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ICv2 - 'AVX' Marketing Biggest Ever--Comics and the Crossroad of Commerce

ICv2 - 'AVX' Marketing Biggest Ever



Is Avengers vs. X-Men "the" summer event for Marvel? Is this the response to the New 52 everyone is expecting? In truth, I don't think Marvel needs to respond to the New 52. They benefit through the pop cultural associative ether. Moreover, DC's efforts have not had the broad sales impact they hoped. While lapse fans have returned, long term growth comes from new (hopefully young) fans. Recent reports suggest the New 52 is not attracting fresh eyes. So, what exactly would Marvel be doing if it rushed to react?

There is not a clear answer, so the question become what to do, if anything in response. To me, the answer is to do exactly what the are doing. Marvel is continuing down the path to develop stories and characters across multiple platforms and bring them to audiences utilizing Disney's distribution channels. This was the pattern they had before the New 52 and it has not changed. We wonder if digital publication will change comics, but the truth is that the larger media market has already changed comics. Comics sit at the intersection of cross cultural dialogue. While we complain about continuity, diversity, and creativity within superhero comics, we cannot deny those characters have a deep recognition.

Marvel exists (as does DC) as a source for potential exploitable properties. Media companies have always benefited from licensing properties. In the new mercantile media market, controlling a vast character library affords Warner Bros and Disney the opportunity to find a new franchise.  Publishing, regardless of its form, is not the profit center for the media giant controlling either publisher. This doesn't mean the publisher don't need to be profitable, which explain why digital publication is something the publisher are moving to adopt.  The slow pace of adoption reflects the evolution of the business model. Print is still the bulk of revenue, but eventually that distribution model must give way to greater efficiency represented by digital distribution. Still, if comic properties can be translated and generate the excitement, loyalty, and devotion linked to comics and comic culture on other media platforms, they can make millions (or billions) in television, films, or games.  With this as an overriding truth, publishing is neither as meaningless as the sale numbers might imply or as meaningful as fans ardent engagement suggests.

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