Monday, January 17, 2011
Thor: The Mighty Offender part 2!
Every time I think it's just not going to be fun any more to rip into the stupidity of Marvel, they go ahead and Marvel us with a new level of stupidosity. With the Kenneth Branagh Thor movie coming out in May, Marvel have decided to reboot Thor to a new # 1, and then continuing the numbering on their old series but changing the name!
You can't make this stuff up, folks. I mean, what could possibly be confusing about that, right? We're going to continue the numbering on our Thor book, but next issue completely change the name, the creative team, characters, and direction. We will simultaneously have the same writer continue his thread of narrative on a different book. On what planet does this make sense? Only on planet Marvel.
It gets particularly laughable when you read the fine print of the CBR article I discovered this story in. Their reason for the expansive switcheroo? Because they're looking for an "easy to point to jumping on point for readers intrigued by the film".
This is so backwards on so many levels. I still can't believe that anybody is still under the impression that there will be any new readers intrigued by the film, because we have no evidence that such a phenomenon exists. Apparently, Marvel hasn't twigged onto this fact yet.
"A wave of civilians will be moved to check the book out, so a clear, clean entry point is always welcome," Fraction told Marvel's official website. This is so galactically stupid I don't even know where to start. I give Fraction a bit of a pass, because he's being a company man and what is he supposed to say? This is a Marvel issue, not a Fraction issue. But it's still really, really, stupid.
Stupid because clean entry point was gone a long time ago, because you've already rebooted the franchise too many times for that. This will be go # 4 at a "main" Thor book, five if you count the original Journey Into Mystery series.
Clean entry point? Forget that. That cover may have a # 1 on it, but it will all be connected to the prior series that went before it, and doesn't need a re-numbering. Clean entry point? Yeah, that's why you decided to launch a second book, right? To really clean things up for us. Thanks, Marvel.
And how clean is that Mighty Thor going to be in the back issue bin? Where do I rack it when the inevitable trade comes out? Do I rack it alphabetically with the "M"s and hope that everybody knows it's connected to the Thor trades down the shelves a bit? Do I rack it with the Thor trades, and if I do, do I rack it chronologically after the stuff that was published just before but alphabetically isn't the same? It's a nightmare. It's all a useless, confusing, unnecessary nightmare. This is not clean and clear. This is why civilians don't bother with us in the first place.
So let's get to that. Where is this "wave" of civilians produced by the movie going to come from? Oh, I know. Maybe it's that wave of civilians who just leaped at the chance to pick up your clear, clean, Wolverine Weapon X # 1 entry point? Yeah, Wolverine Origins came out, and they did avoid this book in droves, didn't they? Oh yeah. That was a super good wave. Book died after 16 issues so you could reboot. Again. Huh.
It's an embarrassment at this point. You want civilians to check out your book, MAKE ONE CAN'T MISS BOOK and then TELL PEOPLE OTHER THAN CURRENT COMICS READERS ABOUT IT. You're going to have millions of eyes on the intellectual property, and not one of them will be told that there's comic books available in that theater.
Don't take my word for it, by the way. Go ask Robert Kirkman if making your product pure and graspable works. Walking Dead is an empire because he made it simple to grab hold of, and compelling once you grab hold of it. Bam! That's it. There's your magic. Marvel is still trapped in this "Well, if one book is good, then five books are bestest!"
Examine your own playbook and recognize that it doesn't work, Marvel. You're mindlessly running the same ineffective gambits, and you're flushing it all so that you can milk three extra nickels on that Thor # 1 before it slides directly back down to prior levels.
And in the interim, what? Don't tell me there's no harm done. It's another opportunity not only flushed, but used to make things worse. To make things more confusing. To make it more difficult to find back issues later, and trades later, and figure out what to read in what order later. To further dilute the brand. To further ostracize what few curious civilians might actually be out there.
Wave of civilians. Ha. Clean, clear entry point. HA! If it weren't all so sad, I think I'd sprain something laughing.