Comics Creators

Marvel Comics: The CB Cebulski Generation Begins!


For your first point, that’s not the worst thing they’ve done. By far. You can google any number of reputable news sources that tell you that.
As for your second point, fuck the alt right too.


Politics can get the fuck right out of the comics thread please.


Coates is good writer, and an extremely bright guy.

I’m sure whatever he writes won’t be for everyone, but it will at the very least be interesting and thoughtful - it won’t be just a paycheck for him, he’ll have something to say with the story and I think thats a good thing.

It’s unlikely to be bland.


Another interesting point here is that if it is primarily a niche hobby with a devoted but isolated potential audience, then is Marvel actually doing what it needs to capitalize and capture the most readers from that potential base? Has it lost readers by trying (possibly failing) to expand readership?

I’m reminded by one of the factors that made Dilbert a successful strip. When Scott Adams started the strip he put his email in the panel so readers could let him know what they liked. This is why more strips started to be set in the office rather than with Dilbert at home. The response to office strips was far more positive and requests for more strips at Dilbert’s work were consistently higher than people wanting to see him at home or out on a date.

A lot of times, people don’t know what they like until they see it, but it seems like it would be far more helpful to any entertainment company to find out what their paying audience likes and doesn’t like about what they are putting out now.

Do the companies have reliable feedback channels that go beyond simply sales numbers to really judge the appeal of their comics and who they should target them to?


I think so and hope so. That said I think creators often ignore this. With Mark for example he writes what he wants to, tells the stories he thinks are right, rather than asking his audience what they want. A few years ago they’d have asked for more Hit Girl, more Nemesis and other hard hitting comic violence. Instead Mark wrote Empress and Huck and Reborn.

Henry Ford got it right when he said people want faster horses. People don’t know what they really want.


That’s true, but the companies should know what the people like about what they put out there. You can say they like Batman from the sales, but they should also have a good idea what it is about the Batman stories they like. Do they like regular mysteries for Batman to solve or more bizarre villains with extreme death trap fixations? More fights? More comic relief? What generated the heat in a series (tighter story arcs? New characters?) and what dissipated it (continuous crossovers? unrelated events?) over a period of its publication?



This is really down to the writers, and most don’t know what customers want. Most are just writing the stories they want. Millar is famous for working on books and doing screw all background reading. Some writers can do that. Others just can’t.


Yeah, it is a good question if writers do anything to really get solid feedback. I think it’s also the editors who really need to take the hard look at the titles so the writers can just be free to write.


It should be but especially for Image they don’t really have editors as bosses. Most muddle through themselves, the big guys with more money to spend like Millar and Kirkman invert the usual form and employ their editors.


The problem is that when the books are written and when they actually hit the stands, months have passed due to lead times. By the time they can make adjustments based on feedback, stories are pretty set and said changes could do a lot of damage to the story itself. They may be able to make changes to the next story but again, those changes could affect long term stories.

I want to say Peter David is someone who admitted to crafting stories based on reader response but I may be mistaken.


The other unknown is you can overstay your welcome putting out very similar material people loved.

Think of the Bay Transformers movies, logic says keep putting them out and then at episode 5 half your audience is gone.


As far as Dilbert went, a lot of what happened was that Scott Adams stumbled into an unfulfilled market he was uniquely qualified to satisfy. And that’s something that ought to be considered, too. Kirkman was uniquely qualified to quench the zombie craze. The Avengers movies were uniquely qualified to quench both the superhero craze and the epic blockbuster craze (and created an entirely unique formula in the process). X-Files quenched the paranoia craze.

But finding those crazed and knowing how to fill them is hard. Obviously Marvel took a long look at social developments in the last few years, but that hasn’t developed into finding that quench-fulfilling new craze. Because it isn’t really a craze. Maybe a female hero who specifically rescues women? That sounds more targeted. I don’t know.


How was he uniquely qualified? I’m not challenging it, just curious.


The Walking Dead wasn’t a zombie comic. Zombies were already an incredibly tired idea. It’s a soap opera, focused on character work. Lots and lots and lots of character work. Issue after issue of just adding to the characters. Those first 50 issues are a masterclass in that regard. For me that was the gap he saw - long form character driven soap opera storytelling for a more sophisticated audience.

I think this is the crux of the problem with comics. Companies are so eager to get great writers they let them do what they want, and what they want doesn’t always fit. So Morrison can write a great X Men comic but the franchise will be in tatters for a decade after he leaves. Miller writes Dark Knight Returns and DC has to pretty much change Batman as a result. Editors know how to coach talent and wrangle them in the right direction. But there are no more editors - nowadays they’re just project managers.

And writers continue to write what they want, but most of it isn’t very good as most of them need to be coached. So you end up with no-one being happy.


As Jim points out, he flipped the script, by focusing on the interpersonal landscape as something other than survivors. He made the real challenge surviving the living!


Kirkman is pretty explicitly following the Romero formula for zombie stories, he just continues it past the where the movie ends. He states as much in the intro to the first collection.


I haven’t read it past the first trade. Are there still zombies in the world? How can there still be zombies?


People keep dying.


Oh I thought you meant like he’s made a life study of zombies or something like that.