducting the interview, it's Alonso himself that gets the byline on the article.

Conflict of what now?



Written or Contributed by Jude Terror




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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Hypnotoad » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:46 am

I love that image with Axel sporting a huge shit-eater. Stories like this are so ridiculous it's hard to take cbr seriously.

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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Chessack » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:07 am

At this point, Marvel and probably DC should just throw out the numbering system. The numbers are completely meaningless. We get situations where they do stuff like this (no, exactly this hasn't happened, but it's an example):

Thor 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 600, 6, 7, 8, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.NOW, 10, 1, 2, 3...

I mean, what is the fucking point of having a numbering system when you are going to do stuff like that?

Just go by story arcs. "Thor: Gods Among Us 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, done." Etc.

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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby oogy » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:51 am

Personally, when I'm looking through the solicits I'm less bothered by a lack of creative team than I am seeing "CLASSIFIED" or "EVERBODY HAS ONE..." where the story details should be.
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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby SuperginraiX » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:58 am

Chessack wrote:At this point, Marvel and probably DC should just throw out the numbering system. The numbers are completely meaningless. We get situations where they do stuff like this (no, exactly this hasn't happened, but it's an example):

Thor 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 600, 6, 7, 8, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.NOW, 10, 1, 2, 3...

I mean, what is the fucking point of having a numbering system when you are going to do stuff like that?

Just go by story arcs. "Thor: Gods Among Us 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, done." Etc.

I'd be ok with going by story arc. Hell, I'm pretty much just doing trades these days so numbering is irrelevant outside of volume number.
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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Stalzer2002 » Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:56 am

oogy wrote:Personally, when I'm looking through the solicits I'm less bothered by a lack of creative team than I am seeing "CLASSIFIED" or "EVERBODY HAS ONE..." where the story details should be.


I feel exactly the opposite. I don't necessarily want or need story details three to five months in advance. Knowing that there will be an issue of Superior Foes by Spencer and Lieber or Lazarus by Rucka and Lark is plenty of information for me.

What's worse is that listing plot details but not creative teams tells us one of two things. One is that they have creative teams set, but decided not to list them, even though it is their normal business practice to do so. I don't buy that. If you know what the team is going to be, there's no reason not to list them. The second possibility is that they haven't hired creative teams for these books. This tells me that no matter who are eventually listed as the creators, these books were conceived and plotted by someone else, namely, editorial. This is clearest cut example yet of how far out of the norm Didio and Harras are when it comes to eliminating creative freedom in the name of editorial control and vision.
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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:15 am

Stalzer2002 wrote:
I feel exactly the opposite. I don't necessarily want or need story details three to five months in advance. Knowing that there will be an issue of Superior Foes by Spencer and Lieber or Lazarus by Rucka and Lark is plenty of information for me.

What's worse is that listing plot details but not creative teams tells us one of two things. One is that they have creative teams set, but decided not to list them, even though it is their normal business practice to do so. I don't buy that. If you know what the team is going to be, there's no reason not to list them. The second possibility is that they haven't hired creative teams for these books. This tells me that no matter who are eventually listed as the creators, these books were conceived and plotted by someone else, namely, editorial. This is clearest cut example yet of how far out of the norm Didio and Harras are when it comes to eliminating creative freedom in the name of editorial control and vision.


I 100% agree with this, but I think Axel is full of it when he's acting like editorial doesn't write the stories at Marvel too. Recall Matt Fraction leaving Inhuman? They just hide it better over there.
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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby RoosterHardwood » Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:58 am

So Axel didn't get the numbering system until the logic behind it was explained to him, but he's now not explaining the logic behind it to anyone else.

Slick!

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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Stalzer2002 » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:26 pm

S.F. Jude Terror wrote:
I 100% agree with this, but I think Axel is full of it when he's acting like editorial doesn't write the stories at Marvel too. Recall Matt Fraction leaving Inhuman? They just hide it better over there.


Eh...I don't completely agree. Yes, Inhumanity is an example of a editorially written comic from Marvel. We're dealing with the big two, so there is always going to be some level of editorial involvement. Unfortunately, they're never going to be completely creator driven like Image. Marvel under Axel seems to have chosen a path in which events are written by editorial while individual books are largely left to their own devices. And you know what, I can live with that. That's an acceptable middle ground to me. You'll never find Inhumanity or One More Day on my shelf, but as long as they're publishing things like Hawkeye, Superior Foes, Thor, Moon Knight and Black Widow, I don't care. Yeah, Marvel pushed Fraction off of Inhuman, but at the same time, they let him write Pizza is my Business in Hawkeye, and didn't force him to do an Infinity tie-in. The problem with Didio and Harras' DC is that they're so extreme. I believe Chuck Dixon said that they make Shooter's Marvel look like a hippie commune. George Perez said that he didn't think publishing a book like New Teen Titans was possible under this management. Yeah, it's disingenuous to say that Marvel editorial never writes books, but it's equally disingenuous to say that they don't have a leg to stand on in comparison to Didio and Harras.
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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:39 pm

Stalzer2002 wrote:
Eh...I don't completely agree. Yes, Inhumanity is an example of a editorially written comic from Marvel. We're dealing with the big two, so there is always going to be some level of editorial involvement. Unfortunately, they're never going to be completely creator driven like Image. Marvel under Axel seems to have chosen a path in which events are written by editorial while individual books are largely left to their own devices. And you know what, I can live with that. That's an acceptable middle ground to me. You'll never find Inhumanity or One More Day on my shelf, but as long as they're publishing things like Hawkeye, Superior Foes, Thor, Moon Knight and Black Widow, I don't care. Yeah, Marvel pushed Fraction off of Inhuman, but at the same time, they let him write Pizza is my Business in Hawkeye, and didn't force him to do an Infinity tie-in. The problem with Didio and Harras' DC is that they're so extreme. I believe Chuck Dixon said that they make Shooter's Marvel look like a hippie commune. George Perez said that he didn't think publishing a book like New Teen Titans was possible under this management. Yeah, it's disingenuous to say that Marvel editorial never writes books, but it's equally disingenuous to say that they don't have a leg to stand on in comparison to Didio and Harras.


I agree, I like the balancing act that Marvel is pulling off at this point.

When you're dealing with a shared universe, there's always going to be some level of editorial interference. If writer A is using character X in one series and writer B comes along with an idea to use character X in another series, editorial is going to have to step in at some point and make a decision on who can do what.
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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Chessack » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:01 pm

RoosterHardwood wrote:So Axel didn't get the numbering system until the logic behind it was explained to him, but he's now not explaining the logic behind it to anyone else.


Also notice that his main focus is can he sell the logic to the retailers... what the CUSTOMERS think is not on his radar. That's because once the retailer buys the comic, Marvel's money is made. If the retailer sits on a huge stack of unsolds, it's not Axel's problem (at least not immediately).

So what he's really saying is, if he thinks the retailer can understand what is going on, he's going to do it and trust the retailers to take the time and effort to explain the system to the customer.

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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby TimH » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:30 pm

That interview was a real game changer! Axel hit it out of the park on that one. I'm glad the interviewer gave Axel a sandbox to play with the toys in. I'm feeling super-excited. I don't want to count my chickens before they've hatched, but I see more fantastic content coming from Axel going forward. That was a real mind-bender that I need to wrap my head around.

:?

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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:45 pm

TimH wrote:That interview was a real game changer! Axel hit it out of the park on that one. I'm glad the interviewer gave Axel a sandbox to play with the toys in. I'm feeling super-excited. I don't want to count my chickens before they've hatched, but I see more fantastic content coming from Axel going forward. That was a real mind-bender that I need to wrap my head around.

:?


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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby fieldy snuts » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:54 pm

No insult from a Marvel EiC to DC will ever come close to this gem:

"What the fuck is DC anyway? They'd be better off calling it AOL Comics. At least people know what AOL is. I mean, they have Batman and Superman, and they don't know what to do with them. That's like being a porn star with the biggest dick and you can't get it up. What the fuck? "

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Re: Axel Alonso Speaks on Absurd Marvel Numbering System, Ta

Postby Draco x » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:02 pm

fieldy snuts wrote:No insult from a Marvel EiC to DC will ever come close to this gem:

"What the fuck is DC anyway? They'd be better off calling it AOL Comics. At least people know what AOL is. I mean, they have Batman and Superman, and they don't know what to do with them. That's like being a porn star with the biggest dick and you can't get it up. What the fuck? "


Quesada, right?

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