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Sunday, March 03, 2019

Disney to shut down Marvel

That's the latest rumor to excite the non-stop drama of the comics industry:
A new rumor indicates that Disney might be shutting down Marvel Comics sooner rather than later.

The rumor comes from Jude Terror at Bleeding Cool who cites a press release from Marvel Comics indicating that Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and Joe Quesada are heading down to Austin, Texas to discuss the importance of comics to Disney’s business based off the Marvel intellectual properties.

In fact, Terror speculates that Cebulski and Quesada are heading to Austin, Texas to save Marvel Comics because “comics must continue to be published even if they add little value to the budget on their own simply because they provide the genetic material to make actual profits elsewhere.”

Terror even questions, “If less people are buying comics and the direct market is on the verge of collapse, then why should a megacorp like Disney continue to bother publishing them at all, especially when they can make far more money mining the intellectual properties for other mediums?”

Terror’s speculation isn’t anything new. Thom Pratt at The Kingdom Insider speculated about Disney cutting out Marvel Comics back in 2017.

Pratt notes that Disney’s entire profit on an entire year of Marvel Comics amounts to what they make “off one single Marvel Studios movie.” He bluntly writes, “Comic book sales look absolutely pathetic compared to an MCU release.”

Pratt who has his own sources at Disney even stated that “comic books have about as much value to Disney right now as a T-shirt.” In fact, he states it might even be less because “T-shirts have a higher profit margin.”

Pratt even addresses the idea that the comics are needed to mine for future stories in movies, video games, and other genres.

He quickly refutes this writing, “The MCU has taken characters and concepts in a totally different direction than the comic books, and Disney could easily hire away the best “idea guys” to work directly for Marvel Studios.”

Pratt predicts that Marvel Comics as a publisher will be done away with. He sees it existing in some form but being an “office full of brand managers overseeing licensed deals.” He even believes that Disney will license out the Marvel superheroes to other publishers similar to what they do with their Disney characters to IDW and Dark Horse.

Part of Pratt’s prediction has already come true as Disney has licensed their Marvel superheroes to IDW.
I'm a bit dubious about this, as the continuing decline in comics sales was not quite as bad as I expected in 2018, although the more profitable sales of graphics novels did collapse. According to Comichron, the top 300 graphic novel dollar sales declined 16.5 percent last year, to $73.6 million, but top 300 comic dollars increased $10.7 million despite a three percent decline in units as a result of the rise in the average comic price to $4.19.

The fact that the MCU cycle is coming to an end and Captain Marvel looks to be a complete bust suggests that if 2018 was bad, 2019 will be considerably worse. But Marvel isn't suffering as much as its lesser competitors, as it actually increased its unit market share from 40.4 percent to 44 percent and is still bringing in revenue of well over $100 million, though it may not be doing so profitably.

It would be amusing if Disney offered Arkhaven the opportunity to license any of its characters, although I can't imagine we'd be terribly interested in cultural icons such as Lesbian Meth Batgirl, Thorella, She-Wolverine, or Shade, Marvel's First Superhero Drag Queen. In any event, Arkhaven's support is continuing to grow steadily and we expect to have a series of exciting new announcements in the coming three months. In related news, the gold logo edition of AH#6 will be available from Castalia Direct next week.

Note: the new standard size introduced with the gold logo edition of Chuck Dixon's Avalon #3 meant that we did not know exactly how the pricing would translate to the Castalia Direct store. Our first estimate worked out to a price of $3.14 in practice. However, we have since adjusted that, so the $2.99 retail price will return on April 1 and will be maintained across the Arkhaven line for standard size series comics.

This video by the Kingdom Insider, who is very familiar with Disney's customary practices, is extremely informative. Key phrase: "To the Walt Disney company, the real Marvel universe to them is the Marvel universe they created. The movies. The movies have basically replaced the comic books."



This article by a comic book retailer is pertinent, especially this statistical truth-bomb:
The January 2019 order form features 1106 solicited periodical comic books. Of those, only 454 of those SKUs are new items – the other 652 are variant covers. That means a staggering fifty-nine percent of all solicited comics are actually variants. That’s completely and entirely absurd! It is deluded, it is dangerous, and it actively works against the best interests of the market.
That's why our only variant covers will be the Premium editions intended for the comic book stores. We'll do the gold logo limited editions for the collectors, but we're keeping our price at $2.99 for those. Remember that at 24 pages of story, our comics are not only less expensive and better-constructed, but provide considerably more content than the average Marvel or DC floppy.

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44 Comments:

Blogger Don't Call Me Len March 03, 2019 6:52 AM  

So this is where Disney starts caring about profitability? Very interesting.

Blogger VD March 03, 2019 6:55 AM  

Disney is observably willing to sacrifice profitability for SJW poison. But they don't need the comics in order to inject their SJW poison into the movies.

Blogger Mark Stoval March 03, 2019 7:07 AM  

My wife maintains that Disney is the most evil corp in the world. I don't know about that, but living here in central Florida does tend to make one hate those people.

I wonder if your operations will be helped by Disney if they do drop Marvel comics. That would be real irony. Headline: Disney gives aid and comfort to hard right businessman.

Live can be fun, eh?

Blogger Daniele Grech Pereira March 03, 2019 7:18 AM  

When I was a kid, my mother didn't let us watch Disney movies, expect for some of the older ones like Snow White, Dumbo, etc. She said, "Disney is not good." I always remembered that, and now I see how damn true it is.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 03, 2019 7:21 AM  

I'll bet Marvel Comics has some good coders locked up right now, so going forward we can look forward to more better apps.

Blogger Jeff D March 03, 2019 7:32 AM  

Disney’s entire profit on an entire year of Marvel Comics amounts to what they make “off one single Marvel Studios movie.”

I don't understand. How often do the movies come out, about once a year? Doesn't it take a year or more to make a movie? It seems pretty good that comics make as much money in a year as a movie.

Blogger Matrim's Mutterings March 03, 2019 7:44 AM  

After what Disney did to the Star Wars EU, and the Star Wars movies the sooner Marvel comics dies under their stewardship the better. At least then some of the characters will still be remembered fondly.

The more stuff which can replace those characters and franchises the better.

The the Star Wars EU had gone hard SJW even before Disney.

Blogger Garuna March 03, 2019 7:58 AM  

How often do the movies come out, about once a year?

Three movies per year.

Blogger Garuna March 03, 2019 8:01 AM  

This part is probably more important:

Pratt who has his own sources at Disney even stated that “comic books have about as much value to Disney right now as a T-shirt.” In fact, he states it might even be less because “T-shirts have a higher profit margin.”

I'm assuming the 'as profitable as one MCU film' doesn't include the merch sales that they drive.

Blogger Johnny March 03, 2019 8:11 AM  

>>It seems pretty good that comics make as much money in a year as a movie.

That is what I was thinking. Apparently I underestimate the value of comic book sales.

Blogger Dave March 03, 2019 8:15 AM  

Marvel Comics shutting down could actually be a blessing in disguise for comic stores based on what I read in this article over at BIC>

https://boundingintocomics.com/2019/03/01/comic-shop-veteran-brian-hibbs-proposes-a-ten-point-plan-to-save-the-comic-book-industry/

Vox, what do you think of Point #10: Finally, I call for the first THREE issues of any new series to be fully, no fee, no hoop, returnable from ALL publishers. This includes one-shots and mini-series. The only way I see to encourage publishers to be cautious and sober about what they put on to the market (and how they promote it) is to make sure there is a financial incentive to do so, and I think that returns are the mechanism with which to do that – where we are all sharing skin in the game

Also Hibbs oddly did not appear to mention Diamond.

Blogger Careless Whisper March 03, 2019 8:29 AM  

If the value of Marvel Comics is to generate ideas for movies and video games, and its creations are net money losers that are failing to mint memorable new properties.... How long will this train keep running?

I mean, if they can throw out Cpn Marvel's whole story from the comics and let the movie division's staff fill in the social justicey back story... Why do they need to prop up the paper division? Do they need to deal with all the aggravation so they can keep inventing properties as beloved as Squirrel Girl?

Blogger Dave March 03, 2019 8:34 AM  

so the $2.99 retail price will return on April 1 and will be maintained across the Arkhaven line for standard size series comics.

That's tremendous keeping the $2.99 price point. Question: the premium editions to be sold at comic stores for $4.99 will only be available at comic stores, right? Will there be a gold logo or other limited first run versions of the premium editions?

Blogger Peaceful Poster March 03, 2019 9:00 AM  

Pratt who has his own sources at Disney.

His bro, Chris.

Blogger Doomfinger March 03, 2019 9:20 AM  

"It would be amusing if Disney offered Arkhaven the opportunity to license any of its characters..."

Lesbian Meth Batgirl gets a donor from Craigslist casual, but later has second thoughts and goes to abortion clinic run by vampires.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 03, 2019 9:22 AM  

@7

Indeed.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 03, 2019 9:25 AM  

I've heard this rumor before and honestly nothing came of it then.

I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean that it can't be happening this time.

Disney is in a position where the SJW tail at Marvel Comics is trying to wag the multi-billion dollar MCU dog. Marvel Comics has the full support of the NPC-Hivemind in this endeavor.

Trying to purge Marvel of SJWism will bring down a fire storm. So it's possible that Disney has decided it's easier to just cut off the tail and farm out the properties.

Blogger Vessimede Barstool March 03, 2019 9:29 AM  

In fact, Terror speculates that Cebulski and Quesada are heading to Austin, Texas to save Marvel Comics because “comics must continue to be published even if they add little value to the budget on their own simply because they provide the genetic material to make actual profits elsewhere.”

Marvel Studios makes movies based on decades old IP and story lines. Present day Marvel Comic contributes literally nothing to the movies. Of course if Disney chooses to make a Squirrel Girl or a gay Ice Man film, and it's a smash in China, that might all change.

Blogger VD March 03, 2019 9:46 AM  

Question: the premium editions to be sold at comic stores for $4.99 will only be available at comic stores, right?

No.

Will there be a gold logo or other limited first run versions of the premium editions?

No. We expect the premium editions to be fairly limited anyhow due to price and the fact that it's already a variant cover. We want to stay away from creating too many variants. The only reason we're doing a new cover is because the product is observably different already.

Blogger VD March 03, 2019 9:47 AM  

Vox, what do you think of Point #10: Finally, I call for the first THREE issues of any new series to be fully, no fee, no hoop, returnable from ALL publishers.

Makes sense for them. Totally unnecessary for us. We're not exactly flooding the market with tons of new series.

Blogger Leandro Novaes March 03, 2019 10:15 AM  

They are releasing about 4 movies each year (going from memory here) but the point is that if they shut down comics, they can focus on mcu

Blogger Laramie Hirsch March 03, 2019 10:28 AM  

Get woke. Go broke.

Bye bye, Marvel. I really liked the first Iron Man movie, and the 1990s X-Men cartoon. Oh well.

Blogger Azimus March 03, 2019 10:33 AM  

What is the recedent for Disney selling intellectual property vs shutting it down?

Blogger Azimus March 03, 2019 10:33 AM  

Recedent = precedent

Blogger VD March 03, 2019 10:34 AM  

What is the recedent for Disney selling intellectual property vs shutting it down?

They license it out rather than sell it or shut it down.

Blogger Purge187 March 03, 2019 11:38 AM  

Brie Larson hasn't helped this situation. How many times were they moving the goal post about the projected profits for "Captain Marvel"?

Blogger Silly but True March 03, 2019 12:18 PM  

Bwa-ha-ha.

The future of movie only MCU:
https://www.cbr.com/eternals-openly-gay-actor-lead/

Blogger Pathfinderlight March 03, 2019 12:23 PM  

I think that rumors Disney will shut down Marvel comics are overstated. The comics medium provides a vital minor league for character ideas, design, and plotlines. They may also put directors in there to try them out.

Currently, Disney is learning to its great cost that gobbling up expensive franchises and turning them into leftist propaganda machines destroys those properties. Sooner or later they're either going to reboot Marvel or sell it off to fund other projects.

Blogger VD March 03, 2019 12:39 PM  

The comics medium provides a vital minor league for character ideas, design, and plotlines.

You're clearly not paying attention. Marvel isn't using much of the vast library they own and they don't like having to police the freelancers.

Blogger DonReynolds March 03, 2019 1:14 PM  

The Leftist Liberals and RadLibs at Disney have not had an original idea in a long time. What they do is take brands and ideas that have been around for a long time, even generations, and turn them into politically-correct steamy piles of poo. What they did with Star Wars, they did with Marvel Comics, and as they will do with everything Walt Disney ever created, and anything else they can buy. They will run it through the SJW meat grinder, turning perfectly good steaks into hamburger.

I am not surprised that Disney Radlibs are talking out loud about shutting down Marvel Comics. Any other corporation would simply spin them off or sell the outfit to a competitor or let someone run Marvel Comics who does not hate it (or their customer base). That would be normal behavior. No, Disney Radlibs do not want Marvel Comics to revert back to what would sell again. They went to a great deal of trouble to ruin that brand with the fan base (customers) and they definitely do not want it restored to its former glory days.

This is not about business or profits. Like everything else to do with SJWs, this is only about ideology and agenda.

Blogger Eli March 03, 2019 1:21 PM  

Honestly, if Marvel does start licensing it's characters I'd take it up. I can see your take on the X-Men doing quite well. It would also be interesting to see what you could do with Captain America or Iron Man. I personally would turn Captain Marvel back into Ms. Marvel. Costume and all. The new Muslim Ms. Marvel could become someone else. I'm sure we can come up with an amusing name.

Blogger The Knight of the Mirrors March 03, 2019 1:39 PM  

#6 Jeff D.

Way more people go to the movies than buy comic books. Plus, superhero movies have been generating huge profits overseas.

Blogger Jeremius Rapp March 03, 2019 1:58 PM  

Stan Lee's body just barely assumed room temputure before the New York money-men decide to right-size Marvel! Sad!

Blogger IncoherentM March 03, 2019 2:02 PM  

I missed commenting on the AH#6 release post, but I'll say that I really enjoyed AH#6, including the art and the call-outs within the comic. The thing about AH overall is, I like the characters on both sides of the isle, even though I know who I'd side with. That's the brilliance of the story so far, IMO.

Blogger Servant March 03, 2019 2:02 PM  

Miss marvel.

I'm just pleased as punch that those liberals who've been running down marvel might have to learn to code. Perhaps it shouldn't, but I'm always glad to see the useful idiots get their bullet.

Blogger IncoherentM March 03, 2019 2:10 PM  

On topic, Marvel and Marvel fans shouldn't be surprised that Disney is interested more in their own story lines. They did the same to Star Wars which may have been a more beloved franchise overall.

Blogger Uncle John's Band March 03, 2019 2:13 PM  

Given the general studio interest in comics, Marvel mustn't be producing any viable storyboards.

@ 18 "Marvel Studios makes movies based on decades old IP and story lines. Present day Marvel Comic contributes literally nothing to the movies"

Pretty much this. They used the old stories to establish the MCU, but they must think it has a life of its own. I guess there was "Into the Spider-Verse", but I didn't see it and it disappeared without a ripple. It is irritating to have something fondly remembered destroyed, but Marvel was never a positive force.

What's funny is Captain Marvel is such an totem to a certain segment of SJWs that it faceplanting should be more triggering that Ghostbusters.

Blogger SciVo March 03, 2019 3:01 PM  

Jeff D wrote:Doesn't it take a year or more to make a movie? It seems pretty good that comics make as much money in a year as a movie.

Lesson 1: Opportunity Cost
The resources that you put into one thing are resources that you aren't putting into something else. If you make the same profit with less resources put in, then that's where you should put them.

I know that a single Marvel movie is a huge project, but how does it compare to the entire Marvel Comics business? Even with contracting out the creative aspects, if Vox's experience is at all typical, then for that number of titles, it would take a not-insignificant amount of staff just to deal with all the string-alongs, ghosters and drama queens, and keep things moving toward salable products.

Lesson 2: Competitive Advantage
So, why would anyone ever be in a low-return business? How is it possible for the restaurant and grocery store industries to exist? Because you personally are better at some things than others, and may simply have the misfortune to be so much better at low-margin endeavors that you personally would have better odds buying a Burger King franchise than trying to make a movie. That is clearly not the case for Disney.

Lesson 3: Licensing
Speaking of franchising, one way to make more money with less resources is to get other people to pay you to use your intellectual property, which is highly replicable. When Marvel merchandise could be attributed to the Comics business, it was a factor in keeping it afloat; when it's attributable to the Cinema business, the comics characters themselves become a licensing opportunity.

Lesson 5: Conglomeration
Now of course, it may make sense to keep the low-return business in your stable (such as Fruit of the Loom) and just plough the profits into one of your higher-return businesses (such as Midamerican Petroleum). But a "work-out" situation like that only really makes sense with a boring business that you can basically ignore while it pretty much runs itself, because a talented executive's time and attention are themselves valuable resources that shouldn't be wasted on stupid social drama.

Lesson 6: Sunk Costs
Furthermore, the past is irrelevant. No matter how much money you paid for a business, you can't change the past. It doesn't matter. All that matters is which decision will have the better reward per opportunity cost moving forward.

Conclusion
Therefore, inasmuch as the merchandising profits are now attributable to the movies rather than the comics, it would make perfect business sense to excise the dumpster fire of petty drama that is the comics business, and license it too.

Blogger Johnny March 03, 2019 3:42 PM  

Regardless of whether they get used or not, if I was Disney there is no way I would let go of the Marvel characters. It would be aiding abetting the competition.

Blogger Jack Amok March 03, 2019 3:51 PM  

My kids have never seen a Marvel comic book, but they know about the movies. The comic books are completely unnecessary for Disney now.

Blogger Roy Stalin March 03, 2019 4:16 PM  

Disney doesn't need Marvel Comics as a test bed for new characters or ideas. They have almost 60 years worth of stories they can mine with characters that people already know, and when the good stories are exhausted after about 25 years they can reboot and start all over again. Why risk money creating new properties when you can just recycle proven ones?

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums March 03, 2019 4:53 PM  

http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/exc.gif

Blogger Paul M March 04, 2019 3:48 AM  

Maybe it's best that Stan Lee didn't live to see the day.

Blogger electricsheeple March 04, 2019 3:32 PM  

Licensing out the characters to other publishers would be interesting because a publisher would have incentive to write the best stories possible (rather than push a narrative) as they would not want to take a loss on the licensing fee paid out. At least one would think.

On the flip side, the licensing deal would prohibit the writer and author from taking certain creative liberties and the stories might be more vanilla.

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