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editors over writers?

  • Peter Young
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Peter Young created the topic: editors over writers?

Quote from an interview with X-men scribe Chris Claremont (url with full article in my topic on X-men):

"What you have now are editors, in a lot of cases, who do not view themselves as facilitators but who view themselves as active participants in the production process," Claremont continued in Wizard #22. "They say, "I am going to tell you what the story is. I am going to decide the direction of the book. You will help enable us to get there" - rather than the writer coming in and saying, "This is where I want to go" and the editor saying, "Okay," or not. If you want to hire a writer to write the book, let him write it. If you want to write the book yourself, do that."

"The perception may be that, in a time when you cannot guarantee the quality of the writers, when you have to hold together a vastly expanding, convoluted, Gordian knot, cats cradle of continuity - maybe this is the only way they figure they can do it. I think it's wrong. I think you end up with a lot of second-rate work. By the same token, none of the people involved - save perhaps the editorial staff - have any long-term vested interest in what they're doing. It doesn't really matter what the work is - it could just as easily be making cars. You're producing stuff, you're not creating anything. It's the illusion of creation."

"I grant you that that's at odds with a lot of the audience. You go to conventions and signings and kids are saying, "Whoa! Did you see this? I love what's happening in Wolverine." Fine. But for me a lot of the books aren't what they were, and I'm left with the attitude, "Why bother?""

"Some people can view it as just pure pride in their work. I know Peter David takes tremendous pride in the work he does at the moment he does it, but once he leaves a series he doesn't care what happens next because there is not an ongoing relationship. There are times I wish I could divorce myself that completely, especially from the X-Men. I look at that and I think, this is my entire working life, up until two years ago, and it's taken them 18 months to gut it like a fish, to trash the characters, to kill off a tremendous amount of the context and cast, and to turn it into, to me, a parody of what it was."


Claremont was talking about the way nineties X-men editor turned the X-men franchise from a few connected series driven by its writers into a whole bunch of titles that only served as intervals between the annual crossover. In my view, that changed the concept for worse. I collect everyting from 1963-1993 (Fatal Attractions and ignore what came afterwords.

BUT: is this quote not exemplary for the shift the (American) entertainment industry seems to have made somewhen (I'm aware that word doesn't actually exist in English, I made it up, OK?) between halfway 90s and halfway 00s?
Everything decided by editors and producers, no respect for continuity, characters or story?

Assuming everything is just about marketing, audiences will follow it anyway?

#26423

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