With Marvel Comics announcing a line-wide overhaul of its titles this year, many fans are wondering what it means for some of the relatively new titles that are just finding their groove and the Legacy renumbering of long-established books. Based on how well previous overhauls have gone for the publisher over the last decade, it’s difficult to say.
Neither Marvel NOW! nor All-New, All-Different Marvel were the most well-received "reboots" by fans. But while the Legacy initiative is really still too young to deem it a failure, this is something that hasn’t stopped Marvel from kicking off reboots in the past. Now, some of comics’ mightiest heroes are on the precipice another potential nosedive, and it’s a shame.
Why Marvel Comics has been losing market share and good will with long-time fans has been attributed to numerous theories, some of which are quite dubious. Cries bemoaning examples of perceived “affirmative action” with regards to establish heroes facing changes in their ethnicities, gender or sexual identity has been cited (despite the fact that many of these books are some of Marvel’s most popular). Meanwhile, other readers claim the overall quality of the books has suffered due to constraints on creative teams, thus leading to low sales numbers. But the real cause might be the fact that Marvel Comics is trying to have its cake and eat it too -- not by simply integrating new characters into the Marvel U, but by simultaneously embracing its long-standing mythos even as it appears to be pushing it aside.
The biggest issue with comics in the modern era is that they are by and large hidden from the public eye. In order to obtain "floppies," a customer has two options at their disposal. They can either go to a specialty store (if there’s one in their town) to make a purchase, or sign up for a subscription service online, be it digital or mail order. Both of these options can be quite daunting for unguided newcomers. Sure, comic book movies are the new shorthand for blockbuster cinema, but maybe if the parent studios behind them advertised their source material in any other manner beyond ads for comics in other comics, they might make some new True Believers.