Maybe if the Champions showed up in the Life of Pope John Paul comic.

§ September 6th, 2019 § Filed under all star batman, marvel, retailing § 7 Comments

So Marvel’s been teasing an upcoming series/event/thingie that involves a murder, prompting folks to draw comparisons to DC’s recently concluded murder mystery even comic Heroes in Crisis. Which, you know, fair enough…there’s no shortage of times Marvel’s copied something successful of DC’s, and DC’s copied something successful of Marvel’s. I’d just mentioned Marvel Comics #1000 a few days ago as a very recent example.

This time around, the general assumption seems to be that Marvel is biting DC’s recently concluded mini-series Heroes in Crisis, which also centered around a superhero-related murder mystery. I saw the reaction online from here and there wondering why Marvel “didn’t learn from DC’s mistake,” why they would model one of their own projects on something their competitors did that was “bad” and a “disgrace” or whatnot.

The answer, of course, was that Heroes in Crisis, despite what anyone may have thought of it online, despite what perhaps you thought of it…it still did very well. Sold well enough for individual issues to go into multiple printings to meet demand. And just from personal experience, many of my customers were really into it and greatly anticipated each succeeding issue. It had a base of readers who did like it quite a bit.

Despite online grousing, was well received by the comic buying public. Of course other companies would take inspiration from it. It has nothing to do with how good or bad you might think the actual story is — and personally, I thought it was 5 pounds of story in a 30-pound bag, with good intentions but questionable results — it made money, which is the most important metric for publishers.

Reminds me a bit of that classic Batman comic book series y’all liked so much, All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, nearly every issue receiving an enormous amount of derision online. And yes, and I even said this at the time, as I recall, at least at our store it was one of the highest-selling, if not the highest selling comic for that period. Outsold X-Men, the other Batman titles, Amazing Spider-Man, several others…lots of people hating on it online, but someone was buying it. And it wasn’t all bloggers picking up copies to scan and mock on their sites.

Anyway, if you find yourself wondering why a publisher puts out this comic or that comic, or why they’d emulate someething their competitor did that you didn’t care for…it’s all about the…Washingtons? Lincolns? I don’t know your youth slang of today. But you get what I mean.

It did get me thinking a bit about different publishers mimicking the sales strategies of others. Especially after reading this week’s new issue of Doomsday Clock — only one issue to go, where hopefully the previous 11 issues of set-ups and mysteries will get resolved in a normal-sized comic and not an 80-giant giant like it seems it will require.

But despite that, what I was thinking was what Marvel-published work that had previous been standalone, but also highly regarded, would be the equivalent of DC’s ,cite>Watchmen? And, would also be highly inappropriate to mix Marvel’s modern superhero universe with it. Most of the things I was thinking of were either under the Epic imprint and not technically owned by Marvel…like an Avengers/Moonshadow crossover or something…or like The ‘Nam, but that had a Punisher appearance of all things, so I guess that was kinda done.

Marvels doesn’t really count, because that’s just the regular Marvel Universe, told with a then-fresh viewpoint and art style. Unless Marvel took a month to have all their titles transform their contents into Marvels-a-likes. We did have Marvel’s anniversary celebration of that series with tribute variant covers, so we got kind of a taste of that, with mixed results.

So anyway, if you think of a good one, let me know.

7 Responses to “Maybe if the Champions showed up in the Life of Pope John Paul comic.”

  • Tom W says:

    The Marvel comic I considered equal to Watchmen at the time was Elektra: Assassin. Not creator-owned but self-contained, as wild as Watchmen was formal, writer and artist working together to amazing effect. I think it’s now viewed as an extra bit of Miller’s Daredevil, no more or less essential than Love and War or Elektra Lives Again.

  • Thom H. says:

    The example I thought of was Miracleman. It’s more recently (re)published by Marvel, so maybe it doesn’t count. But it is a superhero deconstruction written by Alan Moore, and there are rumors that the character will be introduced to the Marvel universe proper. Which would be…weird, to say the least.

  • swamp mark says:

    i would love to see neil gaiman bring back his 1602 characters and have them interact with their modern day counterparts. but only if they could get him to write it.

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    It occurs to me that Marvel generally doesn’t do the whole standalone project like Watchmen, with the obvious exception of their licensed titles. And even those have a tendency to find their way into crossovers, like Conan and ALF.

    There is The Twelve, though. Straczynski’s revival/modernization of a dozen old Timely characters, that is. Not sure if it counts as well-regarded, but I seem to recall it was fairly self-contained.

  • Randal says:

    Squadron Supreme.

  • Randal says:

    Wait…that was a year before…did…did Watchmen copy Squadron?!?

  • Isaac P. says:

    I always thought it odd that Marvel never brought back the Shadowline characters. Wonder if there’s some rights issue or just no one cares about them. Certainly not Watchmen level, but separate from the main 616.

    Think there would be a fan base for an Utraverse revival if the rights issues were addressed?

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