It’s been funny this past week to see all of the mail that’s started to come in through the typical Marvel e-mail addresses. Funny because none of it is about comic book publishing at all, but instead in response in one way or another to VARIETY’s recent clickbait story concerning the status of
"This maybe wasn’t such a problem when the median age of the consumer for our monthly books was 12 years old. But now that it’s closer to 32 years old, it definitely is."
Can you tell us about some of the ways this change has affected comics over the course of your career?
Hello Tom. I really enjoy this newsletter, especially the “Behind the curtain” part and all the logo and cover design insights. I'm a graphic designer specialized in visual identity and pop culture, I've designed some logos for independent comics (and even adapted a Marvel’s one for its Spanish edition) and I would love to one day design some logos for Marvel. I would like to know if there is any way to submit portfolios or be considered for that type of work.
Tom - in response to your discussion of Nick Cardy's work at DC and Bat Lash in particular I wanted to let you know they collected most of the 70's run, if not all of it, in a black & white Showcase TP. It's pretty affordable on Ebay and doesn't look half bad without color. Love the newsletter and Sunday breakfast wouldn't be the same without it. Thanks for doing it on the regular.
Excited for the new Punisher series (I enjoyed David Pepose's writing on the recent Savage Avengers series)! I do miss Frank Castle and hope we still see him in MAX projects or back in the main Marvel U.
Tom - what do you think is the appeal of a character like the Punisher in this modern age?
As a kid in the 80s I found the 'vigilante' tough guy character iconic (all action/cop movies of the 80s were a variation of the 'guy who ignores the rules')..but I often wonder is it a thing of the past? I still love the archetype and the 'old school' one man vs an army stories..but maybe that's just my own nostalgia.
Re Steranko: my third rate recollection is that he lettered his Outland adaptation. Lovely, but only in very small dosages. A full book of that lettering... ugh. Pretty, but not the easiest to read.
I was also going to squeeze for a single grain of a leak regarding the Brevoort Age of Mutants but what I had in mind was the promotional image that dropped a few weeks ago. That lousy recollection of mine was that it was a tease of the post-Krakoa era but now I’m not so sure about that, so no question. Besides, I’m too busy being bummed about losing Dugan, Ewing and Gillan’s scripting on various mutants. So no X-question.
Great newsletter as always, Tom. Thanks again for taking the time to craft it.
My question is about THE PUNISHER - I was lucky enough to read the first issue, and I really dug it. Not only for its efforts as a standalone comic, but in terms of the bigger picture, i.e. revamping or rebooting (it feels much more like the former) of an established character. Can you talk a little bit about this process and maybe how it's been similar or different to past efforts with other characters you've been involved with? It felt like the creative team really got the essence of what makes the character interesting, and that strikes me as the core challenge when trying to reframe an established hero or concept.
Steranko may not have been a great choice for lettering dialog, but he proved he could design logos with the best of them: he created a logo for X-Men that (with minor alterations) was used for decades, and still is probably the most iconic logo the series has ever had.
Hey Tom. This is one of my must-read newsletters each week.
When a creator pitches a big status-altering storyline (like the Krakoan era) does that pitch include how to undo it or move to the next era? Are there pieces of Fall of X that were included in the original Hickman pitch?
Thanks, as always, for this newsletter. It's always a joy to read on a Sunday evening.
Following on from this issue's opener, I'm curious if there have ever been examples of negative sentiment changing a story?
You've spoken about series like Spider-Girl being saved time and again by overwhelming fan positivity, but have people writing in with criticism ever changed a story that is otherwise successful (it's selling fine, for example).
"I dislike Nick Lowe as much as the next person, but some of these efforts to disparage his efforts on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN by *looking big* are pretty embarrassing"
And what, exactly, do you mean by the starred bit?
I can guess, based on past statements of yours about female characters that have recently been making the rounds of social media sites, but would love to hear straight from the equine's mouth.
I go back and forth on whether Silver Surfer #4 or Steranko’s cover to Hulk Annual 1 is my favorite of all time. I do think that Hulk cover is another amazing example of a power cover (not that you said or even implied that your list was exhaustive). Steranko’s work on Nick Fury and Captain America remains jaw dropping to me, to this day. I’ve still never seen anything like it. Although, I don’t think scripting was his forté. As amazing as those issues are to look at, they’re a bit difficult for me to follow in places.
The best stories we ever read, we read when we're 12. As an adult, we look back and some of it may be great, and some of it was only great because we were 12.
What stuff did you read when you were 12 still stands up to your now-adult eyes as tremendous work by artists at their creative peak?
The bit about Steranko had me thinking about his "History of Comics" series. What are your favorite books (or media) about comic book history?
"Men of Tomorrow" is excellent even if I had to mentally block out who wrote it.