Editorials

Marvel Comics Might Have a Relaunch Addiction

Marvel’s New Announcement is Yet Another Relaunch

Last week, Marvel made a huge announcement. Fresh off its Legacy relaunch, Marvel is going to relaunch again in May of this year. This means new titles, new creative teams, new number one issues. This is the brainchild of C.B. Cebulski, the new editor in chief, who is trying to turn around the comics part of the company. Even before the departure of Cebulski’s predecessor, Axel Alonso, the Marvel comics have been in a bit of a tailspin. Even though they are the best-selling brand, the comics have been icily received compared to the comics at DC. Part is due to the ongoing culture war, part of it is due to story quality.

C.B. Cebulski Marvel wikia
Cebulski, Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief

And the reaction to this big announcement was a resounding…“Meh!”

For many people, it is Marvel doing another cash grab relaunch instead of working on the actual problems. It is also Marvel’s eighth relaunch in six years since the Marvel NOW! relaunch. In comparison, in roughly the same time period, DC Comics has done a massive reboot in 2011, followed by course correction relaunches. However, DC did not renumber as much and the Rebirth relaunch was widely praised by critics and fans. 

It seems we have an addict on our hands, and that addict is a multimillion-dollar company.

Marvel, Time for an Intervention

Look, guys, you have a problem. You’re constantly throwing things at the wall to see what sticks now. Yes, you might be king of the dollar share month after month. But that’s because your prices are higher than your biggest competition’s. Not to mention your last relaunch, Legacy, landed with the impact of wet newspaper. And that was in October, and you’re already relaunching again? This is the point where we need to take away your keys.

Marvel Legacy no wait FRESH START logo darkNot to mention, it’s not new-reader friendly. Sure, the new #1s might make it seem so, in addition to their legacy numbering, but it is not so. New readers will be diving into extremely dense narratives that have already spanned decades. And given the number of relaunches you’ve done, backtracking to older volumes is going to be confusing. 

Furthermore, these relaunches are basically short-term gain. And each one has been smaller and smaller. Not to mention, longtime fans and retailers are more than a little irritated at you. 

Baby Steps to a Brighter Future for Marvel

Look, Marvel, I know you need to right the ship. But you are doing it all wrong. What you need to do is tell good stories. I don’t care if they’re political or not, they just need to be good. Secondly, you need to drop the prices, pronto. Comics are pricey enough as it is, and every relaunch with high prices makes you look greedy. Thirdly, you need to rebuild the goodwill between you and your fans and retailers. At the most recent ComicsPRO, you were overtly hostile and nasty. Fourthly, you need to build up your talent pool. Losing Bendis to DC must be hard, but you’ve got a pool of young talent that can rise to the occasion if given some breathing space.

Lastly, you need to stop the reboots for a while. We’ve been getting one or two a year now…maybe you need to let two or five years pass without one. DC gets a pass between The New 52 and Rebirth because they needed a serious course correction. You, on the other hand, are mainlining reboot after reboot.

Marvel, we love you and wish you the best. So we’re giving you tough love here. Sure, going cold turkey will suck, but think of how much better you’ll feel when it is done.


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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

Contact him at [email protected]

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