The Processed Cheese of Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics have been a staple in the industry since 1961 (arguably earlier). And, since that time, stories have come and gone and everything has changed forever more times than it reasonably should have. But, compared to those early, formative years from 1961~1970, today’s major Marvel publications feel processed. By that I mean that the true Marvel Universe proper seemed to creatively end in 2003’s Avengers: Disassembled storyline. After this came the rise of stagnant storytelling in that, compared to the 90’s (the last true era where creators actually tried to make some sort of permanent change to characters) (to what effect is another story)) the 2000’s were defined by nostalgia and an unwillingness to change that is still happening. It was far better to revive dead heroes and keep everything light enough that old and new readers could enjoy the stories without upsetting anyone.

Today’s Marvel Comics feels as if each new title was sent through a machine and published with a shiny new finish that says "NEW" or "#1." Nothing seems to have as much substance as it used to. The tightness and community that early Marvel had seems to be gone. There are next to no letters pages anymore, a place people could go to share a community that has been lost to the forums where people are more inclined to say hurtful things and bully instead of celebrate their shared hobby. And the comic’s insistence on mirroring their popular movie counterparts has lead to many changes and stories that only seem to be there because Marvel is chasing their own popularity. The whole universe just feels like one big cookie cutter comic book. And, while DC isn’t doing any better, their problems are markedly different than Marvel’s. Basically, it’d be interesting to compare and contrast the early Marvel Universe to the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe of today and explore just what has made this once-great line feel so plastic.

  • I think this is a great topic. Consider investigating Marvel's financial history as well for more answers; when they went public in 1991 for example. The repercussions are still being felt, both in comics and film. Also, a great deal of cultural shifting was happening in the 1960's as opposed to this last decade; where going to war on two fronts is considered a normal thing. Quite different from a nation dealing with the mandatory draft! Marvel has always laid claim to being in touch with what the culture is participating in; this topic could explore that for answers on Marvel's storytelling quality. – Shaheen 7 years ago
  • I agree with a lot of that. That's a really interesting observation. However, I have seen a few recent titles (including Ms. Marvel) with the letters pages. It's something they should keep up with to help cultivate the community. – SomeOtherAmazon 7 years ago

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