Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Future of Marvel

This is a misleading title as far as Marvel's characters are concerned. From recent moves that they have made, nothing permanent will happen in the Marvel Universe. Things will happen but will eventually get reset back to the status quo as of the 1970s or 1980s. This is probably a corporate move to coincide with the new Marvel Studio.

This is only a guess but I suspect that they are worried about the reaction of new readers who pick up a comic book for the first time after seeing a Marvel movie. The movies are usually based on a high point in the character's run. This is partly because the movies usually include an origin and partly because the odds say that the best issues out of a 500 issue run didn't come out last week.

So we have a young, unmarried Spider-Man. Johny Blaze is Ghost Rider. Daredevil is fighting Bullseye and Kingpin alongside Electra. Reed and Sue just got married and the Silver Surfer just came to earth for the first time.

Some of the changes over the last few decades can be glossed over or picked up as you go along. Other changes make the character seem like a different person.

So, at least for the characters that have been made into movies, the comic will be friendly to the movie audience. I can't think of any other reason for bringing back Harry Osborn. They wanted the continuity to be somewhere between the first and second movies.

I bet that after the Iron Man movie that the world somehow forgets that he is Tony Stark.

This makes it easier for casual readers. You can pick up a comic at any time. You may have to figure out what the current story arc is but you will know who everyone is and how they relate to each other.

Never the less, some of the magic has gone out of Marvel. When I started reading Marvel comics, back in the mid-1960s things did change, both small and large. Spider-Man graduated from high school, started college, move into an apartment, and switched girl friends. Reed and Sue got married. Rick Jones let out that Bruce Banner was the Hulk. The Sub Mariner found the city of Atlantis and regained the throne.

You didn't want to miss an issue because things might have changed when you read the next one. This was one of the things that distinguished Marvel from DC.

At least Superman is still married.

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