In my previous post, I said, let Marvel die. I don’t say that with hate, malice or any ill will. I love Marvel. I love their characters. It breaks my heart to think they could go belly up, but that’s the course they’ve locked their controls on to, full speed ahead.
So, I was thinking about Todd McFarlane, one of the founders of Image Comics, comic artist/business man. He doesn’t really get worked up about what Marvel or DC is doing. He has no animosity toward them. He looks at them as other businesses. I’ve watched interviews with Todd and he’s a pretty clever guy, especially about the comics biz.
I’ll borrow what I think is some of his philosophy for the moment. If Marvel is a business, they have the right to run it any way they see fit. If they want to make their characters dance around on pink unicorns on the moon, it’s their prerogative. More power too ’em.
Because McFarlane and several other comics guys created Image, the industry is no longer trapped with only the big two or a handful of indy comics. Image gives a platform for people to create their own comics and publish them. (I’d wager there’s some limits, but the sky’s pretty much the limit.)
So, if you want a gritty Batman, Wolverine, or fun Spider-Man who people can relate too, but Marvel’s not doing the job, create your own. Now, I’m not saying mimic them or write fan fiction. I’m saying, sit and think about a type of character you love, and create that character based on the archetype. Batman’s a loner who has gadgets and fights crime. Wolverine’s a loner mutant with super strength, agility, and a superhuman healing factor.
If you want the Fantastic Four, create your own superhero adventure family. Tired of Marvel’s take on Thor? He’s public domain. Make your own Thor. (Just don’t copy Marvel’s design. They own that.) X-Men got you down? Again… create you’re own school of misfits the world hates but are secretly saving the world.
Say superheroes aren’t your thing and you want to write horror, science fiction, fantasy, crime, romance, or some other genre? (Western, ancient world, historical, pirates…) You can create your own characters and get them published.
If Image Comics isn’t your speed, you can always look into self-publishing. Comixology and Amazon give an equal platform to sell your comics on par with Marvel and DC. Since Marvel is burning it’s bridges, that’s an opening for new creators to invent, create and sell new stories with new characters.
If you think it won’t work, remember Image Comics has one of the top ten bestsellers with The Walking Dead. Issue #168 just sold 82,970 copies. It blows away most of Marvel’s mainline books. It outsold Amazing Spider-Man by over 30,000 copies. SPIDERMAN! Spidey’s one of Marvels most recognizable and beloved characters and it’s not even in the top 20.
The people running Marvel now have no love for the characters. None. Zip, zero, zilch. Disney sees the characters as iconic and merchandisable. They’re now on par with Mickey. People will buy Spidey’s face on coffee mugs or boxes of Frosted Flakes, but nobody’s going to buy a Spidey comic.
It’s sad. It happens to everything over time that gets bought up by a larger corporation. Owens Corning owns the Pink Panther, MetLife has the Peanuts gang, and Disney has Mickey, and now the Hulk, Spider-Man, The Avengers, and all other Marvel properties. Oh, and Star Wars. (More on that in a future post.)
Once something gets associated with a product or brand, it’s no longer an original creation. Nobody’s really making new Mickey Mouse cartoons. Soon, nobody will be making new Spider-Man or Batman cartoons or comics.
It’s the way of things. That said, there’s plenty of room for people to create their own stories, worlds, characters, and creations. Don’t get mad, invent. There are many who are hungry for new material, new ideas, and new things. Go to a convention, look around at what people are creating, find what’s missing and create that.