How I Would Fix Marvel.

I hate Marvel.

This is no secret.

Yet, it hasn’t always been this way. In the 80's, i loved what they did, their stories being the most exciting out there and their universe being the most expansive and well tended playgrounds in comics. Over time, though it seems that Marvel have lost touch with their fan base and have strayed into a realm of business and callousness, their ideas becoming convoluted and straining the average comic buyers patience. Marvel Now might be a good start to Marvel polishing up their current image, but let me share with you some other things I think they should do;

Diversify

Do you like, spandex wearing crime fighters of an either street or cosmic level? Good, because you don’t get much else at Marvel.

Where DC have branched out with Vertigo and Image have diversified in the types of stories they choose to publish, it seems that Marvel have committed to a very narrow form of story telling and, perhaps in diversification, there may be more to offer readers.

The Max line was a good start, but really offered little more than a more violent version of existing characters. I think that the appeal of this is pretty limited and a poor substitute for more mature and intriguing writing, such as presented by Vertigo’s takes on existing characters. The Ultimate line is essentially the same as the normal 616 Marvel universe, except that Nick Fury’s black , Spider Man is dead and Jeph Loeb was a dick (Blob eats Wasp!?! REALLY!?!?).

With the massive array of characters at Marvels’ disposal, branching out into a wider variety of story telling would surely not be too much of a stretch. Satanna? Brother Voodoo? An ongoing Dr Strange series in the style of Brian Vaughan’s brilliant, The Oath run? There are a plethora of characters that would lend themselves to a Vertigo-style imprint. Sci fi comics? Does Marvel not have the most epic cosmic settings in all comicdom? Surely there would be a market for some hard sci fi based comics based on some of these properties? Westerns? Human dramas? As The New 52 proved, you don’t necessarily have to rely on imprints, but can simply release and increasingly diversified line up and, it seems, good comics do, fo the most part, attract interested readers.

And what about one of the biggest untapped markets in comics; books for the little ones?

Cater To The Li’l ‘Uns

As a parent who spends a lot of time with other parents and their kids, I know how much of a demand there is for comics that cater to younger sensibilities. Now, I know that these comics are made by Marvel, but what I find with my fellow parents is that they find them impossible to find. The average parent won’t go into a comic shop, but will buy comics from the local newsagent or supermarket.

You know how there are always comments in the Vine regarding people wondering how the hell Archie is still going strong after all these years? Well, I know why; they’ve no competition. I always see Archie and Sonic The Hedgehog comics at my local newsagent, but if I want to find a youngsters comic published by Marvel (DC, et al) then I’m s@#t out of luck. Marvels’ distribution of youngster comics out and out sucks and is a market they could surely excel in, especially with the recent buying of the company by Disney.

I can only assume that Marvel/Disney are simply biding their time before releasing a line of quality Disney Comics for kids (using Marvels’ talent stable) because, frankly, they would be mad not to.

Kids are the comic book buyers of tomorrow and there is going to be a huge slump in the market when our generation passes on if there’s no one there to pick up the torch. Comics for kiddies is a great place to start and utilize a market going unheeded presently. Accesibility and availability. Those are the keys here.

Reduce And Refine

As it has been proven time and time again, ol’ Frank Castle can’t carry a title of his own. Sure, he was big in the 90’s, but then, any ultra-violent, fascist comic character was. The rest of the time, he has coasted on big name talent, but let’s face it, The Punisher was always more effective on the fringes of the Marvel Universe and it was when he dwelled there that he really gained his fame and notoriety. So I say, put him back there. Remember Civil War? It was the psycho in the shadows Punisher that stood out the most.

I think the key to this point is as follows; reduce and refine.

Instead of expanding out the roster of comics being printed every month, why not focus these characters back into strong stories and making the Marvel Universe an actual universe again instead of a thinly spread sales ploy? Remember when the X-Men were in their glory days of massive sales due to the fact that their universe was so full and so exciting? There were so many characters to play with and such a huge universe to do it in. Then they started giving every mutant that showed up their own spin off series, some with multiple and the franchise has been diluted and confused now to the point where no one knows what to buy and why they’re buying it. I think things need to be funnelled so that the comics are fun and full again, continuity being a huge part of this.

It befuddles my tired brain why Marvel have, seemingly discarded the use of continuity when, firstly, it is important to their readers and, secondly, it actually improves sales. Continuity isn’t just a fan-boy nightmare inflicted on editors, but a through-line from one title and one character to the next. Continuity is important, it shows diligence and respect to the fans and the properties the company creates.

Let’s streamline these books. You know why Avengers doesn’t sell as much as it used to? Because the name doesn’t mean anything because there are about seven different teams at one time. To be an Avenger was something amazing (in comics that is) but now I think it’s pretty amazing if a character hasn’t been a member of the Avengers and they are so prevalent, i start to wonder if I've been a member of the Avengers.

And the X-Men used to be a team of outsiders, but now there are even more outsider X-Men teams and even more behind them. It’s like a sulking contest.

I think that Marvel need to start rewarding their readers with a better, more focused universe which will provide better storylines.

Which brings me to my next point…

Reward The Monthly Fan

Last year, the WWE found that the ratings were dropping on their weekly shows and made changes. The reasons were that nothing major was happening on the weekly shows anymore and all the big title changes/fights and stuff were being kept for the pay-per-views where people would have to pay to see any real action. This, quite obviously pissed fans off and they started to lose interest.

Well… guess who else does that to their fans?

It seems, reading Marvel comics for the past decade that nothing much happens in a lot of the headline comics but lead-ins to crossovers, crossovers themselves and then the inevitable fall out from the crossovers. To fully appreciate these you had to, at least triple your pull list for a couple of months and if you didn’t you got a lean, rather weak and badly paced story with a completely unsatisfying and rushed conclusion (Hello!!! Siege!!!!).

When Roy Thomas, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, Peter David, etc wrote monthlies, you got epic… all the time. You didn’t feel like you were being fleeced monthly into buying the upcoming mega-disappointment, but you felt like you were really being taken into something excited that mattered to that particular title. This, of course, also made you feel like the creators gave a shit about what they were doing whereas, today, there is a general air of disdain and superiority from a lot of Marvel creators; towards the fans and toward the characters.

The comic book fan should be rewarded with great stories. Monthly.

The industry does not exist without them.

Stop looking for quick money making schemes, Marvel and start looking to the big picture. Long term sales; a healthy industry; a cultivated fan base; consistent quality of product.

Have a think about it, Marvel and when you’re ready to give me the keys to the kingdom, just let me know ;P

20 Comments
20 Comments
Posted by lykopis

I am going to copy this --- send it to Quesada and gang and claim it as my own......;p

Seriously, fantastic points all. I am a big, big fan of the Claremont days -- when the X-Men were becoming a family -- all those personalities and views so different -- most non team players who learned to be. **sigh**

And what's this? You didn't get your Avenger pin? I got mine a LONG long time ago -- even came with a nifty napsack and baseball cap.

As for comics aimed at the young-uns, I have been of a like mind for a long time. There is the Superman Family series (DC) and there is the awesome Adventure Time and Marceline comics which appear to be doing well, but when I think of Marvel I think of the X-Babies and seriously, that's not a real attempt. I suspect the House of Mouse will be pumping out some Disney Princess and Cars (shudder) comics which might do well initially, but let's be real --- they push their toys and Cinderella cameras. DC treats their comics as they should be --- their only product and they push, push, push. On Marvel's end of things, there's some silent big wigs calling the shots and that's why we're getting this mish-mash of X-Men and Avengers.

....grrrr. I'm going for my run. I need to get rid of the anger boiling inside of me.

-_-

Posted by feebadger

@lykopis: I knew you would respond to this post as i know your anger toward Marvel is equal (if not greater) than my own and because i know it also runs along the same lines. Claremont's X Men run was all bout family and it was maintained as such. Even when Louise Simonson came on board with the spin off titles of X Factor and taking over the New Mutants, it still worked, because let's face it, it's pretty easy to manage and edit three titles, each with its own agenda and tone. But how could ANY editor keep a continuity or a rein on as many titles as they have now? I mean, someone has got ot drop the ball, right? Look at Wolverine; completely watered down and straying further and further from his true character (with the possible exception of X Force, one of the few Wolverine titles that makes sense having his inclusion). The thing is with Wolverine, is that he can't carry a solo title, neer has, never will. The only reason he has so many, is because fans are clamouring for those awesome Wolverine moments that used to happen, but ironically never get them because those cool moments only ever happened in the team books where Wolverine was not the solo character! YeesH! Can anyone tell me a truly great Wolverine story that has happened in his solo title? No? Thought so. Let's move on.

The one really great kids book that Marvel did of late was Wizard Of Oz. The sale were massive and the biggest portion of its sales were to young girls. Monumental. So what did Marvel do to capatalise on this (besides a sequel)> Absolutely nothing.They discover a new market and do nothing to follow up on it. Completely bewilders me.

If they do launch a Disney comic imprint, then i hope they do stay away from the most obvious and go with ongoings like, The Incredibles, a Tron comic (written by Brian K. Vaughn and drawn by Pat Lee please) or relaunching Darkwing Duck with top notch creators. Could you imagine them getting creators like Peter Bagge, Skottie Young or Sam Kieth to do their takes on classic Disney characters for an issue or two!? Crossover appeal. Marvel are eejits.

Here endeth the rant... for now.

Posted by BumpyBoo

Oh, so true, unfortunately. The irony is that, although the problem here certainly is that there is too little focus on things like quality and continuity and too much focus on merchandise and sales, if they actually took your advice it would no doubt boost sales significantly. It always kills me when companies can't see that, that if you concentrate on the product, the sales tend to take care of themselves. But then that is just it. They are products now, instead of dreams. Salesmen, instead of heroes. Whimsy and wonder replaced with calculated marketing and pandering, good quality writing replaced with cheap gimmicks, and quick fixes. Hopefully, if one thing comes out of this takeover, it will be the return of that sense of magic, the reverence - and that surely must include children, I just do not see how they can recapture that without first recapturing the minds of a younger audience.

Excellent blog and yes,I second that motion.Let's give the keys to you :P

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Posted by Rabbitearsblog

Awesome blog! I agree with everything you said about Marvel losing sight of what is really important: the fans and the characters themselves. It just feels like lately the characters in the Marvel Universe are being thrown into one event after another and even when they have some character development, it's suddenly thrown out the window once another event begins. I think Marvel really needs to look over this blog and see what they could do to improve their stories!

Edited by InnerVenom123

"I hate Marvel". OP whispered into the wind. Suddenly, the clouds parted. The sky was torn asunder by divine light. The heavens poured onto Earth, and a group of angels took the OP into their arms. "You did it, OP." They say, with a smile. "You changed Marvel."

Posted by TheCannon

@Rabbitearsblog said:

Awesome blog! I agree with everything you said about Marvel losing sight of what is really important: the fans and the characters themselves. It just feels like lately the characters in the Marvel Universe are being thrown into one event after another and even when they have some character development, it's suddenly thrown out the window once another event begins. I think Marvel really needs to look over this blog and see what they could do to improve their stories!

This

Posted by JairamGanpat

@InnerVenom123 said:

"I hate Marvel". OP whispered into the wind. Suddenly, the clouds parted. The sky was torn asunder by divine light. The heavens poured onto Earth, and a group of angels took the OP into their arms. "You did it, OP." They say, with a smile. "You changed Marvel."

Posted by feebadger

@BumpyBoo: ~Does dance of complete agreement with ya~ :) :) :)

@Rabbitearsblog:Your point about character development being thrown out every time an "event" comes around is spot on! I wish i'd included that in the blog because it is definitely one of the big problems with Marvel.

@InnerVenom123: Sob... splutter.... that is.... ~wipes tear from eye~.... the most beautiful thing... choke... splutter... i've ever read....snort....

Posted by Rabbitearsblog

@feebadger said:

@BumpyBoo: ~Does dance of complete agreement with ya~ :) :) :)

@Rabbitearsblog:Your point about character development being thrown out every time an "event" comes around is spot on! I wish i'd included that in the blog because it is definitely one of the big problems with Marvel.

@InnerVenom123: Sob... splutter.... that is.... ~wipes tear from eye~.... the most beautiful thing... choke... splutter... i've ever read....snort....

Yeah. That's why I get so upset every time Marvel does an event because they don't ever want to go back to a past event and develop the character from that.

Posted by THORSON

sigh...

Posted by Manwhohaseverything

Marvel has a line called "All ages" geared for youngsters (But adults can enjoy them also) Now, by youngsters, I mean like 9-10 years old. A lot of them are written by Mark Sumerak, who is pretty good. He does a real good job of bringing back the feel to Power Pack that Louise Simonson and June Brigman had back in the 80's.

Posted by GundamHeavyarms

I agree with you. Especially about the part about comics not appealing to children. I think its because they want to move away from that stigma that "comics are for children only." All ages books are books that both children and adults can enjoy. Which is why the sonic the hedgehog comic has been around for nearly 20 years, and next year they're doing a crossover with the Mega Man book.

Posted by DaveThePunisher

I agree with a lot of what you said but I also believe that the MOVIES are the biggest problem with Marvel. A week before The Avengers movie came out, Thanos could not be found in any current comics. Right after the movie dropped, Thanos had his own series and all of his comics doubled in price. Now Marvel is pushing Guardians of the Galaxy! It just feels backwards. They are trying to promote movies with the comics. Comics have turned into nothing more than previews for films. Marvel NOW is making Nick Fury black because of the Avengers movie. They had The Lizard as the main villain when the Amazing Spider-man movie came out. It's just too much! No more original stories.... just things to set up movies.

Also I am really starting to hate the whole "Cosmic Marvel" movement. I enjoy comics that are based in reality. It is easier to believe that Capt. America was given super-soldier-steroids, but then to have him fight off space aliens from other planets? That's a little too much for me. And now they are pushing to have ROcket Raccoon be the next big thing?!?!?! I don't like it. And the Marvel fan-boys defend the cosmic crap to death because all they know are the movies.

Fox was considering making a Daredevil movie that was a 70's Frank Miller crime drama throwback... but passed on it. Marvel even had no interest in this. They would prefer to have Galactus and Silver Surfer! It seems as though anything related to Marvel is just scared to do something gritty, or dark, or in a NORMAL universe. They know that the biggest buyers of new comics are kids ages 12-16 and they all like COSMIC marvel right now. So bye bye to the AMAZING Punisher run by Greg Rucka because all the fan-boys are buying out tons of copies of Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos to prepare for Avengers 2.

I am a huge Punisher fan and I prefer stories that are based in the real world. Since Marvel is ONLY focused on movies they should at least branch out and do something to cater to the fans who aren't obsessed with space aliens. Have a Marvel Knights movie with Punisher, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, etc. Make it gritty and dark. You can bring in fans that way. Have something more "adult" for the 30+ crowd.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@DaveThePunisher: Have you never read the DnA run Marvel Cosmic? That is the best Marvel has ever been and the the crap they'v changed because of the movies has wiped it all out

Posted by Eternal19

Great blog. This is what is scaring me away from reading marvel. Marvel has a very unique and interesting universe with some very cool characters. but, it seems like they dont care about the fans at all with all these events every few months, the $4 price tag for all there comics with some of them being bimonthly which limits the amount of other titles you can read, and how they're trying to make the comics like the movies when most of the people who watch the movies aren't going to read the comics. Its incredibly annoying

Posted by Gambit1024

Agreed, but they'll never do any of that :/

Posted by Med

you make some fantastic points. i think another problem with marvel (main X-Men titles in particular) is the need to add subtle (not actually subtle) references to actual politics and real world issues. the thing i loved about the old days of marvel was the fantasy element. it was fun and light but still profound. it feels like i need to mind my P's and Q's while i'm reading any big marvel title now. all so politically correct.

Posted by Agypt2020

I can not agree with you more, hit the nail on the head with your points. Allow me to add what already said expertly. Marvel needs to fire all the staff currently mucking up its works, and bring back Excelsior, both the man and the creative people he surrounded himself with from 1966- 90's. After this wonderful period, growing up a child and young adulthood where I was more than a fan but a serious collector of comic books and the trading cards. Stories and plots, I can remember the Dark Phoenix Saga, my mother was not an advocate to my hobby in those days, due to my poor grades in school from reading comics than text books. She would hold onto my allowance or throw away the comic, if I somehow brought one. But I got her interested in the X-Men, (her favorite was Colossus), and I begged her to let me go buy a book. The first X-Men she read and enjoyed, the Dark Phoenix Saga. And when it came animated on television later, she too became a huge fan to pulp fiction. Needless to say I earn my allowance and kept my books for many years.

Since Heroes Reborn and every major story arc after, from the mismanagement of the company, the comings and goings of vary writers, artists to what they believed "greener pastures", and the deaths and retirements of the old regime. Marvel in my humble opinion oblivion!! If it was not for the successes of their movies, now with Disney I can only imagine??? I already they are about to f**k up Spider Man franchises, (previous 3 films were excellent, the Amazing Spider Man not so good).I did not need a repeat origin and revision, I wanted to see a new villain from Spidey formidable rogue gallery, the Lizard

I wish to see the classic come back to the modern, there was only one than two Avengers books (Earth Mightiest Heroes and West Coast); return to the one and delete the slews of the others, stat! The Avengers can server the Earth without the 50-States Initiative, been doing so for years. Bring back the X-Titles near and dear to my heart (Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Force), and you can create a new version introducing new and younger Mutants, call it X-Academy. Get rid of anything else! Stop! All the Wolverine (everybody got to be like him crap with claws and healing factor, and such). The only one worthy of this is Saber tooth, leave and keep it that way!

Bring back favorite characters, cease and desist the killing them off and resurrecting them, Hell they are not Christ! I am weary and sick of these plots and ploys! I want to see Doctor Strange not Brother Voodoo (How insulting!!) as the Sorcerer Supreme.Ms. Marvel not giving her the mantle of the hero responsible Captain Marvel, she does not need it and has earned her status. Stop with the damn cancellations and give her worthy enemies and story lines. This should be Marvel Now not continuing throwing dirt on what was Excelsior! Thank you and feel free to offer your feedback.

Posted by Rabbitearsblog

I also agree about Marvel having too many titles focusing on X-Men and the Avengers.  Having so many comics on the same group of characters can be too confusing to the fans, especially if each book is written by a different writer.  Wolverine for example, really suffers from this because he has so many solo books and yet, each solo book is written by a different writer and they all have different views on his character.  If Marvel really wants to do many team books based around the X-Men and the Avengers, then each book would need a different group of characters if there are going to be different writers writing the characters.

Posted by SoA

marvel is hit or miss lately and a lot of what i read marvel wise , makes people eyes roll . so :p there take that!