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August 30, 2012

Rodrigo Baeza Suggests A Reason For The "Not A Reboot" Rhetoric

This morning I wrote about Marvel's rhetoric surrounding its "Marvel Now" initiative and said of their continued hammering-home that they're not rebooting the line, "The 'not a reboot' cry borders on the pathological, but I sort of get it." Rodrigo Baeza wrote in with a potential alternate reason why they may be doing this, which he explains as follows:
I understand why Marvel is doing this. There actually are retailers who are spreading the rumor that this is a reboot, and maybe even implying that people should buy back issues of the current "Avengers vs. X-Men" as a possible investment (because it's now an "important" series).

An specific example is Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics, who has been sending his customers mails with subject lines such as "Marvel Comics Starts to Relaunch Entire Universe" and "Marvel Comics Starting Over?" Here are a couple of quotes from Mile High's newsletter:

"Speaking of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, did you read the announcement that Marvel Comics is going to start to relaunch all of their titles, beginning in October. It now turns out that AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 was a vastly more important book than any of us realized, as we believe it will mark the beginning of the complete renumbering of the Marvel Universe. The 6 new Marvel #1 issues will begin shipping weekly in October with many if not all to follow, starting with Uncanny Avengers #1. We then believe that Marvel Comics will then be stopping all of their existing titles, and replacing them with new #1 issues, sometime between October and early Spring." (August 6)


"What makes this move by Marvel particularly interesting is that it ties in directly with the ongoing AVENGERS VS. X-MEN title. As those of you who have been reading this newsletter for a while are already aware, I have been strongly urging everyone to pick up this crossover. Little did I know, however, that it might end up being the starting point for what is potentially a restart of the entire Marvel Universe. Nothing is yet written in stone, and for that matter, I do not think that even those who make the editorial decisions at Marvel know for certain where this new trend will ultimately lead them. I do believe, however, that DC tapped into a wellspring of new comics readers with their relaunch. If Marvel can establish resonance with that same audience, life for the entire comics world could be very, very interesting during 2013..." (August 24)

Probably more information than you needed, but it explains why Marvel has had to emphasize that this is not a reboot.
Now at first this didn't make any sense to me, and I asked Baeza why Marvel -- a company that's doing 12,975 variant covers for "Marvel Now," wouldn't want readers to speculate by buying extra copies of the Avengers Vs X-Men series. Baeza pointed out that the flip side of Marvel having people see one series, even an "event" series, as crucially important is that suddenly their other series could be characterized as "less important."

That makes some sense. DC's clean break strategy mitigates a bit against this kind of thing by making all the series equally important before and after, and even then there's been some anecdotal evidence of rapidly declining sales for various serious that now "don't count" or count for less in terms of shaping the current DC Comics "reality." Baeza's observation also makes sense of the context of something that you hear in comics circles, that DC has greater latitude to lose money for a time than Marvel has, despite Marvel's massive movie success. If that's true, that would make Marvel much less likely to want to suffer a bad quarter for better quarters ahead.

Mostly, though, Baeza's theory is a reminder that we don't always know how these companies operate, that it can be more simple and more complicated than the overlay of reality we to place on what they're doing. Hopefully, in the future I'll make fewer under-informed, sweeping statements.
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink

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