First, I’ll start with the begging. Please please check out my new novel, Necromancy for the Greater Good. It’s free and available through your favorite distributor, as long as your favorite distributor isn’t Amazon (curse you Amazon). It’s funny and snarky and a nice, easy read. Also, if I could just get a few more Likes on Facebook, that’d be great. Okay, begging over, on with the show!
Disclaimer – the following transcripts occurred only in my fevered imaginings of how certain ideas or styles manage to make the leap from concept to publication in the world of comic books. In the case, reality may be stranger than the fiction I present to you.
Marvel Comics, Prior to the Start of “New X-men:”
Chief – Grant, come on in, how’s it going?
Grant Morrison – Fine. Why?
Chief – So I’m looking over your story arcs. And it looks like you were planning to kill Emma Frost.
Grant – Right…
Chief – So, um, why is she alive?
Grant – Diamond armor.
Chief – … Yes, but you smushed her and she doesn’t have armor.
Grant – She does now. How else would she survive being smushed?
Chief – *facepalm* She’s a telepath. How come she suddenly has a new power?
Grant – Secondary mutation, or something. I’ll figure something out.
Chief – But why?
Grant – Well, Colossus is dead and the X-men need a tank.
Chief – This was your plan? Introduce random powers with no explanation?
Grant – Um, maybe I didn’t think that through all the way. But it’ll be fine.
Chief – Okay, look, I’ll buy off on this secondary mutation thing. But she’s got psychic powers. How did she suddenly manifest physical powers?
Grant – Dunno. How come all the X-men have the same X-gene and manifest really different powers?
Chief – I guess that’s a fair point. But diamond, really? Isn’t that a little obvious?
Grant – Because she’s the ice queen! And ‘ice’ is another word for diamond? Get it?
Chief – Her name is Emma Frost. She’s the former White Queen. We really haven’t been subtle here.
Grant – If you say so.
Chief – Do you have a better plan that giving Emma some random, ridiculously high-level power?
Grant – Um, no. But she can’t use her telepathy when she’s armored. That makes it just fine.
Chief – … Ok, well, moving on. It looks like you have an elaborate love triangle planned for Cyclops, Jean, and Emma.
Grant – It’ll be dark and edgy.
Chief – Ok, look, you’re a really talented writer and all, so maybe you can explain a few things to me. Professor Xavier is a fully trained psychiatrist. Cyclops and Jean are two of his first students. Cyclops is kind of like his son in a lot of ways. Emma Frost is a telepath but not a trained psychiatrist or psychologist and she was recently a villain. And when Cyclops first met Emma Frost, she was working to help destroy Jean. You know all this, right?
Grant – Um, sure.
Chief – So please explain to me why when Cyclops has marriage problems, Xavier refuses to help him.
Grant – Um, conflict of interest?
Chief – Ok, that’s fair. But then why does Xavier tell the emotionally vulnerable Cyclops to confide in the emotionally predatory and manipulative Emma Frost? Isn’t this like asking the fox to guard the henhouse? I mean, there is no way this can’t end badly and Xavier looks like a complete moron for suggesting it, and Cyclops doesn’t look much better for taking his clearly bad advice.
Grant – Oh, it’s all because of the twin Xavier strangled in the womb but didn’t die.
Chief – *blink blink* Er, what?
Grant – The twin Xavier strangled in the womb but didn’t die.
Chief – Is that kind of a rip-off of the FF story arc featuring the Invisible Woman’s second pregnancy? The one that was a psionic force of evil that was never born?
Grant – No. This is completely different. Completely different.
Chief – Sure, no one reads that stuff anyway. Go on.
Grant – So, yeah, it all starts with Xavier’s evil twin sister and then it’ll turn out she was helped by this master puppeteer villain who’s been controlling everything and everyone since like World War II! And then it’ll turn out he’s being manipulated by an uber-powerful mutant no one knew about with a black hole in his head! And then he’ll turn out to be Magneto in disguise! But then it’ll turn out that the puppeteer was controlling that too!
Chief – *blink blink* What? None of what you just said makes any sense. You’ve completely lost me.
Grant – I’m a critically acclaimed writer. It’ll be fine.
Chief – So your solution to a situation that doesn’t make any sense is to introduce a villain that’s secretly been controlling everything the whole time?
Grant – Yep!
Chief – Exactly how are you going to resolve this really convoluted massive story arc?
Grant – Well, during all of this Jean’s been slowly growing more and more Phoenix-like. So I was going to bring back the Phoenix in an epic battle!
Chief – Is that going to be that simple?
Grant – Of course not!
Chief – I’ll tell you what. You can do everything you want, even if it’s convoluted, doesn’t make any sense for several of the characters, and is just plain weird, but with one teensy weensy tiny change.
Grant – Uh huh…
Chief – Kill Jean Grey.
Grant – What?
Chief – Kill her off. Get rid of her. I don’t care how you do it; just get rid of her. She adds nothing to the universe and I hate married characters anyway.
Grant – But-but there are other married characters. Spider-man’s married.
Chief – For now. Muahahahahaha!!!
Grant – Um, you know you did that laugh out loud, right?
Chief – Yes. So, are you going to take the deal?
Grant – Yes, but there will be consequences.
Chief – Whatever. So, make this work. That’s my boy.
Marvel Comic, an Interview for a New Artist circa the late 1980s/early 1990s
Chief – Rob, come on in, how’s it going?
Rob Liefeld – Fine. Why?
Chief – So I’m looking over your art portfolio for the head artist job on our all new X-Factor. You have a very distinctive style.
Rob – Thanks!
Chief – Very aggressive. Very bold.
Rob – Thanks!
Chief – But I do have some questions.
Rob – Fire away.
Chief – What’s with all the pouches?
Rob – Like Batman’s utility belt, but more radically awesome!
Chief – Ok, fine, I see that for a belt. But you have leg pouches and arm pouches and is this a pouch-pouch? I mean, what do they keep in here? Can they even use these pouches in a combat situation?
Rob – Um, I guess?
Chief – Ok, well, fine. Listen, Rob, have you ever used an eraser?
Rob – Nope!
Chief – Really? How about maybe doing a second draft?
Rob – Nope! I live in the moment and draw in the moment. Erasers and second drafts are for wimps.
Chief – Ok, well, look here at this guy with the sword. I like the swords, by the way. Anyway, it looks like you started drawing the sword at the top of the page, and then started drawing in the guy holding it, and realized that the top of the sword and the bottom wouldn’t meet up.
Rob – So?
Chief – The sword looks like it’s bending is what I’m saying.
Rob – No one will notice because the sword is so awesome!
Chief – … Ok, look, who’s in front in this picture? Because this guy’s leg seems like it’s behind this guy’s legs but the first guy’s arms are in front of the second guy.
Rob – Um, the guy with the eyespot is in front.
Chief – All the guys have eyespots.
Rob – Right!
Chief – … How many muscles are in a human body? Skeletal muscles everyone generally agrees on, I mean.
Rob – Dunno. 11,782?
Chief – … Yeah, that explains a lot. What’s the average waist circumference for an athletic woman?
Rob – Dunno. Eighteen inches?
Chief – … So, I’ve noticed that when you draw people, there are things in front of their feet. Do you have a problem with feet?
Rob – Feet are hard!
Chief – I see. Listen, you know that women don’t generally walk around on point like ballerinas all the time, right?
Rob – Feet are hard!
Chief – … Right. Ok, what are you going to bring to the comics if we hire you?
Rob – Guns! Muscles!! Awesomeness!!
Chief – And tiny feet?
Rob – Feet are hard! I’ll also draw boobs!
Chief – Well, it’s hard to argue with boobs. But I’m pretty sure a woman’s boobs and butt can’t actually point in the same direction.
Rob – No one will notice. They’ll be looking at the boobs. And guns and swords and muscles and awesomeness!! And I can draw a whole comic in like, an hour.
Chief – Because you don’t erase or do second drafts?
Rob – Yep!
Chief – What the hell. You’re hired.