(Editor's Note: Our latest column to hit Cosmic Book News comes from Chris "DOC" Bushley who will be taking a look at the less "cosmic" characters in comic books with his "Just What The Doc Ordered" OPED column!)
By: Chris "DOC" Bushley
"What We Have Here Is, Failure To Communicate..."
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:3330:]]With Marvel's focus on the Daredevil-centric crossover Shadowland, there was a resurgence of excitement for the "street-level" heroes. A plethora of new series and one-shot books were coming out, a veritable "heyday" for readers who wanted something grittier and more "down to earth" so to speak.
Heroes For Hire, by DnA, was the first to garner fan praise. Followed by the new gender switch in Ghost Rider and my personal favorite - David Liss on both Black Panther: Man Without Fear and Mystery Men! There was a new teenage Power Man in town, Victor Alvarez, tutored in the martial arts by none other than Iron Fist, and Colleen Wing emerged as the new leader of the Nail! But the biggest push of all came when Marvel announced their "Big-Shots" launch. A trio of books starting in May 2011, that would focus on three distinct individuals with powerhouse creative teams backing them! Moon Knight by Bendis and Maleev, Daredevil by Waid and Rivera and Punisher by Rucka and Checchetto! All amazing books that grabbed the readers from the start! But sixteen months later, Marvel has had little to say about the almost extinct "street" heroes. What happened? Where did they all go? Why are the streets empty?
For one, we know that some books just didn't have the staying power they should have. The new Ghost Rider was cool, but by issue five, no one cared anymore. The stories were just lacking, well -- everything! Some were limited series, Mystery Men for instance, great book but we knew we were in for a finite ride. Moon Knight was canceled right around the time Bendis was given another Avenger book, Avengers Assemble. Black Panther was canceled, Powerman - canceled, Heroes For Hire - canceled!
That leaves us with just Daredevil and Punisher. But, there is blood in the water there as well. We do know that there have been some creative differences. Punisher has been canceled as of issue #16 and we have already reported what Greg Rucka has had to say regarding the "Big Two" and their outlook on the comics industry. We also know that Marco Checchetto was to leave prior to Rucka's announcement as well. Paolo Rivera has left Daredevil to seek other "creator owned" opportunities. Andy Diggle is writing Doctor Who for IDW and Fred Van Lente is writing the amazing Archer & Armstrong for Valiant. Seems to me there are more than a few issues occurring in the alleys and dimly lit back streets of the Marvel Universe.
Little promotion for the "street" books and an editorial outlook that forced writers to placate to bigger storylines is what truly left the streets barren. If certain characters or stories do not fall into the confines of the cookie cutter regime, they are easily removed. Sound familiar Cosmic fans? It's the tried and true Marvel way! If it's not an Avenger or X title, there is little care as to what happens to the property no matter what the fans may want! If it doesn't fit into their movie franchise ideals -- it's gone!
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:3331:]]So, hopefully Marvel will someday notice that -- WE DON"T WANT SEVEN AVENGERS TITLES! WE DON"T WANT NINE X-MEN TITLES! We love the movies, but the books are what made the characters in the movies so good! Not the other way around! We, the people who pay you, like diversity. We like to broaden our horizons, we like to try new things! You make enough money off the Avengers and X titles that you don't need to cancel fan favorite books just because they only sell 10,000 copies! Unless...that's just an excuse. I see it now! Let's look back at my beloved "street-level" books again!
Punisher, Heroes For Hire, Moon Knight, Black Panther, Ghost Rider and "new" Powerman -- all canceled! Who is left to patrol the streets as a lone vigilante in the night? My favorite character of all -- Daredevil! That's right, Mark Waid's great stories have left the blind lawyer unscathed in the culling of street books!
But is it the great stories by Waid or is it something else? Daredevil was also written by Bendis at one time and...oh, yeah I forgot -- he's an Avenger! :) That's the one two combo to make it in Marvel today -- good luck to everyone else!