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Saturday, November 28, 2020 

Dan Slott's reputation among other Marvel writers is actually worse than they'd like people to know

Bounding Into Comics spoke about a recent Disney Plus documentary covering Marvel's recent history, which tells a pretty different story about how the awful Dan Slott is viewed, even by his own editors and co-writers:
An episode of Marvel’s 616, the Disney Plus documentary series which explores various aspects of Marvel’s history, has revealed that Dan Slott’s poor work discipline has garnered him a less-than-favorable reputation among his fellow Marvel creators.

[...] Slott has a notorious reputation among comic book readers, and many would argue, for good reason.

...despite Slott’s long-time position at Marvel, ‘The Marvel Method’ reveals that the writer’s work ethic is particularly frustrating for his colleagues, which has resulted in his own personal reputation hitting abysmally low levels within the House of Ideas.

In one scene, Slott is seen approaching Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort to ask for more time to work on a script.

“So I know you’ve got a lot of ideas and very little actually put together,” replies Brevoort. “And you need more time to get it done. Because it’s not good enough and you need more time.”

The Marvel executive then explains how “we use the term “work” loosely when it comes to Dan,” and adds that “Dan’s terrible with his deadlines.”
From a political standpoint, Brevoort's just as bad as Slott, so it's mystifying he puts up with this. Oh wait, maybe their coinciding left-wing politics are exactly the reason why Brevoort does. Politics do make strange bedfellows, after all. Seriously though, Slott's continued employment is inexplicable, considering he hardly brings much to the table, and did only so much in the past to alienate audience, with his work on Spider-Man easily some of the worst he's ever done. His online cybertrolling in the past is one explanation for his tardiness, and even today, after he may have finally disciplined under C.B. Cebulski, it's clear he hasn't changed much in his work ethics.
As the scene continues, Brevoort notes that “Dan is behind where I need him to be on his various assignments,” to the point where he “needed another writer to do the dialoguing on the book,” at which point Slott admits that “Christos Gage is half of my brain.”
When somebody needs the help of another writer to get his work done, it's clear he isn't very good at his trade at all. You could end up wondering how many stories credited to Slott were actually scripted by different writers, an approach that's likely common at times in comicdom, and also movies and TV, with certain names used as selling points, whereas ghost writers are actually responsible for the lion's share of writing credited to the public names.

Some creators were clearly embarrassed over this coverage, and went into apologist mode for Slott's sake. For example, Gage himself: I can't say I'm surprised Gage would jump to Slott's defense. He apparently doesn't want to fall out of favor with him, even though Slott's undeserving of defense.

Another defender is Jim Zub: Sigh. What good does it do to make excuses? Even Brevoort's not clean in all this, because if he wanted to, I'm sure he could see to it Slott would be taken off the payroll for failure. But of course, there's those coinciding politics to ponder. Another apologist is artist Pete Woods: I think the example Woods and company are setting is liberal mimicking of Donald Trump's description of Fake News. They're jealous, so they want to pretend they coined the meaning.

Since we're on the subject, IGN recently spoke about the controversy Slott caused by removing Franklin Richards' mutancy, which led to an unexpected panning by SJWs:
As it turns out, Franklin's powers are the very reason he's always been mistaken for a mutant. When Franklin attempts to use the Krakoa Gate to visit his second home among the X-Men, he discovers it no longer recognizes him as a mutant. Professor X appears telepathically to explain that Franklin's mutant status was only ever an illusion. As a young boy, he dreamed of being special, and so he subconsciously altered reality to make himself appear to be a mutant. The fact that he recently exhausted his powers in a battle with The Cormorant has finally exposed the truth.
This is hilariously illogical, considering Franklin was born to a superpowered couple. Reed and Sue may not have been born with their powers, having acquired them by accident while testing an experimental spacecraft and passing through a cosmic radiation field, but Franklin was born with his, and from a birth-based viewpoint, that can count as mutantcy.
Franklin is just the latest example of Marvel tinkering with a character's history to eliminate their mutant status. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the most infamous examples. 2015's Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 revealed the two aren't actually Magneto's children, and that their powers are the results of experimentation by the High Evolutionary, not a mutant gene. That twist was seemingly motivated by Marvel's desire to align the characters more closely with their MCU counterparts.

There have been other cases over the years. For example, Multiple Man is now considered to be a changeling rather than a mutant, which explains why his powers manifested at birth rather than during puberty. On the opposite end of things, Moira MacTaggert was recently revealed to be a mutant, triggering a number of profound changes to the X-Men franchise.
So on the one hand, those who were created as mutants no longer are due to editorial mandate, while those who aren't suddenly become one only to serve the writer's self-indulgent ideas for what he thinks makes the best story, though at this point, it's merely the beginning of the problems with Hickman's X-Men setting themselves mainly on an island and segregating themselves from the rest of society. Incidentally, I'm tired of a mainstream site using that cliched "revealed" when fictional characters are the focus of the story instead of "claimed" or "states", which would be more logical for describing fictional stories.
For his part, Fantastic Four writer Dan Slott is urging readers to withhold judgment for now, pointing out this plot twist is part of a larger, ongoing story.
We've been through this unfunny business before. All of Slott's stories are "large". Too much so, in fact, to work well, as seen in his Inferior Dr. Octopus series. Not to mention that even in serial fiction, one should be able to make a judgement on the sum of parts rather than the whole, since every chapter of a typical book requires merit. Something Slott's writing lacks.

And back to the main subject, CNET's sadly serving as a Slott apologist to boot:
A new Disney Plus documentary showing how Marvel comics are made has comics fans divided. Marvel 616, streaming now, looks behind the scenes of various facets of the Marvel universe, from weird Japanese Spider-Man remakes to toys and cosplay communities. But it's the apparently lackadaisical approach of writer Dan Slott that's left some fans unimpressed.
And for good reason. His writing is so self-indulgent and self-serving, and worst of all, so clogged with contempt for what came in better eras, that who in the right frame of mind can enjoy it? Slott's disrespect for Mary Jane Watson over the past decade stands out as particularly awful. Much like Joe Quesada, he kept her marginalized in the worst ways for over a decade, and only after Slott left Spidey for other series like Iron Man and FF, was MJ finally brought back in some capacity and given a certain degree of respect for a change, long after Spider-fans had been driven away by all the alarming contempt for one of Stan Lee's best labors of love. Something which, unsurprisingly, goes without comment in this piece. That aside, what's fishy about this is when they claim Slott is following Lee's "Marvel Method" of the Silver Age:
The episode title comes from the so-called Marvel Method pioneered by Stan Lee in the 1960s. Back then, Lee was in charge of writing pretty much all of the company's comics. So he often gave artists a rough outline and let them use their imagination to fill the pages and panels with action. Dialogue was added in afterwards according to what the artists drew.

Today, Slott follows this same technique despite the fact the industry has typically moved to an alternative "full script" method. Writers nowadays are more likely to give the artist a more detailed description of what they want in each panel, and they also write the accompanying dialogue. The Marvel Method is seen by some professionals as an exploitative practice, while Slott's process places apparently unreasonable demands on the creators who come after him.
I'm sure this is disputable, right down to the risk they take of making Lee out to be exploitative. Sure, I know Lee made the mistake of not helping Jack Kirby regain the rights to the majority of his art drafts in their time, but artists can be just as much storytellers as the scripters themselves, and plenty of writers and artists have their disagreements, both just and unjust. What matters is that Slott has such contempt for Lee's hard work, having once declared in the past decade that Mary Jane was "anti-Marvel", that to say he employs the Marvel Method sounds like an excuse to ignore the bigger picture - Slott's work is simply terrible, and not worth spending 4 dollars over. That certain writers and artists are willing to work with him despite the mistakes he's made that Lee usually avoided in his time doesn't speak well of their MO either. But to say Slott actually follows the Marvel Method, that's the real insult, and the unreasonable demands would be filling in holes of an otherwise terrible plot layout. The article then takes a peculiar turn:
The episode has also struck a nerve because the comic industry, like the film business and many other industries in the #MeToo era, has undergone a drastic reckoning in the past couple of years with workplace behavior ranging from unprofessional to abusive. Comic companies, like many other huge businesses, have been accused of ignoring and even enabling toxic behavior from men including former Dark Horse editor Brandon Wright and former DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza.

Marvel has seen its own controversies: when C.B. Cebulski was promoted to editor-in-chief of Marvel comics in 2017, it emerged that Cebulski had previously adopted a Japanese pseudonym to write for the company -- somewhat insulting considering the comic industry's poor record on hiring actual people from diverse backgrounds. Episode 2 of Marvel 616 focuses on women creators, episode 3 follows a pair of Spanish artists and episode 5 showcases a diverse range of cosplayers, but it's notable that episode 7's glimpse into the Marvel offices features a veritable parade of balding, bearded white men.
What does any of this have to do with Slott's poor conduct, whether at work on online? It's decidedly irrelevant, and looks more like an excuse to engage in social justice propaganda, accusing a white guy of "cultural appropriation", proving that no matter how badly Cebulski kowtows, they won't appreciate his ascension to EIC of a famous publisher. But what's certainly clear here is the failure to acknowledge that women can be just as capable of wrongdoing as men, yet only menfolk seem to be held accountable here, and not women, as that recent "pledge" made clear too. Though that part about a whole bunch of old white guys does say something about who's really minding the store despite all the whining about a sore need for diversity. Let's be clear. What men like Berganza did was offensive. But it has nothing to do with the issue here, which happens to be Slott's lack of talent.

And then, suddenly, here's where the article's apologia really comes about:
While it's touched a nerve, the episode is clearly meant to be played for laughs. It's a modern version of the comedy skits featured in Marvel comics in the good old days, in which Stan Lee and other creators portrayed exaggerated versions of themselves as characters goofing around in the bullpen. We even see some of those comics in the episode, along with fun vintage photos of past Marvel offices.
I'm not sure how a writer's tardiness makes for laughter, after all the reprehensible conduct he was engaging in years ago, at least prior to Cebulski's appointment. Sounds like CNET's watering down certain issues to defend a faux-writer who's among several reasons the industry became such a venomous place. Not good at all. Slott's a terrible writer, and has easily been so since the time he first began in the early 90s. He doesn't deserve sympathy from the MSM, and they shouldn't be downplaying just how bad his MO really is. Eventually, he will be out of a job, but for now, Marvel's staff continues their strange-bedfellows relation with him, and it's detrimental to their now floundering output.

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I think the example Woods and company are setting is liberal mimicking of Donald Trump's description of Fake News. They're jealous, so they want to pretend they coined the meaning."

Hillary Clinton used the phrase before Trump did:

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-42724320

Slott's stories have a sense of humor to them, and an obvious love of the old Lee/Kirby/Ditko creations; he is more continuity oriented than many of the Marvel writers, with a sense that the stories he writes are a continuation of rather than a replacement for the old stories. He has a good sense of characterization.

The books have gone from Marvel method to full script for the convenience of the editors. It makes it easier for them to review and interfere with the product at every step. But I think the Marvel method works better. It leads to more visually-exciting stories, giving the artist more free reign over the look of the story.

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