Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Editor Gets the Last Laugh

Comic Treadmill has a good post, one that goes a step beyond my lament last month about the changing Marvel Universe. They actually try to make a good stab at why Quesada and the others at Marvel have so thoroughly ripped up the status quo that has been in place since Stan and Jack and Steve put it there.

I've written before of my distaste for the current editorial attitude toward readership, which consists of flipping the figurative bird at anyone who doesn't like what is going on by dismissing him or her as an old fogy and proclaiming that Marvel Comics are for the hip younger crowd. To emphasize that Marvel is only for the new, cool kids, current Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada is going to great lengths to soil the appeal of the older generation of characters. The strategy? Today's Marvel heroes are unlikable but tres cool and that's what matters. Or so the thinking goes anyway.

I get it, or rather I'm not supposed to entirely get it, since I'm no longer young and hip, which is ok, but I'm not sure this isn't a scorched earth policy for the characters... er, the properties.

Here is the reality: I'm not sure that what is going to be left over is going to be anything that we're going to want to read. If there has been any constant through the FF over the years, it has been that we will want to know Reed and Sue and Ben and Johnny (hell, I still want Johnny end up with Crystal). I no longer want to know Reed, he isn't a character I know, recall or like. Iron Man was one of my two favorite heroes of all time, and I'm really sure that when Civil War is over that I'm NOT going to want, know or like Tony Stark.

Where does Quesada think that this is going to leave the properties? Somewhere that they can make more million dollar pictures off of? Spider Man is just about done. I'm willing to be that the 2008 Iron Man movie is going to be a lot closer to the Iron Man that I remember, than the one that we'll end up with in Civil War. If they had just made the FF as the Incredibles we'd have another billion dollar franchise to watch. No one is going to make this FF into even a fan film.

How can this be a good idea?

1 comment:

RAB said...

I think I've said this before, possibly in another comment to you, but I keep coming back to a remark by Neil Gaiman many years back that the appeal of working in comics for him was "getting to play with those cool toys" -- the venerable Marvel and DC characters that creators loved as children. If you have cool toys that don't belong to you alone, there needs to be a grownup in charge to say "Play with those toys all you want, but don't break them. Make sure they go back into the box intact so they can be played with by the next set of kids."

Instead, Quesada seems to be fine with the kids taking the toys out onto the driveway and stuffing them full of firecrackers. Sure, they might look cool blowing up...but it cheats the next group of kids out of getting to use them.