Wednesday, September 29, 2010
ALL PULP has a nice little interview with Mike McGee, co-creator and writer of the world's best comics magazine starring a gorilla super-scientist in a wrestling mask (who also happens to be a rock star). You may have to scroll down a bit, but it's worth the three seconds of effort, trust me.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Though probably not in the way you're thinking. Unless you were. In which case I apologize for making you think of the other thing, because that thing? It does not bear thinking about it. Unless you're into it. If you are, go ahead with your bad self. Ahead away from me. Far away.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Interesting (and informative) rundown on DC's newly streamlined business model in the wake of the dissolution of Wildstorm et al. over here at Comics Alliance. Personally, I think it's a good thing that DC seems to be attempting to whip itself into something approaching fighting trim. Granted, it probably means we'll be seeing a lot of similarities between the future output of the Big Two as DC attempts to hijack some of Marvel's more profitable concepts (and vice-versa), but it might also foster some creativity in terms of new product.
It'll also, unfortunately, likely lead to a far greater number of cancelled titles overall as the company focuses more on profit. As we all know, in the world of professional publishing, what's good often has little to do with what sells.
Then, maybe I'm just a bit cynical.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
There are certain constants in the universe. One of these is that Jonah Hex will straight up murder you Rooster Cogburn style if you get in his damn way.
I just felt that that needed to be said. Feel free to go about your business.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Hey, remember this post? When I mentioned 'that scene'? Yeah, I found it.
Tastes like chicken!
That's MODOK getting eaten by Cottonmouth and Death Adder. Yeah. You're welcome. Happy Friday.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
So, its been recently revealed that after the whole Shadowland cross-over ends, Daredevil will be replaced as the 'Man Without Fear' by the Black Panther.
I mean, Francisco Francavilla on the art is pretty hard NOT to be excited about, I admit. Dude can draw. And, I'm not all that enamoured of the current ninja-wrangling, Kingpin fightin' version of Daredevil who's been around quite long enough, thankyouverymuch.
Still, the Black Panther? T'challa, king of an African nation, is going to patrol the streets of Hell's Kitchen? Is this a call-back to that time when the character was a school-teacher in the inner city? You know that time that doesn't make a lot of sense in regards to the character and was done because the writers couldn't figure out what to do with him until Don McGregor came along? Or maybe it's an attempt to spark some renewed interest in the character ala Hercules in The Incredible Hulk/Incredible Hercules. Cause if so, fine. Makes sense.
Still, it's a bit of an odd choice. You've got home-grown heroes who would fit better, story-wise, I think. Characters that could use a bump in reader interest, and might make a better fit, baggage-wise. Kasper Cole, for instance. Who remembers him? Anybody? What about Joe Smith, whom I always thought was a neat character, with an interesting gimmick. I mean, the Black Panther is cool and all, but doesn't he still HAVE his own title? Will we have two Black Panthers?
Personally, I'd have gone for door number three. Just saying.
Monday, September 13, 2010
First off, we're back to regularly scheduled programming. The move went swell, the interwebs is connected once more, and here I am.
Secondly, go read this. It's a post by Carla Hoffman for Robot 6 over at CBR. Insightful, if a bit thin in places, and generally I get what she's saying. I don't necessarily agree with her, but I'm not disputing her point. At least not here and now.
It did get me thinking, however, about mascots and market brands and identifiers and all that Business 101 jazzola. Spider-Man is, unequivocally, THE brand at Marvel. He's the mascot, he's the 'spokesperson', he's the character with the greatest name brand recognition in the company's creative holdings (you could argue that Wolverine has usurped that position, to some extent, but that's another post for another time). What Superman is to DC, Spider-Man is to Marvel.
So why don't they market him more effectively?
In terms of issue sales, beyond the odd spike, Spider-Man is on the mid-list. Neither the worst or the best. He's popular with the fans, but that doesn't necessarily translate to sales. He's marketed to children, but badly, with several cancelled cartoon series and no animated films to speak of, a lethargic toy line and a string of so-so video-games (though SHATTERED DIMENSIONS does look cool). As a film franchise, he's getting rebooted for reasons which are, at best, an attempt to capture the Zeitgeist of twenty minutes ago and at worst a delaying action for the inevitable FURTHER reboot which will come when Marvel gets the film rights back.
Oh, and the musical, of course, which is already being heralded as a flop in some places.
My question is why? Why, as a flagship brand, isn't Spider-Man pushed harder? Why do the attempts to expand the brand into other media seem to fall flat, even as the comic book series itself varies between popularity and 'also-published'? Why push Deadpool or Wolverine more than the flagship character? Is it all really down to sales? And if so, why not simply work to improve the sales by diversifying and testing the brand (Spider-Man/Wolverine, Spider-Girl, Spider-Man: Noir, Spider-Woman are all existing properties. Why not add new ones? Spider-Man: Pulp, Spider-Man and the Marvel Knights, Spider-Man Team-Up, Green Goblin, The Sinister Syndicate, Kingpin, etc.) as they do with both of those characters?
Granted, there are quite likely a dozen solid reasons for most of these things that have nothing to do with the brand itself so much as the media type in question that its been licensed for. However, it would seem to me that Marvel would benefit by pushing the brand harder than they seem to be interested in doing. Why focus so much attention on the existing (and dwindling) market-base, when you could be building a new one?
Where's Spider-Man's Smallville? If you want to capture the tween-teen market, why not take a page out of Time-Warner's playbook and do a show based on Spider-Man's early high-school years as he comes to terms with his newfound abilities and navigates sudden popularity (or continued unpopularity)? Heck, use the first twelve issues of Ultimate Spider-Man as a template, and there you go.
If a Saturday morning cartoon isn't working (and if it's not, why haven't you gone to Cartoon Network yet?), why not market a line of direct to video animated films, each focusing on a particular storyline with all that Disney magic backing you up (they've done it for everybody but Spider-Man, seemingly)? Where's the all-ages Spider-Man comic digest that gets stocked at the grocery store check-out lines like Archie? Where's the subscription magazine that includes puzzles, games and comic strips? Where're the tie-in novels for young readers (and older readers)? Where's the damn toy line?
These are the questions that occur to me, when I read articles like Ms. Hoffman's, or when I read about dwindling sales or failing franchises. Unfortunately, I don't actually have any answers, or even any opinions, really. Nor, indeed, criticisms. Ultimately, responsibility for the brand rests with its owners, who can wield it as they see fit.
Still, sometimes I simply feel like asking the question, even if I don't get an answer.