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November 20, 2012

Bundled Extra: Marvel Reveals Nature Of Next Crossover

I didn't see this bit of publishing news by the time I posted "Bundled" this morning: Marvel will orient its next "event" series around the robot bad guy Ultron created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. That head with the horrifying-looking mouth makes for one of the more underrated designs in the Marvel catalog of characters.

imageThere's a bunch of not-exactly earth-shattering stuff that you can point out with something like this. I suppose it's news that Marvel is sticking by an event-series philosophy. I think it makes sense -- that strategy remains a natural extension of today's marketplace reality concerning "people want to be told which comics are important and that they need to buy." I imagine DC will slowly reorient themselves in that direction if they haven't already started down that path.

What else? I like Ultron. Ultron's an interesting villain for Marvel in that despite his 1960s origins he functions more like a 1970s character in terms of the "increased stakes" thing that the publisher had going on at that time with the ninjas and the people shooting each other. A big, scary-looking bad guy made of steel pounding you to death has a visceral oomph to it you don't get from, I don't know, Count Nefaria or Attuma. Marvel loves two sequences above maybe all others: The Big Fight (two heavyweights finally going toe to toe) and The Underdog Survives (a minor character surviving or beating someone in a much heavier weight class), and Ultron provides both of those things. Ultron has kind of a classic feel, too, in that he fits squarely into the proud Marvel tradition of Bellowing Thugs while holding an honorary membership in that company's equally esteemed lineage of Cackling Dicks. He even offers a halfway decent thematic hook if you want one. What's not to like? That is one useful robot.

The fact that Marvel is loading a bunch of these comics into March may be indicative of both a perception that the audience's attention span is limited and that month-to-month sales and market share victories are still important to those publishers.
posted 5:10 pm PST | Permalink

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