When Kingsman 2 was coming out I talked with Millar about having more Kingsman books to tie into the movie. He;d already planned the Red Diamond but I don’t think it’s sold very well. Movies should be hundred million dollar adverts for comics, except they’re not anymore. It doesn’t work. For me personally reading the Red Diamond had the same feeling as watching a TV show based off a movie series that you know is innately not as good as just watching the movie. You’d rather watch the movie again rather than read some new stuff that just feels like a knock off (even though it’s not a knock off).
I always was surprised that the Star Wars comics weren’t huge. But they were barely profitable in the Dark Horse days. They did well with Marvel, but that’s only a small moment in time over 30 years of opportunity. Things like Game of Thrones comics or other tie ins just don’t seem to sell.
I’ve had a working theory that Superman comics died when his movies became a success. That comics readers just didn’t have the same emotional investment in the comic portrayal anymore when you had these great movies. I don’t think Superman comics will ever recover. So the question is how did Batman survive, and he did so by reinvention. Comics Batman was a different take from the movie guy.
Maybe that’s what Marvel need to do. Accept their characters are cultural icons now, and make their books about the mythology of the character rather than trying to tell their ongoing adventures. Would that explain why we enjoyed books like Godbomb Thor, Fractions Hawkeye, King’s Vision rather than any mainstream comics. Would that also explain why Marvels arguably biggest hits are the new characters that haven’t been adapted - Ms Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Gwenpool. Does something change in comics when a character becomes mainstream?
Our hobby is littered with properties that made it onto the big screen and then died a death in print soon after: Tank Girl, the Mask, Barb Wire, the Crow, Blade, Men in Black, Spawn, LXG, Constantine. X Men failed after Morrison left and the movies became hot, the FF failed after their 2 movies, Green Lantern isn’t anywhere near where it was in Blackest Night days, Ghost Rider is a nothing comic character now, when one time he was Punisher/Wolverine popular. Maybe the price for big screen success is the end of print. Maybe the way to be successful in comics is to offer something you don’t get anywhere else.