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LEAVE MARVEL COMICS ALONE

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It’s no secret that Marvel is getting blown away by DC right now. Rebirth has been exactly what was promised, a universe-wide fix to fans liking. Marvel is still kind of a mess, but one that has a lot to appreciate; we need to leave Marvel Comics alone.

The All-New, All-Different and Marvel NOW! efforts introduced major changes. Marvel made an effort to diversify their comics on a large scale. They introduced a full lineup of “legacy” characters.

marvel now

Some of these changes have been warmly received (Ms. Marvel) while others have not (Riri Williams). Marvel knew this was going to happen, it’s not their first rodeo. Regardless, they pushed forward and have taken their lumps along the way.

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Fans have been very vocal about their displeasure with the current state of Marvel. Claiming a “forced agenda”, bad writing, or ruining their favorite hero just for the sake of doing it. Marvel knew these close minded people were out there, and were prepared for them.

For every diversified title there is also an alternative. Every All-New Wolverine, has an Old Man Logan. For every Invincible Iron Man, there’s an Infamous Iron Man. Don’t like Sam Wilson being Captain America? You can read Steve Rogers’ Captain America. Hate seeing a woman wield Mjolnir? There’s an Unworthy Thor waiting for you!

Marvel is having their cake and eating it too, and so can fans. I find myself in a minority of people who are enjoying most of the books Marvel is producing. I wasn’t on board with every major change at first, but after giving them all a chance I found that they’re nowhere near as bad as some people make them out to be.

marvel sam cap

Sam Wilson for example, this book took a while to win me over. It took some time for writer Nick Spencer to hit his stride with the character. A black man wielding the star-spangled shield is quite possibly the ultimate representation of what Steve Rogers believes in. The series recently has dived deep into racial tensions and at times eerily mirrors our own world.

Let the art speak for itself. If you wanna hate Riri Williams because it’s an Iron Man title without Tony Stark; at least give it a shot first. It’s actually pretty great, completely immersed in Stark’s world still. It’s continuing many of the threads introduced before Tony started his coma. Or you just wait it out, it’s comic books, act like you’ve been here before.

Nothing lasts forever in comics, especially alterations to a companies entire lineup of books. If you really can’t stomach a more youthful, diverse universe come back around August. After Secret Empire wraps up, Marvel is doing something major.

marvel generations

We don’t know exactly what Generations is going to be yet. It’s rumored to be Marvel’s answer to DC Rebirth, which makes sense. Despite their noble efforts to better the world, they’re still not selling as many comic books.

People may fear change, deny evolution, and hide behind claims of “bad writing” all they want. Marvel’s punk-rock attitude and perseverance wasn’t about them. It was about that little girl walking into a comic book shop, getting excited about picking up a comic featuring Ironheart or Ms. Marvel.

If you can find a reason to get offended or angry about little kids discovering comic books, that’s not Marvel’s problem. You can continue yelling into the Internet void about it until they bring Bruce Banner back. In the meantime, why not explore the massive catalog of back issues? See if what you want these characters to be holds up throughout history.

It’s completely understandable to have given this lineup of Marvel books a try, and found that they’re not for you. That doesn’t mean they aren’t for anyone. Personally, I don’t care much for Squirrel Girl. That doesn’t mean I think it’s an abomination and that Marvel shouldn’t make the book. It’s simply not for me.

marvel riri williams

Marvel Comics should be celebrated for their ambitious effort to evolve their lineup of comic books. It may not have been an easy ride, or a complete home run, but at least they made a statement and stuck to it.

Let’s not pretend that diversity is what drags down Marvel comics, it’s the events and constant rebooting. Not allowing readers to grow with these characters, as they’re constantly being given a new #1, is an issue. Forcing these characters into larger roles in half-constructed crossover events is what makes them seem flawed. If these two factors weren’t plaguing the 616 Universe, readers would give Marvel a longer leash.

At the end of the day, this era of Marvel will be just that, an era. Some changes will stick, others will not. Maybe Generations will be like Rebirth and revert the entire universe back to the comfortable norm. Perhaps it will just further solidify the current state of things as concrete; losing much of the older crowd in the process.

marvel now selfie

Either way, Marvel will need to earn back the trust of those unhappy readers, while maintaining a relationship with those who are newcomers. I imagine ResurreXion will be a major step in that direction. Marvel will answer DC’s success with their own, and the “big two” will be mighty again. When both companies are producing quality, and in spite of each other, comics in general are better.

How do you feel about the current state of Marvel? What titles are you currently reading? Is Generations going to be their Rebirth? I can’t be the only one on Marvel’s side, where are my fellow readers at? Let us know in the comments!

 

Brandon J. Griffin - Comic Book Critichttps://twitter.com/griffunk
New Jersey scum who worships comic books like religious literature. Yell at me on Twitter @griffunk

16 COMMENTS

  1. My fandom is irrelevant as the little girls apparently matters more is the general gist I get…

    …the problem though, is that I was looking forward to introducing a little girl to my favourite pastime….a bit hard to do when I don’t care about the characters that were introduced at the expense of the characters I did.

    The problem isn’t the diversification of characters, it is the hamfisted approach Marvel took by effectively sidelining popular characters to give other characters a chance to grow.

    So for the past three years I gave characters I didn’t care about a chance, handing over my money to Marvel every week…for three years I put up with being told I was a bigot for not enjoying what I was paying for.

    Then it occurred to me, if I am not enjoying the product, then why am I supporting it.

    Why am i letting others tell me what i should like.

    I jumped ship on DC with the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, moving to Marvel, perhaps it was time to look elsewhere because Marvel whom I loved reminded me too much of why I left DC in the first place.

    I don’t need Marvel to introduce a little girl to comics, nor do we need Marvel to dictate what is appropriate…

    She will find her own way.

    *PS your website is obsolete as it rejected my legitimate email address, you may want to look into that (I use a subdomain based off of one of the new gtld domains, specifically one ending in .email)

      • From what I understand from Bleeding Cool Marvel are about to shelve most of the legacy characters and drop a lot of the political comment from their comics and adopt a back to basics approach to their line up .

        I am pretty certain Ms Marvel will survive and maybe Miles Morales will get a new spider related name but other than that I think they are mostly doomed if the new direction rumors are true .

  2. I think people are more turned off by the lazy writing of “lets kill off another character.” Cho is awesome as Totally Awesome Hulk but why did Banner have to die? Riri is cool too but Tony is in a “coma”. So Bendis and crew didn’t create the iconic Marvel core, do they have to ruin it? There’s enough room in the Marvel Multiverse for everyone. Is the Surfer on a break? More Cosmic.

  3. We can celebrate Marvel’s diversity till the cows come home, but it won’t change the reality that is this: 5 years ago, I was buying 40+ titles from them. Currently, I’m buying 6 (soon to be 4). I didn’t try most of the rest of their diverse line-up before dropping them. They simply held no appeal for me, right out of the box.

    I’m not angry with Marvel. Quite the opposite, really. Pulling back on my Marvel (and eliminating my DC buying completely 3.5 years ago) buying has given me the chance to dive more deeply into other publisher’s books/franchises than I have ever gone before. And while not everything has resonated with me, with some trial and error, I’m back to enjoying comics again.

    As for Marvel, well it came down to this – I’m willing to give them room to experiment and replace the odd character here and there if I’m getting what I need from them on a more fundamental level. If I’m not (and I haven’t been for over a year), then I have to look elsewhere. I buy primarily for characters. I want good quality too, but who is under the mask matters to me.

    The other thing is, if I want to read something different, why would I buy from Marvel (or DC)? From them, I want great new stories featuring the old characters. At that point, I look to other publishers to give me “different”.

    If I’m not their demographic anymore, I’m okay with that. I’ve always said that I’m fully prepared to walk away from any title (no matter how long I’ve been buying it) to give this new demographic a chance to show up and be counted – to show Marvel (and all of us really) they will actually support this sort of initiative. If they won’t, then they can’t expect Marvel to continue with it.

  4. This post…. Misses the point of the complaints against Marvel. People aren’t displeased with Marvel because of the push for diversity; unless they are racist, and that is just an annoying minority. Folks are displeased with Marvel because for every step they take in the right direction, they took 3 in the wrong one; be it by making their most iconic character (Cap) a nazi, or turning a survivor of the holocaust into a nazi affiliate (magneto), or exterminating their most poular characters for the sake of ones nobody likes (x-men vs inhumans) or by pushing suffocating after suffocating crossover that nobody wants and nobody asks for, that promises to shake the foundation of the universe… Until three weeks later, when its all waved away by the next event, ad hominem.

    The problem is also that writing diverse characters, but not letting them be written by diverse writers results on really gross storylines, ranging from Miles Morales’ infamous “who cares if I am a black super-hero?” to Jean Grey forcibly outing Iceman, to Nick Spencer writing a group of “milenial villains” that is as stereotypical and offensive as pretty much everything else Nick Spencer has done.

    We can’t keep brushing aside Marvel’s glaring problems because hey! They have 3 more poc heroes now! Even if we know these heroes will be downgraded or forgotten by the time the next update rolls around!

  5. I get what you’re trying to say, but I think you’re missing some points. For some reason, Marvel feels the need to make their characters exactly like the readers. And that does work! Spider-Man was a perfect example of that, a high school nerd. But sometimes you don’t need a character to be exactly like you to love the character? What percentage of captain America fans are actual soldiers? how many kids from small farming towns even have a place to buy Superman comics? No. Most of their fans don’t relate to the character, and that’s okay! Just look at the success of the MCU. Everyone loves those movies, and they aren’t changing up who wears the costume, and killing off the original. so when some kids finishes watching a Thor movie, and decides to go check out a Thor comic, they see Jane Foster, a side character who doesn’t even really have a good reason as for why she’s worthy. And yes, there is unworthy thor, but that is a six issue mini comic, whereas Jane has been Thor since, what? 2014? Also, for some reason Marvel hates the idea of sidekicks. they’d rather just put Iron Man in a coma and immediately introduce Ironheart. She met him like, one time, when he was alive. Seriously, if DC was like Marvel, Batman would’ve died with Dick Grayson’s parents, and then 12 year old Dick Grayson would have become the “All-new! All-different! Batman”. and then in three or four years Batman would miraculously come back to life, and Grayson would appear once or twice a decade. But DC is smarter than Marvel and took their time. They let Dick be number two for a while, then instead of becoming Batman, he became his own person, Nightwing. And now, from what I hear, he’s even getting his own movie! (and yes, I know there have been times where Grayson has temporarily been batman, but the point is that people think of nightwing when they think of him). THAT is how you create a fantastic legacy hero. Not by killing hulk and making a teenager the new hulk. Not by killing wolverine (again!) and letting x-23 put on a bright yellow costume (which completely goes against her character). not by turning falcon from being his own respectable, well known superhero into being just “the black captain America”. not by making a love interest whose only interesting trait is that she has cancer pick up the hammer. not by killing cyclops and then bringing back a younger version of him without any of the decades of character development. I’m sorry for ranting, but this article just really pissed me off

  6. Being a black man and seeing so many comics immersed in black culture, I’m completely hooked on Marvel. Invincible Iron Man, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain America and World of Wakanda are the best stories going. I pre-order every issue and my kids love them too.

    Besides Nightwing, DC Rebirth does nothing for me.

    • My friend has had the opposite reaction to these new legacy characters ( Black Panther obviously isn’t one ) he absolutely hates that Marvel can’t come up with new original black superheroes . He’s from Morocco in North Africa .

      • It’s not like they started at square 1. Miles Morales is from an alternate universe and works side-by-side with Peter Parker. Riri is super smart and Tony Stark recognized that she was in the perfect disposition to carry on the Iron Man torch. Steve Rogers aged and his trusted friend picked up the mantle because it’s more important to have a Captain America than it is to just have a Falcon. Regardless, their stories are great and it’s comforting to see more faces of color representing these huge titles. Props to Marvel!

  7. as a long, long time fan of Marvel, who bought books the majority of Wednesdays for over 30 years, I cant read Marvel books anymore–most of the creative work is poor quality, and the universe makes no cohesive sense anymore–

  8. I’m glad I stop reading Marvel comics. They were part of my weekly read list for almost 25 years. Today it’s become a mess in continuity and parallel universes that add more to the confusion, and then reboot after reboot. They destroyed and killed off all of the characters we loved. Nothing they publish now really relates to what is going on in the movies, and you know what? Most of the films are based off story lines from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Thank God for back issues because those are the only Marvel comics I read anymore.

  9. Axel Alonso has to be the greatest underachiever of our generation. Marvel should be ruling the world, drafting off the success of the cinematic universe. Instead, they are forcing intellectually dishonest political views on their fans. Many of their writers have never read comics prior to their assignments rendering a once precious continuity meaningless. I hope they clean house soon before they ruin their comic line.

  10. Marvel is handling things well with their “you can have your pie, and eat it too” mentality. I’ve been following Sam Wilson as Captain America, and I love it! I hope Generations is going to continue to be Marvel’s way of doing things, not just a copy of Rebirth.

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