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Newest TILTING is up!

Brian Hibbs

You can find it at Comic Book Resources. I discuss what I perceive as the marketing and branding failure for “Marvel NOW!”. I’ve hit some sort of nerve, as it’s already got 25 responses before 9 am….

As always, feel free to comment here if you don’t/can’t reply there.



19 Responses to “ Newest TILTING is up! ”

  1. From the CBR comments:
    “What happens when we run out of oil and cheap electricity? Every single digital comic book file will be lost to the ether, and if some survive they would only be readable in small pockets around the world, if electricity is scarce, why waste it on a digital comic book? Physical comic books will remain because they are real.”

    Yeah. I think I’ll just stick to this comment thread.

  2. Yes, after the inevitable Mad Max Zombie Apocalypse, protecting our precious comic-book archives will clearly be job #1.

    “The only way this strategy makes sense is if you’re purely looking at each sales quarter, rather than the long-term health of your business.” -Brian Hibbs-

    Speaking of inevitable apocalypses, it’s amazing how many ills of the world come down to this limited thinking. Thanks for this, Brian, and here’s hoping somebody at Marvel is listening.

  3. The only one who matters, sadly, is Perlmutter. And it doesn’t appear that he cares about anything but the quarterly target.

    There’s a reason this initiative starts in October, after all.

    I don’t know whether to cry or fight about the current debate in the thread about whether or not manga is “really” comics….


  4. “As far as “urgency” goes, I strongly believe that staging out a rolling relaunch with “one book a week” for the 20+ week period strips much of the urgency from it.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t you make the exact opposite argument when the New 52 launched? Or was it that you had a problem with DC doing 52 new books in a month and you would have been fine with a smaller number like 30 or something?

    Also, what would be your prefered way for Marvel to roll out their new titles?

  5. Yeah, I was concerned before the DC relaunch happened that it was “too much, too soon”, but the actual on-the-ground results were (I believe, and will discuss this in next month’s column) “Too much, just right window”

    I’d be better with a 5-month window if I was given the details of the releases within those five months upfront — but I don’t believe that I can sustain enthusiasm over 20+ weeks.


  6. Where as I can see advantages to a complete reboot what’s happened to the Ultimate Universe feels me with trepidation for any potential Marvel 616 reboot.

  7. I only have two books I’m following from Marvel at this point: Daredevil and Punisher. I read these based on how well their respective teams work on the characters. I dove into Daredevil with very little background as to what Waid’s work was prior, and was pleasantly surprised, while with Punisher I was very familiar with all of Rucka’s work outside of that.

    I’m curious as to what happens with those books once this relaunch hits, more specifically with Daredevil. The book is coming off three Eisners, but from looking at monthly figures (thanks for the bookmark), it’s selling 40k at this point, not really comparable to stuff like AvX. They’ve tried double-shipping with it, and they’ve also had a shift in art duties. I’m wondering if they might actually just start over from scratch there, as opposed to continuing with the current run. From my perception, the series is doing ok, but I’ll be damned if I know whether 40k copies is an acceptable figure to the higher-ups at Marvel.

  8. Any thread about how paper comics will defeat digital comics in an apocalypse and how manga aren’t comics is too tempting to not read, but OH MY GOD! You guys will not believe how in-depth the CBR people get arguing about the best format for comics when the oil reserves run dry and we’re all fighting Mad Max Road Warriors style for the last gallon of gas. They’ve all thought this out waaaay too far.

  9. I just noticed, at the beginning of your column, a decade ago, everyone complained about Marvel shipping less than 12 issues of many titles a year, and these days, a lot of people are complaining about Marvel shipping more than 12 issues of many titles a year.

    (No, I’m not making the fallacious argument that the same people have made both complaints, and that you can’t please these people no matter what, etc. etc. I’m just saying it’s funny how things have shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other.)

  10. Well, Pete, I don’t think it was people complaining about “less than 12 a year” — it was complaining about LATE comics that tied up purchasing dollars.

    If they had only solicited for 10 issues of (say) Morrison’s X-MEN that would be one thing….


  11. Pete, it’s kind of the same situation. Most fans seem to want books published on a regular schedule by a regular creative team. So too little is a problem, but so is too much, esp. since the solutions utilized to get books “back on schedule” are the same as the ones utilized to increase publication frequency beyond 12 issues. It’s annoying when you have to work to know when the next issue’s coming out and who’s work is going to be in it, no matter how long we’re talking between issues. (That excludes the financial burden of the extra issues, of course.)

  12. Is it not a problem that Marvel Editorial (ME) has apparently run out of ideas for events? From the storytelling/plotting/thematic integrity standpoint, AvX is complete garbage. ME obviously wants the Phoenix Five to be written as acting mostly in character, but able to blame the Phoenix Force for their bad behavior. But flip-flopping between “They’re possessed”/”They’re on power trips” depending on the situation is ludicrous. This is (un)professional fiction, not “write your own issue.” Having the Phoenix Force withdraw its energy from the Sub-Mariner in AvX #8, to the befuddlement of the others, undoes the basis for the creation of the Five–which was absurd, anyway.

    None of the promotional gimmicks Marvel tries, including a reboot, will make a bit of difference creatively if Marvel remains dependent on events and the “illusion of change” editorial policy. The declining sales indicate that even character fetishists have limits.


  13. Once upon a time, DC and Marvel shipping schedules used to be so relatively reliable that there was this thing called “fifth week events” — in months with an “extra” shipping Wednesday, the comic companies would fill the shelves with a crossover (e.g., the DC/Marvel “Amalgam Universe”) or some “clever” self-contained mini-line (e.g., Marvel Mangaverse or DC’s “Tangent”). It seems like it’s been a long, long time since that tactic seemed wise or necessary.

    I for one, though, would rather see less-than-monthly solicits for more consistent books. The lurching schedule, shifting art teams and the pointless crossover on DAREDEVIL made me lose track & give up on the book; while the compromises on BATWOMAN have made me realize that, as a writer, JHW3 is a great cover artist: if he’s not drawing the issue, it’s not worth picking up.

  14. Good column, Brian. As an aside, for some reason, I kept hearing it in the voice of David Mitchell of That Mitchell and Webb Look.

  15. @moose n squirrel: The missus and I binged on Peep Show on Netflix and are following it up with seasons of That Mitchell and Webb Look, so I hear just about everything now in the vocie of David Mitchell.

  16. That’s almost certainly my problem – I finished the show months ago, but his voice is now forever buried in my brain, liable to crop up at the most inopportune times, usually any time I’m reading any writing that seems sufficiently erudite to sound like it could be spoken in a BBC accent. Opening of the Communist Manifesto – “There’s a spectre haunting Europe – and it is football, football, football!”

  17. “Unfortunately, the feeling I get from “Marvel NOW!” is “You know all that stuff we’ve been doing that you don’t seem to be responding to? Here’s more of it.”

    Yes, exactly, so much of what Marvel is like things we’ve seen a million times already. And if you don’t like it, there are 30 other variations on the shelves that week. If Marvel cut its line in half I don’t think anybody would miss any of the dropped titles.

    One problem is that it feels like Bendis is writing two-thirds of what Marvel puts out. He may have been fresh at one time, but now I’d really, really like him to take a vacation from comics for about 5 years.

    The company as a whole needs to look at editor Steve Wacker and figure out what he’s doing. It’s gotten to the point that if I read anything from Marvel that feels creative or at least enthusiastic, it’s almost always one of his books. Maybe he doesn’t micromanage his writers as much as other editors? Or maybe he just has a better feel for the zeitgeist.

  18. @Jeff & Moose N Squirrel – David Mitchell has a weekly column in The Guardian – http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/davidmitchell?INTCMP=SRCH
    It can be hit or miss, depending on whether something’s actually gotten him annoyed that week, and whether it’s something universal or uniquely British. There’s video’s as well.
    Charlie Brooker’s column on the same site is worth checking out, as is everything he does – I can’t wait till the podcast discovers his show Black Mirror.

  19. Brian, you very accurately reflected my own feelings on this stunt. It reeks of desperation, much like AvX does– I mean, they didn’t even bother to come up with a NAME for the fraggin’ thing. Obviously, Marvel is hoping that the soft reboot will spread out excitement over many months, and that they’ll have dozens of new hit titles this time next year. But I think you’re probably right, it’s going to do more to dilute enthusiasm then anything. Marvel’s just gone to the “relaunch with a new #1” well too often for this to seem like anything more then the same old, same old, no matter what fancy name they attach (and Marvel Now is a pretty dumb name).

    I have to admit, though, as a DC guy at heart as well, it does make me smile a bit to see DC doing so well against Marvel relative to their histories, even if I do think the reign of Didio has been largely a shambles. But they did get the relaunch right this time around, after doing such a bad job botching it with One Year Later. I suspect Marvel will learn a similar lesson.

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