Comic book industry superstar Mark Waid once wrote that the role of an editor is to facilitate the creative process, not impose on it. That certainly sounds easy enough on paper especially if a project is creator owned, when the editor is just there to essentially keep production on schedule. But it is very rare for a mainstream comic book story to remain completely untouched by the heavy hands of an editor.
And typically, the higher the profile of the comic book series or storyline, the more likely somebody from editorial will step in to make sure the project in question sells well and doesn't inspire any negative attention from fans or critics. Still, there's the expected level of editorial interference, and then there are instances where the powers that be push so hard on the direction of a storyline or a series, it causes irreparable damage to all that are involved.
In all of the 10 examples listed here, editorial input had a very negative impact on some popular and/or critically acclaimed comic book titles. Because of this meddling, many talented creators quit, series were prematurely cancelled, or ongoing storylines were so disrupted, they were rendered incomprehensible.
These 10 tales serve as a cautionary reminder for fans of the comic book medium that sometimes even the best laid plans of a comic book creative team can be uprooted or destroyed by those in power.
In these instances, the editors most certainly did not facilitate the creative process they dictated it, with terrible results.
Mark is a professional writer living in Brooklyn and is the founder of the Chasing Amazing Blog, which documents his quest to collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man, and the Superior Spider-Talk podcast. He also pens the "Gimmick or Good?" column at Comics Should Be Good blog.