I wanted to post a few thoughts on this one-shot book without sprinkling too many spoilers in other threads. I don't think I'll have the energy to track this "event" the way I did with Secret Empire though. In any case:
Marvel Legacy #1
I can't really fault Marvel for wanting to do this. They are in a bit of a slump and it seems like a no-brainer to try and recapture some of what the older readers say they want. At the same time it seems to me that what readers say they want or think they want doesn't always equate with what they are actually willing to buy or read.
Most of the art here looks great and Jason Aaron does his usual solid job with the writing. However, this reads a little bit like a hybrid of DC's Rebirth and Metal books. We start off by learning that there is a secret history of the Marvel U involving caveman era super heroes and celestials. How can this be? Anyone who follows Marvel continuity knows it's not possible. Stay tuned..
The rest of the issue mostly sets up scenarios by which various dead heroes are returning. They are, of course, the iconic older heroes that Marvel has largely been ignoring. And we see what appears to be a new direction for Wakanda and a hint at a Fantastic Four reunion. Again, how is this possible? What's the mechanism?
In a way, this story is a sort of sequel to the Secret Wars series. The continuity that was created by Reed Richards at the end of Secret Wars appears to have been manipulated once again. This time by Valeria Richards. Why does she need prehistoric super heroes, Celestials and Infinity Stones to be a part of this? Not clear yet. Apparently she wants everything to be "ridiculous" and "magical." It all sounds a bit too derivative of the stuff we saw in the Rebirth comic if you ask me.
I'm not sure what I'll actually buy yet. I'll probably mostly just stick with the stuff I already follow. But something like a new Marvel Two-In-One comic does ring the nostalgia bell a little bit.
What about tie-ins you ask?
Why should Netflix viewers be different than Marvel movie viewers?
Philip Portelli said:
Canceled: Generation X, Hawkeye, Iceman, Luke Cage, Royals, Secret Warriors, Unbelievable Gwenpool.
Canceled but replaced: Jean Grey (Red X-Men), Guardians of the Galaxy (Infinity hoo-ha).
Canceled, characters moving to another title: U.S. Avengers, Uncanny Avengers
MIA (but probably canceled): America
I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that Marvel is canceling all its minority- and women-starring titles. Plus, there are still such titles in the line (Falcon, Squirrel Girl, Black Panther, etc.) Honestly, all but the Avengers titles sold badly, which is excuse enough, and the Avengers titles are being canceled for story purposes. Plus, they do have a new EIC, who may be clearing the decks of Alonso-created deadwood before launching his own babies.
But I'm sure it will look that way to people who want to see it that way. Opinions?
I'm a bit surprised about Luke Cage but since he's in The Defenders, Jessica Jones and potentially Iron Fist it's not like he's disappearing. Still the book might have sold better as Power Man and if he was treated like a super-hero, not a guy trying to fade into the background.
I do agree that maybe Marvel is re-thinking its "Let's Give EVERYONE their own book and see what sticks!" Obviously being in a TV show or movie isn't a guarantee and I feel the readers (including myself) are getting tired of supporting heroes/team members/villains receiving their own series, most lasting a year or less.
Have we gotten a mission statement from the new EIC?
Maybe they should bring back Marvel Premiere and Marvel Spotlight?
I think something like Marvel Spotlight would be good.
That's what they need. Back in the day they would give a character a few issues in Marvel Spotlight or Marvel Premiere and then go by the sales figures.
I'm not sure if it would work as well now that stores have to pre-order comics rather than a fan seeing it on the rack and grabbing it.
The Baron said:
I think something like Marvel Spotlight would be good.
According to Diamond, LCS’s ordered 562,524 less units from Marvel in November then the previous month.
That number is quite staggering.
Showcase titles are, in effect, a series of one-shots or minis. There are some advantages to the showcase approach, but I think it was more adapted to the days where comics were sold through newsstands and more readers were casual buyers. Newsstands presumably ordered the titles regularly rather than on a case-by-case basis. Some readers may have collected the titles. In the modern market the vendors and readers are more knowledgeable, which I think means picky.
Showcase's real benefit may have been a successful try-out made it easier to convince the higher ups to put something on the schedule. The size of DC's line was surprisingly stable. The implication is starting a new title meant cancelling something else.
The other thing is DC in the Showcase period and Marvel in the Marvel Premiere period both had company styles and stables of creators. I wasn't around for the Silver Age, but in the Bronze Age one trusted Marvel somewhat. You could have some confidence whatever a Marvel comic was it would be at least OK. (Not that I felt that way about Marvel Premiere #31. I bought it as a back-issue from a comics shop because I thought the story must be by Kirby, and felt cheated.)
Tales of Suspense is returning ... maybe it will be a showcase title. Speaking of which:
Tales of Suspense #100: I liked it fine. It read like an issue of the just-canceled Hawkeye, which is OK with me, because I liked the just-canceled Hawkeye.
The book stars the aforementioned Avenging Arbalester, who teams up with (at the very end) the Winter Soldier. Both are on the trail of the Black Widow, whom both believe must still be alive somehow, since her enemies are being killed in a very Black Widow kind of way. Good! Killing Black Widow was a really stupid thing to do, even if you do mean to bring her back, because she's a great character and I think we're all a bit sick of the revolving door of death.
Cute touch: Fake letters commenting on Tales of Suspense #99, released 50 years ago. Nice idea, but they should have had a Boomer proofread, because the slang was all wrong. Nobody was saying "clydes," "daddy-o" or "squaresville" in '68 -- that's beatnik lingo, which was the '50s. Nobody used the word "dudes" back then with its contemporary meaning either; that word became popular in, when, the 1980s? '90s? I don't remember, but the only dudes in 1968 were on dude ranches. And so forth.
Also, one of the answers suggests the writer is retired now. Um, no. I read Tales of Suspense #99 in 1968, and I'm not retired. I only wish I could be. Don't rub it in, youngsters. Your time will come.
Marvel Two-In-One #1: A clever idea with good art (Cheung) and OK writing (Zdarsky) that will hopefully lead where we all want it to go. Hey, I'm all for new characters and situations, but it doesn't have to take place at the expense of old favorites.
Ms. Marvel #25: Another Legacy first issue where the lead character doesn't make an appearance. It must have been an editorial edict to show -- what, how important they are to their supporting cast? I dunno. Seems dumb to me, because I'm the target market: A lapsed fan they're trying to sucker back into the fold. But I don't know any more about Ms. Marvel's current status, and whether I'd like it or not, than before I read the book, and no more interested in buying it in the future than before. That's editorial malpractice.
Also, of all books, this is one, with all its confusing re-launches, that requires the legacy numbering -- and doesn't have it! The letters page notes this should be Ms. Marvel #44, so why isn't it?
Uncanny Avengers #30: This issue wraps up all the book's plotlines before it's subsumed by the ongoing, weekly Avengers book. It didn't do much for me, since I'm wholly uninformed about any of this, but I bet regular readers will appreciate it.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #27: This seems like a cute book for those who like this sort of thing. I find the art unattractive, and I'm not really into cute, so it's not for me.
X-Men: Blue #17: Here's a whole issue with X-Men 2099. Next issue will feature 1980s Generation X. I've been reading long enough to know these are all just detours, meaningless exercises in nostalgia, that we have to endure until the story finally gets around to telling us what we want to know, which is the new status quo. So I"m getting restless. I mean, it's not like very many people actually liked X-Men 2099.
Weapon X #12: This was OK. It's written and drawn pretty well. I'm just not big on the concept. I don't like my heroes to be death squads, you know? This could be written by Shakesepeare and illustrated by Michelangelo and I'd still try to pretend it doesn't exist.
The Punisher #219: Kind of a weird diversion for the Punisher, jumping into a foreign civil war and killing various bad people with the War Machine armor. Of course, it's not like Frank hasn't had weird diversions before,which I wrote a whole column about. So we all know this is temporary, and it's just a matter of whether or not you like watching Frank kill furriners with the War Machine armor. If you do, here's your book. If not, give it some time, and the regular status quo is bound to return.
Iron Fist #75: I'm still not used to a semi-good guy Sabretooth, but good guy or bad guy, he's a weird guy to team up with Iron Fist. So, you know, it's interesting. The art is sort of 1970s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, which is also OK -- and appropriate.
Luke Blanchard said:
Newsstands presumably ordered the titles regularly rather than on a case-by-case basis. Some readers may have collected the titles.
I'm pretty sure that in the case of comics, not necessarily other magazines, newsstands just displayed whatever the distributors sent them. I'd be surprised if they ordered by title like shops do today.
Yes, us old fogeys had to haunt the drug (chemists) stores (I went to a liquor store to buy them reliably in my teens) and newsstands. I bought them off spinner racks in my teens and before. I bought them at newsstands when I started working in Los Angeles and bought them at newsstands in Washington DC and Army PXs at my posts.
The size of DC's line was surprisingly stable. The implication is starting a new title meant cancelling something else.
Marvel had the "dreaded deadline doom." My understanding is that the companies had contracts with the newsprint printers. They wanted to keep their presses busy all the time (which I think was how comic books originated, in order to use the press time) and the comics companies would pay whether or not anything was printed. This resulted in the occasional unplanned reprint or inventory fill-in issue. The presses also had a maximum they could produce, so sometimes new books had to push out old books.
Richard Willis said:
My understanding is that the companies had contracts with the newsprint printers. They wanted to keep their presses busy all the time (which I think was how comic books originated, in order to use the press time) and the comics companies would pay whether or not anything was printed.
You're thinking of a single company, Charlton Comics. They were actually printers of other things, primarily cereal boxes, and found that keeping the presses running between jobs in their Derby, Conn., printing plant was cheaper than turning them off and back on again. They filled those gaps with comics, which they produced in-house as cheaply as possible, which explains why they had the worst rates on the business, the worst lettering (mechanical, instead of actual letterers) and the worst printing (done on the cheap with no quality control at all). Ditko did a lot of work for them, because editorial oversight was virtually non-existent and he was free to write and draw what he wanted.
Charlton was unique, though. Comic books began in the 1930s as "premiums" -- collections of comic strips given away free with other products to boost sales. These four-color, side-stitched pamphlets -- the comic book format -- were invented by Max Gaines, who worked for Eastern Color Printing, and he was the first to start selling the comic book as a separate product. Eventually the reserve of old comic strips began to run dry (and prices went up on the remainder), so the comic book began printing new material, and the industry moved from the More Fun Comics model to New Fun Comics model.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. During the early years. comic books were something of a fad. They probably would have faded away, until Action Comics #1 arrived in 1938 and sold a bajillion copies. Suddenly there was gold in them thar hills, and lots of publishers sprouted up. Some existing publishers, like pulp publisher Martin Goodman, added comic books to their portfolios.
Initially there were studios that provided entire packages to publishers, like Eisner-Iger; Funnies, Inc.; and the Harry "A" Chesler shop. Marvel Comics #1 was a Funnies, Inc. production. But Timely publisher Martin Goodman discovered by his second issue, as many other publishers did, that hiring his own writers, editors and artists was cheaper than using the shops.
None of this, as far as I know, had anything to do with contracts with printers. I don't know who printed the early comics, but Eastern Color Printing would certainly have done All-American Comics, where Gaines was co-publisher, and probably sister company National Allied Comics. (They were sister companies because Jack Liebowitz was co-publisher/co-owner at both.) By the time I came along in the early 1960s, most comics were printed by World Color (now Quebecor) in Sparta, Ill.
One place printing made an impact in early comic books was in setting the format. Most printing companies were set up to print newspapers, and the standard comic-book format was arrived at by folding a standard newspaper page in half twice. The page count -- 64 pages -- was a convenient number arising from the folding process. So that wasn't anything mandated by the printers; it was just what math dictated as the cheapest way to do it.
Before Famous Funnies commenced Eastern Color also did a try-out newsstand one-shot called Famous Funnies - Series 1 with Dell. The GCD lists Dell as the publisher. Eastern Color published the ongoing Famous Funnies itself, becoming a printer/publisher. Dell had previously published a non-reprint tabloid comic called The Funnies in 1929-30, and recycled the name when it resumed comics publishing.
When he began comics publishing Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson struggled, and he did a deal with Independent News to keep going. Independent News was a publisher/printer/distributor. His first title, New Fun, was a tabloid, rather than a Famous Funnies-style half-tabloid. His second, New Comics, was a half-tabloid from the beginning. New Fun became More Fun when New Comics started, presumably to differentiate it. It became More Fun Comics when it went down to the half-tabloid size.
Harry Donenfeld was one of the partners in Independent News. Wikipedia says his brother Irving ran the printing and Paul Sampliner the distribution. Jack Liebowitz was a key employee.
To publish Detective Comics Wheeler-Nicholson had to form a distinct company from his existing one with Donenfeld and/or Liebowitz as his partners. (The GCD says "and eventually" Liebowitz.) After its success they forced him out and bought his other titles. The company formed to publish the title was Detective Comics, Inc., and this remained the name of the stable's publishing entity for awhile. (It was the entity Action Comics was initially published through.) I assume that's why the stable eventually started using a DC badge.
Gaines likewise entered into a business relationship with Independent News when forming All-American. As part of the deal Liebowitz was his partner. Gaines published from a separate office, but I think I've read Independent News did the printing and distributing. Shortly after its introduction on the Detective Comics, Inc. stable's titles the DC badge also commenced appearing on AA's. I don't know whether Independent News did the printing and distribution in the period when AA used an AA badge.