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Monday, June 08, 2015 

Some "big" changes, I'll bet

USA Today wrote a predictably puffed up take on Marvel's new planned universe and the "big" changes in store:
For the first time, the top publisher in the industry is freshening up its entire superhero line with 55 to 60 No. 1 issues for its books, old and new, to attract newbies and hardcore readers alike to a single, streamlined Marvel Universe of heroes and villains.
Correction: a busload of numero unos whose goal is to attract speculators under the false perception they'll be worth millions in another century.
Icons such as Iron Man (in a new suit of armor) and Spider-Man, plus characters like the Vision, Steve Rogers, Agent Coulson, Ant-Man and Black Panther who have an appeal for fans of the Marvel movies, all play important roles in the upcoming slate of stories.
They may have appealed to moviegoers as cast members of a celluloid production, but it's long been apparent almost no moviegoers have ever cared about the comics, so why do they still cling to the quixotic assumption the moviegoers will convert to the comics?
Miles Morales, Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, female Thor, Ms. Marvel and the current Captain America Sam Wilson are diverse and popular takes on classic heroes who also will be integral to this updated Marvel U, but fans can expect to see even more different supporting players like Red Wolf, a 21st-century version of Marvel's first Native American superhero from the 1970s.
If the "diverse" takes on established Marvel superheroes are planned to be the replacements for their predecessors (including the Muslim Ms. Marvel, who's seen in a promo picture they have), that'll only ensure fewer moviegoers still have any interest. Besides, there's still been no guarantee that good writing will accompany any of this farce.
"We've put the onus on the creators to come up with big changes in the lives of our characters, whether it's Spider-Man or Ms. Marvel or Daredevil or the Hulk," says Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso. "You're going to be looking at, in certain cases, new characters inhabiting those roles, and new characters dealing with profound changes in the relationships with others around them and where they live.

"We've challenged everybody to come up with the right 'Oh (expletive)' reveal for their character to shake it up and make it interesting."

The "All-New All-Different Marvel" initiative involves the company's best and brightest writers, including Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, G. Willow Wilson, Mark Waid, Dan Slott, Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire, plus newer faces as well — UFC fighter and former pro wrestler CM Punk is penning a book starring Drax of Guardians of the Galaxy, and Alonso says to expect novelists and a next generation of talent exhibiting "diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity."
Now they're really being dishonest with anybody who still reads USA Today. Bendis, Slott, Wilson, and even Aaron are not what I'd call best or bright, and they certainly aren't honest or respectable. Waid was once known for turning out decent fare but has since degenerated into knee-jerk hack writing, and become very disrespectful of the audience. As for diversity? It's been apparent for years it's only selective.
The relaunched titles this fall take place eight months after the conclusion of Secret Wars, according to Alonso. Whether there's a new creative team on the book or not, the first scene of each No. 1 will establish the hero or super-team's current status quo and hint at the fact that something's happened to change the lives of the characters in a meaningful way.

"The real beauty of that is if you're one of these fans who've been around for many years, it's a great, exciting mystery," says David Gabriel, Marvel's senior vice president for sales and marketing. "And if you're these new fans who maybe only jumped in this year when you saw the Avengers movie, you'll be able to pick up any of these comics and you will not need to know 50 years of backstory of anybody."
At this point, it's clear that, if there's anything else the Big Two have gone overboard with besides darkness, jarring violence and ultra-leftist politics, it's mystery, particularly whenever they publish a crossover like Armageddon. Gabriel's comment has nothing to say about writing merits for title-by-title, and nothing they've been doing for the past several years has had any meaning to it.

The statement about nobody needing to know anything about past storytelling and backstory is insulting too, because it's just another way of saying they don't think modern readers care about history and past products. What if new readers do want to read old stories and see what the cast of characters was like over 50 years ago? That never factors in here.
Alonso admits that the past year has been "tremendous" for getting new eyeballs on Marvel characters, especially with its female-led comics. The relaunched Thor comic— starring a hammer-wielding heroine that was recently revealed as Jane Foster — tripled its readership and sold more than 200,000 copies of its first issue in 2014. Spider-Gwen, which featured a parallel-universe version of Gwen Stacy spinning webs instead of Peter Parker, was even more successful, launching with more than 250,000 copies of its No. 1 in February.
Naturally, the steep drops and cancellations of a few of their titles with female leads recently like She-Hulk and Capt. Marvel is obscured by the reporter, and no questions asked whether 200,000 is awfully miniscule compared to other mediums selling in much higher numbers.
And there are major upcoming debuts in the works, including the introduction of a new Wolverine in the Marvel Universe and an "incredible Hulk like no fan has ever seen before," Alonso says. "That's certain to be a topic of conversation. All the same people who yelled about female Thor are going to do the same thing about this Hulk.

However, he adds, "they're going to read the story and go, 'Oh God, they're on to something!'"
What if they decide the opposite? We've heard all this ridiculous hype before, and it's terrible how they take advantage of gullible people. If the Hulk turns out to be a victim of shoddy diversity, much like Thor, nobody should spend money on the upcoming book. Unfortunately, there's still plenty of gullibles out there who certainly will, and won't save their money for any better books from smaller publishers.

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I don't know about ultra-left or ultra-right policies, but I do know stagnation and the inability to continue to press forward when I see it, and they've dropped the ball since they wound up wrecking so many interesting storylines from past books for stuff that seems copied from small-town headlines.

As for Ms. Marvel, I find both her and Squirrel Girl irritating and sickening as Marvel's attempts to sell books that are on the lighter side of things. It's not because Kamala is Muslim that I don't like her (and speaking of Muslims, you do know M is one, right?), my reasons are more base than simple religious or ethnic clashes. I find both characters to be unfunny, surrounded by forgettable supporting roles, have lackluster powers, their antics get old real quick, have whatever guest stars they meet up with become idiotic syncopates, are not indicative of what my idea of a teenage superhero should be or does (it should be more along the lines of the likes of Mighty Max), and the only comic I would read about those two is them getting chopped and sliced up at the hands of Mojo's latest film production (the one from the Longshot miniseries, not the drooling idiotic funny man from Claremont's X-Men series).

...what's the matter, too brutal and crude?

And if Mr. Green and others complain that I'm focusing on creations only and not creators, then I amend my previous comment with the following sentence:

And that goes double for all those who worked on those two characters: writers, editors, pencillers, and all!

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