1. On business deals and movie deals:

    The Disney-Marvel deal and the DC reorg will give people the chance, perhaps, to see the differences between journalism as practiced by comic book e-zines and magazines, and the mainstream media. There would usually be profiles of Nelson and Levitz that examined their careers to date, got quotes from people, with attribution or without, and summarized their careers (as presidents) to date as successes , failures, or yet to be determined. Such profiles might appear in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Salon, or other publications, but I doubt that critical profiles will appear in the comic book press. Of course, Nelson’s been moving upwards, so one wouldn’t expect to see much criticism.

    I expect to see some articles, somewhere, about Disney-Marvel deal examining the price Disney is paying, just what it’s getting for $4 billion, and whether more than a handful of the Marvel characters really have much profit potential beyond their comic book roots.

    Comic book fans who think about characters within the context of the shared universes they inhabit probably aren’t the best ones to evaluate whether they have mass appeal. Over at io9, they’ve been pushing for a Wonder Woman movie for some time, but there are no indications in the three articles that her fans can think of her as a genre character, instead of a comic book superheroine. Jodi Picoult’s take on the character is more accurate than anyone else’s because she’s willing to call ridiculous things (the costume, etc.) ridiculous. Contrary to what her fans say, she’s not well-adjusted; she can’t be, because her sex drive is abnormal or repressed.

    When a comic book fan looks at the Hulk, he might see an exciting character, but all a screenwriter might see is someone (Banner) with a depersonalization disorder. Either it’s cured, and the Hulk disappears, or Banner dies from it. The disorder doesn’t provide the basis for a series.

    If a generic superhero is a simple archetype, a screenwriter wanting to do good work won’t be satisfied with focusing on the basic qualities; he’ll focus on the aspects of the character that make him or her unique. If those aspects don’t make sense, in a genre fiction context, he’ll be unable to produce a good script. That’s probably why JLA, WONDER WOMAN, CATWOMAN, and other films, produced or unproduced, have reportedly been afflicted with script problems. A viewer can’t be expected to pay to see a movie that’s written on the basis that it’s installment #4 of a seven-part series.


  2. “Comic book fans who think about characters within the context of the shared universes they inhabit probably aren’t the best ones to evaluate whether they have mass appeal.”

    And yet, the shared universe is exactly the tack Marvel is exploiting in its current slate of films. It’s too early to tell if that strategy will work, but the sprinkles of cross-continuity in “Iron’Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” have certainly intruged fans and non-fans alike. So by building that continuity from the ground up, Marvel/Disney could potentially bring many more Marvel characters to the screen than they would using Warners’ isolated “stand alone” character movies.

    That said, the PR about Disney having access to Marvel’s “5,000 character catalog” definitely raised some eyebrows. To paraphrase a Twitter comment by writer James Lileks, what…does that number include the crowd scenes from Kirby’s old Atlas monster stories?

  3. It’s too early to tell if that strategy will work. . .

    It certainly is, but after a few installments of IRON MAN, if the hero and his supporting cast stay the same, the creativity in the films will come from the choice of villains. Whiplash could bomb as a villain; he certainly won’t be used to promote the comic book.

    BTW, in the io9 piece, “Why All The Wonder Woman Hate?”, Bendis was quoted as tweeting “Wonder Woman is a walking std farm!!”

    I was thinking that the most likely basis for that remark is that he’s read WW porn, which usually has the heroine raped or gang-raped by the villain(s), with WW enjoying the sex despite herself.


  4. Frankly, I’m surprised at how few people online have apparently inferred a connection between WW porn and the “STD farm” comment, instead of taking it as a casually worded jab at DC. If porn influences Bendis’s view of heroines, that would go a long way toward explaining his treatment of heroines generally.

    Pornographic treatments of WW don’t mean that fans have to consider their heroine degraded. Her Amazonian background just lends itself to fantasies about dominating and humiliating her.