So yeah, it’s been reported that at the ComicPro retailer summit, Marvel is going to start killing characters off every quarter in the hopes of boosting sales. David Gabriel said that while they are going to be killing off a character every quarter, the emphasis is not going to be on their deaths but the stories that come afterwards. I call bull…if they really were thinking about media coverage, they would have realized no media picked up on the re-launch of the Fantastic Four title but focused only on the death of the character. So either Marvel is deluded or lying through their teeth to make it seem like they aren’t focusing on the deaths themselves. Oh wait…aren’t we in the middle of an Ultimates story arc called “The Death of Spider-Man”? Apparently David said that this storyline will be generating the most press yet…yeah probably by deception since there’s it’s happening in the Ultimate Universe. Will mainstream media really care about Ultimate Spider-Man dying? Only if they don’t realize there’s a difference between and 616-universe Spidey.
Well I can sort of see their reasoning…every time there’s been a big character death in comics (Nightcrawler excluded) there is usually some news coverage on CNN or the entertainment section of the local papers that causes readers to run out to their local comic book store to try to speculate on it. The problem is that it only really makes the news if it’s a relatively well-known character. If you kill them off every quarter and don’t plan on bringing them back for a long enough period of time to make their death have an impact, you might soon be running out of characters to off.
As for focusing on changes after the death of a character…is this really a viable business model? A bunch of spin-off series that spin-off of the death of a character and maybe a series or two based on their return from life? Are we going to get some innovative books afterwards or will we end up with a glut of easily forgettable books like the Superman Funeral for a Friend that don’t really advance the story at all.