Monday, September 27, 2004

Old-fashioned revivals: At Ninth Art, Paul O'Brien looks at Marvel and DC's fondness for revamping old, failed concepts:

"It's a sign of the ambivalent relationship Marvel and DC have with their back catalogues. Both publishers, although particularly Marvel, seem convinced that they have a back catalogue of cancelled properties of tremendous value. This, after all, is Marvel's standard pitch to investors -- look how many characters we have. Since the characters have been deemed to be so very valuable, it follows that there must be ways of exploiting them. Cue bizarre relaunches that try to retool old ideas in a new fashion and, as a general rule, end up as a crumpled heap on the floor.

"The problem is that most of the original concepts aren't really all that great to start with. Chances are that's why they got cancelled in the first place. In order to try and turn them into something a little more exciting, the concept ends up being retooled to such an extent that its remaining fans -- the only people who gave a toss about the revived brand name in the first place -- don't recognise it and reject it."