A Legacy We Don’t Need

MarvelLegacy_001_BrooksVariant-720x668After much hype and anticipation, Marvel has finally announced their plans for “Marvel Legacy”, the next relaunch that THIS TIME is going to count. Many had suspected that Marvel would copy DC’s Rebirth initiative in hopes that it would be just as successful for them.

Well, they didn’t. In fact, it seems like Marvel didn’t even get the gist of what made DC’s relaunch such a success.  Whereas that company took a good hard look at what went wrong with the New 52 and “DCYou” and fixed it, Marvel seems to just be trucking along, business as usual. And it’s going to cause them to fall on their face.

Of the 52 titles revealed (yes, FIFTY-TWO), only six are new series. Hell, technically it’s five because they revealed another new Moon Knight series, even though he just had a series end a few weeks ago.  Now in those new titles there are some comics I’m interested in, namely the Spirits of Vengeance title that features Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Blade, Hellstorm, and Satanna as a new supernatural team, and the return of Marvel Two-In-One, this time starring The Thing and The Human Torch. But everything else just seems like it’s more of the same from Marvel. None of it feels like something the fans want. In fact, it seems like Marvel is gloating that they don’t care what you want, they’re going to tell you what you should care about.

That’s really the big issue here, and as much as I’m looking forward to Two-In-One, it is the biggest example of this philosophy from the company. Ever since the rumors started about the real reason Marvel cancelled Fantastic Four (long story short, it has to do with Fox having the movie rights), Marvel fans have been vocal about getting that team back in a book. Yet Marvel continually tries to find new ways to do everything BUT bring the FF back. The Thing has been a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Human Torch joined the Inhumans for some reason. Reed and Sue, along with their children, are off exploring space. Now, with a fresh chance to build up goodwill and give the fans what they actually want, Marvel instead puts both members of the Fantastic Four that are still on the table in a new team-up book, which, while close, still isn’t a Fantastic Four book. While FF was never a huge seller in recent years, it’s legacy as the start of the Marvel Universe was something that everyone kinda thought mattered at Marvel. I guess not.

So aside from the new titles, there are still a whole lot of others that are still around for Legacy that just make me scratch my head (looking at you, Unbelievable Gwenpool). If Legacy ends up underperforming, it’ll be trouble for Marvel. Hell, even if it does the same as the recent “Marvel NOW!’ publishing initiative (yes, the second one), it’ll be trouble for Marvel. Until they actually take a hard look and listen to what their readers want, it’s just going to be more of the same from the “House of Ideas”.

Posted on June 26, 2017, in Comic Books and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I have been a fan of Marvel for a long time, but have been unhappy with them recently. DC & Image keep on chipping away at my Marvel base, and except for Rainbow Rowell writing Runaways, I don’t see things improving any time soon.

  2. Marvel’s #1 in sales. So they are listening to what the audience wants. What the general audience wants is different from what you want. (For the record, it’s also different from what I want, which is much greater diversity, in both characters and, more important, creators. I want more diverse writers on a wide variety of books.) For all the pearl-clutching about Marvel failing, they still have the largest market share.

    Which isn’t to say Marvel doesn’t have some serious problems it needs to address. That market share is achieved largely through over-saturating the market, which is very much a dangerous move, and one that may be hurting both them and the market as a whole. (Though comics are the only part of the publishing industry that experienced growth in 2016, so I guess Marvel’s not doing too much harm.) The fact that they are trimming their line is something I’m glad to see, even if it also means fewer titles I enjoy.

    With Fantastic Four, I’ll be honest, I think the best approach is to wait another couple years before bringing them back. It’s been a couple years, but I’m not sure that’s long enough. Hell, I’d be inclined to wait until 2021, for their 80th anniversary, to make it a massive deal.

    As for Gwenpool: It’s genuinely a great title, really funny and really smart, and it sells well. So its continuation should not be a surprise at all.

    • well,as someone who works at a comic store, I can tell you that Gwenpool is NOT a well selling title. At least not in our store. And the sales figures for Marvel are based on copies of comics sold to comic stores, not copies actually sold to comic readers. Marvel has been overshipping a large majority of their titles (meaning that a if a comic shop orders 12 copies of Daredevil, Marvel sends them an additional 10 for free). While the store gets those extra copies for free, that issue of Daredevil still reads as 22 copies being “sold”. So Marvel is pulling some pretty shady stuff to get that “#1” spot.

      • Gwenpool may not sell well in your store, but it does well enough for itself in general. Maybe not big numbers, but enough to justify its continuation. (And of course, we don’t know how it does outside the direct market.)

        Yeah, Marvel’s numbers are definitely inflated. Still, there’s no indication that they’re actually failing in the way so many want them to be.

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