Thursday, June 18, 2015

Robert Downey Jr. Has Changed Everything For Marvel

Once a B-list character, Iron Man has become the new face of Marvel. Image credit:

Welcome to the show notes for issue 35 of +The Full Bleed. This week's news issue goes between the panels to explain Marvel's decision to make Iron Man its signature character, billing him ahead of Spider-Man, Captain America, the X-Men, and certainly The Fantastic Four. 

The news came during a recent press conference announcing the planned release of The Invincible Iron Man title this October, post Secret Wars. Listen to this episode of Word Balloon to get the details. Host John Siuntres captures all the juicy comments from writer Brian Michael Bendis and lead artist David Marquez, as well as Publishing VP Tom Brevoort and Editor-in-Chief Alex Alonso. Here are my three takeaways from the conversation:
  • There's a point at which Bendis describes Invincible Iron Man as his take on what Iron Man 4 could have been. As a fan, I love that. As an analyst, it feels like the tail (i.e., Marvel Studios) is finally wagging the dog (i.e., Marvel Comics).
  • Brevoort also weighed in at one point to point out that there needs to be increasing synergy between the comics and the movies. Elevating Iron Man makes sense when you think of how many newer fans and readers associate Robert Downey Jr. with Marvel. (He's right about that.)
  • Correspondingly, there's no point in having Marvel spend resources on the X-books and Fantastic Four if the long-term profit opportunity isn't as rich. Pulling publishing support could also diminish the brand equity of both franchises. Rather than "Marvel official" -- i.e., part of the MCU -- they become like fan fiction, part of an unofficial universe that's neat but otherwise unimportant, magnifying Fox's risk in making new films.
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