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Tryyyyyyyy Aaaaaaaand Rememberrrrrrrrr....

Hi, folks, I'm Peter G, creator of Sound Waves, here with a special announcement.  Sound Waves was originally a long running title about a little girl who becomes friends with a mermaid.  Sales were fine, the fan following was dedicated, but you know what?  The numbers were flat, and I was never really crazy about Rhapsody and Melody becoming friends.  So I created a storyline that would rewrite the central premise.  It would be pretty much the same thing, Rhapsody's adventures under the sea, but she and Melody had a falling out and never became "swim buddies."  If you don't remember it, it's because I did such a good job retconning it, it even affected Real Life.  Yes, I'm just that awesome.  Well, that was two years ago.  There was an uptick in readership, but it didn't take long before sales were back to where they were before my retcon.  Now, sales have dropped by a third from where they were two years ago (okay, when you sell in the low double digits, that's not much, but I'm operating on a shoestring here).  So, I'm going to undo the retcon that undid the original continuity.  By the time you read this, the experiment will be a bad memory on the part of the characters and, hopefully, the readers.  Thank you, and God bless.

Marvel is concerned about how Brand New Day is not exactly working out.  It didn't take long for the curiosity spike to blunt.  Now, numbers are down dramatically from two years ago with a new Spider-Man movie in production.  Not helping is changes in the title and a price increase in one of the titles (only one, only a buck, but the fans are bitching about how expensive it is to keep up with it now).  San Diego is just around the corner, and apparently, Marvel is going to announce that Brand New Day is over.

My first question is, how exactly is it over?  Joe Quesada has never made any secret of the fact that he doesn't like a married Peter Parker.  He's tried before to end that before with the creation of the Clone Saga, which gave us the Scarlet Spider in that stupid hoodie.  He was so determined to remove the marriage from Spider-Man stories, he thought having Peter Parker make a deal with the devil was preferable to a simple divorce or even just leaving the marriage alone.  At least twice in Brand New Day, stories teased that Peter and Mary Jane would be getting back together, only to have Lucy pull the football away at the end (all those who really thought it would happen need to remember Quesada's history).  Then, One Moment In Time, which I guess was supposed to explain why Peter and MJ never got married.  I don't know, I didn't read it.  All I know is it was a heavily hyped storyline at C2E2 and Spider-Man in a tuxedo looks a lot like Hunter Rose.  Undoing Brand New Day would be Quesada admitting he was wrong.  I just don't see it happening.

Another problem is, how is this supposed to fix things?  Eliminating the marriage didn't help, but that's not going to fix sales.  Telling good stories that are worth the increase in cover price will.  I've never been much of a Spider-Man fan because the stories are formulaic.  They typically go like this:

1)  Villain shows up
2)  Spider-Man gets his ass handed to him
3)  Spider-Man commiserates with MJ or whoever the fan magnet with the cover appearance is
4)  With renewed sense of purpose and lessons learned, Spidey returns to kicking ass and taking names

Admittedly, it's a formula that's worked for half a century.  But it has gotten stale.  JMS may be an ego with feet, but he still wrote stories that got fans interested and talking and anxious to spend their money.  And he did that by breaking the mold.

It's sad.  Spider-Man is such a popular character, so many people love him.  And yet, the best way to return him to prominence, no one is trying, they are resorting to simple publicity stunts.  Brand New Day was bad because it basically dismissed the interest and passions people invested in the character as nothing.  Now, there's another group that has invested their interests and passions in the new direction, and their about to see it dismissed.  It's sort of like my reaction to characters being killed off -- if things can be changed so simply and so arbitrarily, why should I bother paying attention?


Jul. 10th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
Strikeforce Morituri. When a character died, they stayed dead. You went into the comic knowing that it was just a matter of time before every single character died. AND it wasn't a bad book. A shame it only lasted 31 issues.

Meanwhile, I agree, when the company continually retcons a series, kills off a character (only to revive them later), and repeatedly has cross-over stories that require the purchase of books you aren't interested in just to get the whole story, it really turns the fans off. When the fans get turned off, they stop spending their money. And then the comic companies wonder where their audience has gone. Well, duh!

HEY! Don't be messin' with Rhapsody and Melody! I'd hate to have to quit the band.

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