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Monday, September 07, 2009 

Marvel used to be good at selling comics, but what about today?

The Nashua Telegraph writes a superficial column about Disney's buyout of Marvel, and there's at least one part here that can be commented on:
Q: Will Disney sanitize Marvel Comics, or otherwise interfere with editorial content?

A: Unlikely. Remember, Disney also owns ABC, and they've never tried to clean up "Desperate Housewives." And while they famously interfered with Miramax when they bought it in 1993 (driving founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein to quit), they've also let Pixar run fairly independently since buying it in 2006.

Also, Disney didn't become the largest entertainment conglomerate in the world by being stupid. Marvel is very good at selling comic books, so they'll probably leave that golden goose alone while they market the heck out of Marvel's library of more than 5,000 characters across various media and platforms.
Correction: Marvel used to be good at selling comics, until just a couple years ago. I'd say it was when Bill Jemas came along, and went overboard into sensationalism, that the problems began, and even after he left, they didn't improve. No, they got worse, turning their comics into a 24-hours-a-day stunt machine with the company-wide crossovers, character destruction and forced replacements, and, lest we forget, Spider-Man's One More/Brand New Day monstrosity. All these have led to diminishing sales. They may have initially been good at selling the Ultimate line too, but when it became apparent that, contrary to their original promotions, the line was not entry-level, that's probably when the Ultimate line began to fade as well. The rumors that Marvel might use it to replace their 616 Universe might have contributed to the decline in their sales to boot.

So to say that Marvel is good at selling comic books is just skimming the surface, ignoring the current staff in charge behind the scenes, and...not doing much to suggest that Disney might want to replace them after all, if they understand that there's an audience out there that would be more encouraged to read Marvel's books with a more respectable editorial board in charge, but with destructive people like Joe Quesada in charge, can only feel discouraged now. That's hardly at all helpful for the fanbase and Marvel's output.

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