Marvel Seems to Have Given Up on Younger Readers
This is not new news, but I find it interesting that Marvel Comics is farming out comics for younger readers, using some of their most visible properties, to other publishers. Where DC is creating new imprints to reach this important, fast-growing market, Marvel seems to have decided to stick with the old and familiar, leaving the challenging but high-growth area to others.
The latest example — available now for preorder with release in late November — is Spider-Man #1, coming from IDW Publishing. That will be followed by an Avengers comic in December and a Black Panther comic in January. Spider-Man is written by Delilah Dawson with art by Fico Ossio and features an all-ages story with Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and Gwen Stacy. (So, also more diverse than Marvel’s traditional books.)
Each of these titles will serve as an easily-accessible jumping-on point for younger readers to follow the adventures of their favorite characters.
“Marvel is committed to delivering unique and accessible content for our younger audiences and fans,” said Sven Larsen, director, licensed publishing of Marvel. “As one of our most valued partners, IDW is the right fit to help us feature some of our most popular characters and publish stories created especially for the next generation of Super Heroes.”
Hmmm. Is IDW particularly experienced in reaching that market? Has Marvel given up on being able to speak to kids? Or is it, as superstar artist Jerry Ordway put it, a cost-saving measure?
Consider this. IDW offers lower page rates than Marvel, I’ll bet, which lowers the cost of producing the books. Plus no royalties to creators on a licensed book, which it now is. If Marvel did it, they likely have a higher page rate, plus at least the possibility of royalties.
IDW also publishes Star Wars kids comics, while Archie started putting out Marvel superhero reprint digests last summer. Maybe this is just an extreme version of what DC used to do to “wall off” Vertigo. They didn’t want any of the kids’ characters appearing in both places, to avoid children accidentally buying more mature titles. Now, if you want kid-safe Marvel superheroes, just look for another publisher’s logo on the cover.
Update: The Avengers book will be called Marvel Action: Avengers, and it will be written by Matthew K. Manning with art by Jon Sommariva. Based on the cover, it’s very movie-inspired, with the group consisting of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Hawkeye, and back in the distance, Black Widow as the only woman on the team.