Comics Creators

Marvel Comics: The CB Cebulski Generation Begins!


And the elephant in the room is Marvel Unlimited, which I have and mostly like but I also haven’t thought for a second about buying a new Marvel comic in at least a year. Since getting MU a few years back I’ve bought Secret War and King’s Vision series off the racks and that’s it. I would buy a Fantastic Four book if they ever put one out again but they seem to have made up their minds on that.

I wonder what their revenue is like for Marvel Unlimited and if it is worth it for them. As Vertigo learned with the trade waiters, you don’t want to instill new habits in your readers if it’s detrimental to your business model.


It’s true enough. I no longer buy any Marvel comics or trades since I have Unlimited. As long as it exists as it does I have no intention of doing so.

I don’t know if that directly reduces what I give them as that money now goes directly to Marvel, I did spend more overall before but a chunk would have gone to the retailer (be it a bookshop, comic shop or Comixology). It’s a complicated balance and we’ll likely never know the data of how many people are paying that $70-$100 a year.


Here’s a sobering thought. I think streaming might be the end goal for Marvel. Sell a subscription to 5 million readers around the globe that gives them access to their entire history. And that’s pretty much it. You create maybe 10 new books a month, focus on maybe 15 trades a year. You kill the floppy market and go for all that lovely digital profit. And DC follows. And Image. And the rest more or less combine together for the 4th option. Wouldn’t they all take a guaranteed $20 a month from every single comic reader without profit stealing middle men, just pure digital money.

I think comics flipping to a streaming subscription is inevitable. Why not Netflix comics? They’re perfect for it. Marvel have a hundred thousand comics, why not go for it? Put on an award winning slick interface - I believe they haven’t done that because Unlimited is the elephant you mention. It’s the Grim Reaper over the entire model. But with so much free entertainment options these days comics just can’t compete with the rest of the market. This feels inevitable. In 1985 you had comics and not much else to do with your free time. Today a teenager has all of human history waiting in their basement. Who’s going to go to a comic store to waste their pocket money?

It comes in stages. Cutting back because only half their books are profitable. Stores sell fewer books and the majority close. Comics becomes a special treat. I think it’s like cinema, which is undergoing a kind of same degradation and erosion of the market, propped up by increased ticket sales. Eventually mid level movies will just be streaming options (watch what Disney are going to do) and we’ll pay $20 to see billion dollar blockbusters in theaters - a new one every 2 weeks. 50 movies released a year. Why not the same fate for comics? Mid level fades away. 30 books a month instead of 300. You pay the premium for the paper experience only for books that feel worth it, those they hold back from direct to streaming. The only people employed are those who are truly great at making comics.

Tomorrow Marvel could cancel half their line in print and make them day and date on Marvel Unlimited. I think the numbers would be favorable for them if they did that. But they won’t yet because they know half their LCS locations go out of business in 90 days. But it’s got to be coming.


I think about what it would take for me to start buying Marvel again. I’m truly doubt that I would go back.

Marvel feels truly broken. I no longer have faith in them or what they will do. They feel completely lost. Maybe Cebulski will change things but the impact of his regime is still some time away. Even then, it will still be wait and see.

This feels different from the post-Bust years of the 90s. Back then, Marvel felt like it was experiencing malaise. They were adrift but with a little guidance, they could get back on track.

Now, it seems like it will it an extraordinary amount of effort to not only fix the line but to restore faith in the company.

That’s a lot of work to do.


You’d buy a book that everyone was raving about. You know you would. You’re an addict. All it really takes is maybe 1 or 2 really great books and everyone would come back. But those books would need to be historic. And in my opinion Millar wrote the only 2 that fit the bill in the last 20 years.


It also depends how wedded you are to ‘the line’. I think Todd has pretty much confessed he’s ‘grown out’ of his interest in Marvel and moved on to other comics a while back, which is fine. I have to a degree too but if Marvel are putting out a good book I’ll read it (and they still do although the line is a mess).

For my $5.83 a month subscription they have to hit the absolute skids and not have 1 and a half comics worth reading. :smile:


1978, Romita Jr in peak ‘extra in Saturday Night Fever’ mode.


… Uncanny/New Mutants/X-Factor :grin:

Times change though. I’d rather the X-Men found a new and innovative way to move forward rather than retread old ground yet again. It’s why the Morrison New X-Men run remains a favourite - it felt like a logical reinvention of what the X-Men were, something new born from the elements of the old.





Hell, in the Uncanny, Adjectiveless, X-Force, X-Factor days there was also Excalibur, Wolverine, and for 4 years of that era Marvel Comics Presents had a Wolverine or other X-Men story pretty much every issue, as well as ancillary titles like Alpha Flight.


Also, Cable and Gen X when they expanded to eight titles.


So, in the spirit of my new year’s resolution, I have just started my super trade wait read of Superior Spider-man.

Looking forward to this. Knowing how it all turns out already, I can enjoy it without being pissed off at how “they’ve ruined my childhood”.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this run, and #1 was certainly quite entertaining. Hope it lives up to the hype.


They were after my time (the 2-issue Cable miniseries in 1992 was one of the last X-books I bought prior to Morrison’s run). Checking Wiki, it looks like the Cable ongoing hit in summer 1993, and Generation X in November 1994

There was even an overlap of almost 6 months between the launch of Generation X and the cancellation of Marvel Comics Presents, so at that point there were nine x-books/books prominently featuring the X-men each month, as well as X-Men Unlimited running quarterly from 1993


And X-Men Unlimited used to contribute towards the main Story Arcs as well making them must read.


This was why I quit reading the damned things. I hadn’t even finished getting the Fatal Attractions issues by the time part 2 of the Bloodlines crossover was out and issue 1 had sold out!


I enjoyed what I read of it. I’ve only dipped in and out of Slott’s Spidey stuff, but this was fun.


Superior was a very enjoyable run while it lasted, although I did stop reading Amazing shortly after it returned.

I’d also really recommend Superior Foes of Spider-Man if you haven’t read that, although it’s got almost nothing to do with Superior whatsoever, and was clearly given that title just to tie it in. It’s Boomerang and a bunch of other D-list villains try to form a new Sinister Six (despite there only being five of them) and go for a big score. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber really make magic together, it’s one of the funniest thing I’ve ever read from Marvel. Despite being endlessly selfish, hapless, disorganised, immoral and bordering nihilistic, I found all the characters became quite endearing, which really invested me in it.


Superior foes us the best thing Spencer has done. It felt like the spiritual successor to JLI and Guardians. Naturally Marvel ended it too soon.


If Slott’s Spidey run really does end this year, I might do a megaread of all ten years of it on Unlimited.


I’ve been meaning to do BND thru Superior for a while, but I’m still missing the last two Big Time Complete Collections.