All of us have holiday traditions: some of us watch A Charlie Brown Christmas each year, some of politely ask the Big 2 to make some changes to their comic lines to please our interests. Wanna guess which one we are doing today?
A number of our staffers have shared what they’re hoping Marvel does in 2016 – read what they have to say, and share your own wishes in the comments!
Like, just stop doing crossovers.
I know that’s a heavy wish to ask for a company that is allegedly making BANK on their Secret Civil Contest crossovers or whatever, but as a whole Marvel comics need to calm down for a little bit before the next big event. Even the current reboot feels super rush since we’re still allegedly in the middle of a big event. I was pretty pro-Marvel this time last year but the four months or so where most Marvel comics were “Armor Wars” or “Civil War” made me want to tear my hair out. I love crossover events, I consider them to be comics’ pay-per-view equivalent in my ongoing comparison between comics and wrestling, but you don’t need to drag everything down in order to sell how big a storyline is.
I’ve been “covering” (writing dick jokes) Marvel’s events since “Original Sin” and even though “Secret Wars” is the objective best out of everything I’ve covered, it’s the most painful to get through because at least with “AXIS” I could read “Young Avengers” or whatever else was around that didn’t have to do with Nazi tentacles. And even the titles that was pretty pro-Nazi tentacle could further its own story. Taking the “Spider-Verse” approach to crossovers just brought everything to a stand still while we pretended the main “Secret Wars” series would end on time. Okay, maybe I’m asking for Marvel to cut down on how invasive their tie-ins are rather than quit making crossovers entirely, but I still feel so battered from “Old Man Logan” that I just want a break.
Alright, Marvel you granted my wish from years past regarding the “Doctor Strange” series which probably has more to do with you casting the alien from Sherlock in your tentpole movie than it has to do with you reading this website. But, if you’re reading this, give Punisher 2099 his own series. You could make it one of those trendy post-post-modern ones where he just hangs around at his barista day job and shrugs whenever a bad guy shows up. Whatever. Just add to my collection of Punisher 2099 comics. He’s shown back up in “Spider-Verse” and “Contest of Champions” but brother, that just ain’t enough.
Don’t Cast A White Iron Fist
That’s just going to open a whole kettle of fish for you. Please save yourself the trouble and realize you can cast white people in other projects. Like me in the Punisher 2099 movie coming out in 2020.
Push Your Current Talent To The Moon
So you put Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez in charge of making “Civil War II”. Great, whatever. It’ll make money and we’ll get a couple dozen page hits from me making fun of whatever Cyclops is doing in that. But really take a look at what creators are on fire for you right now and see if you can make them your new “Marvel Architects.” Put Al Ewing on an “Avengers” crossover, capitalize on how popular Erica Henderson is and see if she’ll do some work on one of your flagship titles. Hell, “Power Man & Iron Fist” looks hype as what. Let Sanford Greene and David Walker build that into some “Shadowland” style mini-crossover with “Ms. Marvel” and “Howard the Duck” or something. With your big events writers like Remender and Hickman on the outs, now’s the time to capitalize on the new wave of talent coming in, making incredibly popular books, so you can trust them to work on your future events when you run out of old dudes. If you ever run out of old dudes, I guess.
Ken Godberson III:
Enough of this $4.99 First Issue Nonsense
Not one of these #1s have been worth their $4.99 price tag. Let’s face it: comics aren’t cheap. But you know what doesn’t help: making your first issues overpriced so anyone that who was hesitating will decide to not even bother with it. I get it: You’re not selling to customers, you’re selling to retailers but this is not a viable long-term strategy. Why not show a bit of good faith in your product and sell these oversized books at the price of a regular. If you’ve, you know, done your job and actually produced quality content that will make people want to come back for more, then it shouldn’t be a problem!
Alice W. Castle:
Calm It With The World-Changing Events Already
In the light of the announcement of “Civil War II: The Movie Cash-In-Ening” this is kind of a moot point, but give it a rest, lads. We’re two months into All-New, All-Different Marvel and not only do things feel barely new and not at all different, “Secret Wars” still hasn’t wrapped and won’t until next year.
Marvel’s kind of stuck with the opposite problem as DC. While DC’s core books feel stagnant and like their attempts at reinvention fall flat, Marvel has gone through so much reinvention that I’ve almost entirely disengaged from their universe because it feels like everything is just going to upended in a couple of months because why bother caring about anything if it’s just going to away, you know?
This is especially true now that Marvel’s trying to sell us on this new Marvel Universe (which, as far as I can tell, is only marginally different to the old Marvel Universe) while simultaneously telling us to get ready for everything to change because of “Civil War II” in a few months.
You can’t keep changing the status quo without establishing one first, guys.
Go Weird With The Star Wars Books
Obviously, with so much oversight from Disney and Lucasfilm, this is a tough one, but one of the things that’s kind of getting me down about the Star Wars books is how safe they’re starting to feel. With “Star Wars” and “Darth Vader” being the two main ongoings and having them be set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back there’s a sense that they’re constrained creatively be the inevitability of the stories they need to tie into.
With something like “Kanan” there’s a bit more leeway as it focuses on characters whose stories don’t feel so intimately mapped out and, obviously, with something like “Shattered Empire” the wealth of stories that could be told after Return Of The Jedi makes it feel inherently fresh. I want to see more of this. We’re getting it to a degree with the “Obi-Wan & Anakin” series as it takes place between The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones and that’s a time period that hasn’t been explored in the new canon, but I want to see more.
I want the release of The Force Awakens to be followed by the announcement of a whole slew of new comics set in that thirty year gap. I want the new canon history of the Old Republic. I want to see those parts of the Star Wars history that canon hasn’t touched yet get mined in the comics. I want them to stop playing so safe by just connecting the dots between established events in characters’ lives.
Jeff Lemire, the once-indie darling, finds himself an Omega-Level Marvel Mastermind now, scripting four (FOUR!) titles smack at the center of the U: “All-New Hawkeye,” “Extraordinary X-Men,” “Old Man Logan,” and “Moon Knight.” How do you make sure a company man with that workload doesn’t end up going through the motions in his day job while pouring his heart, soul, guts, and tears into creator-owned “Descender” and “Plutona” at Image, not to mention his Valiant work?
Take a lesson from Lemire’s flurry of activity at DC after “Sweet Tooth.” The critical reaction to his output on “Superboy,” “Frankenstein,” “Animal Man,” “Justice League Dark,” “Green Arrow,” “Teen Titans Earth One,” and “Constantine” was mixed, but I sensed a pattern. Where Lemire seemed steered to engineer Perfunctory Superhero Tasks, his works could feel uninspired. But given license to play up his mastery of the echoes of loss in “The Underwater Welder,” the barebones psychology within the strangeness of an apocalyptic, supernatural, or scifi exterior in “Trillium,” the aches of parental longing, sentimental attachment, childlike wonder, and profound alienation of our inner orphan in “Essex County” (sniff— is someone cutting onions around here?)… free Jeff Lemire as a storyteller, and he will do well by your characters.Continued below
Marvel seems hip to the vision of what Lemire could bring, putting him on titles with sufficient weirdness and gut-wrench potential to let his talents shine. Let’s see if Lemire’s part in “Civil War II” ends with a close-up of a single tear falling down Old Man Logan’s face, balefully mourning his estrangement from Jeannie. I’m a sucker. I’ll buy it.
Be bold with the Star Wars line
I’ve really enjoyed the new Star Wars line under Marvel this year. I appreciate the high quality creative teams and the chance to interact with the canon in new and exciting ways. However, I hope that in a post The Force Awakens world, Marvel will take a large step outside of the prequel/original trilogy eras. I especially hope to see the main Star Wars book move forward, either to post-Empire, post-Jedi, or perhaps even the Force Awakens era. As the flagship title, it should be the book to blaze a trail into the future of Star Wars stories. Also, bring back Stuart Immonen.
Get back to what made you great:
I recently had a conversation with a friend about Marvel vs. DC, in terms of what sets the companies apart from one another, and I posited that it comes down to one very simple fact: Marvel heroes were supposed to remind us of ourselves, and DC heroes were supposed to be aspirational. Obviously, that’s shifted a bit over the past few decades, but I think, ultimately, it’s the same. No one wants to be the Hulk, or be discriminated against because you’re a mutant, or get frozen for 20 years and lose everyone you cared about – but when those things happen, Marvel is there to tell those stories.
I feel like, aside from creating more opportunities for their entire reading audience to see themselves in their heroes, Marvel has completely gotten away from this over the past few years. In fact, their best books all somewhat run away from this idea; I loved “The Vision” with all my heart and soul, but that’s not a book I can relate to, ditto the current iterations of “Thor,” or “Iron Man,” or, really, anything. (Maybe “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” is the closest thing we have to ‘true to life’ character, and that’s a fucking girl who is best friends with a squirrel)
Make the books about ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances again, and you’ll find the heart of your line that seems to have gone missing.