The Timeline Guy
- May 27, 2004
John Byrne said:" If his girlfriend's distress did, indeed, cause Brian Hitch to miss his deadlines, he has my most heartfelt sympathies. Even out in the "real world", where people work in offices and wear ties, things can happen in their personal lives that disrupt their work. This happens, curiously enough, because most people who work in offices out in the real world are not chasing deadlines. They are merely doing their daily routine, same thing every day, and if something disrupts that routine, a domino effect kicks in.
Now -- in November 1980 I moved from Calgary to Chicago, started work on my first issue of FF, got married, basically restarted my life from scratch with a new wife, new house, couple of instant kids, and a whole lot of running back and forth to various government offices to sign papers and talk to stern faced beurocrats about whether or not I was going to be allowed to stay in the US even tho I had married an American citizen. Altogether, over the months of November, December and January I probably lost about three weeks of work time.
Not one issue of FANTASTIC FOUR was late.
Why? Because I was ahead of schedule when I started, and I was still ahead of schedule when everything settled down.
This is what I mean about how dangerous it is to work to the actual deadlines, instead of creating your own that are in advance of what the office is asking for. So, not wishing to seem unsympathetic to Brian Hitch and his girlfriend, but where was he on deadlines before the problems set in?"
This simple fact does seem elusive to the very people to whom it should be most clear. I see eyes glaze over whenever I mention it. I hear conversations like. . .
"Your book is not as profitable as FONEBONEMAN SPECIAL."
"What do you mean? I produce 12 issues a year, and each one nets a profit of $10,000. That's $120,000!"
"Yes, but Sam Superstar did one issue of FONEBONEMAN SPECIAL and it made $200,000 in profit!"
"But wasn't Sam supposed to do 12 issues? So you could have made $2,400,000! Sounds to me like that's the book that wasn't profitable!"
"But you don't understand! From one issue of your book, we make $10,000. From one issue of Sam's we made $200,000!"
"But that's one-twelfth of what you could have made!"
"But it's 20 times what we make in one month from your book!"
"But that's only one month! In a year, I give you 12 issues!"
"But those 12 issues only add up to $120,000. That's $80,000 less than we made in one month!"
"But the other 11 months you made diddly! You didn't make over two million that you could have!"
"But we made 20 times in one month what we make from your book in one month!"
"But you could have made. . . . never mind."
(Frank Miller tells this story: At DarkHorse his SIN
CITY editor kept telling him what he called the "drop
dead" deadline -- the absolute, final, no loopholes,
can't get around it no matter what date for when
Frank could turn in his work and the book could still
be shipped on time. Frank responded that he didn't
want the "drop dead" deadline -- he wanted the "no
****ups" deadline -- when he could turn in the book
and be guaranteed it would go thru the office and
every single production job -- cleanup, paste up,
proofing, corrections, the works -- would get done
with no **** ups. In other words, a deadline
furthest from the shipping date, not closest to
Here's the link to this here, his posts start about half-way down the page and run to about 3/4 down:
Whats your viewpoint on this matter?