Sunday, September 16, 2007

Boxed Into A Corner: The Quick Reply?

That was quick. Only yesterday did I post my thoughts on Norm Breyfogle asking Tom Brevoort as to why he's not worked at Marvel since the Hellcat mini-series, after this blog entry by Brevoort. I wondered what the reply would be, and thankfully I didn't have to wait long. You can make what you want of this reply - Brevoort simply removed Norm's questions from his blog. That's his prerogative I guess, but it's a weak way out.

There was nothing rude in the comments, no abuse, no foul language. Nothing obscene, nothing disrespectful. About the only thing that anyone could possibly object to is the airing of some slightly soiled laundry, but then I have it on excellent authority that Norm has not once received a reply from Brevoort, in the years since the Hellcat mini-series and it appears he's not about to receive one now. I can only wonder as to why.

Just so Tom doesn't forget what Norm wrote to Tom, here it is in it's entirety:

"Nice of you to take the "blame" for the Hellcat costume change, but that change was definitely my idea, which I originated and pushed for (and you subsequently okayed), and my design was a much better design than the original one. Just compare them side by side, and make your own decision; it's like comparing the classic, original Robin costume to the new versions. Of course, you were the editor, and you okayed my idea, so I guess you must take ultimate responsibility.

"The only reason I can conceive of why some fans might prefer the original comparatively lousy costume design is due to their blind nostalgia for the past.

"Englehart being difficult as the writer of the series was something of which I wasn't aware.

"I have one question, however: if there was no reason to dislike my art (and I think my art on that mini-series was one of my best efforts), why hasn't Marvel shown any interest in hiring me since? I've approached them many times and they've always turned me down."

Any answer Tom Brevoort, other than ignoring the question and hoping it'll go away? I don't know who ultimately removed the questions, if it was Brevoort or someone at Marvel with the thought process of such things are best left in house, but when you consider that Brevoort has used his blog to explain Marvel decisions, both right and wrong, in the past, then surely a simple answer isn't too much to ask? Clearly it is. This is censorship, no matter how you look at it. Norm asks a questions and not only does he not get the decency of an answer, but his questions are removed from the Marvel site, one presumes because they might have the readership discover that there is an active blacklist in place, at both Marvel and DC, of creators who will not work at either company until certain 'creative' staff, mostly in the editorial departments, are gone. Even better these creators don't know their crimes as they're never told, nor is it ever explained. I didn't know that Joe McCarthy had crawled back from the grave to control the comic book industry in the USA.

Pathetic.

Now I'm under no illusions here. I know that none of the editorial staff at either Marvel or DC read this, nor would they take any notice if it were pointed out to them - this stuff would be beneath them. Thus Tom is unlikely to ever see this, or read it. Good on him - why should he? However it'd have been nice if Tom was able to answer Norm's questions - it'd not take that much out of his day and, after all, he does spend a lot of time on his blog answering, in detail, some of the most puerile questions and comments that people post on other sites.

Perhaps if I see Tom in New York I'll ask him myself and see if he turns on heel and walks off in the opposite direction. I suggest other people do the same. Start asking editorial staff, "Why doesn't so-and-so work at your company anymore?" and don't give in until you get a truthful answer, but then truth with these companies is in low demand.

Additional update: Norm left a 'test' message on Brevoort's blog just ysterday. All it said, was, simply, 'This is a test', the idea was to see if it all worked. Guess what? That comment has also been removed, and STILL no explaination.

1 comment:

Tom Brevoort said...

The reason why that comment was deleted is pretty simple: every new post can be marked as "offensive" by anybody who views the post, which deletes it from the live log until somebody with moderator approval can see it and make a determination. If it's deemed inoffensive, it's restored to teh comments section. So somebody--not me--who saw those comments since they were first posted flagged them. And given that the entry in question is two months old, I didn't see them until you pointed out that they were missing. But thanks for knee-jerking and thinking the worst of me anyway.

As for the sum of your question, one of the guiding principles that a comic book editor has to operate under is that No One Is Owed Work. It's a competative markeplace out there, and its for each editor to determine for themselves who they think can best be of use on their titles. For myself, I was very much put off by the paranoic series of letters that Norm sent to the Marvel offices and to the Comic Buyer's Guide (which they printed) claiming to have been the victim of a conspiracy to oust established talent in favor of new, young guys. Not only were Norman's claims off-base, but they were tantamount to writing a public suicide note in terms of his career; after their publication, I am completely unastonished that nobody at the major companies is in a rush to have him back.

Tom B