- Posted by Johanna on June 15, 2007 at 7:07 am
- Category: Comic News
You may have seen the dismay over Marvel’s zombie Mary Jane variant cover for the latest printing of the Marvel Zombies hardcover collection.
Leaving aside the sexual politics of the image (and I agree, using the cover of one of Marvel’s few good youth-targeted properties is a bad idea), there are several more reasons to criticize Marvel on this one.
How about, for instance, that the company is trumpeting their fifth printing with yet another different cover? Normal book publishers keep books in print to satisfy customer demand — Marvel tries to create collectibles by swapping the cover images. Look, they acknowledge it:
Like the other four printings of this hardcover–which have all placed in Diamond’s top ten list each month they shipped–it won’t be around for too long.
They have been pulling this gimmick for a year now; the original hardcover was released August 2006. Look at how many more books they sold at $20. Since the 5-issue miniseries was $3 an issue, that’s a $5 bonus for the retailer per book.
What’s next? A book collecting the different Marvel zombie covers from the book collection of the comic series? (They’ve already done the non-zombie variant of the variant.) They can drag this out for YEARS… which leads me to my next criticism. Which is that superhero comic publishers have no sense of restraint.
I don’t like horror movies or zombies, but I did enjoy reading the original Marvel Zombies story, because it was funny to see all the heroes turned into monsters. It was a fun one-off, a world where nothing made sense.
However, Marvel couldn’t leave that alone. They made money and press from it, so they decided it wasn’t just a story, it was a whole new world to cross over with their regular heroes. For example, beginning in Black Panther #28 is a story tastelessly titled “Good Eatin'”:
It’s slobberin’ time! The New Fantastic Four just made a wrong turn on the inter-dimensional super highway — and they’ve landed in the middle of Zombie-verse! That’s right, True Believer, if the Black Panther, Storm, the Human Torch and the Thing can’t come up with the perfect escape plan, they’re going to be the next hors d’ouvres for Zombie Galacti intent on eating the entire universe! Spinning from the pages of the mega-hit MARVEL ZOMBIES!
If it sells, it must keep selling, thinks Marvel. Which misses the point and muddles everything together. It’s snake-eating-tail time, only they’re up to their own stomach. Some things sell because they aren’t part of the multiverse, or whatever they call it now. (Dorian makes a similar point, about what these kinds of decisions say about the company.)
Plus, Zombie Skrulls? How do you have a zombie shape-shifter? That would be the final kiss-off to fans of superhero comic diversity, wouldn’t it? Killing off BP and Storm by having them eaten?