In this space a while back, I listed those things that writers do that tend to bug me. I then invited you readers in interest of equal time, to send me your list of what editors do that really bug you. I'd like to share with you one of the responses.
What bugs me about editors... 1) I'm bugged when editors do nothing but plug other titles, especially titles with little relevance to the storyline in question, in answer to letters. 2) I'm bugged when editors fill letters pages with letters that overly praise the work being done. I know you must receive letters that express moderate views-- not every issue is a masterpiece-- and negative views. I know, because I've written some! 3) I'm bugged when editors print letters with questions and then don't answer them. Why print them if you're not going to answer them? 4) I'm bugged when editors answer letters with stupid jokes or remarks that serve no purpose other than to humiliate the letter writer. There is no reason to respond in a condescending manner. The letter writer obviously feels s/he is making a valid point or offering a meaningful opinion. 5) I'm bugged when editors assume that because a reader buys one of the titles the editor works on, the reader also buys all the other titles the editor works on. For instance, in AVENGERS #270 you assume that everyone who buys AVENGERS also buys WEST COAST AVENGERS. Well, it's not necessarily so.
There're my Top Five Gripes about editors in no particular order. The comments are not a personal attack on you, just editors in general. You have been guilty of some, if not all, of these as much as any other editor to be named. Thanks for asking.
And thanks for responding, Don. You're probably right that most editors are guilty of some of the practices that you've succintly outlined. I agree with 4/5 of your gripes and will in the future try not to overplug books, select letters that overpraise, leave questions unanswered, or make fun of earnest correspondents. However, I will from time to time refer to "Mark's Remarks" columns in other titles. I can't help it. Sometimes I choose topics that just can't be covered in a single column, and can't wait a whole month for continuation. Tell you what, though, I'll make sure to recap the jist of my remarks so you can follow what I'm talking about without reading the other book. (And if letters page cross-reference do persuade readers to pick up a title they normally don't, well, there are worse things to spend your money on!) I'll print more Gripes About Editors when I get them.
Last time I promised to coax my new assistant editor, Gregory Wright, into saying a few words about himself so you can get to know him at least as well as you knew the mysterious Howard Mackie, my ex-assistant. So here, in Greg's own words, is his account of himself:
Afr! Woof! Yap! No, Mark has not hired a dog to assist him-- it's only me, Gregory Wright. Okay, so I bark sometimes-- it's not really my fault. It has something to do with a full moon. Anyway, if Mark wants me to dash off a short bio telling you who I am and what I'm doing here, he's got it.
Before residing in New York, I lived in a small town in western Pennsylvania named New Castle. While there, I kept myself busy doing such things as being a lighting designer for local rock bands that tended to break up as soon as they got a gig, lugging 200 pound slabs of frozen meat around in a 20 degree below zero freezer, annoying my parents, writing, directing, shooting, editing, and distributing video tapes aimed at teaching employees of a department store chain how to do their jobs (naturally someone else took credit for my work), and being a distributor/salesman of portioned food (you know, that slop you get in school cafeterias or hospitals). All this being more fun than I deserved, I came to college in New York to learn to be a film-maker.
After putting my parents into debt learning to make films, I went into comics. Whoa! Rewind. That explains nothing. I have not given up filmmaking-- in fact, I am still editing two films and attempting four separate screenplays. So what am I doing here? Well, I do need to pay rent, and since I always liked comic books (comic being a visual medium like film), I thought it might be fun to wok here for a shor time. Well, I was hired by Marvel's Epic department, and found myself really getting into the process of putting a book together and found it to be much more interesting than i would have thought. And after working with the folks at Epic for six months, the assistant editor's slot came open in Mark's office, and I was fortunate enough to get picked. So until you see my name on the big screen, you'll be able to see it at the bottoms of the letters pages of some of your favorite Marvel Comics. Rowf!
Thank you, Greg, and a Rowf to you, too. Now quit your barking and get back to work!