Monday, July 9, 2012

Ten Thoughts on Marvel Now!

Last week saw the news that Marvel is going to have a soft relaunch of sorts for many of its main titles over the course of the next year. Called Marvel Now! This relaunch will consist of one or two titles getting a reboot/revamp every month until most of the entire line is completely refreshed. I am not sure if the full details will be reveled until the very end of Comic-con, but here is a partial checklist of the new creative team line-ups from Bleeding Cool. Green Checks are confirmed.

Here are my thoughts:

ONE: I don’t think it will be the sales success that DC’s 52 relaunch was. Mostly because this is simply a shuffling of the deck chairs than a “important” continuity changing relaunch. And at the rate of two new revamps a month I'm not sure how different that is from Marvel's current publishing schedule. Didn't we just get  new Hulk, Daredevil and Avenger comics a few months ago?

TWO: Another key difference between this and what DC did is scale. Even if Marvel was able publish all of their refreshed titles in one month, it would still be no more than a quarter of the books that DC relaunched. The lack of scale takes some of the omph out of this endeavor.

THREE: As a result of the smaller scale, I don't see Marvel launching anything that appeals to the same audience that DC was able to capitalize on with their Vertigo kindred comics: Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Demon Knights, I, Vampire. Some of these have been well received by the comics community and praised for their edginess. It would have been nice to see Marvel have a few titles like that in the mix. (Morbius, Man-thing, Werewolf By Night, Santanna, etc...)

FOUR: Mark Waid on Avengers might be interesting. His recent Daredevil run was totally raved about by every podcast I listened too. I think he brings a genuine reverence for the characters and continuity but isn't afraid to try new things.

FIVE: Hickman on Avengers would have excited me two years ago. That was before he took two years to tell a single Fantastic Four story. Somehow, I just lost interest in FF before it finished up. Now with the rumor that he will do something similar in Avengers, I’ll wait until I hear good things before trying that out.


SIX: It is interesting that most of the young gun writers are only on one book. I think a lot of them are working independent projects now. (Hickman has two books on Image now that are getting good buzz) I think a lot of those guys see Marvel as their “day job” and know the big money is in creator owned stuff. There’s been a lot said about this in columns recently (with the big news that the current fan favorite Daredevil artist Paolo Rivera left the book to pursue his own creator owned projects) It’s not a new paradigm, but it does seem to be carrying more weight now. Partly I think because of all the drama from Before Watchman brought to the issue.

SEVEN: I have zero interest in a Fantastic Four comic by Matt Fraction. I think the general consensus that has been building on Fraction's superhero comics is that he's better on his own independent work. I've always had this opinion, but it seems that after Fear Itself, other people have started saying the same thing.

EIGHT: Ditto zero interest in Bendis on Guardian's of the Galaxy. Maybe he would surprise me, but he just doesn't strike as a guy who gives one wit about world building or exotic sounding dialogue. I fear his GotG would sound just like every other character he's written. Nothing would make me cringe more than a Bendis scripted Adam Warlock:

NINE: I'm surprised that there isn't any Spider-man refresh news at this point. I guess that's because Marvel is happy with the current creative team on the books.

TEN: Notably absent in the list of creators is Jeff Parker and Jason Aaron. Aaron is wrapping up Scalped this month and Parker should be free once Marvel finally decides to finally cancel Thunderbolts. (Let's face it - we all know it's coming.)

Looking over my list here, I'm probably putting more thought into it that Marvel is. ;)

- Jim

2 comments:

MattComix said...

..and just like with Nu52 it's the same cooks in the kitchen doing the same stuff only now with a giant question mark over back stories and the requisite horrid redesigns. The Hulk needs armor about as much Thor needs swords or anybody needs visible seams.

..and as if they hadn't already spent years taking the piss on Cyclops even before the current regime, his new visual completes the job.

Marvel and DC have a real nasty habit of blaming the characters and even the genre itself for their sales problems when really, it's not their respective universes that need the house cleaning as much as editorial and/or the philosophy driving it.

JimShelley said...

@Matt - I totally agree, but I don't see either editorial or their philosophy (good word because it sure isn't a publishing strategy!) changing anytime soon.

What I find interesting is that just across the street, we have DC constantly trying new stuff. I know most of the new things are obscured by the blaze of the New 52 and Before Watchmen, but things like Spaceman, Cinderella and Dial H for Hero deserve their kudos for being a bit different.

Back in the 70's, Marvel was so much more diverse. I should scan one of those old Marvel Checklists from the Bronze Age and compare it to now.

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