Chris’ amazing Fantastic Four site really provides a fantastically detailed exposition, so do dip in there.
Basically Chris predicted, accurately, the meltdown occurring in Marvel comics. Not just the broad outcome but he actually somehow through some arcane interplay of his superpowers predicted some specifics- and he has more to predict still to come.
Marvel has not been a comicbook company since 1968. The paradigm shift from comicbook company to brand management company occurred in four major stages:
1968: selling out in the hopes of going mass media- no more real time, no more firm continuity- the continuity was the last to go
1975-1976: bankruptcy staved off solely by licensing Star Wars and riding the wave of its popularity 1977-1980
1989: comicbook superheroes decline in popularity. This leads to the speculator boom in the 1990s where not the content of the books but inane collectible gimcrack gimmickry creates a classic bubble – which bursts
1999-2001: hacks take over the asylum.
As of the Disney takeover, “Marvel” was a brand management company with bad management and brands that were perfect in their 1960s incarnations, and poisonous as monthly marketables. It was obvious that from a corporate point of view Disney would “hollow out” “Marvel” – since it is only the marketable brands and trademarked character that have any value, together with the first 20 years or so of stories which contain 99.9% of the original content. Also attractive was that after 40 years of savage exploitation and court sanctioned trademark theft, a pantheon of the top selling images (what were once comicbook characters) needed to be detached from the insular inbred hacks incestuously churning the chumbucket.
There was no reason for Disney to go to war by destroying its storyboard factory; but neither was there any reason to allow the comicbooks to have any input into the key money maker – the movies.
Thus, the comicbooks turn themselves inside out to create versions of the movie universe. With no meaningful readership left other than the long derided 40,000 or so OCD sufferers, the comics are now irrelevant. In terms of simple company management, you don’t let a loss leader that breaks even at best mess with a multi billion dollar cinema setup.
So between now an 2025 or so, probably a lot quicker once the scalpels stab into the corpulent flesh of “marvel comics”, the “comicbook company” (brand management company) will be normalised with respect to all other brands. There’s a mickey / minnie / whatever department, there’s various animation departments, there’s the disney comicbook department – “marvel” will end up sliced into pieces to fit in with that.
Current consumer-paid marketing research is in the form of Disney Infinity 2.0 and the movies. The movies are mainstream and huge earners. Infinity 2.0 allows detailed up to the second data to flood in on who and what are the most popular characters. Based purely on sales, there was always going to be a Guardians cartoon once the film made book. Likewise various Avengers related properties which currently seem … invincible… may well be shaken up since the rule is to try and halve the budget for each sequel to keep profits high. Anyone bucking that trend risks shitting the money bed and Disney management won’t tolerate that.
Several takeaways from the Disney controlled Marvel Movie Universe:
1. everything the fat fools who ran the comics into the ground, such as Bendis’ hatred of superheroes*, and all the rest- has been soundly rejected by Disney.
(a) continuity is king in the movies. They understand Stan Lee’s cunning plan- continuity makes for completist fans. If it’s all happening in the same universe- it all “matters” and therefore you MUST buy it to get the entire story.
(b) aberrant SJWankery has no place in mainstream entertainment. Disney PC kowtowing is entirely money motivated- why alienate any audience segment? but that isn’t going to translate to big screen cringe inducing vomit such as currently clogs too many comics.
(c) authorship is secondary to corporatism. proven performers get the top jobs in the movie making business for Disney and anyone breaking in needs to perform first time out.
(d) preaching comes secondary to great storytelling. Disney well understood this for decades, origina Marvel did too. The current hacks- not so much.
Ant Man is testing the waters for more character driven film within the new Marvel Universe.
Disney will basically retain some fake version of the “Marvel Comics” “offices” because for the moment it needs to pander to the illusion of independent comicbook makers. In fact, no one attached to Marvel is an “indie” in any sense, and Marvel has not existed for years now. All the masturbation to the contrary, Disney signs the cheques. Which means Disney calls the shot. The many recent aberrant 1990s style changes in the comics proves they DON’T matter.
Marvel Secret Wars aka the Marvel version of Crisis on Infinite Earths is just a face saving way for the Marvel hacks to carry out Disney’s orders and create a new consistent comicbook universe where only those characters in the current or future licensed films will exist. If or when Fantastic Four or Spider-Man return permanently, they will return to something like their original positions.
Since Sony are too incompetent to make normal Spider-Man films, they may well joint venture with Disney to try and ride the coat tails. Otherwise once the Sony VPs are purged we may see Spider-Man return unexpectedly early to full time Marvel Movie stardom.
I am really enjoying seeing the people who ruined twenty years of “Marvel” getting the fuck reamed out of them by professional corporates on behalf of the Six Foot Rat.