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  1. #1
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    Default Tilting at Windmills - Jul 27, 2012

    Brian Hibbs looks at everything we know about Marvel NOW! at this point and while he has high hopes for it, he finds himself having difficulty finding a hook to sell his customers on the publisher's post-AvX reboot.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
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    I used the New 52 as a jumping off point and I am considering doing the same thing with Marvel NOW! The $3.99 price being one of the main reasons why. Let's use Jonathan Hickman on Avengers as an example. Avengers is going to come out twice a month. The same writer is on New Avengers and we have been told that the books are going to be connected. So if a reader wants to follow the Avengers they are being asked to spend twelve dollars a month. That seems excessive and that is just one title. I know this is a tired and old complaint but I just don't like paying $3.99 for 1/6 of a story. Marvel really need to tighten up their arcs and pack as much as possible into their books if they want to keep me as a reader.

    If all of the Marvel NOW! books are going to be priced at $3.99 I think I'm done with Marvel. There's just not enough content to justify that price.

  3. #3
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    I used the DC52 as a jumping ON point, because i always waited for a fresh start. I am pleased with it and still reading 10 titles.

    I will used Marvel AVX and that Now stuff as a jumping OFF point. I cant stand it anymore. I canceld every X-book a year ago and now every Avengers, too. I still read AMS, USM, Ultimates and Daredevil, Deadpool and Brilliant, but i never read less than 13 Marvel books a month. This is the first time since...i dunno...

    I believe Image and independent books will rise further. I am up to 12 independent titles a month, a year ago it was just 4-5. But the rising numbers will not make up for the loss of Marvel readers.

  4. #4

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    If Marvel rebooted I would drop every book that I'm reading. I'm interested in the history of the history and the characters. I'm sick to death of reboots.
    http://blanchett.t15.org
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  5. #5

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    Do the drop in sales take digital into account? I stopped buying comics a long time ago, it's only with the advent of same day digital releases that I started buying again. Even now I'm starting to think of just going for the collected digital editions now they're being released more frequently, more cost effective for me. Marvel Now may well be the jumping off point where I start doing that.

  6. #6
    Sorcerer Supreme JusticeForAll's Avatar
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    AvX is okay - nowhere near as good as it could - or should have been. Maybe having all these writers/artists involved actually hindered the process. I know it ships on time - which given Marvel's track record with Events - but I just think too many cooks...

    There are complaints about $3.99 comics in the US - try living in Australia, where a $3.99 comic costs between $7-$8 - imagine how expensive it gets to collect comics here. In fact, I have been so disillusioned by Marvel over the past few years, I have dropped many, many titles simply because there was nothing exciting or new in them. Just rehashing. I can see me dropping more titles come October. I don't think I'll be getting Cap once Brubaker leaves - depends on the team, but if, as rumoured Remender is taking over...no. I have bad feelings about Avengers Academy lasting. So can see my Marvel pull list consisting of Daredevil and maybe Captain Marvel, but otherwise....that would be it.

    I don't believe I'm alone in these feelings & like Brian says this cannot be a good thing for retailers - just like the lack of decent stories coming out of Marvel isn't good for fans - or comics in general.

  7. #7

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    A few years ago I purchased around 10 or so DC books and about 5 Marvel books a month. But now I'm down to 2 DC and 1 Marvel. I buy around 15 or 20 Independant books now where before I basically only kept up with Hellboy and Nexus. As I've said in other threads, as a long time reader (42 years), ex retailer and creator I have really gotten tired of the rehashed storylines, restarts and reboots! If I wanted to read a story about Thanos beating the crap out of the Marvel Universe I'll just pull out my collection of the 1070's Jim Starlin epic! If I want to read about the Phoenix, I'll read Byrnes X-Men. I find myself always hoping to read something new that is as good as the originals but sadly 99.99% of the time I'm disappointed and on top of that I have wasted $30-40 on the 6 different chapters. The next time I want to read a great Captain America story I'll check in with my good friends Stan and Jack!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by blanchett View Post
    If Marvel rebooted I would drop every book that I'm reading. I'm interested in the history of the history and the characters. I'm sick to death of reboots.
    Same here, a complete re-imagining of the Marvel Universe does not appeal to me at all.

  9. #9

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    These constant "First Issue Launches" aren't really aimed at readers, lapsed it otherwise; they're aimed at the retailers ordering the books. Retailers will automatically order higher numbers of a first issue of Captain America. Even if everyhing else being equal it was essentially issue 23 of the previous series, just now with a big ol' #1 slapped on the cover. Marvel really doesn't care if you sell all those #1s or if they languish in your quarter bins. They already got you to buy the books from them. I'm sure Axel Alonso and Bob Harras would rather just put out a steady stream of "First Issues" and do away with numbering altogether so they could reap higher returns from the retailer chimps.
    Because they're looking at the decades worth of irrefutable data that says the second issue sells less than the first issue, the third issue sells less than the second, the fourth issue--etc, etc. Why on earth would they bother with selling you anything except First Issues? The content inside certainly isn't any better in a First Issue than it is a 21st, or 41st. Hell, the content is identical, Cap throws his shield at somebody, Iron Man shoots some lasers, somebody says something witty and macho like "It's Clobberin' Time!" Other than that, the first and 31st are exactly the same. Except you order more of the First Issue.
    So that's what they're going to sell you.

    Of course, you can hardly tell that to your customer base to get them excited about 'Marvel NOW!'
    "Hey! Guess what! You're an afterthought in Marvel's marketing scheme. Congratulations on your marginalization, stooge."
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  10. #10
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    Did the author here even look at the art for Uncanny Avengers or read a work of the hype for it?

    It is a team of Avengers AND X-Men. THAT's the hook! It isn't hard to sell and it hasn't been done before to this degree.
    Pull List
    Justice League, Action, Superman, Detective, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, GL, WW
    Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Superior Spider-Man, Thor, Uncanny X-Men

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomengine View Post
    Did the author here even look at the art for Uncanny Avengers or read a work of the hype for it?

    It is a team of Avengers AND X-Men. THAT's the hook! It isn't hard to sell and it hasn't been done before to this degree.
    Well that was covered by describing it as an extension of AvX, but your hook is unfortunately why Marvel is failing. They have fallen into a habit of just putting Avengers of X-Men on stuff and hoping it sells. They need more than that. If I walk into a store and hear about this Uncanny Avengers and ask the owner what it's about, what is exciting about it, and all he says is 'well, it has Avengers and X-Men'...

    a) I already buy Avengers and/or X-Men so I may pick it up because I am a sucker for anything Avengers and/or X-Men or I don't because I already collect 10 Avengers and/or X-Men books.

    b) I don't buy Avengers and/or X-Men so the combination of members from those books is not an automatic draw for me.

    For all the things the New 52 failed to live up to, the one thing I think it did right was sell each title. I had a bigger sense of what each character was about before any issue even went to print and that created excitement. Marvel won't reboot because they rely on the history to sell the character even if they don't live up to that history.

    I want to be excited about this, I want a reason to read Marvel comics again, and maybe there will be some great titles that come out of the relaunch, but NOW! as a marketing gimmick isn't doing anything to help me see that.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mundungus's Avatar
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    It's the $3.99 price point and double shipping that is killing me. I would be cooler with 12+ issues a month if the price reflected that. I should not, absolutely not, be paying 3.99 for 20 pages when I can pay 2.99 for 20 pages. Commercial creative teams are great but that is not enough incentive for me.

    And I do not care about having a free digital copy of a book I already own. Does anyone? Unless I give it away to a friend, but where's the incentive for me and Marvel doesn't really benefit because the friend I'm thinking of probably won't go out and buy all of Uncanny X-Force.

    Make the paper stock of single issues cheaper. Whatever it takes. Save the better paper stock for collected editions. 2.99 for 20-pages and 3.99 for 25. I would say 30, because in essence we're paying for 7-pages per dollar, but I'll take what I can get.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_Leader View Post
    Well that was covered by describing it as an extension of AvX, but your hook is unfortunately why Marvel is failing. They have fallen into a habit of just putting Avengers of X-Men on stuff and hoping it sells. They need more than that. If I walk into a store and hear about this Uncanny Avengers and ask the owner what it's about, what is exciting about it, and all he says is 'well, it has Avengers and X-Men'...

    a) I already buy Avengers and/or X-Men so I may pick it up because I am a sucker for anything Avengers and/or X-Men or I don't because I already collect 10 Avengers and/or X-Men books.

    b) I don't buy Avengers and/or X-Men so the combination of members from those books is not an automatic draw for me.

    For all the things the New 52 failed to live up to, the one thing I think it did right was sell each title. I had a bigger sense of what each character was about before any issue even went to print and that created excitement. Marvel won't reboot because they rely on the history to sell the character even if they don't live up to that history.

    I want to be excited about this, I want a reason to read Marvel comics again, and maybe there will be some great titles that come out of the relaunch, but NOW! as a marketing gimmick isn't doing anything to help me see that.
    Apart from the obvious character reboots (Superman, Batman, Flash, etc.), I had no clue what the new books were about. I had a general idea, very much like the hook of Uncanny Avengers (It isn't just a book with Avengers and X-Men in it, it is a team comprised of Avengers AND X-Men, fighting villains from both universes. It has been a dream idea for Marvel readers for ages. It is not a random team-up, but a JLA for Marvel.)

    I can understand why REBOOT has some instant appeal, but after that initial appeal, comes the feeling of loss. The feeling that one has lost something very important. You look at these characters like they have Alzheimer's. You remember the moments and memories with them, but they cannot remember a thing. I tried the reboot for 8 issues. I no longer recognized the characters, these were strangers to me. The entire point of comic books, the entire feature that it has that NO OTHER MEDIUM has is stories that matter from decades ago. A reboot takes comics greatest strength and flushes it down the toilet for a short-term gain. It is the ultimate short-term gain for long-term loss I can think of in the industry. The instant Marvel reboots they will lose me as a reader forever. I have switched to no DC and all Marvel recently, because I too believe continuity matters.

    If your problem is merely one of salesmanship and selling the titles properly a reboot won't fix that. All-New X-Men is another book from NOW that we do know the hook and it is a doozy. The original X-men come from the 60's and join the current X-Men on a permanent basis. That is another huge hook. We don't know much more than that on the other titles because it would give too much away. I think what they are doing is great and I look forward to hearing more. I think a lot of this complaining is just butthurt over wanting to know more, but not being told anything.
    Pull List
    Justice League, Action, Superman, Detective, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, GL, WW
    Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Superior Spider-Man, Thor, Uncanny X-Men

  14. #14
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    This article is basically saying what I wrote here on CBR last month. Marvel's comic business is in trouble. Events & one-off issues aside, a couple of spikes aside, their sales are essentially in free fall. Here's the Uncanny X-Men chart I made last month again:



    That's not guesswork. That's just Excel at work, using the real stats.

    Even with Y2K Morrison/Casey era revamp, #500, and the recent reboot, it's pretty grim. If Uncanny X-Men represent their peak, just imagine how their average or lower selling books are doing. Their threshold for cancellation has gotten pretty low, with 20k sellers like Journey Into Mystery just now getting cancelled. Marvel really does need to do something about changing their business model and soon. The Marvel NOW initiative can only so so much, as it is (afaik) not a nu52-style whole cloth reboot. Otherwise, they're well screwed. The comics end may one day disappear and Marvel will solely produce these characters for film, animation, & games.

    How can they improve sales? Well, I don't really know. I can only speculate and (likely) be wrong. However...

    1. Wider digital distribution. Comixology is all well and fine, but it's just the digital version of a direct market LCS. Marvel needs to reach the digital equivalent of the book store & 7-11 crowd. Marvel had success with bringing comics and trades to the likes of Barnes & Noble's brick & mortar shops. Go digital with that thinking. Movies & music get direct sales & promotion in iTunes these days. Get moving on that. Put comics in the same hands as that massive global audience. Move past Comixology and into the hands of the Amazon & BN.com crowd. Marvel needs to stop thinking so small when it comes to digital.

    2. Incentivize digital. I understand that there are a good number of reasons why comics cost $4 these days. I do. Talent doesn't come cheap. However, there are certain expenses that simply don't exist in the digital world, certain costs that can't be passed down to Marvel from its partners and then back to the consumers on Marvel's part. There are ways to cut cover prices without killing the profit margin. If Marvel's not willing to do that... Give readers free access to select back issues with their purchase of new material. Those old comics aren't costing Marvel anything to print or produce anymore. At most, it's the cost of data storage & bandwidth. Give us that as value added content. Imagine having a new comic that refers to the old Fall of the Mutants story and being able to freely access a comic in that story at no additional cost. Marvel is greedy when it comes to these things. I know. They love to sell their back issues at outrageous prices. However, they might well have to give something to gain something bigger.

    3. Be willing to take a financial hit. Look. I know that games and comics are different businesses. However, I do think that Marvel can stand to learn from the likes of Sony or Microsoft. Those two often end up selling their consoles at a loss because they know that, in the long run, they'll have attracted so many more customers than if they had stayed firm at an even higher price. Marvel needs to take the hit. Bad business in the short term could turn into massive business a year later. Doesn't work? Go back to the old way. In this down economy, they won't know unless they try. People are always saying, "Comics cost too much. I remember when they cost $x.xx." Give them something new to talk about.

    4. Like I said, give them something new to talk about. Marvel NOW, as we've been told, is not a whole cloth relaunch. In a sense, that's a great thing. All of our old stories happened. Characters keep growing. We keep continuity moving forward. All is great... except for sales, maybe. I hate OMD with a passion. I really, really do. However, it's hard to deny what that incalculably evil deus ex machina did to revive the franchise. Pete & MJ may (sadly) no longer be an item, but the comic feels fresh again. Readers are talking. If Marvel has to take a step back to take two forward then that's what has to be done.

    There are only so many band-aids you can put on a gunshot victim before he bleeds to death. These revamps & new #1s can only do so much to help along characters that are being crushed under the weight of 50 years of continuity. I love continuity as much as the next guy, perhaps even more. However, I also know that it can get to a point where it becomes needlessly cumbersome. Franklin Richards has been around for 44 years. Think about that for second. 44 years. How old is he now? 7? 8? There's only so long Marvel can mess with its sliding time scale before it all just seems ludicrous. I have a hard time imagining 50 years worth of stories happening to Spider-Man or the X-Men in less than a 10 year period. It also gets to a point where, to refer to the origin, you have to constantly revamp it to put those previous 10 years into the recent past. No longer did the X-Men get formed in the 60s. No. Now, they were formed at the dawn of the 00s. Hard to swallow.

    5. Stop it with the movie tie-in changes. Marcus Johnson, at the core, isn't a bad character. I enjoyed Battle Scars right up until the last few pages. What ruined it? Turning him into Nick Fury Jr. --- AKA The Sam Jackson inspired Ultimate Fury who appeared in the movies. That killed it for me. I wouldn't mind it so much if this was real change. It's not. As with the X-Men leather costumes & Spidey's organic webs, this too will disappear and be forgotten. Marvel execs, I can imagine, keep tossing the word "synergy" about. That buzzword is evil, ultimately meaning the loss of creator control and the gain of more editorial mandate.

    6. Give the creators some more control. I know that Marvel needs to preserve these characters for the next 50 years. I do. However, not allowing these creators to go totally apesh** and do wildly new things with the properties also leads to stagnation. Chris Claremont, because he just went out on the limb time and again, took X-Men from being a failure comic to the #1 seller. Fans never knew what to expect or who was going to die. Marvel needs to allow the writers to do the unpredictable again. Joss Whedon once said, of Buffy, that one of his keys to good drama was not being afraid to hurt or break his characters. In fact, sometimes, he had to kill off the ones he loved the most. Marvel needs some of that gung-ho mentality again. I read Invincible and wonder if Marvel can ever be that willing to risk it all ever again.

    7. Stop swapping creative teams so often. It's way too easy to blame a current team for a book's problems. Marvel needs to have more faith. Instead of swapping in new teams, give the current one some space to work. Claremont used to have stories building and bubbling for years. When it all came together, it was magnificent. Bendis and maybe Hickman aside, few writers are afforded that luxury. If their message doesn't come across in 12-18 issues, they're done & replaced. And the new writer? Yeah. He'll just conveniently ignore what the last writer had in mind so that he could make his mark in his allotted 12-18 months. Is it any wonder why continuity is such a jumble these days? Don't even get me started on the revolving door that has become the role of penciler. In one issue. Out the next. You can't build fan loyalty if you're screwing them over at every turn.

    I could make a lot of suggestions, reasonable or otherwise. However, it doesn't change the fact that, when you look at graphs like that, Marvel's future doesn't look so bright. When their top selling book has been in a nosedive for 15 years, it's time to do something radically different. As Einstein would've said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. Marvel NOW, if it indeed a refreshing, might not be new enough. "Wait & see." I'll repeat it like a mantra and hope that Marvel knows what they're doing. Right now, it looks like the execs are starting to take creative control.
    Last edited by cookepuss; 07-27-2012 at 07:03 AM.

  15. #15
    Junior Member BizzleTheBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookepuss View Post
    This article is basically saying what I wrote here on CBR last month. Marvel's comic business is in trouble. Events & one-off issues aside, a couple of spikes aside, their sales are essentially in free fall. Here's the Uncanny X-Men chart I made last month again:



    That's not guesswork. That's just Excel at work, using the real stats.

    Even with Y2K Morrison/Casey era revamp, #500, and the recent reboot, it's pretty grim. If Uncanny X-Men represent their peak, just imagine how their average or lower selling books are doing. Their threshold for cancellation has gotten pretty low, with 20k sellers like Journey Into Mystery just now getting cancelled. Marvel really does need to do something about changing their business model and soon. The Marvel NOW initiative can only so so much, as it is (afaik) not a nu52-style whole cloth reboot. Otherwise, they're well screwed. The comics end may one day disappear and Marvel will solely produce these characters for film, animation, & games.

    How can they improve sales? Well, I don't really know. I can only speculate and (likely) be wrong. However...

    1. Wider digital distribution. Comixology is all well and fine, but it's just the digital version of a direct market LCS. Marvel needs to reach the digital equivalent of the book store & 7-11 crowd. Marvel had success with bringing comics and trades to the likes of Barnes & Noble's brick & mortar shops. Go digital with that thinking. Movies & music get direct sales & promotion in iTunes these days. Get moving on that. Put comics in the same hands as that massive global audience. Move past Comixology and into the hands of the Amazon & BN.com crowd. Marvel needs to stop thinking so small when it comes to digital.

    2. Incentivize digital. I understand that there are a good number of reasons why comics cost $4 these days. I do. Talent doesn't come cheap. However, there are certain expenses that simply don't exist in the digital world, certain costs that can't be passed down to Marvel from its partners and then back to the consumers on Marvel's part. There are ways to cut cover prices without killing the profit margin. If Marvel's not willing to do that... Give readers free access to select back issues with their purchase of new material. Those old comics aren't costing Marvel anything to print or produce anymore. At most, it's the cost of data storage & bandwidth. Give us that as value added content. Imagine having a new comic that refers to the old Fall of the Mutants story and being able to freely access a comic in that story at no additional cost. Marvel is greedy when it comes to these things. I know. They love to sell their back issues at outrageous prices. However, they might well have to give something to gain something bigger.

    3. Be willing to take a financial hit. Look. I know that games and comics are different businesses. However, I do think that Marvel can stand to learn from the likes of Sony or Microsoft. Those two often end up selling their consoles at a loss because they know that, in the long run, they'll have attracted so many more customers than if they had stayed firm at an even higher price. Marvel needs to take the hit. Bad business in the short term could turn into massive business a year later. Doesn't work? Go back to the old way. In this down economy, they won't know unless they try. People are always saying, "Comics cost too much. I remember when they cost $x.xx." Give them something new to talk about.

    4. Like I said, give them something new to talk about. Marvel NOW, as we've been told, is not a whole cloth relaunch. In a sense, that's a great thing. All of our old stories happened. Characters keep growing. We keep continuity moving forward. All is great... except for sales, maybe. I hate OMD with a passion. I really, really do. However, it's hard to deny what that incalculably evil deus ex machina did to revive the franchise. Pete & MJ may (sadly) no longer be an item, but the comic feels fresh again. Readers are talking. If Marvel has to take a step back to take two forward then that's what has to be done.

    There are only so many band-aids you can put on a gunshot victim before he bleeds to death. These revamps & new #1s can only do so much to help along characters that are being crushed under the weight of 50 years of continuity. I love continuity as much as the next guy, perhaps even more. However, I also know that it can get to a point where it becomes needlessly cumbersome. Franklin Richards has been around for 44 years. Think about that for second. 44 years. How old is he now? 7? 8? There's only so long Marvel can mess with its sliding time scale before it all just seems ludicrous. I have a hard time imagining 50 years worth of stories happening to Spider-Man or the X-Men in less than a 10 year period. It also gets to a point where, to refer to the origin, you have to constantly revamp it to put those previous 10 years into the recent past. No longer did the X-Men get formed in the 60s. No. Now, they were formed at the dawn of the 00s. Hard to swallow.

    5. Stop it with the movie tie-in changes. Marcus Johnson, at the core, isn't a bad character. I enjoyed Battle Scars right up until the last few pages. What ruined it? Turning him into Nick Fury Jr. --- AKA The Sam Jackson inspired Ultimate Fury who appeared in the movies. That killed it for me. I wouldn't mind it so much if this was real change. It's not. As with the X-Men leather costumes & Spidey's organic webs, this too will disappear and be forgotten. Marvel execs, I can imagine, keep tossing the word "synergy" about. That buzzword is evil, ultimately meaning the loss of creator control and the gain of more editorial mandate.

    6. Give the creators some more control. I know that Marvel needs to preserve these characters for the next 50 years. I do. However, not allowing these creators to go totally apesh** and do wildly new things with the properties also leads to stagnation. Chris Claremont, because he just went out on the limb time and again, took X-Men from being a failure comic to the #1 seller. Fans never knew what to expect or who was going to die. Marvel needs to allow the writers to do the unpredictable again. Joss Whedon once said, of Buffy, that one of his keys to good drama was not being afraid to hurt or break his characters. In fact, sometimes, he had to kill off the ones he loved the most. Marvel needs some of that gung-ho mentality again. I read Invincible and wonder if Marvel can ever be that willing to risk it all ever again.

    7. Stop swapping creative teams so often. It's way too easy to blame a current team for a book's problems. Marvel needs to have more faith. Instead of swapping in new teams, give the current one some space to work. Claremont used to have stories building and bubbling for years. When it all came together, it was magnificent. Bendis and maybe Hickman aside, few writers are afforded that luxury. If their message doesn't come across in 12-18 issues, they're done & replaced. And the new writer? Yeah. He'll just conveniently ignore what the last writer had in mind so that he could make his mark in his allotted 12-18 months. Is it any wonder why continuity is such a jumble these days? Don't even get me started on the revolving door that has become the role of penciler. In one issue. Out the next. You can't build fan loyalty if you're screwing them over at every turn.

    I could make a lot of suggestions, reasonable or otherwise. However, it doesn't change the fact that, when you look at graphs like that, Marvel's future doesn't look so bright. When their top selling book has been in a nosedive for 15 years, it's time to do something radically different. As Einstein would've said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. Marvel NOW, if it indeed a refreshing, might not be new enough. "Wait & see." I'll repeat it like a mantra and hope that Marvel knows what they're doing. Right now, it looks like the execs are starting to take creative control.


    That. Was. Awesome.

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