Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Editing and changing other artists' work

I've been spending a fair amount of time doing rewrites and editing for M9 and it seems that the more I do, the more Mike gives me! I enjoy doing this because it's a nice break from drawing, it's easier money, and I get these real challenges sometimes. I love it when I surprise myself with coming up with some kind of story that can makes sense out of a sequence that's just hash as far as logic goes. It's kind of a stretch, which is a pleasant feeling. 

Doing rewrites of other people's work is something of a dilemma for me. Most of the editing I do involves making sense of things we get from some fine and not so fine artists in South America, Brazil principally. English
translation is normally what I correct and add some descriptive text to here and there. But I also just toss out the entire dialog content sometimes when it just isn't any good. It's a requirement of working with amateur artists who can't write to save their lives and you need to present something on the website that's not just a pile of crap. Now, to me this kind of violates some law that says, Thou Shalt Not Mess With Another Artist's Work and I feel a tad uncomfortable about it. But on the other hand, that's the deal they make when M9 buys their stuff. M9  gets to change things at will. And they do. I try to leave as much as possible intact and when I get something that just takes minimal changes, it's done faster and I can make more money faster that day. I'm not doing this to flog my  ego.

But I do try to take the edges off of things that are a little ugly or racist that we end up getting. I don't mind doing interracial stuff, for example and should do more of that kind of thing in my own work, but I can't handle seeing some stupid title like Asian Attitude vs the Black 'Ho, or some such. I mean, come on. I know this is a field that is supposed to give us a break from civilization on some level but I guess some parts of civilized behavior I just refuse to cross the line with. I don't think our readers like that for the most part either. 

Some things I just can't tolerate on my drawing board or computer, so I excise things that are racist when I see them. It's censorship I guess, but my job already requires throwing over a lot of the artist's original intentions for the sake of readability anyway. The hateful crap goes with it. 

This includes rank sexism too. I guess its just a matter of degree. Can we do comic book level violence that includes a little gore? Yes. Can we show women being tied to a table and sawed to pieces in a graphic way? No. One is a more common kind of escapism, the other is something else, something that only a small percent of people would find at all entertaining. I think the same applies to sexism. Yeah, what we do here is sexist, strictly speaking. But not to the point of belittling women in a way that just comes across as naked hostility and rage. No one here is down with that. There are other places to go to get that.

Now, this is all my call. No directives from Mike on this. I just feel protective of the franchise and want to produce good stuff so I edit things I find objectionable out of the work. 

To me it's about having standards. 


  1. When I did commercial art projects, I never complained if a client or an art director changed things. It was their end product; I felt they had a right to do with it as they pleased. But when I was in the editor's chair, good lord, you should have heard some of the howls of anguish from people who thought their flyers, brochures and posters were 'high art' that couldn't be touched.

    Even Michelangelo made changes for buyers.

    It sounds like you're doing exactly what editors and art directors are supposed to do.

  2. Good to hear that, Cameroon. Thanks

  3. As a former editor and freelancer I've seen both sides of this. Once M9 buys all rights they could edit it to Disney Channel if they want; that's the deal. They're within their rights and you're doing honest work. And let's face it, some cultures have notions that are basically fucked up in our and vice-versa. Look at ADVision's insistence in their adult anime list that all those Japanese schoolgirls are actually in "junior college".

  4. Thanks Richard. I was pretty sure that once it's bought it's the buyer's to use. Nice to have that confirmed by someone who's been there.

  5. But are you saying we'll never see the Invisible Dirty Old Man do Al Sharpton?

  6. Aw, now...I coulda gone all year without having an image like that in my head. Yecch!Damn you Richard!

  7. How do you think that hair GOT that way?


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