Comic book veteran Mike “Bloody Red Baron” Baron, who adapted Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy to comic book format and introduced Micro to the Punisher in Punisher #4 in 1987, chatted with us about his upcoming venture Q-Ball. He also addressed why Marvel Comics is struggling.
The publisher recently cancelled a slew of books including Luke Cage, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, Generation X, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iceman, Jean Grey, Royals, Secret Warriors, The Unbelievable Gwenpool, U.S. Avengers, America, The Defenders, and Uncanny Avengers.
In fact, in November Marvel fell below DC Comics when it comes to market share of comics sold. DC Comics pulled in a mammoth 44.73% of all comics sold while Marvel only brought in 37.44% according to industry tracker Comichron. Marvel only had two comic books in the top 10 for units sold and that’s Captain America and Star Wars. Consumers seemed to be giving the publisher a second chance after Nick Spencer’s Secret Empire event which saw Captain America basically become a Nazi as a member of Hydra. Even though Star Wars snuck into the Top 10 with Star Wars #38, the ensuing issue which came out later in the month had a significant sales drop. Star Wars #39 fell all the way to 24th.
Things look even bleaker for Marvel once you get outside the Top 10. They only had four six books in the Top 20 including Captain America and Star Wars. Those books were Punisher, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, Old Man Logan, and Daredevil.
In contrast, DC Comics dominated the sales charts in November. They took 8 spots out of the Top 10 with Doomsday Clock #1 taking the two top spots. In the Top 20, they took 13 spots with strong titles like Justice League, Batman: White Knight, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and Detective Comics.
Mike explains what he thinks are Marvel’s woes:
Marvel publishes a number of comics that are thinly disguised angry rants and lectures from unhappy people. Readers want to be entertained, not lectured. Plus the plethora of renumberings, alternative covers, all the tawdry tricks of the trade.
His advice on how Marvel should improve. It’s pretty simple. He says, “The best trick of all is a good script.”
I think Mike hits the nail on the head. His words echo what many fans have been saying for awhile now. Marvel needs to right ship and get rid of the writers and creators who openly disdain their readers. They also need to start making some changes in their editorial department. Letting a top talent like Thanos creator Jim Starlin walk is just unacceptable. Marvel has one of the strongest IPs as their movies show, they need to start putting it to good use where their bread and butter use to be made.