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Tandra Page 1533, Monitoring The Competition

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

I swore off Marvel Movies after Marvel came out in support of child sex trafficking. It was not so much an ideological rebellion against Marvel as an emotional one. I could not think of Marvel without experiencing a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. After watching the Thor Video on the Doctor Strange DVD, I put the thing on the shelf and, in addition to avoiding any Marvel Movies at the local cinema, did not watch any of the Marvel DVD’s stored in my library.

However, Marvel is considered competition in my chosen field and, distasteful as the product has become, it does not make good business sense to pay no attention to the opponent’s strategy. A few weeks past I saw Marvel DVD’s for “Guardians Of the Galaxy II” and “Spider-man” at discount price and picked them up. Even so, the revulsion persisted and I did not actually watch them until this past weekend.

I’m obviously prejudiced against Marvel these days and my perception of Marvel’s quality is coloured accordingly, but I thought the movie “Guardians Of The Galaxy II” was brilliantly coloured, the most visually impressive movie I have ever watched, but I seriously have no idea what was supposed to be going on. If there was a story to be had, it was so cleverly hidden under all the glitter that I could not find it. Pretty pictures, though.

“Spider-man” was, by comparison, somewhat less bad. Not good, at least by my standards, but there was least ways the suggestion of a plot of sorts. The problem, for me, is that we have seen this tale told so many times before and with much more engaging characters. Tom Holland as Spider-man is indeed fun to watch, a nice British lad pretending to be from Queens. Michael Keaton, as the heavy, does a credible job as a working class villain with a superlative understanding of high tech super science alien technology. As for the remainder of the cast, they are pretty much forgettable identity politics cardboard cut-outs. As I remember from the Stan Lee / Steve Ditko comic books, Peter Parker’s high school classmates were sharply defined personalities. Liz was the self centered high school beauty queen who served as arm candy for Flash Thompson, the top high school jock and class bully. Flash hated Parker but was a big fan of Spider-man. Betty Brant was Newspaper Publisher J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary who became fond of Peter Parker. (Jameson who ran the newspaper campaign to destroy Spider-man is absolutely AWOL from this movie.) The other students pretty much hated Parker and idolized Flash. Teachers loved Parker because he was an excellent student who always knew his lessons.

In the Marvel movie there are kids with the names “Liz”, “Flash” and even someone identified as “M. J.” tossed in, but none of these have any personality. They are just bland representatives for identity politics and you don’t give a damn about any of them. The Spidey suit is another problem. We already have a high tech suit with “Iron Man”, we don’t need a skin tight version, complete with voice over, but we have it and this high tech suit turns our to be smarter than Parker.

But the most revealing selection on the DVD’s is included with the “Coming Attractions” portions. This is not new and has been a promotion on numerous comic book DVD’s from both Marvel and DC. Marvel and DC comic book sales are in free fall. Almost every title Marvel Comics publishes has circulation of less than half that recorded by the first release of that same title. I’ve not seen similar numbers for DC, but there is no good reason to expect DC’s numbers are of significant difference. Sales of the whole of the ink on paper comic book industry are dropping like a rock.

Given that fact as regards comic book sales, one might suspect Marvel and DC comics would use Big Screen Movies to promote their respective publishing divisions. Not so. Insofar as both Marvel and DC are concerned, when you go to your local cinema there is not one word nor picture devoted to promoting the industry’s ink on paper division. Fact is, should you go to view a Marvel or DC character at the theatre, except for tiny print on screen as the credits roll, you will see no word of reference to suggest the long underwear character you are watching on screen is taken from paper comic publications.

On the other hand the screen on your home entertainment center is alight with promotions for Marvel and DC video games. The take away is that Marvel and DC have abandoned their paper publishing divisions. Marvel and DC see no future for paper comic books. Their future lies in big screen movies and video games.

Free falling comic book sales suggest Marvel and DC are correct in their evaluation of the future of paper comic books.

“Rule by the unaccountable is tyranny!”


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