Monday, October 24, 2011

Marvel - All Winners or All Losers?

So...in case you haven't been following the comics news-a-net lately, Marvel seems to be showing signs of what I like to call, Ef Upedness lately. It's that point in a company's lifespan when you start to see the writing on the wall that indicates you need to get the hell out of there because it might not be around for long.

First, they have been laying off an alarming amount of staffers even after reporting a profit for this quarter.

Second, among the layoffs were employees in the Digital division? (Yeah, that's a smart place to trim, cuz that whole digital comic thing is just a fad.)

Third, and less harrowing, but still telling, they cancelled the All-Winners Band of Brothers mini-series in mid run


Over at Blog@Newsarama.com, this commenter summed up my feelings pretty well:

Hawk_Fan Says:

I am annoyed by any of these titles being cancelled, but it doesn’t surprise me. The one that REALLY gets my goat though is ALL-WINNERS SQUAD: BAND OF HEROES There are 7000+ people that are reading that mini And enjoying it) with more waiting for the trade.

If Marvel cannot complete a commitment to the fans (they comitted to a mini-series, its not like anyone expected an on-going!) by producing just 8 issues then they should not be in business. I understand low sales causing an on-going (or what was thought to be up-graded to an on-going) to be cancelled but to canceo a mini-series is both lazy and un-professional.

As noted, there are 7000+ fans who want to see the story completed asnd, for a mini-series the sales figures have not been bad!

Now, I'll be honest, I wasn't buying All-Winners Squad because, well, y'know (Modern Comics Suxors) but I have to agree with Hawk_Fan. There is something particularly suspcious about Marvel pulling the rug out from under a mini-series that only had 3 more issues to go.

I've gone on record on the net several times about having my doubts with this whole Disney/Marvel thing. Disney just doesn't strike me as a company that see the value in owning a comic book company. Disney comics sell very well all across the world but even then, Disney just liscenses out the characters to other publishers. When I was a kid, I read Disney stories published in Gold Key Digests


More recently, Disney comics have been published by Gemstone and Boom! My daughter read the Fairies of Pixie Hollow published by PaperCutz


I know a creator who works on Disney comics who has told me face to face that Disney has no interest in the comic book business. And why should they? Disney makes more money off of Movies, Toys and Theme Parks than Marvel could ever imagine. A comic that sells 100K is a big deal to the comic world, but to Disney, that's not worth getting out of bed for.

So, at the end of the day, when Ike Perlmutter has to explain to his new bosses how Marvel missed their quarterly expectations, I can see how he might end the explanation with..."But we are looking for ways to trim costs..."

Perhaps I should start a Marvel Comics Deathwatch?

Anway, as far as All Winners Squad goes, none of the old Golden Age comics are in Public Domain, so for today's Free Comic, I present All Good Comics 04.



- Jim

10 comments:

Trey said...

Hmmmm. Interesting. While I don't think Marvel will go away by any means, this could mean a shake up may be coming. Or it may be that their trimmming the fat (making certain operations run leaner and getting rid of under-selling titles) to ensure that doesn't happen.

JimShelley said...

Yeah, I'm thinking a bigger shakeup is in the works. I would be surprised if Alex Alonso stays to the end of the Fiscal Year.

JimShelley said...

I meant Axel.

He's often shown he could care less about making standard superhero comics, and I have a feeling Marvel is going do be doing a lot of heavy focusing on a real small grouping of just that very thing (Avengers, Xmen Spiderman) for the next couple of quarters.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Jim; I DARE YOU say that modern comix suxxor???

That's MY job! ;)

But seriously... things look grim.

I never imagined one bit that someday... we could see the end of Marvel Comics. I thought that they would be around forever.

Now... more and more I believe that the end of Marvel Comics is not even a matter of "if"... but "when".

Very sad. :(

Pierre Villeneuve said...

ARRGGH!!!

Meant to say "How dare you"... Damn typing too fast. ;)

MattComix said...

Okay, I'll say it: Modern comics suxors. :P

Anyways, I'm more inclined to call a DC deathwatch over a Marvel one. Main reason is because WB has had DC for years and WB itself really isn't managed a whole lot better than DC. They've had access to that pantheon for YEARS and they've managed to wreck one iconic superhero franchise, barely managed to make one other a success and completely dropped the ball on a third here recently.

Yeah the reboot stuff is getting a lot of hype and there is a sales boost but is most of that coming from brand new casual readers or is it just coming from the same ol Wednesday Warriors who would be showing up anyway and who even after all this time are still jonesing on the idea of their childhood heroes now having tons of death and gore to them.

GACN said...

This Wednesday Warrior is actually boycotting DC's "Earth-52" debacle. Yup, I'm going to show up on Wednesdays anyway, but I do not appreciate DC taking a bowel movement on my favorite childhood characters. I'm all for a DC Deathwatch, as that is likely to happen once the actual non-hype numbers begin coming in on later issues. And Marvel...please have enough class to not let All-Winners go the way of The Twelve.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Matt; Yes DC/Warner has been fumbling the ball for too long. They no longer have a clue at how to use their characters. :(

But... Warner has owned DC for years... heck decades now.

Disney just bought Marvel not that long ago. I don't think they will be nearly as patient to pull the plug as Warner has been.

The MO at Disney is making money on movies and licensing. So odds are... they will shut down the publishing division at Marvel and outsource their characters to other publishers.... not unlike what they have been doing for years.

Damn now I have no choice.... I will have to make a blog about this. ;)

GACN; Yeah I know how you fell... other then OMAC and one or two other comics I fail to recall... I am not a 52 fan. :(

Caine said...

FedEx purchased Kinko's thinking that the two companies would merge really well together. They were both pioneered by single visionaries (If you could call Paul Orfalea a visionary - HA!), they both sky rocketed to early success and continued to build through the 80s and 90s by building incredibly well known and respected brands.

But guess what? The two don't match at all! It's like oil and water.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that out about Marvel and Disney and I agree with Jim that we'll see much more TIGHTLY focused small groupings of comics that they will be focusing on (what's profitable across many media types - movies, comics, games etc).

That same philosophy will probably apply to DC when the new 52 buzz has finally died and we start to see how the new becomes old again. :)

In fact it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see both Disney and Warner Bros sell off the publishing (and only publishing) rights to their comic book lines (maybe even to the same publisher).

You all should be ashamed of your self for dreaming up a DC Deathwatch! :) I mean come on, the company that owns Batman? No way. :)

Sphinx Magoo said...

The All Winners comic deserves to finish it's life as a digital series. That might be one way to reduce costs on it.

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