The late ’80s Alan Moore-ification of comics seems to have been a post-modern “Why do we even have superheroes” thing. This takedown of the genre that people really bought into, and then 10 years later you’re reading a black-and-white indie comic of some guy breaking up with his girlfriend and you realize that superhero comics became passé.
I just feel like it wouldn’t be that hard for Marvel publish a Chris Ware book. They can afford it! Of course, I’m reaching for names here, of people who would have no interest in doing a Marvel Comic. But I don’t know if you ever saw those Strange Tales anthologies that Marvel did with James Kochalka and Peter Bagge, that sort of thing. But people have a story to tell, there’s still interest to care a little bit. Marvel did publish a few of these, to their credit, but I think what happens is they put them out and it doesn’t sell as much as X-Men Vs. Avengers #16 and they cancel it.
They don’t have to create new characters to generate movie IP at this point. They have plenty of backlog; but it’s been about 30 years since they’ve created a character of any lasting value. Maybe Deadpool was the last one. Or Elektra, which was 32 years ago! And I just think I’ve turned into a bit of a crank on this topic. But you know, a friend of mine who has done some work for Marvel had a good way of putting it; he said “Marvel Entertainment is like this really nice expensive big restaurant, and Marvel Comics is the cigarette machine in the lobby that every once in awhile the owners shake for change to see what comes out.” And as long as the comics are profitable, who cares beyond that, you know?
Daniel Brockman can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
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