So I’ve been out of the comics scene for a while now. It just became too expensive to keep up. But I keep tabs on things on the net, and I gather that Marvel is rebooting everything this fall, making the main characters more diverse, dumping the convoluted history, etc.
But does anyone else see this as the absolute worst time to do so? The Marvel movies are huge booming business. The kids who see the Avengers movies and then want to read the comics are going to see Falcon as Cap, Jane as Thor, a shiny silver Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Winter Soldier and Ant-Man, and bunch of people they don’t recognize. (OK, they might know Deathlok if they watch SHIELD). (No Hulk, no Hawkeye, no Black Widow…) Is that going to sell comics?
I mean, I don’t expect them to keep lockstep slaved to the MCU, but wouldn’t you at least want the roster to mostly match up? Haven’t they heard of cross-promotion?
Have the movies actually increased readership? I’m sincerely asking since I don’t know. I know a number of people who’ve seen and enjoyed the movies but none of them are reading Black Widow comics that I know of.
Marvel’s comic history not only got too convoluted, it also got too damn dark. It was a rapid race to the bottom of the pit with no possible way for new writers coming in to salvage/redeem the characters.
Were I of a mind to start reading comics again, I would rather jump in at the beginning of the story rather than 20 years along… back in the 80’s, shortly after I started reading, DC rebooted many of their titles and those stories worked better for me than jumping into 20-40 years of history. The only ones that really worked for me that weren’t reboots were the ones like Batman or Superman, where I already knew the origin and lots of the history (or at least, the roster of villains).
I read a lot of Marvel titles in the 80s and early 90s. Back then, it was usually fairly easy to get into a title I hadn’t previously been reading.
I go into a comic book shop now, and I see dozens of Marvel titles, including multiple X-Men titles, multiple Avengers titles, etc. I’ve tried to pick up a few books and start reading again, and the storylines (and multiple universes) are so convoluted, that I have no idea exactly what I’m reading.
IMO, it’s a big disincentive for a new / returning reader to come into Marvel, and some sort of rationalization / simplification is really needed.
There’s that, and there’s that ghodawful “Illuminati” concept that made Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, The Sub Mariner and the others villains Doc Doom himself wouldn’t want to associate with.
Problem is, if you make the comics just like the movies, where are you going to get ideas for more movies? Seems the best adjunct use of the comics to the movies is a testbed to try out ideas, see what flies and what crashes, and adapt the best parts to the next wave of movie titles.
While the Reboot is problematic unless you read about 4 years of two Avengers titles, 2-3 years of 2 Fantastic Four titles and 27-zillion crossovers, I’m enjoying the hell out of it.
The concern is that a reboot is supposed to make things simpler and the current Marvel reboot doesn’t*.
And when the Battleworld stuff is done, allegedly everyone will remember everything and it’ll be Earth 616 with bits and pieces of other stuff grafted on. This is a cool concept but it’s going to make “jumping on” impossible. “Hi, I’m Miles–the Spider-Man from Earth 1610, but half of my Manhattan (the east half) was merged with your Manhattan during that big crosover thing a few years back and my supporting cast just happened to go along with me. Oh, and don’t mind Peter–he’s still around”
“Hi, I’m Captain America–I’m not sure if I’m the whiney douchebag Cap from 1610 or the Cap from 616 who thinks that the American way to oppose laws that have been legally passed is to induct underage kids into terrorist training camps, rather than go to Matt Murdoch or Jen Walters and get an injunction that stops it. But here I am!”
And so on.
If it really does turn out to be an amalgamated world after this, it’ll be worse than DC, pre-Crisis was ever made out to be (and DC was never that bad, excluding Gerry Conway books–Conway never got the concept but kept trying to write it. Excluding his stuff, there weren’t that many Earths–6 at most–of which only two showed up more than one or two times a year)
*With the original Crisis, there were 12 “required” issues to read and it helped a bit if you read one story in DC Comics Presents (the Superboy-Prime one). So…13 issues maximum and everything else explained as you went.
This. The other problem is, you get 2-3 movies a year, trying to sync up multiple story lines across multiple titles that come out weekly is a mess. Hell, even just inside of the MCU they’re starting to have this problem between the TV shows and movies. The release of Captain America: Winter Soldier fit in with Agents of SHIELD–though I felt it was in poor taste since the show spoiled the film only 3 days after–for someone that might not have been able to see the film right away. However, you get to the second season, and the lead up to Avengers: Age of Ultron was a blatantly shoe-horned scene that had nothing to do with the story the show was telling.
The cash cow is definitely the movies, so if they tie them together, the comics will suffer tremendously, particularly as some stories that work on film won’t work well on the pages of a comic, and vice versa. IMO it’s best to keep the universes separate and if an element is successful in one medium and can be translated to the other, give it a shot.
And for the time being, I like the idea of basically using the comics as a test bed for new ideas. Let those writers do what they want, and if one is particularly successful or beloved they can look at adapting it. In general, though, it seems like the films that try to stay TOO true to the comics aren’t well received, but the ones that take the general idea of it and make appropriate adaptations for it to work well on film are lauded. Hell, most of the best films took a fair amount of liberties, and fans only really seem to get upset when they take those liberties and the film still ends up bad.
OK, now I understand what Avengers Illuminati was for. I initially thought they were trying to save all the alternate universes from being destroyed. Eventually, they settled for keeping their own universe from being destroyed, even if another universe had to perish in its place.
I actually dug the series, but it ended with no real resolution of anything. It was probably Marvel’s long and drawn-out way of preparing readers for the newest of the new reboots. They seem to have adopted the principle of “If it doesn’t sell enough, change everything.” They used to change artists and writers every story arc. Now they change hero genders, races, species, anything, and see if sales pick up.
… but they’ve already got 50, 60 years of comics to pull from… what are the odds that the next dozen issues is going to have such a drop-dead amazing story that they build the next billion-dollar blockbuster movie out of it?
As someone who has read a whole bunch of manga, I’d have to agree. Focusing on the art and ignoring the story isn’t a very good strategy when you want to entice adults and raises the price high enough that it’s not economical for children to buy, particularly not in the modern age when you’re competing with TV, the Internet, and manga.
They’d do better to cut back to greyscale and extend the length of the comics, maybe offer colorized versions in nice hardback collections at a high price point.
In the manga/anime world, most of everything comes from books. It’s a special genre, which is clearly developed and advertised as a testbed product for the industry, with a few illustrations in so you get a good sense of what the manga/anime would look like. After all, a writer is the most concerned with making a good story and he’s only one mouth to feed, so as the first place to test whether a concept is good, books make the most sense.
Well, the last Avengers movie pulled from the Age of Ultron storyline, which was published in 2013. The last Captain America movie used 2005’s Winter Soldier for most of its plot, and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War is based on comics published in 2007. The MCU in general borrows heavily from the aesthetics of the Ultimate universe, which was started in 2000.
So, fifty or sixty years of stories or not, they’re mostly interested in filming the modern stories. Which makes sense. Reading the original Lee/Kirby run on Fantastic Four is still a blast, but it also feels very dated (which is why the most recent movie used the 2004 Ultimate reboot for most the first act.) If they want to make movies that connect to as wide a modern audience as possible, it makes sense to draw from the most modern, successful comic series.
There’s also the question of what to do as the actors age out of their roles. Bond-style recasting is certainly an option, but handing Falcon Cap’s shield, and giving Mjolnir to Jane Foster, might be a preview of how they’re going to handle losing their stars in the movie universe.