Comic book writer Mark Millar, known for his Superman: Red Son, Civil War, Wanted, and Kingsman stories recently posited that the comic book industry is in the worst state it’s ever been in and proceeded to share his idea on how to save it.
During an appearance on the Thinking Critical channel, Millar confirmed his previously announced return to DC for a Superman story and then quickly segued into positing his idea that at least 20 comic book legends should return to both DC and Marvel to do at minimum two year runs in order to save the comic book industry.
Millar stated, “There’s something weird going on right now where I really feel like guys like me and guys who’ve worked in the industry for awhile and been very lucky, had a lot of big books and everything, we’ve got to man the stations.”
“I think everybody’s got to come in and do a couple of projects and find an artist who’s as good as you can possibly get and just do some killer run on something,” he added.
As for why he believes these comic book legends should return, he explained it’s because the industry is in the worst state it’s ever been in.
He said, “The retailers, they’re struggling out there. They’re dying. All my friends and retailers are saying it’s never been, they’ve never know it as hard as this.”
Millar then further elaborated on his idea to bring comic book legends back, “And I was like, okay, let’s get Olivier Coipel and Pepe Larraz or whatever and we go and do a Captain America and a Wolverine run or something. Everybody’s got to come back and two runs, you know, and if 20 big name writers and 20 big name artists do that you’ve got an amazing couple of years of comic books.”
“We need to get something like that going again. You want to see some excitement at Marvel and DC again, I think,” he asserted.
Reacting to Millar’s proposition, Uel Carter, the proprietor of Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, California suggested that either Mark Millar or Todd McFarlane write Spider-Man explaining, “Because that’s the book it needs to be, of course, everybody knows that.”
Millar then went on to share his view that Marvel and DC need to do well in order to drive creator-owned success, “In reality, in the last 10 years there hasn’t been any real big, blow up success in the creator-owned world. Saga was probably the last one that went crazy. Things have done, you know, they’ve done nicely, but Saga was the last time there was a phenomenon. I think Walking Dead prior to that. So, you know, there’s been a few.”
“But the real success comes from the industry. And I’m not talking about as individuals, as creators. It comes from the industry when Marvel and DC are doing well, particularly Marvel. And again, people hate to hear this because you’re making money for the man, you’re showing it up a corporation. But the honest truth is that creator-owned growth comes from Marvel and DC doing well.”
From there, Millar returned to his idea to save the industry, and noted that the current output from the companies are just not good, “Everybody needs to go back and do one or two projects, I think. And I’m going to try and get my friends to do this over the next couple of years, try and get some excitement going back at the companies.
“Obviously, there’s some great books. There’s two or three good books, I think, at DC right now. But you need 20 good books. There needs to be 20 great books,” he stated.
Millar continued, “And you can go back and look at these other periods in history, look at the 90s, looks at the 80s, look at the 60s. … There were so many books that I couldn’t afford to buy all the books I wanted to buy. And nobody’s in that position anymore. Everybody’s like, ‘Yeah, there’s only two things worth checking out.'”
“I want to see people in that position again where they’re holding 20 bucks in their hands, but they need 60 bucks for the number of good comics that come out that week,” he detailed.
Millar is not the only one to suggest the comic book industry is struggling. Rod Lamberti, the owner of Rodman Comics in Ankeny, Iowa revealed in a blog post at Bleeding Cool that his new comic sales are declining.
He stated, “New comic sales here in the comic store are increasingly slowing down. The recent death of Ms Marvel in Amazing Spider-Man was not a big deal at the store.”
“The latest issues of Iron Man and Hulk are low sellers. The characters have fans, but few are interested in their latest adventures,” Lamberti added.
DC Studios CEO James Gunn also informed Michael Rosenbaum earlier this year, “I started out I wanted to write comic books when I was younger. If I was writing comic books today I’d probably be — I’d probably be unhappy because so few people are reading comic books.”
As far as other ideas to try and rejuvenate interest in DC and Marvel, Jim Lee believes James Gunn can do that.
He explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s amazing to have partners in Peter and James, particularly James. He was a comics fan growing up and knows our mythology inside out. And having that kind of ally in the live-action space allows us to really leverage what he is doing and allow us to market and sell comic books to new readers.”
“These are people who are interested in his movies, his TV shows, and if they want to take a deep dive into these characters, he directs them to the comic books,” he added.
What do you make of Millar’s idea for saving the comic book industry?