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Tuesday, February 17, 2015 

Does Marvel want X-Men to fail? It already is, just like the rest of their output

Vox is writing about X-Fans who think there's a conspiracy to destroy the X-Men, even though their editors have accomplished this long ago, when they produced their variant covers for the speculator market in 1991. It begins with:
The X-Men ruled the world before the Avengers, Marvel's new A-Team, were even a glimmer of a thought in director Joss Whedon's head.

But there's been anger brewing over the past few years. X-Fans have been more vocal about being neglected. They claim they are the casualties of Marvel's fragmented movie rights. Their books, they say, have gone stale, and are no longer the focus of Marvel's plan, because Marvel isn't making big money off of X-Men movies.

And they claim that Marvel is putting this 51-year-old franchise on the back burner so that it can promote other teams like the Guardians of the Galaxy, which the company fully owns the film rights to. (Guardians' $94-million opening weekend probably felt like another nail in the coffin.)
But the X-books turned stale over 2 decades ago, becoming one of the first victims of too many company wide crossovers. And if the fans are so bothered about neglect, why do they keep buying the books till the bitter end? Admittedly, this has been changing - the X-Men are hardly ever in the top 5 on the charts anymore - but there's still plenty who just buy, buy, and buy no matter the script quality. If they're so worried about neglect, why didn't they say so back in 1992 after Chris Claremont left? Even before that, his talent was beginning to slip.

It's said Marvel wants to downplay marketing for some of the properties they have whose movie rights are owned by Sony and Fox, in hopes it'd hurt the films and ensure the movie rights return to them (and Sony did at least half that favor by loaning back the film rights to Spider-Man). But if that really is their intention, then the joke's on them. In an era where nobody cares about the zygote, the only thing that'll hurt the movie adaptations is the quality of the screenplay, ditto the audience reception. The article continues to say:
From a completely cynical and business perspective: it's in Marvel's best interest for Sony and Fox to lose their rights to their big characters, because it would mean that Marvel would reclaim those popular, money-making franchises.

But there's also another layer to this: Marvel is also a comic book company. It's in control of the source material that Sony and Fox use, and it has say when it comes to cartoons, toys, and licensing. And this makes some X-Men and Fantastic Four fans nervous because Marvel could, if it wanted to, downplay their favorite characters by limiting the merchandise.
But to actually regain rights to moviemaking, the film series would have to lose popularity, and thus, money grosses. So this doesn't make much sense, even from a business perspective.

As for merchandise, that doesn't necessarily affect the publication of the comics series they're based on, although you could easily argue it does limit wider recognizability in the public eye. But it's really all the different comics series that matter, not the toys and cartoons. If fans are complaining about the vanishing merchandise, why worry about that? It's the zygote that matters, because that's where the real entertainment was supposed to be found, along with plenty of other stuff you wouldn't find in the toys. And they have been pretty awful for over a decade. Speaking of which:
The story lines involving the X-Men could be taken as affronts. In 2005, Marvel implemented the "Decimation" storyline, where Scarlet Witch (an Avenger) altered reality and took away powers from over 90 percent of the mutant population. This eventually resulted in the deaths of some mutants, as well as classic mutants like Jubilee — a long-standing member of the X-Men — losing their powers.

New mutants wouldn't start showing up again until 2010, after the "Second Coming" story arc. That was followed by the "Avengers vs. X-Men" crossover event in 2012, which ended with five X-Men going power-hungry and turning into villains (X-Men fans don't really like it when Avengers beat up on X-Men). And further, the franchise's 50th birthday was marked by an event called "Battle of the Atom," largely seen by X-Men fans as underwhelming.

When you look at the big Marvel news over the past few months, you'll notice that the X-Men — save for a Storm solo series — have largely been absent. In July, Marvel announced that Thor would be a woman. The company followed that a day later when it announced that Captain America would be black. Aside from the Storm solo series, the next big event for the X-Men will be the death of Wolverine — but, again, neither of those events got the kind of buzz that Marvel got with Thor and Captain America.
X-fans didn't like it when Spider-Man beat a few X-Men in the original Secret Wars back in 1984 either. And Avengers fans don't really like it vice-versa. Secret Wars, in retrospect, was a divisive concept that ruined organic storytelling in the long run for many mainstream superheroes, and today turns up at least twice a year to crowd out creative freedom from superhero comics. Even some smaller companies have inexplicably fallen victim to the mentality, with the new Valiant recently publishing at least one based on an older crossover their predecessor published around 1994 called Unity, proving they don't have faith in their products to sell without it. This is partly due to their insistence on sticking with the old model of pamphlets and not restructuring.

I'm amazed they're willing to bring up Decimation as a bad example in corporate storytelling. Along with House of M, this was one of the worst, most pointless ideas they've turned out, and even risks making Scarlet Witch look worse than need be, if that was her who altered reality, using powers she never had before. Speaking of which, Brian Bendis, the writer who contrived all that is quoted saying:
"I was told when I started writing the X-Men that there is a very small part of the readership that feels very persecuted," Brian Michael Bendis, one of Marvel's star writers wrote in June, addressing rumors of an X-Men cancellation. "[T]hese readers think that Marvel hates the X-Men with a fiery passion and are looking to destroy it... so even though the best artists on the planet and franchise writers have been put in charge of this very important part of the Marvel universe, some people still think that Marvel is out to blow its own foot off," he added.
"Persecuted"? Nobody but the silliest think Marvel is doing that, especially not when there's a whole archive of past stories they could read instead of the atrocious new ones. What they do think is that Marvel is turning out nothing but horrible, meaningless stories today, yet the audience still left continues to buy them regardless. It's that very addiction that now makes it easy for an uncaring editorial to publish shiploads of poor writing and shove it down the throats of a readership issuing empty complaints, since they won't stop buying the books.
Bendis writes the wildly fun All-New X-Men comic. And devout X-Men fans would point you to the fact that All-New X-Men has curiously been a vehicle for crossovers with other Bendis comics like Guardians of the Galaxy (which Marvel owns the rights to) and Ultimate Spider-Man.
Just what we should've expected. No matter how bad Bendis' writing really is, with the women given very bad characterization, Vox has no intention of going hard on him. Unlike the GOTG movie, I wouldn't count on Bendis' rendition to be any good.
What you also have to consider is if Marvel is still a comic company first, or if it is positioning itself to be more of a general entertainment company. Is it still making the bulk of its money from comic books, or has it decided that movies are really the future? If Marvel still thinks of itself as a comic book company, then you could still conceivably see investment being poured into X-Men titles because they sell. If it happens that Marvel transitions into a movie-first company, then it could, if it wanted to, start cutting X-Men titles.
They have decided the latter a long time ago. But that's still no excuse for awful writing back in the comics.

And maybe they are stuck in a pattern where they can't make a choice which kind of company they'd like to be. But if they really have so little faith in their zygote, then by all means, they should cease to publish comics, and few would see their closure as a bad thing after all the horrible stuff they've put out since the turn of the century.
In a way, the fact that Marvel didn't have the rights to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, or X-Men has motivated the company to gamble, take chances, and fully flesh out characters that may not have had the same gravitas as its well-known heroes. If Marvel had kept the rights to all of its characters, it's unlikely the company would make a Guardians movie, talk about a Black Panther movie, or give Black Widow the platform to become as popular as she is today. We'd probably be watching X-Men 33: Wolverine Does Something Again.
Oh, I think they would. But while touting its lesser known creations is admirable on the surface, that doesn't mean it should come at the expense of their more famous creations, and if the declining sales charts say something, the writing for their books based on 3rd tiers isn't impressing anyone as much as the movies are.
On the other side of that, you have to feel for fans of comic books like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. They know that their titles probably aren't high up on the list of Marvel's priorities, and it's probably not in Marvel's best interests to give either franchise a fantastic, popular storyline that could be turned into a movie when there are other properties where that storyline would benefit the company more.
Actually, after all the awful, dreary stories they've turned out, that's why canceling FF was a blessing, and if X-Men and Spider-Man get canceled, that wouldn't phase many at this point either. Marvel's modern editors and publishers are a very bad lot, insulting fans to no end, and successfully alienated many casual readers from the market in the past decade while winning over no new ones. In fact, the FF have been noticeably absent from a few of their recent planned books where you might think they'd make use of them, among other projects. But with such awful scriptwriting quality, that's why it won't matter much anymore. Marvel's modern staff has only done what they could to gradually encourage our departure.

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Just more evidence that the comics are irrelevant and obsolescent, and that they exist solely as IP for the parent companies, as a source for adaptation to other media.

You'd think with the country's now rampant obsession with racial politics, the X-Men would be more popular, not less. Especially as Marvel has shifted X-Men toward that way in recent years. And yet, not so much, it seems.

But anyway, second what the first poster said, it's all about media points now.

See, I'm not convinced that Marvel are out to destroy the Fantastic Four or X-Men. I think it's much worse: they don't give a damn if they live or die- particularly the Fantastic Four, which has needed new life breathed into it for far too long. That's why the X-Men have been more or less pushed out of most of the bigger events in the last few years (save AXIS, but that seems to affect the Avengers more than the X-Men), and Marvel haven't been too keen to resurrect the Fantastic Four.

What's your thoughts on Spidey coming into the MCU, while we're at it. We seem to be getting a new Spidey-Writer in May, is this a move by Marvel to prep Spidey for the MCU?

Spidey joining the rest of the movie MCU does look interesting on the surface, but after cinema Gwen Stacy was wiped out in the last Spidey film, I don't know how well it'd hold up.

As for the comics, if Dan Slott is leaving, it's about time, given how awful he is, but it's still clear his successor won't be any better.

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