- Posted by Johanna on October 22, 2006 at 9:30 am
- Category: Comic News
You may have already heard about the upcoming Marvel/Guiding Light crossover.
An eight-page story featuring GL characters interacting with the Marvel universe (written by Jim McCann, Assistant Manager Of Sales Communication, with art by Udon) will be included in a number of all-ages-friendly titles, including Marvel Adventures books, flip titles, and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. That last one would take my vote for “Marvel title a soap opera viewer would be most likely to like”, so good choice (although I wouldn’t have bothered with Civil War: Choosing Sides — maybe, though, they wanted to include the story in at least one comic their traditional core audience would possibly read).
On the TV side, in Guiding Light‘s November 1st episode “She’s a Marvel”, one of their characters gets superpowers. (I knew soaps were stretching for viewers recently, but sheesh!) In the link above, McCann talks more about his background in soap operas; he worked on One Live to Life as part of the ABC Daytime Writer Development Program.
Soap operas and superhero comics actually have a lot in common, as McCann goes into:
Beyond the usual hallmarks (evil twins, back from the dead, etc.) take a quick look at this description and tell me what you think I am talking about:
“What other medium are you faced with telling a story using characters with 60 years of history and continuity, trying to keep the essence of these established stories while moving characters forward, putting them into extreme circumstances, and delivering these stories on a consistent basis to a rabid, but declined from years past, fan-base?
“Both! Soaps and comics are two of the greatest forms of serialized story-telling today. And both are faced with the same problems. Both have to produce their product year-round – each soap has to put out 5 hours of original programming a week – that is 260 hours a year! Marvel currently puts out 70+ titles a month, over 50 of which are monthly on-goings. Both have faced negative stereotypes in the mainstream.
Even so, I don’t think a lot of stereotypical soap viewers are going to suddenly subscribe to the Avengers. Marvel just doesn’t have any comics aimed at the adult woman. That’s the last market in terms of comics, in my opinion. There are now plenty of books for girls, young women, and adult men of all ages, and there have always been comics for boys… but what do you recommend to a middle-aged woman? (Please note that I know there are plenty of titles that a woman might enjoy, but I’m looking for graphic novels particularly targeted at that audience.)
And I haven’t even gotten into the nature of having your big opportunity for exposure written by a marketing guy. Maybe he’s the next Peter David, or maybe he’s the only one willing to do the research necessary to create a story set in GL continuity. Does he have any previous comic credits?
This blogger (link no longer available) isn’t optimistic, either:
How can it not be obvious that the thing that draws soap opera fans to their stories are elements that Marvel (and DC) have failed to bring into their regular storylines; consistent emotional follow through. … even if I’m being unfair, it feels very much as if no one’s paying attention to what women want in comics. It feels like ‘someone’ heard that women want comics and ‘someone’ thought there was a demographic that wasn’t being mined. But no one bothered to find out what would make their premise work.
It’s as though someone said, in desperate concern for ever-declining audience numbers, “hey, these two genre have similarities … maybe we should cross-promote!” not thinking about what the two different audiences get out of them, and whether they actually match up.
The Guiding Light site (no longer available) has a preview clip but doesn’t appear to mention the comics. I do hope that there’s more promo on the TV side, or this whole thing will be a waste of time for Marvel.