The Way of the Word

25. July 2010

Made of Fail Backstory: Amy’s Writing Gig

Today’s Made of Fail strip marks the conclusion of a 5-part storyarc. Which became a 5 part arc by accident, as I had planned things a bit differently.

By the way, clicking on any of the links in this post will take you directly to the strip under discussion.

The arc kicks off with Ignored. Wherin I spoof the ages-old wisdom that if you’re unhappy with what’s going on, you are supposed to make yourself heard by writing in. That wisdom doesn’t take into account that once you’ve been identified as someone who constantly complains about something, people will ignore you.

The story arc that followed was originally intended to run independently, at a much later date. But because of Marvel publishing the O.M.I.T. story in Spider-Man, and the end of BND being announced, I decided to run it a bit sooner than that. So how did Ignored become a part of this story arc? By virtue of working flawlessly as a lead-in. Be honest: if you didn’t know better now, wouldn’t you think that Amy’s implied constant letter writing resulted in the events that  follow?

The one that follows is The Deal. Where Amy gets the chance to put her money where her mouth is and prove that she can write a better Spider-Man. Amy, like the entire cast, is an amalgamation of various real people. Some of whom are very vocal (to the point of being OCD) regarding the current direction. And yes, I’m almost surprised that Quesada and Wacker have never come up with the idea of telling the one or two loudest complainers to do better.

You might wonder why I clipped and pasted headshots of Joe Quesada and Steve Wacker into the strip. It’s simply: I can’t draw. I originally got those pictures for the purpose of visual reference. Then I tried to draw their likeness. I failed so totally that I decided to do what I had already done twice during season one, and just paste the pictures into the strip. If I could draw better, I’d have drawn them instead.

Writing the Best-Selling Spider-Man Comic is my nod to how difficult that task is. It’s one thing to sit on your couch, read all those Wolverine and Deadpool guest appearances, and complain about crossoveritis. The problem is: apparently, those things work. (Even for Made of Fail, the Wolverine/Deadpool guest appearance got more readers than usual.) So if you’re a guest writer on a book that goes downhill, and you need to come up with something that’s guaranteed to boost sales, what do you do? Do you take a chance, or do you at least consider doing the tried-and-true formula stuff? Just to be on the safe side?

Amy’s first idea regarding the new love interest goes back to the strip that introduced her back in season 1. Looking at that strip, I don’t know if my drawing has improved, but it has at least evolved.

Writing… also has guest art by J. Kevin Carrier, who writes/draws the webcomic Glorianna. I was again borrowing an trick I had used before by getting a guest artist to differentiate the main story from the, well, fantasy stuff. Amy’s story vs. what goes on in her mind.

Oh, and if anyone would like to read a story that introduces Spider-Man’s new love interest, guest-stars Wolverine and Deadpool and has Black Widow and Black Cat mud-wrestling, write to Marvel. I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige. Actually, the only thing of the above they haven’t done yet is the Black Widow/Black Cat mud-wrestling. They’ll probably slap their foreheads saying, “D’oh, how could we miss something that obvious?”

Writer X’s Advice hearkens back to the last time Spider-Man sales tanked. It was the time of the Clone Saga and the Mackie/Byrne reboot. At about the time Howard Mackie disappeared at Marvel, they had a “Writer X.” It was widely assumed that Mackie was Writer X, and that Marvel had done the stung to show people that Mackie wasn’t a bad writer, that the readers were just biased against him. When I worked on that strip, I also realized that that had been the first time Marvel had tried to get rid of the Spider-Marriage. Might there be a connection?

By now, the current story arc has made sure that I will never be working for Marvel. But what about DC? Shouldn’t I burn that bridge as well? Enter The DC Exclusive Contract. Yes, that is supposed to be Dan Didio. Yes, that is how things turn out when I try to draw a likeness. Didio is easier to draw than Quesada and Wacker, though, so I gave it a shot.


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