Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Marvel NOW?

They've been pelting my email box...wearing away at my curiosity wall. Before DC's New52, my purchases were almost completely Marvel with titles like New Mutants, Deadpool, New Avengers, Thunderbolts and Uncanny X-Force topping my list of must buys....but things were starting to get stale..and overly complicated. Gone were the days when those good ole' mutant boys would pick up a bat and some gloves and just rile each other up before someone like Juggernaut came to ruin the party. It was just no fun. The NEW52 piqued my with characters I was always interested in, but worlds that shifted too wildly from day to day...and were too numerous. HOW MANY EARTHS DO YOU NEEEED??!! Seeking to get back to basics and attract a new generation of readers, the NEW52 was born, and with it came a giant sized press push, which was well deserved for a gutsy move such as revamping your entire comics empire.

In steps Marvel NOW, with wordage in each press release that does not commit to such a radical revamp, but promises endless possibility through fresh ideas and new directions.
Marvel NOW! is the culmination of Marvel ReEvolution, the groundbreaking new initiative to evolve the comic book experience through innovation. “Not only does every book with the Marvel NOW! logo feature a new superstar creative team and blockbuster story, but they also come with all-new incentives for our retailer partners,” explained David Gabriel, Senior Vice-President of Sales, Marvel Entertainment.. “We want to make sure every comic shop nationwide is fully stocked to meet the high demand we’re already seeing for Marvel NOW! And want to make sure their voices are heard throughout this exciting time. Stay tuned for more news on how Marvel will be working directly with retailers to make sure our programs address their needs.”
(Full details from the first press release HERE!) Not sure how keeping comic shops fully stocked with Marvel titles counts as innovation, but we are willing to give this the benefit of the doubt, if not our dollars. Comics are expensive...and we are poor. It's going to take a little more than shouting ALL NEW! ALL DIFFERENT! at me to get my McDonalds moneys. To unravel the mysteries around Marvel NOW, we talked to a friendly industry insider who chose to remain nameless, in the hopes they could explain this effort to us. We'll call them CBI.

Idle Hands: So WHY Marvel NOW?

CBI: It's about saving jobs. Marvel had to do something to boost sales and this sort of "rebooty" kind of event made the most sense. However, the way they have done it, when they need another boost, they can go FULL reboot.

IH: How so?

CBI: Currently this is a moving around of artists and writers to form new teams and adjusting the meds. It is like what "One Year Later" was for DC. They still have yet to go full New52.

IH: OK so they are just shuffling the creatives onto books they haven't been on for the die hards
and restarting numbers for the press?

CBI: Sort of. The people are good people and the teams are good, but it doesn't seem as much of a shock of the new as DC's total reboot.

IH: Of course..and I dont see main stream press latching onto it. So has anything awesome come from this? Any dream pairings you are looking forward to?

CBI: I'm happy to see John Cassaday and Mike Allred at Marvel again. It looks like some good stuff is coming. But the mainstream press isn't that into it yet.

IH: Do you think this event will do anything to bring in new readers?

CBI: It needs a much bigger mainstream press push to do that, but I wouldn't count Marvel out — they do have some great press ties, and they have done it in the past.

From my perspective, it is odd that sales would need a perking up at a time when The Avengers is all anyone can talk about. Marvel Comics t shirts are absolutely everywhere, but Disney doesn't seem to know how to translate that into comic book sales. Stranger still, they seem to cut down efforts to tie those movie and comic book worlds together. The cartoon series Super Hero Squad was an excellent starter kit for kids to be raised on Marvel characters with content squeaky clean enough for any household and designs pulled right from the books. Commercials for a new video game staring these characters can be seen on cartoon loving channels, but sadly, the Super Hero Squad tv show has been cancelled. On that same note, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has been celebrated as Marvel's own Justice League Unlimited (DC's long dead, wildly successful & most loved animated series to date), as we were getting an animated show utilizing the full breathe of the Marvel Universe centered around a very popular super team with designs from the comics. The powers that be deemed this show too complicated for kids and are rolling out a new series closer resembling their movie universe. This is where you go ???!!??!! and flail your arms. Two perfect opportunities to tie their most successful endeavors to their long running source material in the hopes of hooking those eager, little minds and they toss it.

What Marvel hopes to accomplish through this latest event is anyone's guess, but one thing is for certain...folks who don't already buy comics are not taking notice. Here's a visual run down of the Marvel NOW lineup announced to date...

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