CCW Question of the Week

Posted: November 20, 2009 in Question of the Week

Two weeks ago I asked all of you your opinion on who was the best comic publisher this year. An overwhelming majority of you choose DC over Marvel. Then last week I asked if Blackest Night was living up to the hype and again the vast majority said that it has. Which now brings us to this week.

We have been focusing a lot on DC here lately so it’s time to talk some Marvel. Marvel Comics has fallen out of favor with many comic fans, myself included, over the last year or so for a variety of reasons. I am going to try to put together a post of what I perceive to be Marvel’s strengths and weaknesses and how Marvel could win me back over. That’s where you all come in.

This week’s 2 part question:

What do you think are Marvel’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

What would Marvel need to do to beat DC as the CCW Nation’s Publisher of the Year next year?

I would like to take you answers and suggestions and incorporate them into my post which will go up sometime in the near future. I am really quite interested in what you guys have to say on this subject.


  1. Antonio says:

    Greatest strengths = They are Marvel and they still have a great cast of characters

    Greatest weaknesses = Joe Quesada,Wolverine

    To win me over(And I have definitely leaned DC’s way my entire life) they need more Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, a good Silver Surfer book, cheaper books since I can’t take too many chances at 3.99 a book, less Event integration throughout the books, and less Wolverine.

  2. therichestmanintown says:

    Marvel’s strength which hasn’t been used to its full potential is just how close it is to our actual world. Marvel claims it’s “Your Universe” but to be honest they don’t play with that idea enough. There was Civil War which I liked but after that the events became too much. Once Dark Reign and Siege blow over they need to stop having events for at least a year that way new readers can finally get into what the actual Marvel universe is like when it is normal so that they new readers can get actually excited when an event happens.

  3. generaldark says:

    strengths= they do come up with great ideas for storys how ever they fall to deliver

    weakness=joey q and bendis. i dont read loebs work so i dont care that much about him even thoe he pisses me off.

    Im a dc fan but first of all marvel needs to desperatly stop taking advantage of the consumers. lower there prices in floppies and trades. stop with the events. quit milking out charecters like wolverine and deadpool.

  4. MicahSkin says:

    Strengths More Iconic characters. And by more I mean numbers. Other than the Big 3, you most likely won’t run into someone who can rattle off team members of DC teams. and this ties into the next point. Much better media presence. X-Men/Spiderman cartoons were pretty much constant durring the 90’s. DC’s response was to ride the Batman Animated Series (While good mind you) into the freaking ground. One last point, and people may debate if its a strength or not, Longer-term writers. Sure the story telling may get old but its CONSISTANT! 3 letters for you. JLA. Remember that recently relaunched trainwreck? Least Marvel keeps Bendis on a title for more than 3 months at a time (this is where you may be asking “Strength?”)
    Weaknesses: Flagship titles with weak AKA HORRIBLE CANCERAIDS-ESQUE writing. Loeb, Fraction and Bendis can ALL do better. Ok, maybe now but they have done better (Keeping in mind, their current output isn’t a high bar to surpass) Lack of enthusiasm for any title that doesn’t have X-Men, Avengers or Wolverine in the title. Next one is Spiderman. WTF is going on there?! And not just New Day and all that. Inconsistant writing, writers coming on board ignoring what happens months ago, re-doing the mother f***ing CLONE SAGA?! Enough. Someone beg mark Waid to come and save him PLEASE!!!

    Ok, enough complaining. how to fix it.
    1. Cut Bendis loose. It had the magic, it seems gone now, it goes away.
    2. Make Fraction focus on Single Hero titles. He can have a cast as big as he wants but focusing on one or two heroes and making the rest wallpaper is good when its Pepper Potts and not people who’ve been X-Men for longer than he’s been alive.
    3. Get a real writer on the Hulk set of titles.
    4. Have the villans do new things. if Apocalypse takes more trusted X-Comrades and turns them into vessels of his will one more freaking time, even he’ll get bored of it. WOW! The Hood is attacking with a gang of Villians. HOW ORIGINAL!
    5. Less focus on Limited Series, more on the on-goings.
    6. Promotion of the smaller titles. People will not drift to a newer series just because it is on the shelf. You have to advertise it. Have 6 page previews for it in the back of major sellers. I remember them promoting the Ultimate universe in the back of titles. AND DON’T CHARGE AN EXTRA BUCK FOR IT!
    7. Make iconic characters seem iconic. Good world shaking stories in Cap, Thor, Iron Man and Uncanny. (FF is doing fine with this)

    Just some suggestions.

  5. Matthew Guy says:

    What do you think are Marvel’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

    Strengths Hickman FF & the revolving door of Amazing Spider-Man arcs (1 shitty arc w/ 2 great arcs on average per 3 arcs of the series)

    Weaknesses mega events that dont wrap up w/ a clear resolution but go on into the next event. BENDIS on everything minus Powers & Ult. Spidey!!! BRUBAKER on CAP & FEACTION on Uncanny!!!

    What would Marvel need to do to beat DC as the CCW Nation’s Publisher of the Year next year?
    Fire Joe Q. as EIC is the first step.


  6. Pobra says:

    strengths = they really do have a great catalog of characters, as well as some top notch talent, in terms of creators, maybe not better than DC, but at least on par.

    weaknesses = GREED!! I’m getting sick and fucking tired of all their books making the leap to 3.99. This week’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man was 3.99 (which i believe is the new going rate for ASM now) Cap is going to be 3.99 after Steve returns, not to mention all the other books that are way over-priced (alot of $4.99 books lately).
    Plus they flood the market and choke out their second and third tier books, which are often quite good, to make room for more wolverine, deadpool and shitty event tie-in’s.
    And then there is Bendis and Loeb. I know i said they have some top talent, but these guys are WAY over-rated and marvel needs to quit giving them all the big projects.

    In order to beat out DC as my favorite publisher, marvel needs to lower their prices, cut their Wolverine, Deadpool and Avengers books down to one good title each, so their lower tier books can thrive and find an audience. And maybe let someone other than Loeb or Bendis tackle some big books. Lastly, give us a fucking break with the events! Let the books breathe, let the characters develop and let us catch our breath as fans and just enjoy some good stories for a little while before turning the entire universe on it’s head again.

  7. Venom829 says:

    1. Marvel has the most popular super-hero (Spider-Man) in their carachter property. (no. 1 if you ask me). Marvel has a variety of successful crachters, tirles, and creators in their name, both old and current. Marvel is too mcuh of a money whore for all the great ideas they have, Brian Michael Bendis, and Joe Quesada has see his time, and need to leave.

    2. Marvel needs to cut back a dollar in their books, fire Quesada, put Bendis in some restraints so he will return to being the awesome writer he is capable of being. fire Jeph Loeb, he is insane, pick up Grant Morrison after his Batman run at D.C. is complete, stop with the on-going year-long story arcs, and come up with only one every now and then when somebody has a story to tell.

  8. Chris says:

    Strengths = Its characters
    Weaknesses = Utilisation of its characters

    I think I’d like to blame the editors for letting all of Marvel’s rubbish slip through the cracks. But really the writers (not all of them mind) need to buck up there ideas.

    I wish they would take a break from events. And ease up on having every book interwoven so heavily. I’m all for continuity and shared universes but not at the expense of easy to follow engaging stories. I’ve always found that shorter more concise stories are best in Superhero books. A four issue arc where the X-Men battle Apocalypse would always be more fun that 18 months of EVERYONE against the Green Goblin with no actual battles.

    I’ve known a lot of people who have wanted to start reading comics (for the first time or getting back into them) and haven’t know where to begin reading. Starting a series at #517 may seem a bit daunting for newcomers!

    Alas, Marvel doesn’t care about me. So there is no way that I’ll prefer them in 12 months time.

  9. phil says:

    The Marvel hype/marketing mahine is their greatest strength.
    The lack of being able to live up to, or anywhere naer that hype is their greatest weakness.
    In order for marvel to beat d.c. 1st: all egos clear the hallway…exit,stage left. 2nd: quit telling 22 page stories that take up four or more issues.3: As E I C, I think that Joe Q is beyond a shadow of a doubt one of Marvels’, if not best period…artist that is. Someone needs to navigate the house of ideas into the future and if Frankencastle is any indication, Quesada ain’t it. Better editorial might mean better work from Bendis. And with Loeb, well some things you just can’t fix.


  10. Curtis says:

    marvel’s characters are more relatible.
    Big events need to have a more lasting impact. We invest all our time and money, we want it to matter.

    • generaldark says:

      i dont quit understand this whole “relatible” bull shit. you can find relativities, in DC’s charecters if you actually look for them. hell you can find something in every DC charecter but this whole thing about marvel having the most relatible charecters is crap IMO.

      • MANACONDA! says:

        hes allowed to have his opinion and you shouldnt call it bullshit or crap.

        and yes you can find relativities if you search for them, but i can also look for similarities between me and hitler and im sure id find them (hint: its not genocide or anti semitism)

      • generaldark says:

        i didnt mean no disrecpect and i appologize if i came out that waay but i here alot of people say DC charecters are un relatible and i geuss i heard that so much i snapped and wanted to vent on someone. im sorry. also, is the similarities of you and hitler that you can both pull off a stash?

  11. Ironmuskrat says:

    Strengths – A large pool of interesting heroes and villains to draw from. A lot of talented writers and artists in their stable.

    Weakness – Inmates running the asylum, the apparent lack of any kind of editorial control over what is going on in the Marvel universe. Too many big name writers running amok, writing heroes in a way that is way out of character and behaving in ways that makes little sense other than to further plot-lines.

    Too many titles, one-shots and special events. Remember the good old days when an event like Dark Reign would take place within existing books and didn’t require special one-shots or a whole new book(I am looking at you Dark Avengers).

    How to fix it? Reign in the big boys and get control. You don’t have to fire Bendis or Loeb, just have the balls to control what they are doing. All good writers have editors looking over their shoulder to keep them honest.

    Get back to basics, heroes acting like heroes, stuff like that. Get the avengers back pronto, it looks like they are heading that way, just don’t mess it up.


  12. Deemar says:

    Been out of the loop (was sick as a dog)

    What do you think are Marvel’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

    Strengths – Very human and relatable characters, for the most part any major events stick (At least for a while) the MU continuity is fairly cohesive.

    Weakness – The MU characters aren’t as Iconic as the DC pantheon, Marvel is ruled by it’s corporate need too loot the fanbase.

    What would Marvel need to do to beat DC as the CCW Nation’s Publisher of the Year next year?

    *Less events

    *Lower prices or more New/Original extra content in books $4.99 or more

    *Leave fucking Spider-man ALONE

    *No more grim “Dark” “Raininess” show the damn heroes being heroes, not whining Bendis bitches

  13. Ullar says:

    Marvels strength is their characters and their weakness is their creative direction. Joey Q and Bendis are making some of the worst choices for their characters. For Marvel to be back in my favor they need to stop the price gauging, give all 3.99 books backups, and get Benids and Loeb off their main books. They also need to stop all the interconnecting non stop events and focus more on characters and stories.

  14. Locusmortis says:

    What do you think are Marvel’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?
    Strengths – A huge cast of characters to draw from.
    – Great writing talent like Hickman, Slott, Diggle, Van Lente, Pak, Eliopoulos, Fraction, Aaron

    Weakness – Creatively bankrupt top writers Bendis and Loeb
    – focusing on screwing money out of fans rather than pleasing the fans with good stories
    – Over reliance on the same 2 or 3 characters again and again.

    What would Marvel need to do to beat DC as the CCW Nation’s Publisher of the Year next year?
    1. Go back to $2.99 as the standard price point with some $3.99 books with backups…but only if the backups are good like DC’s
    2. Get bendis to do creator only stuff for a while and promote other writers to do the avengers books, get them back to former greatness. Cut loeb loose altogether.
    3. Put the readers first (not the fanboys) and create great stories that don’t go on and on and aren’t padded out to hell.
    4. Stop trying to screw money out of people with shoddy products like all those crappy Dark Reign stories, eventually people screw you back and move to somewhere their treated better like DC at the moment.
    5. Quit the event addiction, it always leads to a state of ever decreasing returns, people get evented out. If you are going to do an event make sure its good…like Blackest Night, not a heap of half baked half written shit like Civil War, Secret Invasion or Dark Reign.

  15. dacl says:

    Marvel’s Strengths: Lots of characters
    Marvel’s weaknesses: They try to make all of these characters live in the same world.

    What I like about DC is that they have pockets of their universe they don’t have to effect all their other books.
    Don’t like Superman being on New Krypton? Thats fine, just dont read the Superman books.
    Don’t like Dick Grayson being Batman? Thats fine just don’t read the Batman books (some of them even avoid this)

    Don’t like that Norman Osbourn is now running HAMMER (or whatever)? Too bad.

    For Marvel to become my favorite publisher they would need to let each of their big characters go in different directions.

    Also, a note too both publishers: Stop printing 4+ books on the same character. I know that fanboys can be morons and if they see their favorite character on a book they will pick it up, but:
    it makes it difficult for new readers to know where to start and
    makes it very difficult for writers to tell a good story while fitting into the rest of the books (unless your Morrison, Whedon, etc or your given permission to ignore the rest)

  16. Dan Griffin says:

    Greatest Strenghts – Hickmen, Aaron, Ellis, Carey, Kyle & Yost, Slott, Gage, DnA, Wells, Kelly, Waid, Pak, Van Lante, Diggle, Parker, Choi, Adams, Kuburt, Larroca, Jimenez, Martin, Bachalo, Cho. All Great Writers and Artist that are under Marvel Control plus the Characters they have.

    Greatest Weakness – Greed, charging alot for alittle.

    How to fix said problem – Lower the price on Mini unless they are double the page count. And give out free Mjöllnirs with a purchase of Siege.

  17. Zcorp79 says:

    Stregths: They have a some great writers in Fracton(Iron Man), Hickman, Parker, Diggle, and more. they also have a good artist group.

    Weakness: They cancel great books like AoA, Captain Britiaand MI13, and Exiles(after only 6 issues really! Marvel). While they start up a two more Deadpool on-goings, three X-men books and I do not know how many Wolverine books. Oh and one last thing Loeb on Hulk.

  18. StevieEvs says:

    Marvels strength, they have some of the most iconic characters in comicdom.

    Marvels weakness, we never get to see those characters to their best. Rather than three Deadpool ongoings and about a million X-Men books each month, just give us one really good one. Trim the fat from your roster and produce solid work rather than the diluted crap we’re currently getting.

    Marvel can produce fantastic comics, like they are doing with Agents of Atlas and Marvels Project. Just transfer those qualities to the big names rather than knowing that people will buy Avengers and X-Men just because of the title. There should be flagship titles which are quality every month. Not the pot luck we’re getting at the moment.

  19. Dirtydozen says:

    I think the fact they’re pushing all their titles to $3.99 is a huge point. Also, their premier writers like Bendis and Loeb have zero regard for the characters they’re working on, nor the work of other more talented writers. When in doubt, they retcon the crap out of the universe and expect people to buy in.

  20. Strengths: The Characters, the writers and artists (for the most part)

    Weaknesses: Joey Q, Loeb, $3.99 for 32 page comics, Bendis on Avengers

    If they want to be my favorite comic book company again they’re gonna have to drop their weaknesses. Simple as that.

  21. Fallows1985 says:

    Marvel’s strengths-their characters are more well known, they’re more assessible, they have some good writers and artists on the staff (from what I’ve seen, others might have another opinion)

    Weakness-Greed, some of their stories are $3.99, you have to subscribe and pay to read previews on their website whereas DC and dark horse don’t charge you, wouldn’t it be better advertising for the stories and help bring new readers in if they didn’t have to pay for a preview. They could click, read and see if they like it or not. I have to agree there is too much Wolverine, I mean I saw a wall of comics with wolverine when I went to my comic book shop.

    What can they do?-lower their prices for some of their books, I’m not gonna say get rid of Joe Q cos I’ve not been reading Marvel long enough to judge but I do feel they need to ease up on Wolverine I mean okay they might have hyped him up for the film but come on its done now.

  22. Fallows1985 says:

    also, I woudln’t mind spiderman toned down, mainly ASM with it being like 3 or 4 comics a month of it. It’s too much some times. Monthly or bi-monthly would be okay.

  23. alfred monty says:

    Strength — Biggest comic publisher in America
    Weakness — Badly run company

    Assuming DC doesn’t up their game next year… Marvel needs to use a $3 price for 22-32 page comic and get rid of people who are seemingly incompetent about life.

    Marvel’s pricing scheme makes no sense. Every publisher has $4 comics. Fine. But I know when a DC comic is $4. The news that Marvel is trying to push their prices towards $4 (during a recession) sends bad vibes through a sector of the economy that is built on friendly relations with the consumer (e.g., “Make Mine Marvel”).

    Layered editorial problems
    They’re good at mandating a readable one page synopsis. But they’re bad at integrating defined behavior in the story. I’m not talking about the captions naming people in the X-Men book. I’m talking about what makes a given character do something.

    The Amazing Spider-Man #612 letter column (2 pages!) is a perfect example. The editor claims that Peter Parker can pretend to be (blackout) drunk, and that if Peter Parker is pretending to be (blackout) drunk and decides to have sex with someone, he will have safe sex. Really. (Also, this particular editor doesn’t like the fact that nonconsensual sex is rape. He claims that because Michele was kissing the Chameleon afterward it wasn’t rape because she enjoyed it. I’m guessing this editor is a fan of the Darth Vader rape scene in Revenge of the Nerds where the victim falls in love with the nerd who rapes her.)

    Also, whoever is mandating crossovers should be fired. There will be 5 Marvel crossovers in February! DoomWar, Siege, Realm of Kings, Fall of the Hulks, and Necrosha.

  24. C4RL0Z says:

    Marvel strengths? The talent, the artists(all the young guns and more)many good writers and the marketing system, also the cast of characters..

    Marvel just needs to staighten things up and start telling good stories again. I mean they have got really good books, like marvels project or Agents of Atlas, they just need to stop putting out so much wolverine or xmen books. Theres no need for 5 books of a character, in only one book they could tell amazing stories i mean im only 16years old and the onlly X-book ive read has been the astonishing xmen(whedon cassaday)why? becuase theres too much things out there and i have got no idea where to start.
    In conclusion marvel has got to improve editorial and focus on telling great stories at the same time the writers need to remember they are writing superheroes who save people, they simply need to tell better stories and focus more on quality than quantity.

    AND PLEASE marvel make slott and waid write ASM always or at least more often. Make the iconic characters have iconic stories.

    I like marvel characters better but DC has one better throughtout this year.

  25. 006 says:

    Strengths – Legacy, you do not get to where they are now in the comic and entertainment world without having quality work put out first as the stepping stones to the yellow brick road. With a strong cast of iconic characters it would be easy to 180 this debacle back into the iridescence of a not too distant past for the lost fanboys.

    Weakness – One can blame the writers X amount of times for the quality and creativity or lack there of, but if change can happen it needs to start from the top and filter down. Before these comics reach our hands and dropped to the floor or in a trash can they need to get scanned by the editors eyes. All these story arcs, one shots, dark this and dark that, list here and another f*ing list there, and sieges to which fanboys complain about or orgasm all over get approved by Mr. Joe Quesada. Furthermore, it seems that since the whole Marvel universe is involved in whatever event is going on, writers cannot explore their creativity and focus directions elsewhere other than what is going on in the MU making it seem as a weight on their shoulders.

    Quick Fix- Get rid of Quesada. Marvel seems to have good players but the coach is not utilizing them to their full potential. It seems Quesada and Bendis have a secret connection to have all this shit approved. Although I am interested in seeing if this event will make sense in the end for some bigger plan or if its just a worthless scheme to grind even more dollars out of Marvel faithfuls pockets.

    Right now it seems DC is consistently putting out quality material in regards to their current event. Although at times not new, what comes out with that DC or Vertigo imprint is never below sub-par in comparison to the other skyscraper in comics. A lot of shit seems to be clicking at DC compared to Marvel. Dago -BAM

  26. Deemar says:

    I wanna add one more thing DAN SLOTT EIC

    Then Marvel would top DC

  27. david says:

    Stop putting the TV industry into their comics.

  28. agent42q says:

    I’m gonna combine my answer into one big cluster as it all revolves around the same ideal: Storytelling. I think Marvel has lost me because they aren’t telling stories, they’re creating events. This is why so many people respond to Invincible Iron man and not say the current New Avengers, Iron man focus on telling a story with issue installments, so a story told in serial. New Avengers has been BUILDING THE EVENT, woopey.

    So I think Marvel need to go back to the 90’s (what the 90’s?) and look at things like Kelly and Simone’s run on Deadpool (ok early 00’s too.) and Priest’s run on Black Panter, Waid’s run on Captain America, ect. Letting a creator own a RUN is good. These were stories where we actually saw the title character growing and changing as events went on, not them living up to the status quo and nothing else. Letting him own a corner or half of Marvels books (cough, BENDIS) would wear any writer out. I see some things that keep me interested at Marvel, that worry more about the story like Secret Warriors. This is why I think books like Agents of Atlas and MI 13 read well is because they are not event books, but fresh starts with a lot of creativity behind them.

    I sick of mega-events I miss story arcs with actual character development, in short.

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