Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1176: Killing Wolverine Killing Comics

Wolverine, Marvel Comics most popular character is going to die.

They even have a picture showing Wolverine being carted off by the Grim Reaper in the manner of Michelangelo's Pieta:
They dug up their old art-history textbook, so you know they must be serious.

Now here's what I think:

(To be sung to the tune of "MacArthur Park.")




(And scene)

Wolverine's death in the comics is meaningless. It will have zero effect on the movies, and that's what matters these days, and we all know that Marvel has no intention of letting their biggest earner moulder in an inky grave.

As soon as the publicity dies down, and the folks at Marvel realize that it won't make Fox relinquish the rights to the X-Men, they'll make a big announcement that Wolverine will be brought back to life.

Hell, DC couldn't even keep the unpopular character of Jason Todd (aka Robin 2/The Red Hood 2) dead, even though readers voted overwhelmingly to kill him off in a phone-in poll.

Do you really think Marvel is going to let Wolverine stay dead? Because if you do, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you for a song.

And the people in the industry wonder why it's so hard to get people into superhero comics while superhero movies and TV shows sell like hotcakes.

Well, let's recap some of the reasons:

1. HARD TO GET: When I was a kid we had to walk a little under half a mile to get to the convenience store that carried all kinds of comics, ranging from the Marvel/DC superheroes at 45¢ an issue, to bags of five to seven Gold Key reprints each for $1 a pop.

Today, I have to go about fifty miles to the nearest specialty retailer. I could order things online, but then you lose a lot of the ability to discover new titles and characters you get by browsing an old fashioned spinner rack.

But that's not all...

2. HARD TO GET INTO: Even if you do manage to get comics, if you are not intimately familiar with 75-80 years of continuity, including multiple retcons, you are NOT going to know what the hell is going on. Even DC's mega-retcon "The New 52" like its last mega-retcon "Crisis On Infinite Earths" isn't completely retconning everything since the artists and writers won't give up their favourite bits, and the companies don't want to lose any potential merchandising and movie money from making people wait a little while for a character to develop naturally over time instead of just dumping them fully formed in the middle of everything.

3. SEXY SELLS SKANKY DOESN'T: Hardly a month goes by without someone making a valid complaint against the often anatomically inaccurate and usually ridiculous hyper-sexualization of female characters. The most recent being putting Spider-Woman in an impossible position and changing her costume into a thin coat of paint. 

Comics need kids to read comics to keep the audience alive and growing. However, both kids and parents are repelled by comic art that is just a few millimetres of spandex from looking like full-on pornography, and story lines dwelling on the sex-lives of superheroes often add nothing new to the characters except get in the way of what is their purpose, to give people near-mythological stories of demigods and monsters battling over issues good and evil.

4. CONSTANT SHELL GAMING: Publishers love the publicity they can get by pulling of stunts like killing a major character, or switching their race or gender. They claim that these changes will be permanent, but you know they will never permanently change the mainstream continuity they have decades of stories and dedicated fandom invested in. The whole thing is to just get some attention in the mainstream press, get a 1-week uptick in sales from the curious, who will take a look inside, not understand a damn thing going on, and never buy another comic again.

It's starting to drive people, even comics fans, nuts. Which is why they're not buying comics, but instead go to the superhero movies, who, for the most part, stick with their job of telling fantastical stories of heroism & don't rely on killing off major characters for promotion.

The comics industry needs a major overhaul, not only in what it's selling, but in how the industry is run, and it should be done while there's still an industry to reform.


  1. Rainforest Giant6/9/14 1:08 am

    Killing off Wolverine? Yes and Coca-Cola company will quit making 'Coke'. Wolverine is the big dollar part of their big dollar franchise. When they finally bring him back it will be just exactly as when he died.

    It'll be another 'Superman' deal. Anyone who believes this is just dumb.

    You know you could have used this as an excuse to put in some Marvel cheesecake. You're getting slow in your dotage.

  2. They'll probably just bring Wolverine back as a she, ala Thor.