David Morrell Goes Rambo On The Treatment Of His Spider-Man Script (UPDATE)

imageDavid Morrell, creator of Rambo, had been recruited for a top secret, behind enemy lines mission, scripting a copy of the Spider-Man comic book. Originally a graphic novella, Spider-Man: Frost, it was instead published as part of the non-continuity Amazing Spider-Man #700 Point series out all this month, with Morrell’s two issues out yesterday.

But not everything went according to mission plan. Morrell posts on Facebook;

Bad news about the second part of my SPIDER-MAN: FROST comic-book series. Someone at Marvel changed my captions, added weak jokes, repeated captions, deleted captions from panels that needed them, and inserted one caption that contradicts the theme. When I saw this early version, I sent three pages of corrections to Marvel. I was assured that my changes had been made, but for whatever reason, the terrible version got printed, destroying the poignant tone of part one. What a pity. This could have been a gem.

He later added;

People who ordered the series from my local comic-book store will receive the three pages of correction that I sent to Marvel, along with my 4-page essay about writing comic books. Perhaps these will compensate for any disappointment you feel when reading part two.


this has been such a disappointing experience that I’m finished with writing in this form. It’s an exciting medium. The scripts are detailed, almost like movie scripts. My goal was extremely high, to make readers actually believe in the characters. The first part was poignant and moving, I thought. Now part two starts with weak jokes that destroy the continuity. One page even has the same caption in two consecutive panels

With a final, semi-conciliatory comment,

Mark, someone at Marvel emailed me today to suggest that the corrected version might be in a bound collection of Spider-Man stories, but I have no idea when that might appear or if the corrected version would in fact be in it. I can’t publish the corrected pages. I don’t own my script. Writing for comic books is like writing for a movie studio. It’s called work for hire, and the company owns the result.

Might someone from another non-work for hire publisher get in touch?

UPDATE: Alls well that ends well. Marvel has explained that the story that was published was as a result of the wrong file being uploaded to the printers, the intent was to publish the corrected version. So look forward to that appearing in the collection. And even the finished version does seem to have had the emotional punch on a number of readers that Morrell intended…

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