Back in 2011, DC Comics shook up the comics publishing world with The New 52, in which they rebooted continuity in hopes of gaining increased readership. The plan worked, at least initially, leading to massive spikes in sales for all of their titles. Marvel Comics, as DC’s main rival, was not to be outdone, and launched their own initiative, Marvel NOW!, roughly a year later. Though Marvel NOW! was not a reboot, it did restart most series at #1, offering readers new and old a fresh start for stories about the Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, and more. Like DC, Marvel saw a massive sales spike in the wake of Marvel NOW!, and launched a similar initiative a year later known as All-New Marvel NOW! which introduced even more new series, characters, and concepts.
While from an overall sales perspective Marvel’s latest initiatives have been an unqualified success, rats are gnawing at the foot of the House of Ideas. Series after series is cancelled, only for some to be relaunched shortly thereafter with a new #1 (and sometimes almost no changes, as seen with Daredevil and Hulk). While I do enjoy Marvel’s comics, I’m here to discuss why I think their latest strategy hurts the publisher, the comic book industry and, perhaps most of all, the fans.
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