There Might Be Strings on Some of You…
Remember the glory days of comic books in the pre-superhero movie era?
I remember comic books, passionate arguments about power and might, and endless, heavyweight artistic achievement in the area of drawing, inking, and even, dare I say it writing.
And then, Marvel bought Diamond Distribution and tried to block out the market of direct sales of comics, Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Avengers titles went through meaningless crossover stories, and the market was glutted with new industry players—from Image to IDW—who pushed the product prices up and up.
Dave Sim, the creator of Cerebus, warned all of us about what happened, and we ignored him because it’s easy to ignore conspiracy-minded creatives who don’t leave their houses and write Aardvark-as-Conan allegories for 25 years.
But he didn’t foresee 9/11, the rise of superheroes on film and now, 20 years later, the last nail in the comic book industry’s coffin has arrived.
Finally. From Deadline:
A major structural shift is taking place at Marvel. As the brand looks to put even more of its stamp on the Walt Disney Company with the upcoming launch of Disney+, all of Marvel’s creative personnel is moving under Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.
Deadline hears that Feige is adding the title of Chief Creative Officer, Marvel, to his title. What that means for the brand is that all of the company’s key creative executives across film and TV now will report to him, sources said.
Goodbye, Marvel Comics. Goodbye, Marvel Entertainment. Hello, Walt Disney. Now and forever.
…But There’s No Strings on Me.
Look, I don’t have a problem with this move from a business standpoint.
It makes sense to give total, never-ending creative control of the total Marvel IP to a guy who has brought in Oscar nominations, billions of dollars worldwide in grosses, and goodwill out the wazoo to characters, that used to go for barely $0.38 an issue at the local bodega in the 1970’s.
Plus, the creative genius can’t be distracted—the Sony Pictures Spider-Man IP debacle—or pissed off enough to go to other sandboxes—running the Star Wars “show”—and so from a “we’ve gotta lock this guy down” perspective, this move makes sense for Disney.
I think the genuine comic fans are going to lose on this one, however, for three reasons which are inherent in how this deal is being structured and trumpeted.
Why don’t we let the trades take it away again:
The decision to place all film and television production and the creative aspects of publishing under Feige comes at an important inflection point for the company: Marvel is moving into a second phase of its superhero film franchise launches, after an unprecedented record of success in its first decade. And the move comes as efforts to generate Marvel TV series for other platforms has wound down but soon will begin a new phase as Marvel creates premium content for Disney+.
That’s all three problems wrapped up in one blinkered, clapping, paragraph.
Kevin Feige is Running Your Marvel World.
Let me flesh them out and then you can argue with me below:
Joe Quesada and Marvel Comics creatives will report directly to this guy. This means that there won’t be any “off the reservation” truly creative stories from Marvel Comics for the next hundred years.
Yes, I know they’ve been trending toward watered down, “SJW” forced IP garbage since the bankruptcy and sale to Disney all those years ago, but now, Marvel Comics will be truly and irrevocably forced to generate “movie tie-in, or die,” storylines and Quesada won’t have a leg to stand on to fight back.
Everything must serve the will of the Mouse.
Yes, D23 and San Diego Comic-Con are coming up, but with the already announced slate of features coming to Disney+ from Marvel, including, The Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Hawkeye, What If? and WandaVision, I don’t see the potential for any productions to be announced at either of those two industry events, that won’t be “woke,” plain, or boring for the average comic fan.
Yes, Disney + will get the “normies” eyeballs on the platform for the next decade, but there won’t be any product, storyline, or character arc even remotely risky allowed. Feige isn’t going to bite the hand that pays him.
“Yay!” for Disney shareholders.
“Boo!” for you, average fan.
With a “one man, one vision” system going at Marvel, the chance of storylines that comic fans once loved being actually seen on the screen diminishes over time.
Age Of Apocalypse? Not happening. Spider-man Clone Saga? Nope. Onslaught? Ha-Ha.
Fantastic Four/Nathan Summers/Cable/Stryfe drama?
Nope. Nope. Nope. Comic fan, you’re getting set up for “feels,” endless origin story rehashings, and little else.
Everywhere this restructuring is being applauded, including on other niche film review sites, and of course, the shill entertainment media loves it.
And that’s how creativity, risk, and true reward dies.
To the sound of moneyed hands clapping.
Oh, to have the 90’s back.