Bill Rosemann answers ten questions about the role of an editor and teases some upcoming titles from the House of Ideas!
Bill Rosemann is one of several mysterious editors that haunt the halls of Marvel. Sometimes likened to the Secret Empire or the Illuminati, no one knows exactly what these editors do at Marvel besides up office space and hold mysterious gatherings known as "creative summits" that are allegedly akin to Skull and Bones rituals. To help clear up some of the secrecy surrounding the role an editor plays at Marvel, the Outhouse sat down with Bill Rosemann, current editor of the Marvel Cosmic line and much more, about his many responsibilities as editor.
The Outhouse: So what exactly does an editor do at Marvel?
Bill Rosemann: Not much, just: work with writers on overall storylines, work with cover artists from sketch to full-color piece, proof & review scripts through multiple drafts, review pencil layouts, review pencils, review inks, review colors, review & proof lettering through multiple drafts, work with the Bullpen on designing covers & recap pages & letters pages & next issue pages, work with Sales & Marketing on various promotional efforts, answer press inquiries, attend daily meetings, answer hundreds of daily emails, recruit new talent, manage talent relationships, attend conventions & represent the company on panels, attempt to increase monthly title circulation, brainstorm & launch new titles, and manage the on-time delivery of 6 to 12 titles every month. And if we do our job correctly, readers will never know we did anything.
OH: Several of the writers I've talked to mention the active role editors have played in recruiting them for different projects. How do you decide which writers should work on a certain project?
BR: It's kind of like what I imagine casting a movie or TV show is like. In that case, you're trying to select a look and acting style that would best bring a character to life. In our case, you start with the project and think about what kind of tone and writing style would work best. Then you brainstorm a wish list (which is a lot like when you sit around with your friends and say, "You know who I'd pick to write this book...?")...and then you find out who is actually available and/or interested. Sometimes you're actively looking for a project for someone and an assignment lands on your desk...and the writer actually likes it. Sometimes you even go out of the comic industry and reach out to novelists whose work has caught your eye. Basically, it's part inspiration, part perspiration, and a whole bucket o' luck.
OH: What sort of role do the other editors like Steven Wacker and the Editor in Chief, Joe Quesada, play in your job?
BR: Steve and I are both part of Team Brevoort, so Tom oversees (reviews scripts & final drafts) every book we edit. Steve & I also talk to each other frequently about characters who may appear in each other's titles. And with Steve overseeing the current Shadowland event, I share scripts and final drafts with Steve for his review. Also, I'm lucky enough to share a largish office with Tom, so I'm able to ask him all sorts or questions and turn to him for advice in sticky situations. It's an honor to have the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by someone as experienced as Tom. Joe is working more and more on TV and movie projects, but he still keeps a watchful eye on overall storylines, events and covers. And with his office just a few feet from mine, it's great to have the opportunity knock on his door to get his take on something. Marvel is something of a "teaching hospital" – something I try to take advantage of every day.
OH: Which titles are you currently editing? How did you wind up editing these titles?
BR: I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to edit Avengers Academy, Thunderbolts, Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Secret Warriors, The Thanos Imperative, Shadowland: Power Man, Shadowland: Blood on the Streets, Invaders Now and Thor: First Thunder...and I'm prepping Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, Power Man & Iron Fist, Captain America: Hail Hydra, Heroes For Hire and five more as-yet-unannounced projects for blast off! As for how I ended up in their credit boxes, some I pitched and others I was assigned. Ya never know what's going to land on your desk next here at Mighty Marvel!
OH: Do you think yourself as a "hands on" editor, one that takes an active role in the creative process, or more of a hands-off editor and only stepping in when you need to?
BR: Hopefully a bit of both. It all depends on what each project, character and creator needs. Whatever helps bring out the best!
OH: Two of your upcoming titles, Heroes for Hire and Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, will be spinning out of the current Shadowland event. Could you tell the readers a little bit about how these titles came into existence?
BR: After having fun seeing how characters like The Shroud, Misty Knight, Silver Sable and Paladin bounce off each other while investigating the same mystery, Heroes For Hire is our attempt to show how a selection of unique urban warriors who prefer to work solo would actually work together. Black Panther: Man Without Fear grows from two opportunities: T'Challa is now freed from his Wakandan responsibilities...and Hell's Kitchen will always need a protector.
OH: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear represents a pretty major status quo change for T'Challa. Why did you decide to head in this direction for Black Panther?
BR: A group of us at Marvel have fond memories of all the stories that featured T'Challa leaping across rooftops in the urban jungle. His NYC-based adventures with the Fantastic Four, his time in the Avengers, his original Marvel Knights launch...the contrast of character with environment is not only compelling, but builds upon his rich history.
OH: How do you ensure that the readers buying Daredevil continue to read Black Panther: Man Without Fear?
BR: Hopefully they'll be intrigued by the great preview art by Francesco Francavilla and interviews with David Liss! If you check out both of the creators' websites, you'll see they are an incredibly talented duo that should make for a magical combination.
OH: What's it like working with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning on Heroes for Hire, a book that feature neither talking raccoons nor aliens?
BR: Who says it won't? Well, even if it doesn't, DnA are not only two of the most brilliant chaps in the biz, they are also two of the most professional and nicest. I would gladly work with them on a book that only features a talking raccoon and an alien...Hey, I'm also doing that!
OH:Last question: Which project or title do you think readers should be most excited for in the next few months?
BR: Thunderbolts #150 is a wild collision between our team of misanthropes and three of Marvel's best...Avengers Academy #7 presents the big return of Giant-Man...Heroes For Hire #1 is one of the best first issue scripts I've ever read...Black Panther: Man Without Fear will surprise many...and there's one upcoming project that will rewrite the history books. Be the first on your block to collect them all!
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer