Your platitudes about defying harassment are great and all but none of you comic pros are listening to the real complaint that kicked all this up in the first place. The work is BAD. Characters with long histories are being awkwardly changed to fit a political agenda instead of servicing a good story. Marvel doesn't feel like Marvel so fans are fleeing. Sales are down. What are you going to do about it?
First off, they’re not “platitudes.” Either you believe other people should be treated with respect and be free to exist online without being stalked or fearful for their safety or you don’t. It’s cut and dry. Condoning that, whatever your end goals may be, camps you out with people who are disrespectful at the top end and downright criminal at the bottom. Decide if this is the hill you really want to die on with the “allies” you have on your side.
Okay, on to your other point-
The comic industry is going through upheaval, absolutely. If we have to be honest though, so is all of media. Piracy is slamming into instant access entertainment and that’s splintering our attention more than ever before. New comics (dozens every week) aren’t just competing with each other, they’re competing with streaming movies/TV, video games, craft beers, and newly accessible deep archives of the best (and worst) comics from the start of publishing through to now. That doesn’t even count foreign content like manga, also available for deep dives and also fighting for your dollar. I don’t think it’s fair to just say sales are low because the work is bad and not acknowledge that almost every media is going through similar rocky times. People are reassessing where their entertainment dollars go across the board and things are shaking up - period.
The single issue format does seem to be taking a beating as of late, it’s true. Corporate decisions made in the past in terms of format, distribution, sales outlets, and pricing seem to be coming to a head and I have no idea how that will shake out, especially in a world that’s understandably distracted with natural disasters and a political divide as bad as it’s ever been.
Marvel of the 70′s wasn’t Marvel of the 60′s.
Marvel of the 80′s wasn’t Marvel of the 70′s.
Marvel of the 90′s wasn’t Marvel of the 80′s.
You get the idea. We can’t trap this stuff in amber. The Marvel Universe is a dynamic creative sandbox that reflects the time we live in while also carrying decades of continuity on its back. It’s wonderful and ridiculous, and can’t be fully encompassed in one character, one series, or one time. The stories that inspired me color my work in the same way the stories that inspired you color your perception of what’s happening now.
There are people reading Marvel Comics right now who are being inspired by these current stories. Whatever you may think of it, this is their Marvel. If that goes down a road where sales can’t sustain it and things need to change, then I expect that’s what you’ll see. It’s happened before. Implosions and new initiatives. Experiments. The best parts get carried forward, the bad bits become footnotes and the creative journey continues.
I don’t run Marvel. If I did it would reflect my creative ideas more intensely, but it would also need to incorporate other people, other ideas, and the twists and turns the world throws at it. Compromise and collaboration is how this stuff gets done. It’s how the world actually functions. Acknowledge that not every title needs to fit your personal sensibilities in order to be “worthy.” Variety is an important part of the search for quality.
As one writer working with a team of skilled and passionate people, all I can promise is that I’ll write stories that I as a reader would enjoy. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Marvel fan who loves incorporating continuity while also moving stories forward with new ideas. That’s my jam.
I don’t know of a single creator who sets out to tell a bad story or wreck a character they’re tasked with working on. There are comics I read that I do not enjoy and would absolutely have done differently, but my first instinct isn’t to assume the people involved are on a mission to destroy it. I move on and look to other titles for my fix. I check back in every so often to see if things have improved.
Back in the day, I collected Amazing Spider-Man from issue #231 through to #363. I loved reading Spidey stories. He was (and generally is) my favorite Marvel character. I have so many memories of those stories and key moments are indelibly burned into my brain. Even still, by the time the book hit #350+, I wasn’t feeling it any more. The book had changed. I’d changed. I eked out collecting for another year and then realized I’d missed a couple months and wasn’t worried about it at all. It was time to walk away.
Many years later, I was reading about Dan Slott’s Big Time story arc starting with Amazing Spider-Man #648 and thought “What the heck. I’ll give it a try.” Just like that, I was back into reading Spidey. I’ve been enjoying it ever since. This stuff is cyclical. I could spin my life away obsessing over why the books weren’t “good” in that long gap, but I’d rather read comics I enjoy. I don’t want you to leave or stop collecting, but I do think it’s important to allow that to happen if necessary. Find other books that tick your tock.
I don’t know Marvel’s deepest/darkest future plans, but I do know that Marvel Legacy is an attempt to ratify the past and present. To keep what works from the past while moving things into the future. Will it work? I don’t know. Keep reading and we’ll find out together.
I hope you stick around and boost up titles you feel hit the mark while letting other titles succeed or fail with the readerships they cultivate, even if they’re not the same as you.