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Old 07-30-2003, 01:41 AM   #1
masteryoda
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Arrow Marv Wolfman explains why people hate Marvel.

Comments about Marvel from a former EIC.
Week One
Welcome back for another What Th--? go-around. Weíve gotten a few, a very few, letters with questions, so Iím once again asking that everyone send in something youíd like to see discussed here. I probably wonít have any answers, but we may be able to spark some sort of debate here, which is great.

Secondly, two weeks from now we will feature our continuing series of interviews, this time with Mark Millar. Look for it.

From Dirk J. Abraham - dirkja@rconnect.com comes a letter with a question so fascinating it will take two weeks to answer it.

Marv, here's a question for you to ponder.

I collect comics - mostly Marvel super heroes. I also use the Internet to check out comic-related web sites. But, I often find on-line comic sites, message boards and columnists have a very negative attitude toward super hero comics in general, and Marvel in particular. Reading some of these sites, I get the impression that anyone who reads super-hero comics is a buffoon, and the "cool" people are all apparently reading some obscure black-and-white comic.

In your opinion, why do so many Internet participants have this apparent bias against Marvel and super-hero comics? By the way, I'm 47 years old, I have a B.A. in communications from a good liberal arts college, and I don't live in my mother's basement.
Concerning super-hero bashing: it basically comes down to tastes changing but not realizing it, so you want something you used to like to still be as meaningful to you as it was when it, frankly, was more important in your life. Given that loss, you attack what you once loved, instead of just saying your tastes have changed. Sometimes, Super-heroes no longer do it for you. Thatís all right. I no longer read Richie Rich Ė and donít say thatís because itís no longer being published, okay? Of course, with some folk, itís not enough to no longer like what you once loved, you have to attack it so people who still like it are made out to be morons. Ignore those people. They donít know how to have fun.

Marvel bashing is a phenomenon that has been going on since the early 90s and doesnít seem to be letting up. What is so bizarre is that readers still buy more Marvel Comics than any other brand, which means they love the books yet hate the company. Itís truly amazing and I had been wondering about it ever since I first noticed the trend beginning a decade ago.

There was a time, back in the 60s and throughout the 70s that ďMake Mine Marvel!Ē was a rallying cry for all Marvelmaniacs. As a fan back then, we truly loved the stories, art and characters that Marvel was producing month in and month out. It was as if they almost couldnít fail. Thousands joined the MMMS, the Mighty Marvel Marching Society Ė I still have my kit somewhere in the garage Ė and we couldnít wait to see what book our names would appear in under the ďHereís 25 more MMMS membersĒ banner.

What made Marvel back then, beyond the stories, which were so much better than what anyone else was doing, and the art, which was exciting instead of dull, and the characters, who were unlike anything weíd seen before, were the editorials and letter columns written by Stan Lee.

Say what you will about Stan. Every fan in comics has his or her own view over who and what he is, but as someone who worked side-by-side with Stan under trying conditions on a daily basis, I can tell you that beyond his obvious talent, which was undisputed back when he revitalized comics in the 60s, Stan is the gregarious, fun, friendly and straight forward guy everyone is trying to put down today. Perhaps his endless enthusiasm turns off people in this age of irony, but I can tell you itís no act. He is enthusiastic. He has a boundless love for what he does. And yes, he is corny, but itís not manipulated corn. That is his personality. Iíve seen it when the two of us were alone, walking down the street to a restaurant. If it ever was an act, it had long ago become assimilated into his personality, but people who knew him back in the 40s say he was like that even then. Yeah, his penchant for alliteration was always silly, but, tell the truth, if you were reading comics in the 60s, you probably loved it. I did.

He made us feel like he cared about us. We liked believing there was an actual Marvel bullpen when, in fact, all the freelancers worked at home. We loved believing everyone at Marvel was friends with everyone else. We believed we were part of a family. And knowing Stan, he was doing it because he thought it was fun.

Back in the 1950s, EC Comics did pretty much the same thing in their letter columns. They made their readers believe they were part of an exclusive club. The letter answerers at EC didnít have the effusive charm that Stan has, so they handled their letter columns differently, but essentially, they were selling an exclusive EC club, and Stan was selling Marvel. And Comics Ė remember, Stan would always say ďRead us, read our competition. Just read.Ē Whether he believed that or not, he was never putting down the competition, except with his silly ďBrand EcchĒ routine. Everyone back then knew it was fun and we took it as such. We didnít think Stan hated the guys at the other companies. h#&%, any time a DC artist was available heíd grab them up. No, it was all part of creating a family atmosphere and nobody, I repeat, nobody was better at it than Stan, because that is who he is.

So, what happened? How did we go from loving Marvel to wanting to string up their executives from their toes?

I believe the good will engendered by Marvel lasted through most of the 1970s. The people who followed Stan, namely Roy Thomas, Len Wein, myself, Archie Goodwin and a few others, believed in Stanís basic approach to things. We always treated Marvelís letter columns and the Bullpen Pages as if you were writing to your friends and family. Like Stan, we always signed our first names to the Bullpen Page. It was Stan the Man, Rascally Roy, Lively Len, Marvelous Marv, Affable Archie, and so on. Not only is that the way all of us preferred being addressed Ė Mr. Wolfman was my father. Iím Marv Ė but using first names is always friendlier.

Also, we loved comics and, strange as it may sound, we loved the fans. h#&%, weíd all been fans. Roy, Len and I all published fan magazines. I write this column and update my own website several times a week. Roy still is doing Alter Ego, and Len is struggling to put up his website, which should be done soon. We went to all the early conventions. h#&%, Len helped put on the very first comicon Ė and gave it the name comicon Ė back in the 60s. So, like Stan, we werenít so much catering to the fans, we were doing comics because we loved them.

But things changed when one of fandomís favorite whipping boys, Jim Shooter, took control of Marvel. Iím not here to discuss whether he was right or wrong with what he did Ė I had quit Marvel and went to DC very early on in his rein Ė but Jim was the first person to sign the bullpen pages with only his last name Ė Shooter. Not Shining Shooter or Six-Gun Shooter. Just Shooter.

First names bring you in as a friend. Last names distance you.

During this period many professionals started talking directly to the fans and, for the first time, actively complained about Marvel. No one had ever done that before. We all have had problems with the companies weíve worked for, but our complaints were always made in-house, not to the fans. Why not? 1: Itís not their business. 2: Itís not their business. Sorry, but itís not.

Professionals left Marvel in droves, and many of them took the time to complain loudly and vociferously. Whether their complaints were justified or not isnít the problem. What is is that the family atmosphere that Stan had spent so long creating was being shattered.

What? You mean every writer and artist at Marvel didnít work in the Bullpen? You mean the people up there might not like each other? You mean they may actively hate the person theyíre working with? You mean the people in charge are ruining creator Xís book by insisting on changing this or that or whatever? How dare he. This isnít the Marvel of Stan Lee. This isnít the Marvel of Roy Thomas and Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. Nobody disliked any of them!

Garbage!

We know now, through the parting layers of time, that Stan and the brilliant artist, co-creator and plotter of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, Steve Ditko, didnít speak to each other for a very long time before Steve quit, even as they worked together on Spidey. Weíve learned that Jack Kirby, whose style literally formed the whole of Marvel, had severe differences with Stan. Iím not taking sides here. Iím not saying Steve was right and Stan was wrong, or Stan was right and Jack was wrong. Iím saying there were differences. Major differences. Differences that forced both creators to leave Marvel. But because the times were different, they didnít go to the fan press and talk about it in public.

They both left because of ďdisagreementsĒ but we went on believing in the wholeness of the Marvel Bullpen because they kept their differences pretty much to themselves. But, when a dozen or so creators exited Marvel between 1978-1981, and so many of them said the Ed-in-Chief was the reason they were leaving, well, the fracture was beginning.

Then Shooter, right or wrong, had his public battle with Chris Claremont on Dark Phoenix. Now, Iím more likely to believe that though this was real, it was also a great PR stunt, because the effects of killing Dark Phoenix took what was only a decent selling Marvel title and catapulted it into the stratosphere. People wanted to see what the Marvel empire was censoring. Chris, a top writer, took this windfall and ran with it for years, turning out more and more intriguing and controversial stories until the X-Men became unbeatable. Good for him.

But the seeds of discontent, the truth that the Mighty Marvel Machine wasnít one big happy family, weíre definitely sprouting and the fanís love for what they thought Marvel was, was slowly winding down.

Marvel started its popularity decline in the 80s and sank lower in the 90s, only to have a startling resurgence in the current decade, whatever you want to call it.

I will continue next week with both an analysis of what went wrong in the 90s, what is right and wrong today, and then offer some suggestions for improvement.

See you in seven,
Marv Wolfman
marv@silverbulletcomicbooks.com

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Last edited by masteryoda; 07-30-2003 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 07-30-2003, 01:42 AM   #2
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Week Two
This was originally going to be a two-part column, but my answer this week got to be so long I am making it three columns instead.

Marvel began a creative slump in the 1990s that took more than a decade to extricate itself from. Unfortunately, because they had lost a lot of the good will engendered by Stan, Jack and Steve in the 60s, and a number of other editors throughout most of the 70s, the fans began to attack the company for some real problems that existed.

The decline was subtle at first, and a lot of it can be placed at the doorstep of the New Universe titles, which most fans thought of as a slap at old Marvel. Stan wouldnít do that, they said. Of course, had the books been good instead of disposable, nobody would have complained. And, further, of course Stan and company would have created a New Universe if he thought that would help Marvelís sales. Heíd just have done it better.

The problem with creating a New Universe was that the original Marvel Universe was developed over a long period of time, through trial and error and a lot of success and failure. The Marvel Universe didnít just spring forth from the brow of Zeus. First there was one title. The Fantastic Four. Then months later there was a second. Spider-Man. Then, some time later a third was added, and so on. Nobody was creating a universe, they created a single comic, saw how people responded to it, then created not a handful of titles, but just one more. There was no Marvel Universe per se. There were two comics. Then three. Then four, and more. But they were added to the line up slowly. Very slowly. And even then not everything succeeded.

Remember, the Hulk didnít make it at first. It was cancelled after six issues. Spider-Man was shoved into a dying comic. The FF began without costumes. Stan and company played with each character and title until they figured out what they were doing and the books became successful. But even then some characters were never successful enough to warrant their own titles: Ant-Man, for example, or the Human Torch, who appeared in Strange Tales as well as the FF.

Even though the excitement started early on, The Marvel Comics Ė before they were named Marvel - were not immediate successes. Most Marvel comics hit their stride in their third year.

To think you could create a half dozen or more titles from scratch, let alone a cohesive universe that took far greater talents years to guide into some of the best comics ever done, was an act of hubris that nobody should have tried. Books canít be stamped out like car parts. There needs to be inspiration.

The fans rebelled and stayed away from the New Universe in droves. They felt the original Marvel was being put down for the ego of a very few.

But the New Universe died quickly. The people in charge were soon gone, and new folk took over.

And here is where the real rift between company and fans began.

First off, the Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox was now hard to make out and care about. The quality level dropped precipitously. A thousand new books seemed to be added to the mix every month, and only a very, very few were readable.

Further, the fans felt the Marvel staff was mocking their love for the characters, and, in fact, they were. I looked in on a few Marvel panels at various conventions and saw the editors treating the fans with such disdain it made me ill. They thought they were having fun, but I would hear the fans as they left the panels. They werenít all that happy. It got so bad that Marvel mockingly called itself ďThe Evil EmpireĒ in public to make fun of the fanís views that they were, indeed, evil. Rather than addressing why the fans thought that, they simply mocked them. Wrong! At the very least, you need to pay attention to the customer.

But the fans were hurt. They were hurt that their characters were being screwed with so badly. They were hurt that it looked like all the company wanted was to take as much money from them as possible while giving back as little as possible. Marvel was always profit driven Ė business needs to be Ė but Stan made it feel like he cared about how he was making the money. He made it feel like he wanted to do the best books in the world which is why you would spend your money on Marvel and only Marvel. Fans were hurt that the legacy of Stan and Jack and Steve was being crushed in order to churn out more and more garbage.

Sales dropped. But when your sales are exponentially higher than the competition, you may lose a third of your sales and stay top banana, but in truth you are smaller. Closer to a plantain.

And thatís where things stood for a decade. Fans hated the stories, hated the arrogance and hated what was being done to characters they loved. They fled the books. Sales dropped for a half million to fifty-sixty thousand copies. That means not only the evil speculators but a goodly number of the people who were there before the explosion.

Thatís not to say there werenít some excellent, often brilliant books being done, but for the vast majority of titles, nobody cared.

Now, what about today?

First off, let me begin by saying I donít know any of the current people working at Marvel. As far as I remember, I met Joe Quesada one time, for less than five minutes after I was on a convention panel talking about the old days writing the FF. Joe came up to me and thanked me. We spoke for a few seconds, and hurried off to some other panel we had to do. Iíve emailed Joe a few times in the past few years and he has always taken care of whatever little problem I had (usually getting copies of books reprinting my old stories, or making sure I got a reprint check). In short, Joe has always dealt with me honestly and with respect.

I do not know Bill Jemas at all. Again, as far as I know, Iíve never met him or talked to him, or even know what he looks like, so the only thing I know about him is what I read on line.

I say this up front because I have no personal knowledge of or problems with either of these men. This is not to say that now Iím going to put them down. Quite the contrary. I just want you to know where I stand. There ainít nothing personal going on here.

When I first heard that Joe was handling the ďMarvel KnightsĒ line for Marvel I, along with most people, probably felt Ė but heís just an artist. He was a really great artist. I loved the issues of The Ray he had done for DC, but he didnít write them. Because I and Len Wein had been asked to work up an animated treatment based on Ash, the comic he did back in the 90s, I read those books and again, thought the art was fantastic but the stories were, well, not really stories.

But then I started to read Marvel Knights, and Whoa! This was different. This was good.

And when he took over Marvel itself, I saw an incredible change in their editorial. I hated, capital H.A.T.E.D. what had been done to Spider-Man and the FF, and now, my God, they were starting to be good again. We could all see an immediate change in the Marvel Comics. They were growing up. They were acknowledging that they were no longer in 1963 but in the 21st Century and they were updating their characters to meet this new world.

The fact is, all of you were looking at Marvel again. You were caring again. The characters were interesting again. The new writers were doing new things and yet not desecrating the old.

So why do fans still hate Marvel?

For all the wrong, and some of the right reasons, and they are the same reasons.

Fans get caught up in internal politics instead of the books. Yes, I know if you care about something so much you do get caught up in it. When I heard Mark Waid had been fired off the FF I went through the roof because his run was pretty much the first time since Stan stopped writing the book that I thought it was truly good again. And that includes my own run which I never thought much of.

Iím sorry to break here, but this column does conclude next week. See you after San Diego with a con report as well as my belated interview with Mark Millar.

See you in seven,
Marv Wolfman
marv@silverbulletcomicbooks.com

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Old 07-30-2003, 01:43 AM   #3
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Week Three
With Goes Marvel Comics - Part Three

By Marv Wolfman
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I donít know whatís going on at Marvel. I donít work there. h#&%, Iím not even allowed to work there since I sued them a few years back and my name is verboten to top management, but I do know the fans are having a problem with Marvel today that has little to do with the books themselves because, even without me (or maybe because Iím not there!) the books are better than theyíve been in a quarter of a century.

Marvelís problem comes from two sources. From what I see on the net, Joe Quesadaís matter of fact, unvarnished words, irritate the fans. They feel heís arrogant and is explaining away bad decisions. As I say, I donít know Joe, but from the letters heís posted on the net I can tell he doesnít have the ability to shmooze away stuff through the charm Stan showed. h#&%, none of us could even come close to having Stanís charm which effused its way onto the written page.

Let me digress: I used to joke (emphasis on ďjokeĒ) that you could be brought into Stanís office and he could say the following to you: ďYou are a disgusting, no talented hack who should be shot, stuffed, then used as a piŮata by angry baby seals with large clubs who should beat you until your bloody entrails are scattered across the planet.Ē Because of Stanís personality, you would shake his hand and thank him as you left his office. Then youíd walk into, say, a different editor-in-chiefís office, and he would look down on you with his furrowed brow and say, ďUmm, urrr, weíre giving you a million dollars, tax free,Ē and youíd be wondering whatís up with this guy. Stanís a charmer and could make the worst news in the world sound like youíve won the lottery. No one else can.

So, on the occasions where Iím looking for some gossip to read, because I love gossip, I read a letter to the fans by Joe and I simply wonder why he even bothers. From Stan to Roy to everyone, including me, when youíre editor-in-chief you have to do spin control. It comes with the job. But there are many decisions made that cannot be spun unless you have Stanís ability to charm the pants off you. Sometimes itís best simply not to answer, because, the internet being the way it is, if someone doesnít like your decision, whether it be right or wrong, theyíre going to have the last word and shout you down.

I wouldnít spend the time trying to justify what may be a business decision I either do or donít agree with, or an editorial change that is made simply because youíre in charge and want to do it this way and not that way. I wouldnít give a long, complicated reason why I fired this person or that. I would simply say it was differences of opinion. Period. And, if I didnít agree with the decisions made by those above me, I wouldnít give some treknobabble explanation why itís right.

As an editor, whenever I had to tell a writer or artist about a decision that was handed down to me, I always said ďLook, I may not completely agree with this, but thatís the way it is. Now, can we make the best out of it?Ē The talent knows the decision made, which could very well be wrong, but even if it was my idea, it is not up to debate. Itís the way it is.

My advice to Joe: Having been editor-in-chief of Marvel, I know you have to defend, or at least implement, unpopular decisions, some of which you may agree with, some you may not. Some decisions could be 100% right and nobody will still approve, and some could be 100% wrong, but you have no choice in the matter. And then thereís that whole gray area between.

I donít believe you are obligated to explain everything to everybody. If you donít have Stanís effusive personality, a simple ďNo commentĒ or ďWe regret this decision, butóď can suffice. People are still going to argue over it, but they will no matter what is said. Itís hard to defend stupid decisions or even smart but unpopular ones, because people wonít listen and if you try, you look like youíre an apologist rather than an editor-in-chief and it undermines your credibility.

Trying to explain in detail why, say, Mark Waid is no longer writing the Fantastic Four is, simply, impossible. I donít know if the decision was made in advance, or if it happened through accident, or if thereís something sinister involved, or if itís just a matter of ďhe said, she said,Ē but no answer is going to make anyone happy, especially when they are conflicting.

A simple, ďWe regret that Mark wonít be writing the Fantastic Four, but weíre looking forward to the great ideas that new writer Irving Forbush has planned,Ē is all that needs to be said. And, by the way, that is the truth. Iím sure everyone at Marvel regrets losing Mark, for whatever the reason is, and you are looking forward to the new material.

Whether Mark was let go because there was a decision to change the direction of the book, or if, as some fan gossip columnists insist, because Marvel wants to cut down on high paying writers, frankly it doesnít matter. Mark could have been fired because Marvel has pictures of him having group sex with Osama, Saddam and Mother Theresa Ė the way she is today. I know this is a great difference between me and the fans, and as much of a lover of gossip as I am, I donít believe, when it comes to certain decisions, that you have to explain everything to everyone. You just need to be honest if you do. Fans have a way of seeing right through the B.S.

Frankly, I think the majority of fans have great respect for Joe. He editorially turned Marvel around. I know of no other industry where itís expected to explain every unpopular decision. When John Wells, exec producer of West Wing had to announce Aaron Sorkinís departure, he didnít go into all the gruesome details (Where there any? Tell me! Tell me! I have to know!) He said he thought Aaron was a brilliant talent and that he hated to see him go. Period.

I would use the net only to tell about all the great things Marvel is doing and trying to do. I would use the net to disseminate information that you want everyone to know, not gossip. And, when bad things happen, or mistakes are made, acknowledge them, learn from them, and move on. Fast. Donít offer excuses. Donít insult the readers. Say your piece and leave.

To Bill Jemas. Billís a different problem altogether. Based on what Iíve read on the internet, Bill seems to enjoy baiting the fans. It may be fun. He may think itís humorous. It may be a deliberate attempt to create a ďbad boyĒ image, but itís ultimately not only wrong, and unfunny, but foolishly wrong for someone in his position to be doing it.

As I said, I donít know Bill, but I do know thereís no reason to attack the very people who are buying your product.

I donít know if my figures are completely right Ė perhaps someone out there does - but here goes: In 1990, we had something like 7,500 comic book shops spread across the country. At the end of the 90s, we had something like 3,500 shops. Rumor has it we now have fewer than 2,000 shops. It has been said that every time a shop closes, only 25% of its customers search out new shops. The others give up the hobby.

We are losing enough fans by still producing material they donít want to buy, so we certainly canít afford to lose more readers through the constant barrage of attacks and bad press.

My advice to Bill: Let Joe do all the talking. I honestly donít believe people are finding the bad boy stuff funny, whether itís real or a put on. I think there are so few readers to begin with these days, and they are more in touch with all the gossip, true and false Ė and the net is filled with both - that a wrong word can effect percentages. In the old days when we sold a quarter million copies, if you angered a hundred readers, it didnít matter. Today, that could be the difference between profit and loss. Why hurt someone with a mean word anyway? And certainly, why do it deliberately?

Marvís theory which is Marvís: In the old days, comics were the only place where you could get heroic fiction. Today, itís all over the movies (Marvel has had 7 number one films in a row, beginning with, he said modestly, my own character, Blade). What we do is now all over the movie screens, TV, video games, commercials, toys, in fact, everywhere. Since super-hero material can be found in so many other places, these days, super-hero comics are, I think, somewhat redundant and can be easily given up by readers. For this reason alone we need to include people, not send them packing in anger.

You have made a ton of great decisions for Marvel. The new look, the new concepts, the new approaches, according to Joe come from you. Obviously, you not only know what youíre doing, youíre defying odds by making people care about the characters again. So, why p!$$ them off by needlessly being flip?

Like I said, let Joe do the talking.

Finally, to the fans and professionals: Some of the problems comics is suffering from is an explosion of bad press that is exacerbated by the internet press who realize the fastest way to make their name is to attack! Attack! Attack! People love to read such stuff, and Marvel, like every company in the world, has enough disgruntled employees, current and former, to feed the minute by minute need for news updates and gossip.

A comic book writer gets their story tossed out at nine in the morning, by noon heís written a 30 page diatribe thatís appearing on 50 websites.

We canned stories way back in the 70s and 80s but nobody said boo. A book gets pulped, for the wrong reasons or right, execs get slammed, even though itís their right to make such decisions. And, by the way, those decisions have always been made. Just not reported on. Iím not saying the fans are wrong and Marvel is right. Frankly, with the exception of the gossip columnists out there who love to stir up trouble, the fans ARE right and Marvel is wrong for one and one reason only. The basic truth (or lie) of American business: ďthe customer is always right.Ē

If enough fans believe they are being crapped on, well, someone should pause to wonder if they are indeed being crapped on. Or spat on. Or someone accidentally stepped on their toes. The fans are the people, the ONLY people, buying comics today.

We donít have ďreadersĒ the way we used to. Almost nobody today casually buys a comic. Because we effectively dismantled the newsstand market and limited their purchase to a thousand or so out of the way tiny hole-in-the-wall shops, we have destroyed the concept of comic book readers and created the uber fan.

Today, we only have true fans because only a true fan would go out of their way to get into their car, drive across town, go into the shop and pick up what they had already ordered. Maybe, and only maybe, will they then look at the rack and pick up one or two other titles because the cover catches their eye.

If you owe your life to people with one red eye, then itís best not to p!$$ off people who have one red eye.

So, the fans who complain are right. Something is wrong and needs to be dealt with, if only for self preservation.

On the other hand, Marvelís job, and, for that matter, DCís, Dark Horse and the rest, are to give you, the reader, good stories worth reading.

Thereís a maxim in writing comics, TV, animation, movies, books, etc. Itís ďShow, donít tell.Ē It means show us whatís going on, donít have someoneís talking head gabbing about it. In the case of Marvel, I believe you need to follow that example. Donít tell us what we donít need to know. Do your job and show us great comics.

See you in seven,
Marv Wolfman
marv@silverbulletcomicbooks.com
Part Three

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Old 07-30-2003, 08:34 AM   #4
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Jesus, that was long... but still, not bad...

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Old 07-30-2003, 11:23 AM   #5
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I'm amazized i actually read it
He's right in so many ways

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Old 07-30-2003, 11:55 AM   #6
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Pretty cool...I'll continue to buy the comics that I like with a disregard to the politics that goes on. Can never run away from the politics...as much as i hate them...

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Old 07-30-2003, 12:05 PM   #7
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The only problem was him giving attention to Bill Jemas, a simple "And with the last sentance avalable, Bill Jemas is an head-wanking, anal-fisting, *****-ass-punk!!!"

but I digress (I always wanted to use that word ), that was a good read

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Old 07-30-2003, 12:13 PM   #8
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I wish we had Stan back
He knew how to run a company

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Old 07-30-2003, 12:23 PM   #9
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yes he did

I can't figure out why Marvel isn't trying beyond humaly possible to get new readers, and I don't mean by swaping writters, coz if you don't know a writter or even about comics, then you don't care. All this new writters stuff is just to get back old readers.

And before someone asks, boyond doing sponsers or ads, I have no clue how to get new readers, but I'm not running a multi-million $ company.

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Old 07-30-2003, 01:01 PM   #10
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Well hey Bill Jemas is a complete dumass and look where he is today!

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Old 07-30-2003, 02:11 PM   #11
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Wow, I have new respect for Marv Wolfman. He makes a lot of sense.

I don't wish Stan Lee would come back. He had his time and he's not going to be around forever. I agree with Wolfman on that point: as long as there's someone doing the job right and giving me good comics, I'm happy. Except for the fact that the guy doing that job now is an a**hole. But I can get over that if the comics are still good.

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Old 07-30-2003, 02:28 PM   #12
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Originally posted by TheCorpulent1
Except for the fact that the guy doing that job now is an a**hole. But I can get over that if the comics are still good.
But there's the problem, the comics aren't okay. And the few that are, are either given to the would-be Austen or cancelled!

And to put the cream on the cake, he takes one of the first marvel characters created, a homage to bad-ass heroes everywhere, and turns him into a love struck punk with gills!
Seriously, it's takenn four issues for Namor to go bad ass ONCE!!! and for the plot to finally be revealed. And that is if you keep a free mind, and know Namors past.

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Old 07-30-2003, 04:45 PM   #13
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Wolfman always was a class act. Always loved his stories, Lots of respect for the guy...

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Old 07-30-2003, 07:06 PM   #14
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In other words people hate Marvel because of the management bashing towards fans

and so much crappy none sense stuff made over there these days too

Captain America is unreadable...is that why they shift him to Marvel Knights

Not enough collected of the good stuff

no golden age MARVEL masterworks

too little of the good stuff like ORIGIN hardcover

and so much crap

turning a cool character like the Rawhide Kid into a joke

People love the Marvel characters but hate some of the morons working with them in the wrong way

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Old 07-30-2003, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jugsy
But there's the problem, the comics aren't okay. And the few that are, are either given to the would-be Austen or cancelled!

And to put the cream on the cake, he takes one of the first marvel characters created, a homage to bad-ass heroes everywhere, and turns him into a love struck punk with gills!
Seriously, it's takenn four issues for Namor to go bad ass ONCE!!! and for the plot to finally be revealed. And that is if you keep a free mind, and know Namors past.
I don't read Namor. The way I figure the comics are ok is that I read Amazing Spider-Man, which is better than it's been in almost a decade. I read New X-Men, which took the X-Men back to basics in a refreshing new way and got me reading X-books again after I gave up on them during the Twelve arc. The Ultimate line rules and Jemas is one of the people responsible. Sure Austen's screwing up Uncanny and Captain America right now, but nothing's perfect, and it'll eventually get better because, frankly, the characters aren't going anywhere.

Jemas has done more good than harm as far as I can tell. If he's slowly picking Marvel apart, as a lot of people suggest and as I was beginning to believe myself, he's doing it in a very peculiar way that's leaving a lot of Marvel's properties in better shape than they were before he got there.

So my question for you, Jugsy, is what do you specifically dislike about Jemas' decisions (other than firing Waid, which everyone is upset about)? Are you just getting caught up in the anti-Jemas wave like I did?

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Old 07-30-2003, 11:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by CaptainStacy
Wolfman always was a class act. Always loved his stories, Lots of respect for the guy...
Yep, his early run on the 1980 revamp of the Teen Titans was phenominal, and his short stint on Amazing Spider-Man was one of the best runs in that book's history.

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Old 07-31-2003, 01:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheCorpulent1
So my question for you, Jugsy, is what do you specifically dislike about Jemas' decisions (other than firing Waid, which everyone is upset about)? Are you just getting caught up in the anti-Jemas wave like I did?

I don't like him taking one of my favourte heroes and turning him into a dick!

sure he's done some good stuff, but he also ****s up beyond repair. So what, he created the ultimate line? that doesn't mean he can't make mestakes.

It's nothing big , just those little nagging worries that build up, and you just can't take anymore

Well short of assassinating him, there's nothing I can do, unless......

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Old 07-31-2003, 11:54 AM   #18
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Old 07-31-2003, 02:24 PM   #19
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Amazing Spidey, New X-Men, Daredevil and FF (with Waid, sucks he's leaving) are all titles that were pretty damn crappy 3 years ago and have now been getting large amounts of praise. The Ultimate line is kicking all kinds of @$$, Alias is an amaing comics, some of the Tsumani titles are damn good (I've been getting Runaways, Mystique and New Mutants). Marvel's books are better than they were throughout the entire 90s. Sure there's some books that still haven't really got on board yet or some titles where the change started off well, but has since f'ed up, but overall good things are happening.

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Old 07-31-2003, 02:31 PM   #20
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Don't forget about X-Statix, Origin/Truth/Born, Inhumans, and Avengers. Those are great, too.

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Old 07-31-2003, 09:33 PM   #21
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Never forget X-STATIC

Is it me, or is Doop














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Old 07-31-2003, 11:02 PM   #22
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Rather than the critiques of the current administration, what I took away from that article was the realization of just how much the industry as a whole has changed over the past 10 years. In addition to the comments concerning the Bullpen, statements like this...

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In 1990, we had something like 7,500 comic book shops spread across the country. At the end of the 90s, we had something like 3,500 shops. Rumor has it we now have fewer than 2,000 shops. It has been said that every time a shop closes, only 25% of its customers search out new shops. The others give up the hobby.
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In the old days, comics were the only place where you could get heroic fiction. Today, itís all over the movies (Marvel has had 7 number one films in a row, beginning with, he said modestly, my own character, Blade). What we do is now all over the movie screens, TV, video games, commercials, toys, in fact, everywhere. Since super-hero material can be found in so many other places, these days, super-hero comics are, I think, somewhat redundant and can be easily given up by readers.
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We donít have ďreadersĒ the way we used to. Almost nobody today casually buys a comic. Because we effectively dismantled the newsstand market and limited their purchase to a thousand or so out of the way tiny hole-in-the-wall shops, we have destroyed the concept of comic book readers and created the uber fan.
...make me wonder if we would still have these problems regardless of the administration's attitudes or not. In the 1990s Marvel's biggest cancer was bad writing. Now it's become the market itself.

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Old 08-01-2003, 04:42 PM   #23
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Good point, Sundry. How many of us see a comic shop today that doesn't need to boost its business by selling Pokemon cards and other stuff to bring more people in? Both the comic shops I go to (at home and at college) are rife with so many other things, comics seem like a secondary concern for them.

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Old 07-31-2004, 03:00 AM   #24
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Bump

that was a great read

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Old 07-31-2004, 08:26 AM   #25
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That WAS a great read. I liked hearing his views on when things started to change under (Jim) Shooter, and it was ironic that one of their first big "public" disagreements (Dark Phoenix) catapulted the title into the monster it is today.

Personally, I feel the Stan role of schmoozing is much harder today, because of the internet. Either you post on boards or maintain your own site, in which case fans (who aren't kids anymore) will pick apart everything that you say. Or you don't, and fans will say your aloof and out of touch (and the requisite crapping all over the character)


I just look at the balance sheet: I'm enjoying comics MUCH, MUCH more today then I did 5 years ago

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