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Thursday, October 06, 2011 

Marvel doesn't need a relaunch, it needs a clean-up/clear-up

IGN's comics section is asking if Marvel needs to do a reboot/relaunch just like DC's been doing with much of their line. In the article they've published, the things they tell include:
Marvel faces various problems when it comes to attracting new readers. There's an increasing perception that their books are hard to get into. With so many X-Men and Avengers titles on the stands, where is a newbie supposed to start? Books are becoming increasingly interconnected again through events and crossovers. Marvel's revelations that events like Schism, Fear Itself, and Avengers: The Children's Crusade are all building towards a larger storyline next year may sound enticing to some readers, but just as many might be put off by the notion that everything is tied together and nothing is allowed to stand on its own.
Well of course they're facing severe problems of their very own making, a process that may have begun when Bob Harras was EIC, and metastasized into mammoth proportions when Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas took over. Specifically, they took to telling stories that were overflowing with political correctness and even overt leftist politics, began padding out their storylines for the sake of trade paperbacks, and increasingly ignored continuity in doing so. And while they seemingly avoided crossovers initially, they soon sprang back to them when it became apparent many of these other steps weren't working. It also didn't help that a lot of the writers they were hiring during the first half of the past decade were recruited based on popularity with certain segments of the readership, not according to how talented they actually were (and Brian Bendis has long been proving he's not).

Also, they may have initially tried to make the stories they were working on stand-alone - supposedly anyway - but it was so editorially mandated and forced, it didn't work out that way either. They soon abandoned it all for the sake of bearhugging line-wide crossovers, proving that they never intended to make a convincing effort to make their books accessible again.

And a reboot isn't what Marvel needs. Definitely not a hardcore reboot. If they do need something, it's to clear away the mess from the past decade that began when Quesada took over; that's when they really started unraveling into mishmash. I think the best place to move Spider-Man back to would be the period just before "The Final Chapter" in 1998. That was where Harras, just 4 years after the auspicuous send-off for May Parker, undid her death and brought back the Green Goblin too. Clearing away those kind of mistakes would help tremendously, as would restoring the Spider-marriage. Similarly, they could move back and continue X-Men just before the terrible death of Colossus in 2000, one of the worst death stories ever written, and something that needs to be omitted from continuity. And for Avengers, it could probably be moved back to the Kang War conclusion in 2002. Those are, as far as I can estimate, the best places to restart and what came afterwards at the time could be stricken from the record.

IGN does say that:
...there's little to be gained by rebooting the Marvel Universe so that Peter Parker is back in college and hanging out at the Coffee Bean and the original Uncanny X-Men cast are back in the Xavier Institute. As long as Marvel makes it clear that new readers are being given a clean, fresh start across all titles, audiences will come.
If they'd follow the blueprint draft I've given here, and even replaced the old editorial that's continued with Axel Alonso - possibly even gaining a new ownership like a book publisher who'd work on a new format - then there's a better chance that audiences will come. Moving away from the kind of editors and writers who brought Marvel and DC down to the level they're at today would help tremendously in giving the 2 universes a fighting chance for the new generation.

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If it were me, I'd wipe anything from the mid-90s on, plus some isolated crap before that. Not that it would happen, but if I were asked.

But in the end, I think it's all so far gone that it will always suck. They're reflecting the comic culture at large, the sorry-ass dorks and internet hipsters who are usually anti-religion, anti- conservative, anti- traditional morality and who knows whatever else. It sounds preachy, but this is what I keep encountering, and if anything they're getting more aggressive with time.

I'd just as soon Marvel shut down than see their heritage continue to get trashed.

"As long as Marvel makes it clear that new readers are being given a clean, fresh start across all titles, audiences will come."

No, they won't. They've already got all the 30 and 40 something nerds they're ever going to have. The 20 somethings have no time for them. The teens have no time for them. I wouldn't let my kids anywhere near almost all the PC, far left drek they produce.

Who does that leave to form an audience?

In the store I help out with on New Comic day many customers are using the DC relaunch to drop many Marvel books. We are also getting many younger customers. Marvel with their convoluted storminess that need explanation as was the gist of your post, as well as events that folks need to buy almost every book they publish to follow is turning the Marvel zombies away.

I see Disney as clamping down on the way Marvel works these days. Well at least I can dream...

Bobb

Gentlemen, I have been a long time Marvel reader, circa 1973. In my humble opinion, the problems with marvel have nothing to do with politics, left wing or right wing. In short the problems are:
1) Excessive decompression leading to
2) Crappy stories from
3) Writers who are NOT superhero comic book writers who
4) Thumb their nose at continuity along with
5) Editors that mandate everything be interconnected, and with few exceptions, won't let a book stand on its own feet.

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