The Simple Comic Newsletter
Issue #23 - July 2000
X-Men Here, Spidey Coming!
02. Bargain Bin Bonanza
03. Classic Commercial of
04. Marvel's Reinvention
05. Sites of the Month
X-Men movie is almost upon us! The $75 million dollar blockbuster is
headed to theatres everywhere and may finally change the perception of
Marvel Super Hero based movies. But even more exciting than that, The
Amazing Spiderman has broken out of the legal web it was stuck in and is
in the casting mode! Barring any unforeseen problems, it should be out
by 2002, possibly even earlier (I have seen reports of fall of 2001, but
I am a pessimist).
Everyone cross their fingers and pray for
a good showing from the X-Men. This is an important step forward for the
comic industry and a major bomb could be a big setback. Marvel needs a
hit, in the worst way. It needs to show that Blade wasn't a fluke. It
needs to prove once and for all that DC isn't the only company that can
make characters that the people wants to see converted to the big
screen. We have heard for years how popular the Marvel characters are.
We have heard that with the right budget and some worthwhile people in
the movie, they could compete with the likes of Superman and Batman. Now
is Marvel's time to prove it.
While comic movies have fared well, many
of the hits have been movies that the average person didn't know was a
comic book. The movies didn't make them pursue the comic version like
many do with a novel that is made into a movie. Movies like The Crow,
The Mask and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were all big time movies,
but the average person did not know they were originally comic books.
That few second blurb at the end of the opening credits is not enough to
catch the average movie goers attention. But with Spiderman and possibly
the X-Men, people are more aware of their origins and it may help bring
in new readers.
So we all need to hope and pray that the
X-Men is the hit that is appears to be. A successful movie will not only
insure a sequel, but will jumpstart many other Marvel projects, some
that have been in limbo for decades. Then maybe we will see a big budget
Fantastic Four movie that will do justice to the group. We can even dare
to dream of a possible Avengers movie. Who knows what could come of it,
but one thing I do know is that many comic fans, myself included, will
be watching the weekly results from the box office.
To go to the official X-Men movie website
(a really cool site too), click on the link below:
During the 1980's some of the upstart
companies were looking for franchises to turn into comic books. While
Marvel and DC had the most popular ones tied up (Star Wars, Star Trek,
GI Joe, Transformers, etc...), there were still alot of movies and
television shows that were not explored. Many would have been deemed too
small to be bothered with by the Big Two. But companies like Dark Horse,
NOW and Innovation found there were large followings for these type of
books. One of these titles is the subject of this month's Bargain Bin
Bonanza! The title in question is Astro Boy, one of the first
Japanimation series to make it to the U.S.
For anyone not familiar with Astro Boy,
he was a boy robot who went around and did good deeds. He is easily
distinguished by his funky hairstyle, odd shaped feet which served as
rockets to propel him from the ground and the small box on his chest
which opened up his insides. While he looked cute and adorable, he could
pack a wallop! He was one powerful robot and someone that you were glad
was on the straight and narrow.
The NOW series captured the boy robot
well with beautiful artwork by Ken Steacy. He really captures the feel
of a cartoon, especially the covers which really stood out! The stories,
done by Michael Dimpsey were pretty good too. You got to see Astro Boy
learn that he is a robot. He really believes he is a real boy, made of
flesh and blood and not a robot, made of steel and plastic.
The comic series does a good job of
paying homage to the classic cartoon series. While things are updated
some, they do a good job of keeping the character the same. In an age of
people changing everything for the sake of ratings and sales (remember
this is the era when all those movies based on television shows were
starting to come out and all those awful popular cartoon characters as
kids series), it is good to see someone try not to reinvent a character
that doesn't need it.
So if you are a Japanimation fan, then
this is a good way to check out one of the first and most influential of
the original Japanese cartoon characters. The man who created Astro Boy,
Osamu Tezuka is considered the father of Japanese Animation with his
creations of Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and many, many other great
In tribute to the release of the Rocky
and Bullwinkle movie, I give you the enjoyable commercial for Cheerios
with none other than Moose and Squirrel! Now you know the secret to
Bullwinkles amazing strength! So click the link below to go directly to
the classic commercial, starring two timeless characters!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW
While this is old news to the comic
industry, it was fairly new to me (to show you how out of it I am). I
saw where Marvel was restarting their titles for the umpteenth time.
There is one difference, this time there was going to be a new series
with a young Spiderman and young X-Men starting from scratch and the old
series that would keep the last 30 years of history. The two different
series would be separate from each other (wonder how long this will
last?) and the only thing in common is the name of the book and the
While this is a good idea and something
that should have been done years ago, it will not work if they don't
give it all the support it needs. To just start a new series is not
enough to insure success. They need to really give it a total overhaul
for it to really get the kids of today to try it. It will take more than
giving Spiderman a new haircut, some fashionable clothes and the lingo
of today's kids to be something the average kid would want to read. Here
are my suggestions for a successful series:
1. Dump Yesterday's Writers-While
many of the comic writers are very good, they are not what the kids want
to read. They have been writing for adult audiences for so long, the are
out of touch. If Marvel is serious about this, they need to go get some
fresh talent. Look at some of the writers who are doing stuff that kids
want and approach them with an open wallet. Don't get cheap here. Get in
some serious talent and give them free reign. With writer's you have a
better chance of getting some talent as the time commitment isn't as
much. While the die hard comic fans may not like this, who cares? This
is supposed to be a series to get young people into reading comics, not
the people that are already here.
2. Be Creative in Your Marketing-Once
again, Marvel needs to open up the bank and spend alot of money pushing
this series. Ads in the CBG and Wizard are a waste of money. They need
to reach the kids and the best way is to go where the kids are. Do a
mall tour where you have characters show up at different malls, along
with artists and writers signing autographs. Get some up and coming band
to come and play music and give away comics and a few cool prizes (game
systems, CD players, etc...). Make sure to make the event so it will
attract boys and girls. It is crucial to get the girls reading comics
and I am sorry, but Archies just don't cut it. Most pre-teen to teenage
girls do not want to read the same comic their mother and grandmother
3. Give it Time-Marvel
needs to make a minimum three year commitment to this. They need to give
it time to work and they need to keep pushing it. Comics didn't fall out
of favor with the youth of America overnight and neither will getting
them to read comics happen overnight.
4. Make Stories Self Contained-They
really need to dump this continuing storyline crap. Take those huge
crossovers and throw them out the window. While the die hard fans may
like that stuff, the average person does not want to make a lifetime
commitment to a comic series. I don't think it is a coincidence that the
most popular era of comic books, the 50's to 60's had comic stories that
were almost all self contained. Comics were meant to be a fun experience
and nothing ruins it more than needed a road map to know what book to
5. Do Not Cross Over, Ever-Marvel
really needs to stick to their guns and keep this new universe separate
from the old one. No matter how much the writers want to have Spiderman
meet Spiderman, they must not let it happen. This will only create
confusion and this is one thing this industry needs less of.
6. Cross Promote it to Death-They
need to do whatever it takes to get issues into people hands. Whether it
be giving away free issues with cereal or video games or whatever, they
need to cross promote it. If it means getting a popular group like the
Backstreet Boys or N'Sync to make an appearance in an issue and to give
it away at concerts, then they need to do it.
Since the X-Men is the big movie of the
summer, I decided to point you towards a few sites dedicated to the
X-Men. These should give you all the information you need to be prepared
for the big movie!
This biggest draw of this site is the X-Men character
biographies, with 388 of them at the time of writing this article. Each
one is quite large too! There is alot of information about each
character and some pictures to boot! They are all broken into
alphabetical order by their aliases. So you would find Wolverine under
"W" and not Logan, his real name.
While this is the big part of the site,
it is far from the only draw. There is also fan artwork, fan stories and
alot more! If you are a mutant fan (and everyone seems to be these
days), then this site has what you want and more!
One of the oldest sites devoted to Marvel's Mutants is the Mutant
Pages. It has been up since 1994, which is ancient for an internet
sites. It has a cornucopia of stuff for fans including:
-A countdown to the movie
-Team Lineups and a whole lot more!
While the frames are a bit distracting,
the overall site is very nice and has a ton of stuff! Plus, they have
links to all the other mutant sites as well as other comic related
sites. A great selection of stuff for any fan!
A short newsletter this month, but the
heat and desire to be not be inside is getting the best of me. Hopefully
when fall returns in a few months, the size of the newsletters will
increase. Then we can really have some fun. So take some time to check
out the new X-Men movie and keep reading those comics!