What an editor needs to avoid

Imagine a wheel. If the publishing process is like a spinning wheel, then the editor is the lynchpin. The spokes, of course, are the individual creators radiating from the center and helping to carry the rubber down the road. It is paramount that the editor has the spokes firmly in place, that the wheel turns correctly, and that the comic is published.

Generally, the story begins with the editor and the writer. They often collaborate to discuss concepts and directions for characters and plots. This is a process that can happen very quickly or it can take weeks or even months. A writer in a regular relationship with an editor may shorten a few lines of description to summarize some of the next issues in an ongoing series. This relationship is often built over time, as an editor and writer come to believe in each other’s vision and work style.
However, in most cases, a writer and editor must collaborate and share ideas until the story takes shape and has a direction. Even then, there are often back-and-forth discussions and negotiations, as many of the major comic book companies have stories that connect with each other and share characters. Editors are often asked to be the custodians of the story, so that characters and concepts are protected and nurtured. This means that great ideas are often folded or modified to respect the stories of other creative teams. Therefore, editors must work closely with the writer, but also with other editors.

Editor must ensure every thing work well in the end

This is the thing about comic book editors: They work in an industry with low profit margins and high expectations. They feel the commercial pressures of traditional publications, but also the unique challenges of producing stories with licensed serialized characters.

That means editors must also be familiar with other characters in their publishing universe if they want to play with other editors’ characters. Likewise, the Spider-Man editors had to work hard to ensure that Spidey and the cast were accurately depicted in other comic book titles. They especially need to protect their main plot, so that appearances in other books do not conflict with the developments of their own stories.

Editors should also be aware of how their characters are used in other media, including film. Many mainstream consumers discover comic book characters through the magic of movies. And while these celluloid superheroes tend to follow liberal “interpretations” of the characters, most comic book editors are well aware of what happens at the end on the big screen. You can also go back to the titles of the printed comics.

And thanks to animated TV shows, a wider audience has seen more superhero characters. Characters like SpiderMan are mass produced as action figures and merchandise. Most editors are rarely involved in the licensing of pajamas and sheets for the characters they edit. But what they do in their comics could affect the company’s ability to license those characters. For example, if Marvel completely kills a main character in the Spider-Man universe, that could affect how the licensor interprets the feasibility of putting that character in a lunchbox or destination object, other children. That’s a wordy way of saying that editors also need to take into account other ways editors make money off characters. A story that may surprise readers can also destroy the income stream that keeps editors in business. It’s important to keep the lights on at all times, as editing in the dark can be a bit tricky.

Read more: Editor’s role in making a comic series a hit (Part 1)

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/