Friday, June 12, 2009

More Thoughts on Comics

After this week's post on my current comics reading habits, I started thinking a bit more about the state of the Big Two, Marvel and DC. Now, granted, I'm not going to say anything here that other (way smarter) bloggers haven't already said, but I need a post for today, and I'm kinda in a rant-y mood.

So here goes.

[Oh, and just as a head's up, this post is going to have some minor SPOILERS about current story lines, so if you're behind on your reading, then I'd suggest treading with caution.]

You know why Marvel is better than DC right now? I mean, flat-out better in sales, in stories, and in direction? Oh, and in the old Common Sense Department? I'll tell you why. Marvel would never kill Iron Man at the height of his popularity. Like, after a major motion picture. They'd never kill Spider-Man during or soon after one of Sam Raimi's blockbusters opens in the theaters.

Makes sense, right? Sure it does. I mean, what kind of a crazy marketing plan would take a character at the height of his or her marketability, and decide to wipe said character from all of the publisher's books?

(OOOhhh, so snarky today. So very snarky.)

In case you haven't figured it out, I am, in a round-about way, implying that DC may not have acted with the greatest...oh, let's call it...prudence...when they decided to make Bruce Wayne go away.

Especially after The Dark Knight was the biggest movie of the past decade, and the second highest grossing flick of all time. People like Batman (more so than they like Superman, or any Marvel character save Spidey) and it's just no coincidence that the Batman/Joker combo in a film equaled unrivaled success at the box office.

And, instead of having product spin out of that movie, DC kills the product. And, I might add, they do so in a very confusing manner. ("Oh, he's not dead, dead, he's in a metaphorical cave somewhere.") I just don't get it. (The Batman being dead thing, not metaphors in general.)

Now, on the other side of the street, Marvel killed off Captain America, but his return is on the horizon, and if I know the Mighty Marvel Marketing Team, Cap will be back in stride and ready to capitalize on the planned movie in a year or so.

Which makes sense.

Because, by and large, Marvel's cohesive storytelling and shared universe make sense. As an example, we know that both publishers are wary of over-using prime villains, such as Joker and Magneto. However, Marvel has made the decision to use arguably their most famous (and, probably, most marketable) villain, Norman Osborne, and give him a leading role in the Marvel Universe proper.

And, so far at least, that's been a great idea with some intriguing stories spinning out of it. DC rarely even lets Joker pop up, say hello, kill a guy, and leave. Meanwhile, Osborne has always been this ever-present, ever-creeping threat to Spidey, and lately to the MU at large. So, when he does finally appear, he's scary as all get out and entirely threatening.

I think that's how Joker should be handled. Have him pop up from time to time and do something crazy and maniacal and absolutely terrifying and then have him disappear back to wherever it is he disappears back to.

But what do I know? I mean, I'm the guy that thinks Batman shouldn't be dead.

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