It’s no secret that Marvel Comics is in a losing battle with their rival, DC Comics. The current era of Marvel is riddled with excess and poor judgment. They’re struggling to maintain a large portion of their readers. Along with event overkill, fleeing talent, and constant rebooting, are solicitations hurting Marvel Comics as well?
**Marvel Spoilers Lie Ahead**
Comic book solicitations are a tool for publishers to give fans a taste of what’s around the corner. It’s a way for companies to tease upcoming projects, preview new titles, and allow fans to budget accordingly. In Marvel’s case, solicitations are a desperate attempt at keeping readers interested.
Instead of enticing readers to come back next month with a cliffhanger, reveal, or a powerful enough story, Marvel tries to buy goodwill through solicitations. They’re constantly getting ahead of themselves too; scheduling delays no doubt play a big part in that.
For example, before Civil War II had even begun to wrap-up, Marvel was already busy unveiling an entire new line of unfamiliar titles. Books like Infamous Iron Man had started before CW II was over, containing major spoilers to the massive event’s conclusion. This forces readers into an uncomfortable situation. Even before the title was released, details surfaced through solicitations.
This compromises the potential of that final chapter. How much more effective would Tony Stark’s fate have been, not knowing that the two future Iron Man titles did not feature him?
The Clone Conspiracy was another instance in which the solicitations ruined the narrative’s potential. After the big reveal that Ben Reilly was behind the whole thing, Marvel announced an ongoing Scarlet Spider series. Knowing that Ben Reilly not only survives the event, but also becomes a hero, stripped any weight that The Clone Conspiracy‘s ending could have had.
The massive attempt at winning X-Men fans back, called ResurreXion, was announced well before Inhumans Vs. X-Men had even started. What was the incentive to even read this event? IvX was just one last obstacle in the way of the X-Men comics we were promised.
What’s the alternative? I’m no business or marketing major (clearly), but this obviously isn’t working. If I had a say at Marvel, I’d try a more viral approach to generating buzz and unveiling developments. Let these announcements happen within the books themselves. Let the readers start the conversation and then make official announcements afterwards.
Imagine finding out about ResurreXion in the back of IXV #6. Would Marvel have really lost that many potential readers by not showing their hand preemptively? Allow those readers to hit the internet and social circles on their own to initially spread the word. Marvel could then swoop in and hit us all with the official announcement. This also cuts down on how long fans have to wait for this big new thing on the horizon.
If Marvel was truly in-touch with their readers, they could save their announcements. Keep the audience on the edge of their seat, with no idea what to expect in the story they’re reading. Allow us to discover new developments and major changes along with the characters. Inject these comics with shock and mystery again.
Of course, this could backfire in some cases. The reveal could be a misfire and without having gone public Marvel could find themselves much deeper into development of a project that caught no one’s attention. Honestly though, is that really so different from how things are now? It’s not like fans were begging for Secret Empire, or another event in general. Yet, it’s about to consume Marvel’s entire line of comics.
All comic book publishers release solicitations; Marvel just does it poorly. It devalues their product and struggles to generate the right kind of attention. DC Rebirth was a universe-wide initiative that has, so far, been a home run. DC has generated so much positivity without spoiling their stories. People are talking about what is happening in DC comics, not what is happening to them.
All is not lost for Marvel however. They can easily parody DC’s recent success and salvage their fan base. It wasn’t long ago that The New 52 was causing the comic book community to collectively groan month after month. They might already be gearing up for a similar overhaul with Generations.
Of course, we could all avoid spoilers by ignoring any and all solicitations or announcements, right? What do you think about Marvel’s solicitations? How many current Marvel titles are you reading? Are you looking forward to the next era, or are you content with this one? Let us know in the comments below!