Marvel Releases Comics Aimed at New Audience in Worst Possible Way

Marvel Rising: Alpha

Marvel Rising is intended to be a new franchise from Marvel that features lots of young female team members and characters of color.

The tie-in comic books have started coming out (the cartoon doesn’t have a release date that I’ve seen), and they’re a mess. The stories are simple and straightforward, not outstanding but not bad, but the release plan is overly complicated. (I’m sympathetic to the new supervillain, Emulator, because she’s a gamer girl who’s hassled by over-muscled boys who can’t believe she’s more skilled than they are. But that quickly gets forgotten.)

Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl & Ms. Marvel

If you buy Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl & Ms. Marvel #1, you open it to discover that it says it’s “part 2”. Part 1 was labeled Marvel Rising: Alpha #1 and came out a month ago.

But if you read that book, six pages in you discover a reference to an even earlier issue, Marvel Rising #0, which was a promo giveaway in April. That story isn’t necessary to understand this one, but it’s still a reminder to new readers that “this stuff isn’t for you” unless you know how to navigate all this junk.

Marvel Rising: Alpha

It all continues in Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 and concludes in Marvel Rising: Omega, not yet released. This is old-school “gotta pay attention to the promo material” crap, designed to make data-driven geeks feel special for keeping up with the order of things. Of course, the real product is an eventual collection of the story. Which makes it worse, since the two for-sale issues so far have been $5 and $6, respectively, which is outrageous. The final version, out November 6, is only $10, so people who visit comic shops before then also get to feel ripped off, having spent more than that for a story that isn’t even halfway done yet.

More and more, it’s obvious that the companies think the comics are for a backwater of old fans, while the real new customers will read books and watch cartoons with the characters without having to worry about those weird, overpriced pamphlets.

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2 comments

  • Wow, pretty harsh take on how publishers think of single issues vs trades…but I have to agree with you. I really started to notice the “written for trade” thing around the time of Ultimate Spider-Man and it’s not basically a given.

    Having moved country two years ago I moved to trades because keeping up with singles in a country I wasn’t at the time familiar with was simply too trying. And it’s the best thing I’ve done for US comics (comics of other countries are still preferable in single issues IM0).

    It seems more and more the big publishers are leaning more and more toward trade collections, which makes business sense as they are more visible. But I then wonder why they even bother with single issues. Wouldn’t it be better to just release a trade every 3 to 6 months, giving creators more time to produce a more polished story?

    I’m sure there are reasons why this isn’t happening, but I wonder how long single issues of US comics will remain a thing.

  • Single issues allow publishers to amortize costs by getting a return on the material almost as soon as it’s created. Many of them don’t have many resources to float creative costs for as long as it would take to get a book out there. I would welcome a book-focused comic market — but it would mean severe disruption, particularly to the retail direct market, which relies on weekly habitual buyers.

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