I often wonder how certain decisions in my beloved comic book medium come about. As a writer, I often ponder other stories and the thoughts behind them. I’m interested in that creative process, which is of course complicated when more than one person is involved. But because I am not a third-person omniscient narrator, I can only speculate as to how certain stories came to be…
Editor-in-Chief (Chief) – Alright, everyone, I’ve called you in here because it’s time boost sales, and you know what that means!
Collected editors – *Groan* Not again.
Chief – That’s right, it’s crossover time! We need a big event that will change everything!
Editor 1 – But it seems like we do a big event that will change everything every two years or so.
Chief – …So?
Editor 1 – Never mind. Go on.
Chief – Right! So I was thinking to myself, what would people really like to see? What is going to draw them in? And then I realized the perfect thing – heroes fighting heroes!
Editor 2 – Um, why?
Chief – That’s where you come in. If this is going to be a massive crossover, we need to make sure all books are in on it.
Editor 2 – No, I mean, why do you think what people want to see is heroes fighting heroes?
Chief – Because who doesn’t want to see a good super-powered brawl?
Editor 3 – Yeah, and that happens all the time when heroes fight villains.
Editor 1 – It’s not really new, or different…
Chief – Did I make it clear your jobs are on the line?
Collected editors – Sir, yes sir!
Chief – Anyway, I was thinking since there’s all this paranoia about civil rights let’s get the Superhuman Registration Act passed and then have some of the heroes be in favor of the act, led by Iron Man, and some of them against the act, led by Captain America.
Editor 2 – I guess Cap wouldn’t want people to be registered because of his experiences in WWII, but why would Tony Stark be in favor of that?
Chief – Because Iron Man vs. Captain America will look awesome on a cover!
Collected editors – … Yeah, that’s true.
Chief – Anyway, you work it out with your writers.
Editor 3 – Um, sir, which side are we supposed to be on?
Chief – Oh, isn’t it obvious?
Collected editors – Yes, sir.
Marvel Bullpin, After the Aftermath of Civil War:
Chief – So, tell me, what the hell happened?
Collected editors – Um, could you be more specific?
Chief – That was a mess! The sides didn’t make any sense! Reed Richards wasn’t supposed to be for the Act! He already argued against it when it was just the Mutant Registration Act!
Editor 2 – Oops. I guess I could have done some research before I let those stories through.
Chief – You think? What the hell do I pay you for?
Editor 2 – But my FF writers got some good drama out of Sue taking the kids and leaving Reed.
Chief – Well, yeah, that’s true. But Spider-man revealing his secret identity? What about protecting his family?
Editor 3 – Peter’s always been torn about that, and Tony made a good argument. And then my writers got some good drama about Peter’s enemies going after his family.
Chief – Yeah, but, Peter’s supposed to be a genius! Why wouldn’t he make sure his family was safe before doing something like that? They were just in a hotel.
Editor 3 – He’s a genius, but he doesn’t have a lot of common sense sometimes.
Chief -… Yeah, that’s true. But what about Iron Man putting people in prison without a trial? That’s-that’s beyond illegal!
Editor 1 – Um, well, it seemed like a good way to illustrate why the people in favor of the Act were wrong.
Chief – Wait, what? No, no, Iron Man was supposed to be right.
Collected editors – *blink* *blink blink*
Chief – I told it you it was obvious who was right!
Collected editors – And we thought since the Mutant Registration Act was always portrayed as a bad thing that the Superhuman Registration Act was the same.
Chief – So the Negative Zone prison, imprisonment without a trial, the Cape-killers, and god damn Norman Osborn in charge of SHIELD was just to prove the point that the Act was bad?
Collected editors – Yes.
Chief – But by association, Iron Man is now bad too because how the hell can a person let all that happen and still call himself a hero?
Editor 4 – Told you. How the hell are my writers supposed to redeem Tony Stark now?
Editor 4 – Oh, yeah, right, like that will ever happen.
Chief – Focus, people! So you made a mess of my brilliant idea, assassinated various characters’, er, character, actually assassinated Captain America, got mixed reviews at best, and alienated part of our fan base?
Collected editors – Um, yes.
Chief – Well, hell.
Editor 2 – So we’ll stop doing the heroes fighting heroes stories?
Chief – Oh, hell no! The whole Civil War crossover was a commercial success, and that’s all I care about. So start thinking about the next crossover event. Maybe since the X-men sat this one out we could get them fighting the Avengers or something!
Collected editors – *Groan* Here we go again.