There Is Nothing Wrong With Appealing To Movie Audiences Or Relaunching Now And Then
Lately, Marvel comics has been accused of watering down their characters to attract fans of the film. I'm going to explain why there is nothing wrong with this, and this is exactly what fans and the comic book industry as a whole should want.
Marvel is as big as it probably ever will be. The first wave of their interconnected films culminating with Marvel's The Avengers have been a massive in theaters and home video, and in the comics, Marvel is coming to the conclusion of an entire decade's worth of stories with Avengers VS X-Men, and ready to march towards the future with a relaunch that has branded as Marvel NOW.
But as awesome as this all is, and as many fans there are that love all that is going, their is a portion of fans who have become increasingly frustrated with Marvel, and a big sticking point for them is that they feel Marvel is watering down their stories to earn the dollars of people who enjoyed the films. This is not exactly an invalid arguement to be fair to hose making it. After all, when the first Iron Man movie hit theaters, Marvel launched The Invincible Iron Man with Matt Fraction writing and Salvador Larroca on art duties. While it was set in entirely in Marvel continuity, the movie almost felt like a direct sequel to the movie, since the villain Eziekiel Stane, was the son of Obadiah Stane, and the supporting cast, Rhodey and Pepper both featured in the series, and still do. Marvel would go on to adopt this approach for Thor and Captain America when their movies came out. And when The Avengers released, Brian Bendis cooked up a new series called Avengers Assemble, featuring the team featured in the movie battling Thanos.
Logic tells us that we can expect this trend to continue. In October, Marvel is set to begin launching books with number ones attached to begin the next era of Marvel Stories and draw in new readers. Plus in addition to sequels to Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, Marvel will also be launching Ant Man, Black Panther, and Guardians of the Galaxy. And when people go to see these movies, some of them might be compelled too delve deeper and visit a comic book shop to try and find out where all these amazing characters originated. And that is a good thing. Yes, Marvel has tried to make their universe more accessible to the movie fans, but all the books that have done this which I am reading are telling good stories, that do not seem to be piggybacking off the films. The stories are still set in the world of the comics, not the movies. It is my opinion that is the responsibility of the film makers involved not only to make a good movie that will do well at the box office, but also something that will benefit both the originators of these books(in this case Marvel), and comic book stores as well. Like it or not, sales are not as high they need to be, and the people watching these movies and coming to the comic shops are exactly we need. That means not only must the film makers make a movie that compels a movie goer to check out a comic shop, but Marvel themselves must react to what is on screen and put out a product that will appeal to these new fans and old ones as well.
In addition tho this, Marvel should also get used to the idea of rolling their books back to issue one every few years. It is much easier to begin reading a series that has just started than to try and play catch up with a book that is 50 something or even worse, sever hundred issues in. And sometimes Marvel does something even more insane. They take a book such as The Invincible Iron Man and took it from issue 33 and all of a sudden, the next issue was 500. The same thing happened in other books as well. Captain America went from being in the double digits in the amount of issues published to the latest issue being numbered the 600th. This can only go to confuse fans who might be looking to jump on to those books, because maybe they don't know that Marvel planned for those books to work like that. For all they know, if they want to get in on reading them, they have a lot of catching up to do. A series should only be allowed to reach the hundred mark, if it reaches those numbers naturally, PERIOD! I hope this practice comes to an end once Marvel NOW begins.
Another thing Marvel needs to do is stop putting out new books every time a movie comes. I have been reading Avengers Assemble as it comes out, and it is decent, but unless Marvel plans for it be a replacement for one the existing Avengers titles, I can not really see why it is needed. Ok, so they wanted a book to feature the team from the movie so it seemed friendly to those audiences. Well, this could have been achieved by simply planning as story arc in the core series featuring that line up, and have it release when the movie came out. The Invincible Iron Man was handled much better. Yes, when it first launched, Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was still going, but that book finished it's run shortly after Invincible began. Marvel NOW is the perfect opportunity for Marvel to look at all their books, and ask just how many series of each individual team they need. Seriously, I love The Avengers, but 6 books is pushing it. Unless they all serve different purposes, which some do, some should be chopped.
Finally, some of the burden must rest with comic stores. Shop owners need to do more, if they want the business of new fans. When new comic book movies come, they should have store workers at the theaters handing out coupons, and telling the movie goers where they can go to continue following the adventures of these characters. Advertising in local newspapers and the internet would help out a lot. Put ads on TV and in theaters. Better awareness will result in more readers.
Fans, publishers, and retailers, we can save this industry, and keep it booming forever, if we follow these steps.
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