Dan Slott Explains Silk’s Popularity


speed3landscape_xlargeAmazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott decided to visit CBR on New Years Eve to explain why Silk is popular and received her own ongoing series. His points include
*Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 # 1-6 sold out and went back to press multiple times. He says Silk is one of the biggest reasons. 
*The Marvel offices received several letters of praise for the Silk character.
*Message boards are filled with fiction from a small group of posters and he’s tired of correcting the internet so he literally said “Fuck it.” He tried several times to correct several CBR posters leading up to the big New Years Eve post. Click here to see them. 

Read the long “final” post here. 

I’ve slowly been weening myself off message boards. Here on CBR, I was more than happy to let my account implode and fade away with the site’s April message board re-booting…
…until I fell victim to that time old trap of “someone on the Internet is WRONG.” 😛

Still, at less than 20 posts since April, I have done a good job of weening.
And now, with New Year’s Resolutions looming, I’ve decided to take the plunge and disappear from comic book message boards entirely.
I’m sure that like all New Year’s Resolutions that there’ll be a relapse here-or-there. But hopefully, in the long run, I can leave you all to it– and to have your fun interrupted by the likes of ol’ curmudgeonly me.

In the past, when I’ve tried to detach, my reasoning was that these boards were for you (fans) and not me (someone working in the industry) and that maybe there should be a disconnect.

With way more time to dwell on it, I think it’s simpler than that. These boards are about fiction.
Not fiction like the world of Spider-Man and the Marvel Universe.
Fiction as in what a lot of you THINK the industry is like.
Or THINK what comic book creators, editors, or upper-management types are thinking, feeling, believing, and/or what their intentions are.
Fiction as in what you believe and/or fear is going to happen to comic book characters and storylines.

Dan_Slott-3Too many fans online pick at interviews, tweets, videos– what have you– and desperately try to fill in the gaps. And that’s fine and dandy. But then comes the screwy part…

…a lot of you take those personal guesses as FACT. And then start arguing those fictions as if they were real.

And they’re not. They NEVER are.

Let me give you an example:

“Marvel is ramming this new Silk character down our throats.”

Nope.

Want to know who chose to put out a new SILK book?

The fans.

No. Not the small, angry, vocal subsection that likes to rant on message boards.
The tens of thousands of fans who voted in comic book shops across America and the world.

Marvel had no advance plans of putting out a Silk book. None whatsoever.

But then ASM #1 was the best selling comic of the 21st century. Fan mail came in and– universally– wanted to know more about Silk. And then the book had to go back to press.
And then ASM #2 performed better than anyone expected. More Silk fan mail came in. And the book had to go back to press.
And then ASM #3 performed better than anyone expected. Again. More Silk fan mail came in. Again. And the book had to go back to press. Again.
And then ASM #4 REALLY performed better than anyone expected. Even MORE Silk fan mail came in. And the book had to be RUSHED back to press.
And it all happened again with ASM #5.
And again with ASM #6.

In the middle of all of THAT, and based off of fan reaction, is when one of the big wigs said, “We should do a Silk book.”
Fans made it happen.
It’s THAT simple.
That is the REALITY of the situation plain as day.

spidermakeoutSometimes it happens lightning fast– like with the near instantaneous reaction to Jason, Robbi, and Rico’s phenomenal Spider-Gwen EOSV #2 issue.
That was fan reaction that was easy for everyone to immediately see and grasp.

But that rapid response to Spider-Gwen in no means invalidated the steady, sustained, and strong reaction to Silk– just because there are those on message boards & tumblr who loudly and repeatedly want it to be that way. Much in the same way that one of the regular CBR posters here repeatedly makes the case that Spider-Man should be dating She-Hulk. The frequency and intensity of a message board post– from the same corner over-and-over again– doesn’t make the argument or desire behind it any more real. It’s all just a fiction.

Not a purposeful or planned lie.
It’s a fiction based on what that one fan (or small sampling of fans) really, really, really WANTS to be true.
Doesn’t make it true.
Just makes it something that’s passionately believed in.
In the same way that some people passionately believe that the moon landings were staged.

Two main kinds of posts have, this past year, brought me back on these message boards.

1) A fan’s heartfelt FEAR of a story/outcome that they BELIEVED might happen.

and

2) A regular hater of the book who– through things I’ve said in interviews, online, or just how they (inaccurately) have interpreted things I’ve written in the comics– have taken the position that they KNOW what I’m thinking, believing, or intending.
And that’s patently insane.
It’s kind of like the ending to the movie THE TRUMAN SHOW, where Truman points to his head and says “You never had a camera in here.”
This guy doesn’t have a CLUE what I’m thinking, believing, and especially what I’m intending.
4030770-9000533804-39820But he thinks he does. He’s so sure of that, that he’s bought into his own fiction with a zealous certainty.
More than any, his posts are the weirdest for me to read. Because he’s usually so completely off from what’s the REALITY of the situation. But he’s so dead on sure that he’s NOT.

In both cases, what CAN I do?
If I pop in here to stomp out these fictions, suddenly I’m a “cyber bully.”
That’s the current take on it.

Flipside? Who’s it really going to hurt? Two people on message boards are spreading untruths.
They’re not intentionally lying. They’ve just bought into their own fictions and earnestly BELIEVE that they’re speaking to the reality of a situation.
When they’re not.

So… Eh. Fuck it.

I get it.

That’s what message boards are for. I’d like to hang out here and interact with fans about all kinds of stuff. But it’s in my wiring to see such blatant falsehoods– and to feel the need to stamp them out– that that’s usually all I wind up doing when I am here. So best to just let it go. And to let this be a place that regularly deals in fiction. No worries. 🙂

Hope you all have a very Happy New Year.

And, one last time, for all you guys supporting the book– I deeply, truly DO appreciate that support. This is the coolest job on the planet and I owe it all to your patronage. THANK YOU.

Slott also tried to correct the poster Kevinroc about ASM sales.  

 Originally Posted by Kevinroc
“As impressive as the sales were on the new Amazing Spider-Man #1 (and they were very impressive), I think that Marvel’s new Star Wars #1 are apparently double that takes some of the wind out of ASM (vol. 3) #1’s sails.”

Dan Slott: Yes. Having 2014’s best selling comic for the entire industry will be a crushing defeat for the book.
And, come January, only being the 2nd best selling comic of the 21st Century will be the biggest dishonor of all. 😀

One of the things I love about the internet is how– during BND– there were multiple threads about the sales for this book, and how they spelled certain DOOM for the title.
BS graphs were made comparing the Civil War tie-in issues of the JMS run to TWO-THIRDS of the totals of the BND run (purposefully throwing out the TOP THIRD of BND’s sales!)… and these were repeatedly brought up as more “proof” to the “low quality” and “poor reception” the book was receiving.

During the Big Time era, stores were running out of copies and close to HALF the run had to go back to press for 2nd printings. It was one of the few Big 2 titles that, in aggregate, was going up in sales. And when I’d point that out, the same people who regularly posted in the doom-in-gloom-BND-sales threads tried a new tactic: Why was I only focusing on sales? Obviously it was because I didn’t care about the book’s quality. 😛

And with the Dying Wish arc– and through the entirety of the Superior Spider-Man run– the Spider-Man book became Marvel’s best selling ongoing title, a perennial of the Top 10, often doing this twice a month. And then the NEW metric was, “If it were really good, it’d be outselling Batman (the #1 book in the entire industry).”

And when it launched as the best selling issue of the 21st Century, the even NEWER line of spin was, “Well, the Transformers movie did great– and it sucks. Selling great doesn’t mean anything.” 😀

Ohhhhh how far we’ve come since the BND Sales Chart days of CBR.

You guys are a hoot.

So what are your thoughts on this exchange between creator and fans?
Update: Slott’s New Years resolution to stay off message boards in 2015 lasted until January 2nd when he had to correct people on Bleeding Cool. 

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(63) Comments

  1. Jack

    IGN just published their list of most-anticipated projects of 2015. Spider-Gwen was on it; Silk was nowhere to be found.

  2. Xavier Tharnish

    So yes, there are a lot of new books, perhaps even a “glut.” But there are many more readers reading many more books who will dive in and find the stories they want to read. And with eteranal online backlist instead of the old bricks and mortar system of “you have 30-60 days to make it or your book disappears from shelves,” writers and readers have a much better chance of connecting.

  3. Justanotherspider

    I'm seriously enjoying the discussion on this page so far and honestly I must admit that I was intrigued by the thought of Silk to begin with that is no longer the case. I certainly won't be purchasing her #1, and I must say that I agree that using sales figures as a defense is weak at best. I bought ASM #1 because Peter was back not because of anything else. Seriously every issue after Silk's reveal has made me like her even less. I was excited for The Amazing Spider-man and was instead treated to a few issues where Silk hijacked the book (those ones may as well have been titled The Incompetent Spider-man as far as I'm concerned) I agree with everybody who's saying she's used as a plot device, I mean her whole family is gone we know not where and it seems like what she's most interested in is getting into Spidy's (or some version of him more recently) pants. Her story could be very dramatic but she's become so deeply unappealing lately that I really don't care to find out what it is.

  4. The Living Tribunal

    If sales/reprints equal quality, may I show you the best comic of the last ten years?! http://comics.gocollect.com/priceguide/view/925458

  5. AmFan15

    @ #55- "Quality can’t be gauged by sales, will the most played song on radio this week stand the test of time and still get played on the radio or in the clubs or sung in the shower or nights out or at funerals or christenings in 10 30 50 years time, maybe maybe not" That's a very good point, hello. They can claim that the book sold out multiple times, but does that really mean that people actually enjoyed it, or will even remember it 20 years from now? Judging by the reviews and comments I've seen (not just here, but on other sites as well), I'd say that the vast majority won't. For example, according to IMDB, last year's horror movie Ouija made $76,925,931 Worldwide...over 15 times its $5m budget. Does that mean it was a GOOD movie? Well, judging by the 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I'd guess not. We as fans know what makes for good comics...and it's definitely not variant covers, editorially mandated characters and plots, or endless event comics. But as long as people keep shelling out their money for mediocre product and gimmicks, they'll keep calling it a victory. Michael Bay keeps making crappy movies, Nicki Minaj keeps making ear-grating music, and Marvel will keep making shitty comics.

  6. Daddypool

    Not very enthused about Silk. I kinda figured that they would use Spiderverse as a vehicle to showcase her before the start of her solo series, but she really isn't doing much besides being the "Bride"/target of the Inheritors. As far as the writing on the book, I definitely have an opinion as a 40+ year reader of Spiderman. My favorite era was the 1980's, as the Stern stuff was good. I did enjoy the 70s as well and I really liked how Conway shook up the status quo that existed after Stan Lee stopped writing the book. I did get into the writing again at the end of the clone saga and the Final Chapter era (1996-1998), but couldn't get into Chapter One. Superior Spiderman brought an incredible breath of fresh air into the title (and I liked Big Time as well), but the writing on ASM is definitely struggling as well. I am afraid to see exactly what is going to happen after Spiderverse as that large "RESET BUTTON" is looming just off screen (i.e. Secret Wars). I hope to God that they just don't wipe away the rest of the Marvel Continutity and make this the New 52 of Marvel....

  7. hello

    quality can't be gauged by sales, will the most played song on radio this week stand the test of time and still get played on the radio or in the clubs or sung in the shower or nights out or at funerals or christenings in 10 30 50 years time, maybe maybe not, someone may like it for a week and never bother with it again. spiderman is a popular character stick his face on a t shirt or a lighter or a comic some one is going to buy it, don't mean they are any good. Some one who buys them may come to the conclusion that it is a shit issue of comic, lighter or t shirt but as long as it does not cause any actual hostility still like the concept of spiderman. Silk hasn't got that.

  8. Professor Owl

    Ok. I'll play some Devil's advocate here....... in spite of the negative connotations that brings on a spidey board. How was Silk actually created? She was a tie-in to Original Sin so was she actually Slott's idea in the first place? Given how bland and one dimensional she is, and particularly was at first appearance, I can easily see her as an editorial mandate character. So Slott is forced down the Silk train, doesn't get to decide how big a role she plays, doesn't get to decide if she gets her own book, and is contractually obligated not to speak negatively about the book to the media. If this or some variant of this is true, what exactly could he say in an interview? Granted, I don't think he's nearly so blameless, but I'm certain Marvel wouldn't tolerate him trashing the book's current ideas.

  9. AmazingOSUman

    #19 Evan said "By this logic, shouldn’t we also get series for Anna Marconi, Black Cat, Electro, White Rabbit, and every other character who appeared in these issues?" Anna Marconi? Hmmm..... Well, where would you they be going with her? I mean, I like her as supporting character in the book, but I 'd be willing to see where that might go . . . I like what I've seen of her so far. Unlike Silk.

  10. hornacek

    @50 - "getting fan mail from the FIRST ISSUE when she didn't even appear until issue THREE" That's not true, her leg appeared in issue #1

  11. Adam S.

    @48: I won't say that, but I will say that that's how comics (Marvel, DC, etc.) were written back then.

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