Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 7

Another post from my blog that exists only in memory where I answered more questions from the readers.

Reader Questions 7

April 1, 2010 | 1:04 PM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Been answering a lot of questions through Formspring, so that’s slowed me down here a little bit. But here’s one more chunk of Reader Questions:

> Can you say how many Avengers titles there will be after Siege (so far we seem to have Avengers and Secret Avengers). >

Four, plus the high-end limited series AVENGERS PRIME.

> Will Danny Rand move back into the limelight? It seems such a waste to push such a good character and then let him disappear, notwithstanding the odd brief Avengers cameo.

Posted by Knight of Fury on 2010-02-08 17:30:06>

We’ll be seeing a decent amount of Iron Fist as we head into Heroic Age and the post-SIEGE landscape.

>Are there any plans in the works to bring Songbird back?

Posted by MattWalker on 2010-02-08 18:22:03>


>For decades now Alpha Flight has been poorly utilized in practically every title they’ve appeared, including their own. They’ve been written as villains, as incompetents, as insane, as anything but heroes. After they were killed the team and their fans have been mocked at Fan Expos, while in the comics the term: “being Alpha Flighted” has been used to describe being completely and succinctly defeated. Follow that up with more deaths and humiliation of the surviving members and I have to ask: how can Marvel, as a business, think this kind of behaviour, which so utterly ruins your own product and alienates your readers, be good for business? How can you expect fans like me to continue buying your products when employees of your company dump on us and the characters we love?

Posted by Legerd on 2010-02-08 18:29:18>

I think every reader has characters that they love that aren’t embraced by the mainstream. And the more sensitive among these readers will on occasion equate the circumstances that happen to the characters within the stories to a personal attack on their fans. But that’s not truly the case (and it’s worth pointing out that these selfsame fans will also mock or belittle various other B- or C-list characters that don’t appeal to them individually-it’s a pretty universal trait.)

This is just my opinion, but I would argue that Alpha Flight hasn’t been particularly good or particularly strong as an idea in twenty-five years. And I think this all ultimately stems from the fact that the initial characters weren’t created to headline a book at all. They were just supposed to be a cool bunch of characters who’d fight the X-Men to regain control of Wolverine. But they were so cool and so interesting in those appearances that readers demanded more. But when more was forthcoming, there was so little foundation under most of these characters that they began to be pulled this way and that way, in directions that were ill-considered, and into storylines that did them some lasting damage.

Ultimately, though, I feel that the true problem comes from Alpha Flight not possessing a workable core concept to support a series. They were designed to be Canada’s answer to the Avengers, but that’s not a good concept for an ongoing series-the Avengers are the Avengers of Canada, and of everywhere else. Geography is never enough to interest readers in a series long-term, or make them feel like it’s relevant or that it matters. And every attempt to graft another concept onto Alpha Flight-making them the shadowy government conspiracy book, or the wacky JLI-style series, or focusing on supernatural threats-hasn’t worked.

Eventually, somebody will show up with a brilliant take on Alpha Flight and its characters, a pitch that’ll define the team and the series in a unique way and allow them to be successful and well-regarded. But we haven’t come across that pitch yet. And there’s no percentage in trying to force it. I’m sorry that you’re unhappy that some of those characters got trashed, but that kind of thing also happens all the time. Imagine how Hawkeye fans felt, or Vision fans, or Jack of Hearts fans, or, more recently, Wasp fans. But none of that is intended as a commentary on the people who love those particular characters. It’s not that personal.

>I would like to know if there are long term plans for Marvel’s Cosmic titles. >

Yes, significant plans. And you’ll hear more about them as we get closer to go-time.

>I would also like to know why Marvel mainly promotes its top/more popular characters that arguably do not need as much pr as they are already well known — while the lesser selling titles DO need that much needed attention as we are seeing more of them getting canceled when some are just as good or even better than the Marvel top tier books.

As a corporation I understand its a business, however my argument would be building a larger more popular character base would increase the bottom line (that point is more for the stock execs etc ;)).

Posted by stingermann on 2010-02-08 18:42:53>

There are a number of factors involved here, so let me outline a few of them.

First off, there’s not a creator in the world on a title in the world that doesn’t feel that his book doesn’t get enough promotion. And that’s because it’s impossible to get too much promotion-can’t be done. So this is a universal complaint.

Secondly, no amount of promotion is going to make the readership as a whole like something they do not like, or respond to something that does not interest them. “More promotion” is sometimes posited as a cure-all, but the reality is that, on the whole, the audience that goes into their local comic book shop every week is very informed as to what’s coming out, probably better informed on a one-to-one basis than television watchers or moviegoers. This is a dedicated, hardcore audience. Which says to me that the problem isn’t that nobody knows about fill-in-your-favorite-book-here, it’s that people aren’t interested in buying it. And while promotion can change some minds in the short term, it can’t alter a failure of a particular property or creative team to click with the audience.

Finally, the question of what gets promoted most heavily is often a matter of dollars and cents. Let’s assume for the moment that promoting a book at a certain level will increase its sales by 10%. If that’s the case, then it makes a great deal of sense to promote, say, WOLVERINE rather than MOON KNIGHT, because 10% of WOLVERINE sales is going to be a greater number of hits, and a greater financial return on the promotional investment. That all having been said, we promote titles and projects all across the line. There’s been plenty of push on the cosmic titles over the years (and there will be again for THANOS IMPERATIVE.) But those efforts haven’t returned any sustained greater sales or particular growth. For all that people like those projects-and we do too-not as many people like them as like NEW AVENGERS, or UNCANNY X-MEN. And it’s not because they don’t know they exist, and aren’t exposed to what’s going on in them particularly.

>When will we see the conclusion to The Twelve, and are their any plans to integrate these Golden Age Greats into other MU books when the limited series wraps? >

We’re working on getting the last issues of THE TWELVE finished, and likely won’t solicit them until they’re pretty much done, to avoid any further delays. And until that story reaches its conclusion, you probably won’t see those characters showing up elsewhere-although the survivors certainly will after THE TWELVE concludes.

>Are they any plans for a new Invaders series, either a new modern version of the team or a series set in WWII (maybe with a more Brubaker spin on the team)?

Posted by MutantSentry on 2010-02-08 20:01:51>

Anything’s possible.

More later.

Tom B

2 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 7

  1. Almost every character is a favorite of somebody’s. Maybe not THE favorite, but one of them. It’s not intentionally personal, but when Marvel trashes, mocks, dismisses, or otherwise disparages a character, it’s insensitive. Maybe disrespectful. And more impactful than when it’s done by another reader or fan, who can’t influence “canon” (I dislike how much that word’s used).

    I’m not talking about a sacrificial death, like Red Bee’s in “All-Star Squadron”. That was to make good on the cover boast that an All-Star was gonna get killed. Still pulled off in a poignant way, but of all the heroes used, his loss likely caused the least fuss. And despite the 20-year trend, but no surprise, the Red Bee’s stayed dead. 😉 I’m glad Geoff Johns won’t see this. There’s really no need to bring him or his trick bees back. Though a new, younger Red Bee, w/ some actual insect themed powers, in Young Justice or the Teen Titans could be worth the attempt.

    I really mean just unflattering depictions of characters, like the creative team’s holding their noses while giving it panel time. In an issue of “The Cabal”, the answer to the Illuminati, both series by Bendis & Maleev, that depicted Namor as frail and pretty much ugly, his hairline was retreating, not receding. As a Namor fan, I hadn’t seen good portrayals of Namor often. I was expecting better (it was Alex Maleev, an excallent artist), & I was let down. Why didn’t Namor look as typically powerful and commanding? Maleev managed it easily in an Illuminati story. What was the point of this dismissive appearance? Osborn didn’t have his trademark ridiculous hair style, but he looked better than usual, flat out handsome, much better than Namor.

    Frank Cho did something similar to Cyclops, drawing him pencil thin, maybe to play off his nickname, Slim. But he looked odd, even sickly. Christian Bale “Machinist” skinny. Then there was Kevin Maguire’s visual “send-up” of the Classic Defenders. Especially Namor (again), & the Silver Surfer. Both looked silly. But for readers (yeah, like me) who’ve waiting for these characters’ return, reunion, etc., it’s disappointing, to say the least, and insulting, at worst. The script was fine; “Bwa-ha-ha”, etc., but it still conveyed some love & respect towards/for the characters. But Kev misfired, and just goofed on ’em. And it stunk as a fan really lookin’ forward to seeing them together again, not visually shown in all their power and might.

    Good points & facts on the promotion question. I do think some things slide under the radar. My favorite Brubaker series, “Deadenders”, is virtually unknown. Evocative, heartbreaking, relatable. Dead ended. I loved Allred’s “Atomics”, but since it was from an indie publisher, I’m not surprised when people blink at me when I mention it. Or “Casual Heroes”. But from a major publisher (Vertigo), I’d think they’d want to put the word out. “Scalped” was another great series, that struggled while being released. At the time, most people never heard of it.


  2. I see your point about Alpha Flight, but I liked the Canadian heroes angle. Even if it wasn’t a selling point, turning them into Earth’s defenders against space invasion (or whatever they are in that knockoff JLA Satellite) doesn’t really convey any sense of being Alpha Flight (far from the only rebooted team that I have this reaction to).


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