DEATH OF WOLVERINE #4… Editor in Chief: Axel Alonso… Editor: Mike Marts… Consulting Editor: Katie Kubert… Assistant Editor: Xander Jarowey… Why are so many editors needed for just one issue? What are their roles? Do they all sit around the table and talk about the comic with each one of them being a bigger deciding factor than the other? Do all of the editors work in the same building? That job strikes me as epic in scale for some reason, but I just don’t understand why.
This is a fine question, so let me break it down a little bit.
First off, yes, everybody works in the same building.
The Editor in Chief oversees the whole line. Typically, he won’t be heavily involved in any one particular book—but on a big Event such as DEATH OF WOLVERINE, he might be, at least at the initial conceptual stages.
The Editor is the man in charge. He or she hires the creative team, sets the editorial agenda, manages the schedules and oversees the work. Editor is the primary credit. The editor will read the scripts and review the artwork as it comes in and give notes and make corrections as necessary. My job title is Executive Editor, but when I perform these duties on a comic book, the credit I take is Editor.
Assistant Editor is just what it says, the Editor’s assistant. This is a more junior position. The Assistant is primarily concerned with the nuts-and-bolts of the job, making sure that files get to where they need to be, making sure that artists have paper and reference, and that corrections get back to the letterer to be made, and a million other basic tasks that go into making a comic book. The Editor may do some of this stuff himself depending on the day or the need, but the Assistant is carrying the bulk of the weight here.
Consulting Editor is also what it sounds like, an editor who is not directly responsible for the book in question but who is participating as a consultant for some aspect of the story in question. It is only a guess, but given that Mike Marts is an Executive Editor overseeing the whole of the X-Men and Guardians lines, my supposition is that it was advantageous for him to have a second keeping an eye on DEATH OF WOLVERINE at all stages, and that was Katie Kubert, just as Wil Moss typically fulfills that role for me.
And each of these people is also juggling about a dozen other titles at the same time—which is why you need so many of them, and why things are always somewhat frazzled around here.