Over at Millarworld, Mark Millar has posted a message from CIVIL WAR artist Steve McNiven:
“Hey folks, just thought I should get a post up here. First up apologies to the fans and retailers of civil war. The responsibility for the art delays lies with me, period. I’ve been working harder than I ever have, (and this is my third profession), but this is the hardest project I’ve ever done and as Mark said, I had little lead time. It was as big a surprise to me as anyone else that Marvel changed its publishing schedule to allow Mark and I to finish the series together.
When I was sent word of this yesterday, I realized the problems that this will cause for readers and retailers immediately. After reading Hitchy’s post I am beginning to understand why Marvel went this way, but it still amazes me. Of course I am proud of the work I have done on Civil War and I am chuffed that Marvel feels the same way, but I worry for the people that could be negatively effected by this. Please realize that the art delays were never meant in a malicious way nor am I being a prima donna with my work. What I’m trying is to do service to the exceptional story that Mark has written. That’s it, and is all that I focus on when I’m at the table. I let Marvel know exactly where I am on a daily basis, from day one, so that they can make the decisions like the one they have made. I’ll continue to work hard to put out the rest of this series with the best work I can do in the time I have been given and I hope that you, the fans and retailers will stick with us, ’cause Mark has written a real gem here.
The “post from Hitchy” referred to is this in which he plays the WATCHMEN/DARK KNIGHT card and explains his own views on “on time” vs “good”
These days we have the benefit of hindsight and there are precedents. You can’t set out to create a classic or a series with longevity but it’s getting easier for publishers to spot them as they unfold because the collection market is so large now and one can see what works and what doesn’t. A fill-in might potentially stave off an unfortunate delay but hurt the long term property potential and the only reason a company would consider a fill-in necessary would be to avoid a financial hit in the short term not to keep you guys happy. If they are willing to take what must be a massive hit in the pocket, believing in it’s long term potential, to allow it’s creators to finish the book as intended then that isn’t really a bad thing.
If we do things the way they have always been done then we don’t develop. It pays to be flexible, I guess and Marvel obviously believe they are doing the best thing in the long game for a product they believe in and one that has already proven more successful than they belived possible.
Mark isn’t exaggerating when he talks of how quickly this thing was put together and the small lead time. Nobody had intended the book to even exist; other plans were in place but the geniuses of Bendis and especially Mighty Mark started the ball rolling that Mark would evolve into Civil War (which also means we have to find a new title for our big follow up, so thanks MM). It’s also been the biggest jobs of both Markie and Stevie’s careers and required an enormous amount of work from both. Watcmen was bi-monthly remember and wasn’t a crossover. I envy them their massive sucess but not the even more massive work involved. Nobody gets paid more for working harder in comics.
Mark and Steve should be applauded for the efforts as those efforts are a clear indicator of why the book is a success. Marvel should also be applauded for making sure everybody gets the best prossible product. It’s a delay guys, not a cancellation. Certainly not a crisis!
Setting aside the fact that Hitchy, God love him, has about the worst on-time record of any artist considered “regular”, the casual observer can’t help but imagine a world in which WATCHMEN becomes the centerpiece of a 20-title cross over. One also admires the adaptability of the Marvel staff, which is able to turn on a dime and change their entire publishing schedule after someone gets a good idea in a bar.
But the net effect is to calm the waters once again. The contrition from Millar and McNiven creates an air of forgiveness, as one of the very next posts after McNiven’s statement reads:
Draw Wolverine doing something cool and all is forgiven.
At the end of the day, THIS is why Marvel does this. They know they will suffer no long term effects from readers or retailers. If fans and retailers REALLY stopped buying Marvel books when they ran late, Marvel would stick to a schedule. But they don’t need to.