Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 7

Another post in which I answer questions put to me by the readers of my long-ago Marvel blog.

Reader Questions 7

September 16, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

All right, here are a few more answers (or almost-answers) to some much-contested questions to hold you over for another day:

>The recent Marvel Divas mini has been a surprising and refreshing take on female superhero characters. However, would you agree that the title, covers and marketing have been way off what the story (and nearly anyone who cares to mention the book on the internet) suggests the target market should be?

There seems to be a great deal of people who would like to read the book but have been put off/offended by the cover treatment and title. Joe Q has stated his reasons for the marketing style but they seem massively at odds with what people who would genuinely want to read the book find appealing. With estimated sales around 20,000 are Marvel not missing a trick with this book?

Posted by harlequin7 on 2009-08-26 09:49:43>

I don’t really think so, Harlequin. You’re making the assumption that the audience you’re talking about would turn out in vast numbers if we’d simply presented this project in a different way, and I’m afraid I just can’t see that happening. There’s absolutely no evidence or track record that would support this position-and probably a decent amount of evidence to suggest the reverse. I also have to expect that the audience you’re talking about is most likely to embrace this series in its eventual collected form, rather than as monthly serial releases. The Direct Market has never been all that inviting to mature, sensitive portrayals of women, much as we might all wish that not to be the case-and we’ve found, over the years, that sometimes the best way to drum up attention for a project is for there to be a little bit of controversy around it. But honestly, this whole thing has been a tempest in a teapot, and likely didn’t have much impact one way or the other on DIVAS’ sales

Plus, as we learned yesterday, all of the characterization is way off anyway.

>As a huge fan of Geoff Johns short Avengers run (I’m loving Dan Slott on Mighty right now), I’d be interested to know if an effort is being made to return the titles to a more classic know line up ie. The Big Three, She-Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Clint as Hawkeye, Wonderman, ect…? I actually don’t mind Wolverine and Spider-Man on New Avengers, because they’re awesome characters, but would just like to see some more of the classics return.

Posted by Avengersrule on 2009-08-26 15:08:48>

No, not especially. We’ll use any and all of the classic Avengers characters as the situation demands it, of course, but those folks who are hoping for a full-blown reversal of the last ten years and a complete return to the Avengers of a decade ago are sadly in for a disappointment. And the reason for this should be obvious: in the last decade, AVENGERS has become the leading franchise in comics, and that’s in large part due to the alterations we made in the basic formula. I love the classic Avengers as much as the next person-and I edited them for a good, long time-but there are clearly so many more readers who are interested in the team and the book since we turned over the apple cart that there really isn’t any good reason to go back, other than nostalgia. All things have their time, and change can often be beneficial (and in this case, certainly was.)

>so you’ve previously answered a couple of questions about previously licensed character weirdness, but what is the official policy on mainstream universe stuff that had guest appearances or whathaveyou? i noticed elements of rom spaceknight showed up in universe X, and death’s head has traveled between the old transformers universe and earth 616, so even though marvel no longer has licenses to those characters (er- presumably you still have the license to death’s head himself, but not the transformers characters), they’re part of the narrative.

what happens editorially when these things come up? >

When it comes to licensed properties, each and every deal is different, which means that there isn’t one solitary universal policy that covers all contingencies. Different deals in the past mean that we have access to different elements in different situations. In the case of Rom, for example, all of the new stuff that was created for that series by Marvel, including the Dire Wraiths and most of the other Spaceknights, we can still use-but we can’t touch Rom himself in any way. In the case of the Micronauts, the situation is similar, in that we maintain control of the all-new characters such as Commander Rann, Marionette and Bug, but can’t use any of the characters directly derived from the toys such as Acroyer or Baron Karza (or even the name Micronauts.) But to more specifically address the question you’re asking about, the answer is that we make sure that these situations don’t come up. So while we might do new Death’s Head stories, and it’s part of that character’s history that he traveled to the world of the Transformers, we simply don’t mention it going forwards.

>also, not too long ago i picked up a few collections of old marvel and marvel UK transformers stuff, but it was put out by a different publisher (i forget who, i hadn’t heard of them before). how and why did that happen that way?

Posted by structurefall on 2009-08-26 20:46:11>

That’s another facet of some of these licensing deals, that the actual stories became the property of the licensors in certain cases, and thus can be reprinted or collected by publishers who aren’t Marvel. That was certainly the case with CONAN, which is why Dark Horse can currently be reprinting all of that material. Same thing with the Marvel STAR WARS comic. And so on. It’s not true in every case, and there’s no real way for somebody on the outside of the companies to know for certain which instances are which, other than to follow the trail of evidence-if some other company publishes licensed work that was originally generated by Marvel, and there isn’t a big lawsuit over it, it’s probable that this is the situation in that instance.

>I would love to read the much talked about spider woman motion comic on itunes. However, being a UK resident I don’t seem to be able to get it on UK itunes. Is this a conscious decision by Marvel, something to do with Apple or just an error?

Posted by harlequin7 on 2009-08-27 12:13:45>

As I understand it, the licensing for iTunes is regional, and set up individually for different countries or different sections of the globe. So our deal with iTunes only covers the US at present-though we’re in discussions with the other worldwide iTunes providers to distribute the Spider-Woman Motion Comic to their territories as well. So stay tuned!

>why in the last year there have been 4 different interpretations of Daimon Hellstrom (in NA, Marvel Zombies, Marvel Divas and Ghost Rider) ? Each one of them is unlike the others. Can’t editors & writers coordinate or is it just easier to ignore the work of other writers? Especially Mr. Bendis’ take on him seemed weird, it was just like he wanted to impose his own take on him by dismissing what kind of a character he was before. >

I don’t know, Tusbat, I look at those appearances of Hellstrom and I don’t see much of a disparity between them, nothing beyond the individual quirks of those particular writers, and nothing that makes them all seem so completely different from one another. I get the sense that you didn’t like Brian’s depiction of Daimon in NEW AVENGERS, and that’s fine, but at least from where I’m sitting, I don’t see it as being out of line with DIVAS and ZOMBIES (I must confess that I haven’t read the GHOST RIDER issues with Daimon in them-maybe that’s the source of the discontinuity?) With any character within the Marvel Universe, there’s going to be a bit of interpretive license across various titles and various writers-happens all the time. But we do strive to make sure that the essence of the character remains true. The needs of a story like DIVAS is going to be different than the needs of a book like ZOMBIES-different tone, different stakes, different flavor-and so that too may color the portrayal of a character across different books.

>can you promote more artists like the way you used to do in young guns? i think that, for example, clay mann and pablo raimondi are amazing artists and furthermore, their storytelling skills are top notch.

Posted by tusbat on 2009-08-27 12:54:50>

We try to do one Young Guns promotion every year to two years, but we also try to be very particular about which artists we select for inclusion. Not only do they need to be guys who’ve come to some prominence based on the work they’ve done, but they also need to be exclusive to Marvel, and positioned on what we expect to be breakout projects. And the more artists we promote in this specific way, the less effective the promotion becomes, as the criteria becomes more broad to include more and more people. (This is one of the things that made the writer promotion from a few years ago ineffective in my opinion-the fact that we were trying to promote something like ten creators at once.) it’s possible that Clay or Pablo might make the grade in the months or years to come, though.

More later

Tom B

3 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 7

  1. Avengers and Justice League are two teams where membership changes rarely faze me. When it’s an All New All Different version of the Outsiders or Alpha Flight, I feel way more dissatisfied.


  2. What’s the best email or location to submit a question for this Blah Blah Blog? I’d like to know if Marvel has any plans to do additional stories about the classic Avengers in flashback, a la Avengers 1.1-5.1 which featured “Cap’s Kookie Quartet”? I loved that brief arc and the terrific effort to insert it into correct continuity with the teams and heroes of that period. A well-executed pocket project, IMHO.


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