Hickman and Brevoort disagree over nature of “jumping on” point

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In an interview at CBR, star scripter Jonathan Hickman and executive editor Tom Brevoort argued a bit over whether Avengers #24.NOW was really a good “jumping on point’ for new readers, as the “.NOW” issues have been billed:

Jonathan Hickman: It’sa terrible jumping on point. I don’t think I’ve written an issue 20something of anything that I’ve done that is a good jumping on point. With the way you can download all the books now and everything is collected in trades, I’m not even sure I buy into the validity of the argument that every issue should be able to be read as if it was somebody’s first issue. That, of course, may be a complete construct to prop up my inability to do that. [Laughs] So yeah, it’s a terrible jumping on point —


Tom Brevoort: I don’t know about that.

Hickman: You think it’s a good jumping on point?

Brevoort: I would argue that it is. #24.NOW is effectively a single issue story. It introduces a new character. It shows you the Avengers doing the stuff that they do. It also shows us a little bit of where they are in the aftermath of “Infinity” and how they’re going to be moving ahead. The Avengers have 50 years of history, now, so whether we have a #1 on the book or not, there’s always going to be stuff hanging. But issue #24.NOW is a way easier entry point than issue #23 was. [Laughs]


So yeah….two viewpoints, two ways to jump: one is springboard; one is platform.

Hickman just finished writing the event “Infinity” which tied in with the whole Avengers line, but, it was still only the tip of the story iceberg, as Brevoort comments later in the piece:

…nothing is going to get any smaller or easier from here. As massive, crazy, and epic as things have been up to this point, it’s only going to become more so in both “Avengers” and “New Avengers” as we move forward. It’s leading to the maddest thing possible at the end of a road that we’re only now really starting to wrap our hands around as an actual story as opposed to something that was hypothetical. It was like, “We’ll do this! And then we’ll get to this big thing!” Now we’re at the point where we’re delving into things and figuring out how it will all work, and it’s absolutely mind boggling and ridiculous.

I’ve said this since we launched, and I don’t know that people always take me seriously when I say these things, but “New Avengers” is the most crucial book to what is to come that we are publishing right now. “Avengers” is important too, but “New Avengers” is phenomenally important.

There’s a lot of hyperbole about a lot of things since it’s comics, and that’s what we do, but genuinely, a few years from now, people are going to look back and go, “Oh yeah. ‘New Avengers!’ That was important. I better go back and read all those back issues, collections and digital copies. I wish I had been following all along.”

Comments

  1. I guess it depends on just *who* is jumping on.
    Because it’s easy to say this tells us the aftermath of “Infinity”… but if someone doesn’t even know what “Infinity” is then it’s not a jumping on point.

    As Hickman implied, people might have to go back and catch up on what made the *entire* story / package into the upcoming massive idea that he has planned ahead.

  2. Just another way that digital has changed the game. I’m about six months behind on all the Marvel titles I follow (except Young Avengers because YA), but I don’t /really/ feel behind. I’ll purchase them when I have the time (and money) — Comixology has definitely changed my reading habits.

  3. Joseph says:

    I recently gave a ten year old a box of various comics from the past ten years or so. Included in that were a fair number of Civil War tie-ins (mostly Spider-Man related), but not the actual series. This kid had never read a comic before but loves super heroes. He jumped in with both feet, didn’t even realize they were numbered, and enjoyed the heck out of every comic he pulled out. When he excitedly told me about one cliff hanger (I think it was the one where Spider-Man unmasks) and asked if I knew what happened next, I pointed out how the books were all numbered and the next one was in the box. The look on his face was priceless.

    A completely anecdotal story, I know, and I’m not even sure what my point is, but I found it interesting. I think my point is that the importance placed on “jumping on points” by editorial is probably overestimated.

  4. Chris Hero says:

    Wait…Hickman, a guy someone who wrote a review called the most talented person ever in comics or something, has written a convoluted mess of a story no one except diehard superhero readers would care to follow? Nooooooo….

    This interview sounds hilarious…

  5. Hardy Gilbert says:

    “a convoluted mess”
    Really? You thought so? Sprawling, maybe, but pretty straight-forward; I’m surprised you had trouble following it.

    ” a story no one except diehard superhero readers would care to follow? ”
    Well, that’s stating the obvious, isn’t it? It’s a big-ass Avengers story – who ELSE would want to read it? It’s not exactly designed for readers who can’t decide of whether they like superhero comics….

  6. Hardy Gilbert says:

    But obviously perfect for readers like me who have trouble proofing their statements. “Can’t decide of whether”….Lord…..

  7. Rich H says:

    @Joseph – I loved what you shared, thank you.

    I think your story for me highlights the importance of a good, engaging story being enough jumping-on point on its own. The Civil War mini is one thing, but can a single issue do it? too I think it can, but only if that’s how the publisher wants it. A self-contained story is possible. OK, diss DC all you want, but I feel plenty of their current books are engaging and accessible, with enough backstory-lite info per issue to understand what the overall book is about without needing to buy the previous series. To this day, the recent Batgirl 23 continues to amaze. Just a stunning complete tale all by itself, even though it’s part of an arc. It doesn’t read like part of an arc, though. I’ve read this issue so many times, bought copies for friends who don’t read comics, got them into comics through it. I hadn’t read any Batgirl until that issue – and it was enough to turn me onto the entire series.

    I think buyers’ habits is one thing Marvel have lost touch with. Brevoort’s comments only matter if you’re a long-time fan whose buying the whole Marvel Universe monthly and an issue at a time. Perhaps if their editorial got with the times, and understood how their buyers digested their works, they could focus on improving the quality of their books.

  8. Chris Hero says:

    Hardy,

    I haven’t read one page of whatever Avengers comic Hickman is writing. If it’s anything like the majority of his Image work, it’s overly complicated with a hundred characters running around and no character or plot development until someone gives some awkward exposition half-assedly explaining some science thing Hickman doesn’t understand. Sound right?

    What upsets me with Hickman is Pax Romana and Nightly News were really good. They were both a bit overwrought, but there was some cool stuff in those stories and it looked like he might develop into a fun Warren Ellis like sci-fi writer. Instead, he found Millar’s Authority run and decided to take all the bad from that.

    I dunno…I mean, I don’t have a problem with superhero comics or people that like them, but I get kinda upset when a site like the Beat publishes a review calling Hickman one of the best talents to ever work in the medium. I mean, it’s like…are people not aware there are other comics to read? I just don’t get it….

  9. Torsten Adair says:

    “I don’t think I’ve written an issue 20something of anything that I’ve done that is a good jumping on point.”

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=1605
    FANTASTIC FOUR #573
    Okay, so technically that’s the third or ninth issue in his run.
    But I’m betting that there is something in his “FF” run that counts.

    Want a great recent done-in-one?
    ASTONISHING X-MEN (2004) #67
    http://marvel.com/comics/issue/45828/astonishing_x-men_2004_67

  10. Synsidar says:

    Perhaps if their editorial got with the times, and understood how their buyers digested their works, they could focus on improving the quality of their books.

    Their current approach of chaining storylines to events, though, assumes that an event works as intended. I’d like to see someone seriously try to argue that AvX actually worked, in any sort of storytelling sense. It didn’t work because the heroes were being manipulated by the Phoenix Force. Manipulation is also the basis, from what I’ve read, for DC’s INJUSTICE series.

    From a practical standpoint, you can argue that flawed premises aren’t important, because if you take them seriously, you can easily conclude that the Marvel Universe’s ongoing storylines have been fatally flawed for years. Providing jumping-on points, though, assumes that they’re not flawed.

    SRS

  11. Silly But True says:

    I might be outdated, but I think the old masters got it right: assume your issue is always someone’s first.

    You can scale complexities a y way you want, but I think that’s a good guiding point. I mean, there’s going to be some slight differences in the way one might handle an issue of monthly Amazing Spiderman, monthly Legion of Superheroes, and the sixth issue of an eight-issue “event” miniseries, but still there’s ways to approach it.

    On one end of the spectrum is say Giffen’s LoSH, one which jumped into arguably the largest team book using no costumes and only the characters real names.

  12. Scott Phillips says:

    I have found, more often than not, that a good “jumping on point” was also a good “jumping off point”. Just tell consistently good stories and the “jumping on” should take care of itself.

  13. Simon Jones says:

    I haven’t been entirely following the Infinity crossover…I’m sure that I will get to it at some stage, probably when it is collected. That said, Hickman’s Fantastic Four run was similarly long form and demanded a committment from the reader, but rewarded that committment in wonderful and unexpected ways.

    I think that he is one of the best writers in the business at the moment. His creator owned stuff is great. I don’t know how easy it is to jump on one of his books, but I usually enjoy the ride when I do.

  14. Zhang says:

    Why white American, no Chinese-American writer, this racism…? Jews and Chinese are friends more than whites, so Marvel should reconsider well

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