This Time, It’s Personal

A question about impersonal rejection letters…

Why did the rejection letter I got back from my submission to a major comic publisher feel so impersonal?  I took the time to add personal touches to my submission… why can’t they do the same?

Jay G., Central City, NE




Dear Jay,

We’ve all run into this scenario at some time, but I just so happen to have a friend (distant friend, in fact) who actually received a personal response from an editor at Marvel Entertainment.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  You just have to strike the right chord with an editor and give them a reason to respond.  Let’s take a look at his letter…


Dear Marvel Fan (yes, your name’s in your cover letter just like my name’s in all the books I edit, which you obviously couldn’t be bothered with looking up either):

Today is your lucky day.  You don’t get the form letter… no, you get a personal letter from me giving you feedback on your script and proposal for, Wolverine: The Clone Saga.  But first, I want to let you know what led to this rare opportunity for you.

As you probably aren’t aware of because you can’t be bothered with minutiae like reading mastheads, title credits, or most likely, even purchasing any of my books, I edit ten books here at Marvel… a dozen of which are now running late as of this week.

Just this morning, our bestseller, Ultimate Spider-Ham, by Robin Williams and Mike Krahulik just moved to the delayed list.  The artist had to have his arm surgically reattached after volunteering to test out a friend’s garage-built Night Thrasher skateboard (whoever came up with the idea of a jet-powered skateboard with a spring-loaded blade needs to be throttled).  We’re looking for an appropriate fill-in artist, but Scott Kurtz is DC exclusive now working on Bat-Mite: The Wonder (Woman) Years, and I’m still pissed at DJ Coffman for spoiling Harry Potter.  Plus, Jim Davis wouldn’t return my calls.

I also have a writer MIA after spearheading our new “Fists of Marvel” Hong Kong cinecomics imprint line.  He was doing a lot of research for the new Iron Fist and Shroud books, and one day, his email started sending out of office replies saying he’s on a spiritual journey of discovery to find K’un L’un and the Cult of Kali.  The last anyone’s seen of him was an impromptu comic signing event in Nepal.

Last week, I received a mandate from the big boss that I have to scrap the upcoming story arcs for most of  my books to participate in this year’s new crossover event geared toward capturing a larger female readership, Cupid’s Legacy–a god of love accidentally dies on Earth releasing his love powers around the globe and affecting every man and woman on the planet.  Our upcoming story arcs were already researched and fully scripted by our writers, and now, I have to tell them to rework everything on short notice in a romance novel style with lots of love triangles, jealous rages, betrayals, and the subtleties of true romance.  Sometimes, I wish I could be editing Joss Whedon’s books.

That’s just some of the crap I have to deal with week-in and week-out, and I don’t even get the same treatment as the other editors.  My desk is in the office supplies storage room.  The company won’t send me to conventions to meet with creators and fans.  They always make me do all the menial chores–run out to get the sandwiches, hand out mints in the executive washroom during important meetings, and take care of submissions.  And just before I sat down to read your script, I found out I didn’t even get an invite to the company retreat.  That’s why you get the honor of getting my personal response, so let’s get to your script.


Wolverine: The Clone Saga

PAGE ONE (sixteen panels)

Panel 1: The nite sky streched out over NYC skyline that spread out to the lenghts of our vision all across the horizon like a blanket of extreme darkness with starry silvery glitter sprinkled all across it.



Congratulations!  Aside from the typos, grammatical issues, verbosity, and lack of knowledge of how much artwork and dialogue can actually fit onto a real comic page, you’re off to a great start in your comics-writing career.  But let me make a slight editorial suggestion:


Panel 1: New York City skyline.  Night.


Unfortunately, I encountered a brain hemorrhage while reading the rest of the page, but you should be able to mimic minor edits like that in the rest of your panel descriptions (and maybe cut down on the number of panels per page) on all 37 pages of your first issue script.  This will cut to the core of your story and really bring out the essence of your script, which looks like a lot of Wolverine doing what he does best (and not much else).  Remember the old editorial standby, “Less is more.” In your case, much less from you would mean much, much more to me.

Best regards,


The Masked Editor of Supply Closet #3


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