Ode to Marvel Comics: House of Ideas

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Posted September 16, 2013 by Mario Miranda in Comic Books

 

The nature of comics books, especially with the superhero genre, is that the story never really ends. There will always be some new threat, some new plot, some new twist that will keep the title going. With this understanding, it makes perfect sense why a company such as Marvel would continue to shake things up and introduce these “events” on a yearly basis, since these titles will always be ongoing, a catalyst is needed. It seems to me that some fans out there, take these fictional worlds and characters a bit too seriously and try and infuse some real world sense and logic to a place that is specifically about not being real world. The timelines will never make sense, (Captain America has been unfrozen for how many years now? Yet he looks perpetually 32) characters die and are then resurrected, events come and go but that’s really the nature of the industry.

 

It’s not to say that Marvel is without its share of flaws, I can understand event fatigue and some of the decisions made are questionable but take a look at the amazing runs that we, as readers, have received from the house of ideas.

 

Daredevil – Brian Bendis and (mostly) Alex Maleev

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Captain America – Ed Brubaker

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Ultimate Spider-Man – Brian Bendis

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Fantastic Four and Future Foundation – Johnathan Hickman

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Avengers/New Avengers – Brian Bendis

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Those are just some of the amazing runs Marvel has had since 1998, ranging anywhere between 4 yr  to 13 yrs and counting, of great stories and great art. In my opinion, a lot of the success has been of books reacting to the events that Marvel brings in every year. Going back to Avengers disassembled, without that “event” we wouldn’t have seen the amazing New Avengers vol.1. And much of the greatness of new avengers, was the seeing the new team grow and bond as they react to event such as Civil War, Secret Invasion and Siege. Some see the events as a chore, a grind to line the pockets of the publishers but I really think they work as a catalyst to graet stories. Captain America by Ed Brubaker was had been fantastic leading up to Civil War, seeing Bucky re introduced as the Winter Soldier and his struggle once he regained is memories. Just when we thought we’d seen a resolution, Steve Rogers was assassinated. Which led to James Barnes taking over the mantle of Captain America which in turn led to another series of interesting stories from Ed Brubaker. The same can be applied to a multitude of titles over the years, events create conflict and change which then lead writers to have the characters react and change, otherwise runs would become stagnant after 4-6 years of the same writer.

 

So far I’ve only been using examples from the past, one of the best creative period is currently going on. When you ask? (Marvel)NOW! This past October, 2012, Marvel shuffled almost every single title with new creators and new visions, which has led to some truly amazing work. We are currently experiencing one of the best Daredevil runs of all time by Mark Waid, which is one of the most critically acclaimed books that is currently being published. We also have, Thor God of Thunder by Jason Aaron, which is also being considered one of the best Thor runs of all time, Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Avengers and New Avengers by Johnathan Hickman, and the list goes on. I’ve seen so many people comment on forums, groups, letters, etc, that they had never been a fan of a certain character(s) but now are hooked on these books because of the fantastic stories that are being told. The Marvel NOW initiative has been extremely successful both creatively and commercially, there are so many varying types of titles that cater to a wider audience than we have seen from Marvel in the last few years. And although the last Marvel event, Age of Ultron, may have been lackluster to most, its hard to argue against the upcoming stories dealing with the fallout/consequences, i.e. Hunger, Cataclysm (which may also include Spider-Men), and

 

I really think Marvel has been doing a fantastic job over the last 15 years of cultivating some great stories, talent and characters. I know I probably wouldn’t be as into comics if it weren’t for a lot of the amazing runs we’ve had and continue to have. I really think that fans need to take these stories so seriously and remember that we read these funny books for fun. Everything has changed in the last 15 years and the 15 years before that, these characters and worlds are constantly changing and shifting. We need to get rid of this idea that “these are not MY characters,” because as 10 years go by there is a new generation of people that didn’t have the same experience that you may have. That being said, things also have a tendency of coming back around; all those changes that you don’t like right now? Well they’ll most likely revert back to the old status quo within the next 5 years, and then the change will happen all over again by a new creator with a new take on the universe/character.

 

It’s amazing how much negativity surrounds the internet when if we were to really look around, we could realize just how good we have it with the constant quality of books coming out each month. I remember in 2004 the hard part was finding good books to read, if you look at some of the ads from the early 2000’s, even the big 2 weren’t publishing that many books and even then only a handful were truly terrific. Nowadays when a new title is announced, chances are it’ll be fantastic. Think back to 2007 or even 2010, did we really think that there would be a Hawkguy book that would be as successful as Matt Fractions? Or that we’d get a title about what spider-man’s foes do in their Spider-Man off time? AND that it would be great!? I find that people generally have a hard time settling their pull lists because we have so many great books to choose from. All in all , I think we’re living in a terrific time period for comic readers.

 


About the Author

Mario Miranda

I live my life a quarter mile at a time.