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‘What’s going on with the X-Men and the Fantastic Four comics’ is the question ringing in the ears of astute comic book fans. Since Marvel owns the films rights to many of their own characters, they continue to publish comics for most of their marquee characters. Unfortunately, Marvel does not own the film rights to the Fantastic Four and X-Men. With the House of Ideas getting ready to prime a massive new Avengers team announced far in advance of the roster taking shape in current continuity, fans are wondering about the current slate of publishing announcements regarding the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters. Nearly a year ago today, Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort chimed in on the with the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises coming to an end with this quote from his Formspring blog:

We are publishing FANTASTIC FOUR. Next month, we will be publishing FANTASTIC FOUR. A year from now, assuming that it’s still selling well, we will be publishing FANTASTIC FOUR. Given enough time, anything can happen—we went a couple of years, for example, without a THOR series, as well as a year and a half with FF, AVENGERS, CAP and IRON MAN not being a part of the Marvel Universe. So anything can happen. But it probably won’t.

Marvel could very well be close to the announcement of a brand new comic published with the Fantastic Four or X-Men, but at the moment, we only know that these two titles are in limbo. Author Brian Michael Bendis is leaving the X-Men titles, which means much of the line will cease publication following the monumental issue #600 (as far as we know.) The Fantastic Four main title has concluded as well, even though key characters (from that slate of properties) are involved in Marvel’s Secret Wars. A fan asked Tom Brevoort about the state of the X-Men currently, this is what he had to say almost a year after the previous statement:

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?

As noted by Business Insider, Marvel did kill Wolverine — even if they are still publishing the Old Man Logan title — the main Wolverine character is not alive (for now in 616 continuity.) Amazon also shared a listing from a poster with Marvel characters updated for this calendar year of publishing.

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Marvel has also replaced the Secret Wars characters from the following two shirts removing the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters from classic covers. We took this image listing from Amazon, which features the Human Torch notably absent in the red flame streak burning in the background of the cover.

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This shirt has Iron Fist and Luke Cage front and center (among others) instead of including the marquee heroes first involved in the event all those years ago. The Secret Wars branding is off of the t-shirt, but the art is repurposed from the original cover.

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The Fantastic Four and X-Men are noticeably absent. I would like to rephrase the question asked a year ago involving this piece stating: what would Ben Grimm do?

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I still think there are details missing behind this statement:

    “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?”

    Wouldn’t this revenue sharing only apply to merchandise based off the movie versions of these characters? Meaning, if there’s an action figure based off movie Wolverine, Marvel has to share profit (however it’s divided up) with Fox. But if an action figure is made based off, say, Wolverine’s first appearance in the hulk, why would Fox get any of that money? When Marvel made the X-Men: Evolution TV series and toys after the first movie, did they have to share all profit from that with Fox (who, as far as I can tell, was not involved with production in any way)? Even the 90s cartoon, which did air on Fox, I don’t think Fox has any claim to. Otherwise Marvel wouldn’t be making an X-Men ’92 comic if they had to share revenue with Fox over it.

    I can understand the notion behind “we’re not going to make merch promoting comic characters who have movie versions (and directly related merch) we don’t get all the revenue from”, but the language being used implies that ANY version of an X-Men character, even if it’s not the movie version, Fox gets money out of. I know Marvel didn’t get the best deal out of licensing film rights to there characters, but someone really dropped the ball if this is actually the case.

  2. The licensing/merchandising (and speculating) over F4 and X-men is all over the place. On one hand you have sculpting companies and T-shirt companies being told not to use the characters, on the other hand they are up front and playable in high profile and profitable video games like Marvel Heroes 2015 and LEGO Marvel.

    We don’t know exactly what the contracts between these companies say and we don’t know how much of their souls each company’s lawyers sold to Satan. Without this information no one will be able to do more than make an educated guess on the matter.

  3. I agree that these are uncertain times when it comes to how marvel will be handling their characters. rumors have been flying around that suggest that the x-men characters will be separated from the marvel universe as a whole (two rumors I heard of was that the x-men will have to leave the planet because of a plague that’s killing them, the other that the x-men will be set in the 1960’s and 70’s , closer in line with the movies). if one goes by the poster, sam Wilson is falcon again, no female thor in sight, no quicksilver and scarlet witch (I thought they were inhumans now?), not a single mutant character and no f.f. . also makes you wonder about the fate of so many second, third, and fourth tier characters, but a marvel universe without the x-men or fantastic four sounds like a pretty boring place. I hope all of these rumors are just that, rumors, ’cause the more and more I hear about this “all-new”, “all-different” marvel universe, the more i feel “all-disgusted” , I’m “all-done” with marvel comics.

  4. So, does this mean they won’t be publishing umpteen variations of Deadpool as well?

    Hmm… what if Marvel killed off all those versions, then rebooted them via Inhumans?
    Kinda like DC’s Tangent universe…

    Okay, maybe Marvel has realized that the movies don’t help sell books (something DC is a very adept at doing, BTW).
    So, they don’t lose anything, because the casual fan will buy something older or already in print.

    But… Marvel got $10 Million from the first Spider-Man movie in 2002. Sure, Sony made millions more (total box office: $821M). But Marvel still made some decent money from that license.

    What? Marvel isn’t going to flood the market, trying to get every dollar possible?

    Just a sec…
    Marvel Book Previews (September-December 2015)
    142 titles.
    Death of Wolverine (The first title in the catalog)
    All-New X-Men Vol. 2
    Wolverines Vol. 4 : Destiny
    House of M : Warzones!
    Magneto Vol. 4 : Last Days
    X-Men : Age of Apocalypse Volume 2
    Uncanny X-Men Vol. 5 : The Omega Mutant
    X-Men : Years of Future Past
    Wolverine: Old Man Logan Vol. 0 : Warzones
    Age of Apocalypse : Warzones!
    X-Men ’92
    All-New X-Men Vol. 3
    All-New X-Men Vol. 6 : The Ultimate Adventure
    X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Vol. 3 : Omega
    Wolverine Epic Collection : The Dying Game
    X-Men Epic Collection : The Gift

  5. I think it’s even more of a stretch for this article to cover all these examples without mentioning the site that brought many of them to the public eye… did you really just come across those posters and shirts independently?

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