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I admit it. I’m a Marvel fan. My favorite hero is Captain America and I’ve read his comics all the way from his re-introduction in the 1960’s until today. I guess that means I’ve now lost my “street cred”, but I’m ok with it. Despite being a fan of the comic company, I don’t necessarily agree with some of their business practices. Their decision to cancel The Fantastic Four, possibly to spite Fox, may seem like a good idea on the surface, but is really a poor decision in reality.
Confirmation about the cancellation came during a Marvel panel at this year’s New York Comic Con (NYCC) (Dornbush, 2014). The Fantastic Four are a family, and a very close friend, who get their powers from cosmic rays while on an experimental rocket ship. The book and its characters have been around since the 1960’s and are known by fans as the “First Family” of Marvel.
In the 1990’s, Marvel was going bankrupt and so they sold film rights to characters to different studios to keep afloat (Arrant, 2013). Marvel has recently been doing so well that they even formed their own movie studio called Marvel Studios. You might have seen some of their little films such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers, and most recently, Guardians of the Galaxy. Yeah, you know those little films that gross millions to billions of dollars.
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Marvel Studios doesn’t own all of their characters for film which is why you see Spider-Man put out by Sony, whereas the X-Men and The Fantastic Four come from 20th Century Fox (Arrant, 2013). Some characters are shared between studios due to their appearances and belonging to different heroic groups in the comics. The Fantastic Four is actually being re-booted, in true Hollywood originality, in 2015. This is where things get fishy with the cancellation of the comic.
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If that wasn’t enough fodder to lead to speculation, Marvel’s lesser selling comics such as Black Widow, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, and Nova are all continuing (McMillan, 2014). Several of these characters have not been around as long and aren’t as important to the Marvel universe as a whole.
Until now, Marvel has been doing well regarding their comics and movie properties. Where I take issue with their cancellation of The Fantastic Four is that it’s right before a rival studio is set to bring out their movie. They are Marvel’s property in the comics, but they seem to be hurting their loyal fan base in the process of trying to hurt a rival studio.
In the end, the consumer is hurting more than the company is. Fans that are angry may show their frustration by cancelling their Marvel orders for other comics or by possibly going to Marvel’s rival/frenemy, DC comics. Hopefully Marvel is canceling the series to allow Fox to generate enough buzz and to re-define the property for a comic re-launch (Busch, 2014). This seems unlikely, however, because if certain movies don’t move to principle photography by a certain date then the rights revert back to Marvel (Lee, 2014). This can also possibly account for the over saturation that some people discuss when mentioning superhero movies.
To those who read this blog, what are your thoughts on the cancellation, or superhero movies in general?
Arrant, C. (2013, December 26). Who Goes Where? Surveying The Complicated Movie Rights Situation of MARVEL COMICS. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from http://www.newsarama.com/19897-who-goes-where-surveying-the-complicated-movie-rights-situation-of-marvel-comics.html
Busch, A. (2014, October 13). Marvel Cancels ‘Fantastic Four’ Comic Book Series Before Fox 2015 Movie Launch. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from http://deadline.com/2014/10/fantastic-four-comics-cancelled-2015-movie-850498/
Dornbush, J. (2014, October 13). Marvel confirms end of ‘Fantastic Four’ comic book series. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/10/13/marvel-cancels-fantastic-four-comic-book/
Lee, C. (2014, October 6). Answered: Which Studios Own Which Marvel Characters. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from http://screenrant.com/marvel-comics-movies-characters-carl-6766/
McMillan, G. (2014, October 13). Marvel Confirms ‘Fantastic Four’ Series Will End In 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/fantastic-four-no-more-740423