Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 6

Another of my many Marvel blog posts responding to queries put forth by the audience.

Reader Questions 6

September 14, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

A new week begins, and now we start to get to the more difficult questions. So let’s see what I can make of these:

>Remember Debra Whitman’s “tell-all book” about Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #15? If someone bought one of those at the time, what would it look like now? Are they widely considered a hoax? Are the pages blank? Did they all somehow get pulped? Are they all lying about unsold in charity shops? >

I don’t know how much detail I can get into without speaking about the specific mechanism by which Peter’s identity as Spider-Man is now once again a secret, but I’ll give it a go. And the real answer here is that, until somebody turns up in a Spidey story with a copy of the book, it’s all conjecture in any event. But it could be that most people consider it a hoax, after the event of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #7 put forth the notion that somebody in the Iron Spider-Man costume could make himself look like Peter Parker or anybody else. Or it could be that, as in the case of the Sentry when his existence was blanked from the minds of the world, people simply can’t see or remember the contents of the book. Or maybe it’s simply considered the worst tell-all book ever written, since it doesn’t tell anything.

>What’s the status of Runaways after #14?

Posted by Fetsur on 2009-08-25 18:01:55>

On hiatus for the moment.

>Will we ever get the backstory of the Ronin suit, which can make Echo look like a man and give Clint ninja powers? I figure it’s got to be some type of powerful magical creation, maybe by the Hand?

Posted by motteditor on 2009-08-25 18:52:35>

It doesn’t take magic powers to make a woman look like a man, just strategic padding. It’s a long-established trope of fiction, the woman attiring herself as a man for reasons ranging from simple camouflage to the need to be treated as an equal under cultural circumstances that would otherwise make that impossible. It’s no more a stretch than when Dallas Riordan posed as Citizen V, for example, or when Mulan joined the army in place of her father, or Viola’s imposture in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. And you’d need to point me to where Clint Barton has been using special secret ninja powers beyond his own capabilities. We’ve seen him use a sword, of course, but I don’t find that much of a stretch for a guy who was trained by the Swordsman in the first place. (And the real backstory on it is that it was based on an unused design that Joe Q had come up with when he was working on NINJAK for Acclaim many years earlier.)

>Are there any plans to give the surviving original New Warriors their own book in the next few years? >

No immediate plans, but those characters are almost all headlining in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE right now (with the exception of Nova, who’s busy in space in his own ongoing series), so they’re all in the spotlight on a much more regular basis than they had been.

> Is Marvel at all concerned with criticism that Marvel Divas is receiving regarding the out of character behavior of the four women?

Posted by MyHeroJustice on 2009-08-25 19:15:53>

I’d need to see some specific examples given as to how all four characters are behaving out of character in order to answer this more completely, but I haven’t seen much negative chatter on this subject at all-no more so than we hear about any character doing anything, pretty much. And from my point of view, I didn’t find much to complain about in terms of the handling of the characters in DIVAS. Admittedly, you have to accept the fact that these four women share much closer interpersonal bonds than there was any previous evidence of, but once you’ve made that hurdle, they all feel consistent with what we’ve seen in the past to me.

>Please explain the reasoning behind raising the base price of your comics an unprecedented amount (why not raise prices 50 cents instead of $1, if you have to raise prices at all?) at the same time the country is experiencing a recession and most people are having to cut back on their spending. >

This has all already been covered in a million places and a million ways, and nothing I say is going to convince you to like a price increase (any price increase, not just this specific price increase.) So, really, it’s up to you as an individual whether you believe our books are worth their asking price or not-and we’re going to be doing our best to make you say, “yes.” But while I can’t get into the specifics of our reasoning (since that would reveal proprietary information about our business), I will say that the strategic way in which we’ve been rolling out this increase does make sense to me, that being increasing the price on a select number of top-selling titles and using those enhanced revenues to allow us to maintain the lower price on the rest of our ongoing series. And the reasoning for any price increase is simple: costs of every sort are constantly rising (including the costs of running a comic shop). As much as we’re a fun-filled fantasy factory, we’re also a business, which means we need to generate a certain amount of profit to remain healthy. I hear you when you say that you don’t have as much disposable income, and have to cut back on your spending (and may I suggest that there are some very fine DC titles that you maybe don’t need to follow so regularly…), but those are the decisions that everybody has to make in these difficult economic times. Also, virtually every price increase has been unprecedented, and there’s been a standard and regular progression upwards of each price increase to the one before it going back to the days when I was merely a reader. I know this doesn’t help you at all, and I feel your pain, especially as you struggle to make tough choices between things you like and things you need.

>How will increasing the base price of your comics bring in more and younger readers to sustain the comic industry while it is facing increased competition from a variety of entertainment sources?

Posted by Chaddiwicker on 2009-08-25 19:55:30>

I don’t think increasing the cover prices will bring in more younger readers, but I also don’t think the difference in prices is much of a greater deterrent to their entry-anybody who was put off by $2.99 is going to remain put off by $3.99, and anybody for whom $2.99 seemed reasonable appears to be just as at ease with $3.99.. I think they places where we’re most likely to see growth in terms of new readers are our digital initiatives, such as the MDCU and our Motion Comics and our deal with PSP, and events such as Free Comic Book Day. Not to mention the penetration of our characters and titles in digest form through Scholastic, and into libraries, and other assorted and sundry places.

>Will we be seeing Iron Man in a new armor finally, coming out of TSD?

Posted by SageShini on 2009-08-26 07:35:33>

I think you can be pretty confident that you’ll be seeing a new suit of armor for ol’ Shell-Head before too long.

More later.

Tom B

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