Yesterday, Bleeding Cool reported that the DC Rebirth ongoing titles would be moving to a plot-art-script production system rather than the more common plot-script-art system, in order to give the lead artists on titles a greater control over storytelling. It is often known as the “Marvel Method” after its adoption by Stan Lee to speed his work in the sixties, even though it is hardly used at Marvel Comics anymore. A Marvel insider tells Bleeding Cool.
The Marvel method can actually be more time-consuming if you are not used to it. And given DC’s penchant for editorial input, makes changes harder as they will be caught later in the pencils.
It means there must be a level of trust between writer, artist and editor. Everyone needs to be on the same page going in. Lots of discussion beforehand. And once you commit to a plot, the editor knows that the artist will, of course, add their own interpretation to things. The editor has to be a little more free-wheeling, knowing there will be less time for corrections.
This was used in the 70s to push through stories they knew would be controversial. Turn it in at the last minute and no one has time to make corrections. They’ll have to publish as it is or miss shipping. You can look at it as a way to make books come out faster, the writer does less work up front, the artist gets the script earlier. Sure, it sounds reasonable but that does not account for every step after the penciler
If a page they don’t like comes in, the editor has to go back to the penciler for corrections, which loses you a day, or go to the inker or colorist for changes, which costs more money – and also might piss off the artist.
Then lastly, there’s the script stage – so the writer can only script once the last page is in. Usually, they do not want to script the whole story until they see it all complete. They do not want to script it page by page. Which means you have to trust your writer to turn the script around in a few days. And it then becomes a huge burden on the letterer. If a letterer has a full script, they can start production very early, the same time the artist does, get the text formatted, balloons sized, and they start dropping in as pages come in. With the “Marvel method” they need to wait until the last minute.
So this is why only one Marvel writer still uses the method….
Guess what. It isn’t Brian Bendis.
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