EIC Lessons

By | Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Leave a Comment
As I've noted already, I've been playing editor-in-chief of Marvel in an editorial simulation that's been running since last week. One of the things I noted to Tom when I first was signing up was that I was cognizent of more publishers than just Marvel and I would be able to tap learnings I've gleaned from them.

What I've found, though, is that it's hard to escape the shadow of Joe Quesada. Oh, no one's been saying, "Well, Quesada would've done it this way" or "Joe wouldn't have done that" or anything, but I've found myself playing EIC in some of the same ways he does. And, more significantly, I have not been drawing on the works of Tom DeFalco, Jim Shooter, Ralph Macchio, Stan Lee, or any of Marvel's previous EICs, much less folks from other companies like Max Gaines, Julie Schwartz, Dan Didio, Dan Vado, or Mike Richardson.

I don't feel like I'm aping Quesada, mind you! He's got an enthusiasm and outgoing attitude that just are not in my personality. At the same time, I don't want to be more transparent to the readers as someone like Didio. Something that Lee started back in the 1960s -- and I think was inadvertantly an incredible marketing tool -- was becoming something of a cheerleader/spokesman for Marvel. He was able to get readers to to fall in step behind him. Not Marvel necessarily, but Lee himself. And it just so happened that Lee was running the show at Marvel. Quesada does this, to a somewhat lesser degree, today and I think it engages readers (generally) in a positive way.

Logically, I know that's the type of thing Marvel (and indeed many companies) need, but I simply can't provide that. I have never really been able to generate mass throngs of people falling in behind me. Hell, I'm lucky if I can get one person to walk alongside me! I'm more the type of guy who will go off marching in my own direction, and people might watch as I pass by before going back to whatever business they had been engaged in before seeing me.

There's no doubt in my mind that a Marvel run by me would NOT be the same one that's being run by Quesada. It would look and feel like a very different organization and, while that may be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective, there would inevitably be comparisons made. And they wouldn't really be justified because a role like editor-in-chief is so wholly defined by the personality of the individual that it's not really fair to judge my EIC-ishness against anyone else's. Likewise, it's not fair to compare Joe Quesada to Mike Richardson to Dan Didio. They're all being thrown into a job that's almost as much about personality as anything else, so who's to say that any of them are wrong?
Newer Post Older Post Home