It’s common knowledge that since 1975 the X-Men franchise has been one of, if not the biggest breadwinner for Marvel Comics. When people had no idea what an Iron Man was, the X-Men were breaking records. Records that stand to this day. For years, Marvel was more than happy to reap the benefits of the franchises’ ridiculous levels of popularity.
That is until it became an inconvenience. Starting around 2014, the X-Men (and the Fantastic Four) were almost nowhere to be seen. A franchise that at any given time carried more than a half dozen titles was suddenly reduced to a mere two or three. When asked about it, Marvel representatives would deny any changes to their treatment of the X-Men – they even called fans silly for assuming as much.
Recently, the writer of the acclaimed Uncanny X-Force series, Rick Remender – despite the refusal of other creators and editors to even acknowledge the subject- has finally shed some much-needed light on the debacle.
Remender wrote on Twitter:
“Just found my entire 2 year X-bible plans from when I was going to take over the X books. Haven’t opened it since I quit in 2014. Was very Fantomex, Jean, and Professor X-orn centric. Big bad was Mastermind. Just couldn’t make myself do the mandated Inhumans story. c’est la vie”
Just found my entire 2 year X-bible plans from when I was going to take over the X books. Haven’t opened it since I quit in 2014. Was very Fantomex, Jean, and Professor X-orn centric. Big bad was Mastermind. Just couldn’t make myself do the mandated Inhumans story. c’est la vie pic.twitter.com/q122dxV8Yg
— Rick Remender (@Remender) March 24, 2020
Remender’s 2-year X-bible pitched seemed reminiscent to what Jonathan Hickman ultimately got offered in his Dawn of X treatment. Seeing as he’s always been fond of Fantomex and Jean – it’s no wonder he’d fashion a story around them. As great as his Uncanny X-Force run was, perhaps we dodged a bullet. His Uncanny Avengers story was ambitious but left much to be desired in its conclusion.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Remender’s tongue is loosening just when it seems that Marvel Comics and the rest of the comic industry is about to go the way of the dinosaurs – at least as we know it. There’s blood in the water – some previously spurned creators may now be more willing to talk without the threat of losing future work.
More than likely, the fear of that is what’s kept so many creators mum on the subject. All but Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort, that is. In 2014 when pressed on the subject he frankly responded;
“If you had two things, and on one you earned 100% of the revenues from the efforts that you put into making it, and the other you earned a much smaller percentage for the same amount of time and effort, you’d be more likely to concentrate more heavily on the first, wouldn’t you?”
What he’s referring to are the multi-media and distribution deals Marvel has made over the years. Trying to stave off bankruptcy, during the ’90s, Marvel sold off much of their catalog to studios – chief among those, the X-Men. Fox controlled the movie rights to the whole franchise. Marvel got a piece of every dollar – but nowhere near an entire pie.
When Disney took over – a piece wasn’t enough. They pushed the franchises they owned outright to the front including: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk. Along with prioritizing their Avengers via movies, television, merchandise, video games, and comics – they also began to replace the X-Men and the concept of mutants with the Inhumans.
In place of uber-popular characters like Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue, and Gambit appeared lesser-knowns such as Black Bolt, Crystal, Medusa, Karnak, and Lockjaw. The Fantastic Four – whose movie rights were also owned by Fox – saw the same treatment, more or less. Well, more. At a certain point, Marvel’s first family was completely removed from the catalog.
Remender’s admission is something of a vindication to fans that have been all but certain of what occured between 2012 and the end if 2017. There was no way not to notice. Marvel had begun to literally euthanize Earth’s mutants and just as quickly replace them with new Inhumans. They even applied the “Uncanny” title to an Inhuman book. Like I said – hard not to notice.
What do you think about the statement? Let us know below.