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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 11:25am | IP Logged | 1  

But that's a Photoshopped version of that picture!!

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 2  


I love how Brad's Marvel post makes it look like there was once some stunt called the "Secret War War!"

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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 12:31pm | IP Logged | 3  

"But that's a Photoshopped version of that picture!!"

Really? Oh, crap. Nevermind, then!
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 1:21pm | IP Logged | 4  

The bottom line, here, is that this all represents two of the biggest things wrong with Marvel and DC: "creators" who are unwilling to create ("I don't want to just hand them the next Spider-Man!"), and the continued pandering to a graying audience.

Could someone really set out to make the next Spider-Man for Marvel or DC, though?  The breakout characters created since Jack Kirby left the Fantastic Four have been few and far between, and most of the big ones have been X-Men or Spider-Man-related characters.  If a creator really wanted to make the next great character for Marvel and DC, the publisher would have to help put the character over, fans would have to embrace the character and support a monthly title, and all the merchandising people would have to jump on the bandwagon with that character, too.

There are enough characters already out there that it makes more sense to do an overhaul/upgrade of an existing one, like turning Bucky into the Winter Soldier, putting disparate characters together into a new Guardians of the Galaxy, putting new spins on Hawkeye and Moon Knight...if the same creative teams had launched very similar books with brand new characters, would readers have latched onto them?  Decades' worth of experience says no.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 1:27pm | IP Logged | 5  

Could someone really set out to make the next Spider-Man for Marvel or DC, though?

Has history really been forgotten? Nobody knew Spider-Man was going to be SPIDER-MAN. Nobody knew Wolverine was going to be WOLVERINE.

The fear is that a character will be created who will unexpectedly turn out to be a huge moneymaker.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 1:29pm | IP Logged | 6  

"But that's a Photoshopped version of that picture!!"

Really? Oh, crap. Nevermind, then!

Surely someone has a copy of the original?

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Tony Centofanti
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 2:07pm | IP Logged | 7  

...most of the big ones have been X-Men or Spider-Man-related characters....

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Has history really been forgotten? Nobody knew Spider-Man was going to be SPIDER-MAN. Nobody knew Wolverine was going to be WOLVERINE.

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I was initially going to chime in with Venom, the Punisher, and Deadpool all being well over with Americans under the age of 35. Everyone I know, even my many friends who did not grow up reading comic books,know of them. They're very common on general merchandise and popular with the "casual" fans. I'm pretty sure all three have movies in development currently. But, Andrew's point of X-Men and Spider-Man brand characters rang in my head as a good point. 

Maybe just as an aside though, the X-Men didn't make Wolverine big. Wolverine made the X-Men a mega seller*. In fact, most of the original concept had been excised from the book by the time it was at it's most popular in the mid to late 1980s.

*Of course, actual credit goes to the persons that unleashed that redefined version of Wolverine in the late 1970s.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 8  

I found this to be a pretty fair statement from; The Great American Novel :

Why fans might understand sales better than the professionals

To the fans, the concept of sales is easy: good comics sell. They might not sell well at the time (depending on fashions, distribution, pricing and promotion), but if the comics are created for the long term market then the other factors will average out. Hence early Marvel comics can be sold again and again, in multiple formats, and spawn movies and merchandise, whereas new comics are instantly forgotten.

To professionals, sales are much more complicated. A business needs to make its money right now, and questions like fashion, distribution, pricing and promotion make decisions very complicated. Selling in multiple formats, difficulties in measurement, corporate strategies that may focus on certain brands, and the need for synergy with merchandise make the decisions even harder. To make things worse, the accountants who focus most on the numbers don't actually read the comics and may not understand readers, whereas the editors who know the readers and comics are distracted by the day to day chaos and politics of business. But over the long run all these things become less and less important. All profit is finally traced to people wanting to read the comics, sometimes decades after those comics were created.

So fans, if they look at the long term, have a clearer view of the forest while professionals are busy with the trees.

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 3:51pm | IP Logged | 9  

Has history really been forgotten? Nobody knew Spider-Man was going to be SPIDER-MAN. Nobody knew Wolverine was going to be WOLVERINE. The fear is that a character will be created who will unexpectedly turn out to be a huge moneymaker.

Rocket Raccoon being the most recent example of that, I guess.  A character that's made tens of millions of dollars for Marvel, who's repaying the favor by letting Bill Mantlo be on their healthcare plan.  Compare that to what creators have gotten for properties like Hellboy, The Walking Dead, Bone, Axe Cop, Scott Pilgrim, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and what incentive is there to give Marvel or DC a potential breakout character? 

Marvel and DC have no shortage of characters already, and fans have shown little interest in supporting new characters over the past several decades.  If the companies didn't make it seem like such a futile pursuit, I'm sure that creators would be willing to give the Big Two some new characters, but we're talking about a landscape that's actively discouraging people from creating new X-Men and where the Fantastic Four is being canceled in the hopes that Fox's movie will tank. 

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Brad Hague
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 4:21pm | IP Logged | 10  

I loved Marvel's Contest of Champions.  

I hated (or strongly disliked) Secret Wars.  It was beginning to seem gimmicky.  And in retrospect, it was Secret Wars that began the downfall of Marvel to me.  Within a few short years of that, I would cease buying new comics completely.

I restarted in the 90's for about 14 years but then the characters were simply not the characters with whom I had any affinity.

The fact that Marvel would consider going back to a storyline that started their downfall (to me) no longer surprises me.  And DC is no better.  How many times have they repeated the Crisis thing?

Truly, the art form of the comic book is (was) a very transitory thing. Beginning in the late 1930's to the Marvel Age of the early 1960's it was one thing:  A child's medium.  Adults did not really read them, or if they did, really did not admit it. Clearly, the target reading group was children to teenagers.

Marvel brought a realism to the medium in which characters aged (sorta) and died (for a while, at least more permanently than DC characters did), fought amongst themselves, and identified more with the outcasts and losers of society.  This kept the attention of comics readers a lot longer than it previously had.  People who read comics in the 1960's 70's and 80's began reading them as they grew up.  Neal Adams and Denny O'Neal brought a realism in the stories that was imitated and not really child type material.

Due to adults beginning to collect comics, this caused demand and value where beforehand there was little.

Things got out of hand in the 1990's as adults really entered the fray and there was an investment boom.

I personally feel that comics between the 60's to 80's attempted to attract BOTH the kiddos AND the adults that hung on.  Heck, Pink Floyd put an image of a Dr. Strange cover (slightly obscured) on their second album cover in 1968, Saucerful of Secrets.

But since the 1990's, comics have not really been geared for the youth.  Now it seems a comic that could possibly be read by a child is the exception to the rule.

The change in demographic is obvious and clearly shrinking.  I highly suspect that in 50 years, the medium will be completely extinct.  This will be just a burp in the history of the art medium.  Which is a shame.
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Wally Coppage
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Posted: 16 October 2014 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 11  

According to JohnByrneDraws (a profile I follow on Tumblr) that photo is indeed the original and has not been Photoshoped.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 17 October 2014 at 11:20am | IP Logged | 12  

So, you would believe someone you don't know, but follow on social media over someone who was actually in the picture?
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Mark Tillson
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Posted: 17 October 2014 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 13  

The only reason I bought Secret Wars when it came out was because of Mike Zeck.  To say the story was garbage, would an insult to garbage.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 17 October 2014 at 12:19pm | IP Logged | 14  

According to JohnByrneDraws (a profile I follow on Tumblr) that photo is indeed the original and has not been Photoshoped.
-------------------------------------
That gave me a well-needed chuckle. Keep the funny stuff coming!
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Roy Johnson
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Posted: 17 October 2014 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 15  


 QUOTE:
To say the story was garbage, would an insult to garbage.

Hee hee hee. I vaguely recall thinking it was lame story-wise, but welcome the kind of mass get together of the characters that was the point of it all.
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 17 October 2014 at 1:04pm | IP Logged | 16  

It was written just above the level of Spidey Super-Stories, and kind of felt like the first issues of Marvel's Transformers comic book, where entire pages were devoted to having the characters clumsily introduce each other. 

"Say, Wolverine, you need to be careful with those claws of yours!" 

"Okay, Bub--I mean, Captain America.  But your indestructible shield and super-soldier serum should protect you!  Isn't that right, Fantastic Four's The Thing?"
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 October 2014 at 2:33pm | IP Logged | 17  

Well, maybe that ISN'T the picture of Chris and me kissing.
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Jason Scott
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Posted: 18 October 2014 at 2:13am | IP Logged | 18  

The original Secret Wars will always have a place in my heart for:-

a) Being my first introduction to a lot of the other Marvel characters that hadn't as yet popped up in the British reprints of Spiderman comics.

b) Showing Spiderman take apart the X-men in about less than a minute. ESPECIALLY Wolverine! I will always love it for that. As Spidey's unique combination of super speed, strength, agility, and spider sense really should put him in a different league from Logan. And that burn of "Those pigstickers might scare the bar room bullies, but to me you're a joke!" always made me chuckle..
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Carmen Bernardo
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Posted: 18 October 2014 at 4:34am | IP Logged | 19  

   I'm like Brad on the current state of comics. Although I can't see the medium going completely under, given that the Internet and a few pockets of interest could be around for years to come, it will cease to be a profitable venture when the shrinking fan base that currently exists finally dies off.

   As it is, Secret Wars II was when I started noticing the loss of control. Up until then, Marvel had been doing a fair job of not shoehorning its existing books into an intra-company crossover for the quick boost in sales. You had the dynamic of the good comics maintaining fan interest for a while until it either dropped off or the idea faded in general view. See how long the original Spider-Woman comic stayed around, as well as Ghost Rider, the Defenders and Tomb of Dracula.

   Today, I don't even think they consider the possibility of letting the stories tell themselves and making the comics accessible for new audiences. With competition such as YouTube and video games, I can see that being impossible for the Big Two now.
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