Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Marvel, from the top: Last week, ICv2.com interviewed DC's Paul Levitz. Now it's Dan Buckley's turn for a two-part sitdown, in which he discusses the state of the market, and Marvel's editorial strategies and policies on overprints and retailer exclusives, and more:

On creator exclusives: "There's an equal amount of investment going on with both parties, writers probably a little less [than artists], except for some guys that are very important to our business like Brian Bendis, and JMS, and Mark Millar. That's more to protect what we've got going on. For pencillers, especially if you're talking about the Young Guns and things along that line, we're going to spend some time and effort investing in their careers and their names, and there's a limited amount of good output that you can get out of these folks. You want to make sure they're comfortable with what they're doing; you want to make sure that everything looks great and you want to make sure that we get a little bit of return on it too.

"So it has more to do with stabilizing our plans and our lines. It makes it a little bit easier to plan out a year to two years in advance for projects, and allows us to have a little bit of a market lever. Because we can elevate names, we can match up creators with projects and help manage things. It's been a fairly good strategy. It's been one of the biggest dynamic changes in the comic book publishing business over the last ten years. How publishers have been managing that has been one of the biggest changes in the last two or three years. When I was here the first time, I don't think Marvel did a very good job of that. The creators and the publishers seem to have a pretty good relationship, and see the value of it for both sides. Will we have creators stay exclusive for the next ten years? I doubt it; people will come and people will go, but hopefully both parties will be the better for it at the end of it."

On pursuing the manga market: "We're still struggling with the young girl readership, and we're developing it and we're working on it and it might be that we don't know how to do it internally. We see the digests as a first step in going after the younger readers or providing product that can be available for younger readers. That's one of the first strategies, because the format's comfortable and we can get racking. I don't think there's a lot of investment being done by bookstores and other folks for the racking of those products. That was our first step. For the next step, it's going to take a little bit more work and we're still formulating it."