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Monday, January 20, 2014 

Robert Kirkman attacks Marvel's incompetence

At the Image Expo convention, Kirkman, the author of The Walking Dead, was critical of Marvel, whom he used to work for himself:
A fan asks if Kirkman has "bad blood" with Marvel. "I don't have bad blood with Marvel per se, aside from the fact that I think they're a poorly run company that is partially destroying the comic book industry," he answers. Kirkman says he think there are a lot of good people in the company, and they publish good material, but their upper management is "extremely short-sighted" with negative effects on the industry, and the fanbase Marvel caters to, which Kirkman counts himself among, "is not going to be around for a hundred years." "I always try to look at the long game," he says. Every time he's critical of Marvel, Kirkman says, it's because he loves them, and wishes they were doing a better job.
Exactly what any sensible Marvel fan thinks. There's one drawback, though: his work at Marvel, like Irredeemable Ant-Man, Marvel Zombies and Ultimate X-Men, could be pretty bad too. IIRC, the Ant-Man series, which didn't last long, came not too long after the time when the Wasp was put in death limbo for a time, and was built along that premise. A very bad way to launch a series, and just why we wish they were doing a better job. Even Kirkman.

Save for that, the declaration is justified, and I'll be happy if he views DC the same way, because for every bad move Marvel makes, DC's modern management often tries to do much worse, and not just in terms of marketing, but in terms of storytelling, their main mistake. DC's just as responsible for destroying comicdom as Marvel is.

As for the fanbase, which one are they really catering to? I'd say it's the ones who buy no matter the scriptwriting quality, speculators included, right down to the horrible crossovers they do virtually every year now. The ones who buy Spider-Man long after the marriage was trashed, and who continued to buy it when Dr. Octopus took over. The ones who continued buying Avengers long after Brian Bendis reduced it to juvenile grime. And the ones who were quite fine with turning Charles Xavier into a PC sacrifice. That's the "fanbase" they're selling to. But not whom I would want to. IMO, it's a very dumb move to pander to lowlifes, because that's exactly what gives the medium such a bad name. The crowd I'd want to market to if I were a company exec would be one that cares about all the characters and wants them all to have good writing renditions so they'll have reason to care. One that wants to good writing that doesn't rely on publicity stunts and crossovers, and does wish for plausible character drama, along with introducing new recurring casts. That's what a real company exec would do, unlike Dan Buckley, who certainly isn't.

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Kirkman gets it right, although remember that he did, not too long ago, provide lip service for Inferior Spider-Man.

Kirkman is right about at least one thing: the fanbase (such as it is) is not going to be around forever. And the medium can't attract new fans, because the line-wide crossovers and tie-ins, long story arcs, and constant reboots and retcons make the comics inaccessible. Also, the graphic sex and violence make them unsuitable for kids, while the general silliness of the plots make them unsuitable for adults.

Hey, Avi, hear about this?


Yeah, I just posted a topic about it.

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