Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fantastic Four -No More?


Karen: There are strange rumors floating around regarding Marvel and whether they might put Fantastic Four and Ultimate Fantastic Four "on hiatus" until after Fox's Fantastic Four film comes out. Bleeding Cool initially reported that Marvel might put the titles on hold in order to not promote the film, and then published another article, reportedly showing that artists for sketch cards were told not to draw the FF or related characters.

It's hard to know if any of this is true -it seems to me like it would be cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. I don't think the comics do very much to promote the films, and considering most titles sell less than 100,000 copies, it seems like Marvel would only be hurting themselves. But I'm interested to see how this might play out. It's no secret Marvel Studios (and Disney) would like to get all their characters back, and especially the FF and their related properties. The Fox films have not done very well, financially or critically. I doubt Marvel needs to 'help' Fox fail -they seem capable of doing that all on their own.

  

15 comments:

Humanbelly said...

I had somehow lost track of the fact that FOX is the studio that currently has the FF franchise, which TOTALLY explains why they've cast it straight out of their "younger, hotter, hipper" handbook. I guess the success of other franchises in going with more-or-less true-to-source casting is still something they'll just sneer at. Surely they don't assume that THAT'S why the earlier two films were so disappointing? Because they didn't make it young, and hip, and "relevant to youth culture" enough? I'm afraid the that the Baxter Building 90210 or 21 Yancy Street approach is now just as far out of date as anything else kids are seeing today.

Now, Marvel may be looking for any reason to sort of pull the plug on their FF books anyhow-- it seems like they've been in perpetual sales trouble for about 10 or 15 years now, although I couldn't guess at how they're selling currently. But at one point a few years ago there was a LOT of conjecture about how they could go about cancelling their longest-running (but badly under-performing) title w/out it being a PR fiasco.

Aaaaaand of course it's Disney, now, and they're not known for their good will towards any kind of competitor. . .

HB

Humanbelly said...

I had somehow lost track of the fact that FOX is the studio that currently has the FF franchise, which TOTALLY explains why they've cast it straight out of their "younger, hotter, hipper" handbook. I guess the success of other franchises in going with more-or-less true-to-source casting is still something they'll just sneer at. Surely they don't assume that THAT'S why the earlier two films were so disappointing? Because they didn't make it young, and hip, and "relevant to youth culture" enough? I'm afraid the that the Baxter Building 90210 or 21 Yancy Street approach is now just as far out of date as anything else kids are seeing today.

Now, Marvel may be looking for any reason to sort of pull the plug on their FF books anyhow-- it seems like they've been in perpetual sales trouble for about 10 or 15 years now, although I couldn't guess at how they're selling currently. But at one point a few years ago there was a LOT of conjecture about how they could go about cancelling their longest-running (but badly under-performing) title w/out it being a PR fiasco.

Aaaaaand of course it's Disney, now, and they're not known for their good will towards any kind of competitor. . .

HB

Murray said...

It would only be a blessing to the world at large if the FF was put on hiatus. I made the gruesome, stupid mistake of reading the most recent issue (FF on trial). A more nihilistic, cynical, deconstructional piece of garbage would be hard to conjure.

In fact, perhaps that's why they might be putting the comic on hiatus. After reading that misery, and assuming more of the same, anything Fox puts on the big screen will be a breath of spring air. It would be free advertising of a twisted sort.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one or does reading HB's comment give anyone else that feeling of deja vu?

The Prowler (who said that? Whaaaat?).

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one or does reading HB's comment give anyone else that feeling of deja vu?

The Prowler (who said that? Whaaaat?).

It's a cry for "Help" is what it it!!!!!!

david_b said...

I'm confused, really confused.

Why would it be this difficult, seriously, to grasp the FF concept..? I said this soooo often, older actors ('cept Johnny and Sue), retro it back to the Cold War-era, and tell the story as it was originally presented.

Period.

It worked for 'Captain America', worked for 'Rocketeer', etc. Nice original blue suits, no dark-leather x-men suits.

Murray said...

Mr. _b, I like your thinking! I've never heard that particular angle on an FF movie. Your examples are good, but I'm also thinking the popularity of "Mad Men" and other period pieces on the teevee. "X-Men First Class" also worked well. (I have no idea how it did in box office graphs)

Comicsfan said...

Well, these are movie studios we're talking about, which are charting their own respective courses for the Marvel characters. Perhaps a little competition is good for them, particularly if it makes them work harder on their product. Neither studio is going to bat it out of the park every time; for instance, while Marvel Studios is riding a nice wave with Avengers and Captain America, I don't think anyone is going to claim that the Hulk films were similarly well received. By contrast, the X-Men: Days Of Future Past film has received very good word of mouth, and First Class was nicely entertaining, as well. Perhaps the publishing arm of Marvel would be better served rooting for their characters on the big screen no matter which corporate logo presents them.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I heard that rumour about the FF books too. Not sure what to make of it whether it's true or not.

Personally, I hope that Marvel Studios gets back all the respective characters under their wing. The critical and commercial success of the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America films shows that they 'get' these characters and know how to make a blockbuster film while staying true to their comicbook roots.

I know that Fox has the franchise rights to the FF and X-men, while Sony has Spidey. When Disney bought over Marvel, I was initially sceptical but it looks like the people at the mouse house were smart by keeping their hands off creatively and hired the best people (like Avengers director Joss Whedon who clearly loves comics) to oversee and develop these properties in the best way.

Also, I think it's good that George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney. While some people might question such a move, let's remember the underwhelming continuation of the last three Star Wars films. Personally, I think George Lucas ran out of juice creatively. For me at least, it's a shame that it took a new stable of writers after all these years to bring back Luke, Han, Leia and the gang.


- Mike 'Jar Jar Binks still gives me nightmares' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that makes me think it's true is that Marvel very deliberately kept both the FF and X-Men (including Wolverine) off the 75th anniversary artwork. The X-Men still sell, so they're not going to cancel that. The FF don't sell, so I don't think Marvel wants to give Fox any additional publicity.

Humanbelly said...

Ha-- there was a very odd glitch where Firefox had some sort of error, blinked off, then replaced itself right as I sent that first post. . . and then. . . there were two of me!

It was like something out of THE PRESTIGE (but I shan't compare further, as that film is just about as spoilerific as one can get!).

Man, can we imagine a comic-book landscape where Marvel no longer publishes a book about (or called) THE FANTASTIC FOUR?? Actually. . . that would never be the case for long ("hiatus" probably being used in its most accurate sense), because of all of the use-it-or-lose-it issues that seem to come up with retired or unused characters these days. The sit idle, and someone's gonna swipe 'em at the first opportunity. My guess is that some genius will get the green light before too long to re-launch a new book w/ that title (collector's edition first issue!!!!), but with an entirely new, unrelated cast-- or with a mix of old and new regulars, in a completely different setting. This would, of course, be a lame attempt to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle of the All New, All Different X-Men. What they'll be forgetting, naturally, is that it took a darned long time for that book to become the mega-hit title it's remembered as. It was extremely good, but it wasn't selling gang-busters, and stayed on that bi-monthly schedule for-EVER. Aaaaaaand us fans are pretty darned jaded towards that kind of manipulation these days, regardless.

HB

Dr. Oyola said...

I put this rumor in the same category of people who are saying the new "Death of Wolverine" mini that is about to come out is some convoluted attempt by Marvel to get back the rights to Wolverine and stick him in the Avengers franchise. . . BS and/or fan wishful thinking (not mine, Wolverine should NOT EVER BE AN AVENGER EVER). . .

Anyway, I read somewhere (but don't have time to find the link) that this that the info this rumor is based on is being severely misinterpreted.

Kid said...

You'd think that any sensible company would realise that low-selling comic mags related to an upcoming big-budget movie would benefit from the movie's publicity, not the other way around. Which makes me wonder if these rumours are perhaps connected to the appeal by Kirby's heirs to reclaim the properties.

William said...

Maybe this rumor/news has less to do with the upcoming F4 movie, and more do to with Marvel's deconstruction of their own Universe and the constant ret-conning and ruination of their best characters.

The Fantastic Four hasn't been all that "Fantastic" in a long long long time. In fact, as far as I know, they are not even the Fantastic "Four" anymore. The last I know they were calling themselves the "Future Foundation", and wearing new black and white costumes that looked like they were designed by the Power Pack kids. And in a move that further demonstrates how much Marvel has lost all integrity (and all understanding of their own characters and fans) they killed off the Human Torch and replaced him on the team with Spider-Man. Yes Spider-Man (complete with a new b&w Power Pack costume). So, then for a while Spider-Man was appearing in his own books, and the Avengers, and the new and "improved" FF. (Bwa Ha Ha Ha!!!, ridiculous!!!)

Back in the good old days, (meaning before 1986) Marvel would never have sold out their artistic integrity and prostituted their characters to that extent in the name of a temporary sales bump. They used to be in it for the long game. Now they regularly rake their (our) beloved characters through the mud and garbage, and then just expect us to keep on reading and loving them like nothing happened.

For example, when Marvel let Mark Millar (in the crapfest Civil War) basically turn characters like Reed Richards and Tony Stark into Nazis, and when they allowed writers to put Spider-Man and Wolverine into basically every super team in the MU, and let JMS fundamentally change Spider-Man's origins and then completely ruin the memory of Gwen Stacy, and the list goes on and on and on.

In other words they decimated the landscape of the Marvel U and deconstructed their characters to the point where they are no longer recognizable as the iconic characters they once were, and they wonder why no one is buying comics anymore.

The original concepts of characters like the FF, Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman, etc., are proven formulas that have stood the test time, and there's a reason for that. Marvel (and DC) need to go back to basics and return their characters to the status quo that made them icons in the first place. And they need to do it soon.

After all, you can only pile so much crap on something before the stink won't wash out.

Anonymous said...

I have read every article that I could readily find on this subject ever since the rumor first broke. It certainly does appear like the Fantastic Four title is in serious danger. Sadly, I am now convinced that the Marvel Executives have decided to finish off the comic that was once the flagship of Marvel Comics. Then again, as a previous poster said, the Fantastic Four have NOT been "Fantastic" for a very, very, very long time! As another fan said, they will probably start up the title again with some change in the membership and perhaps this is a good idea. As long as Marvel keeps 2 or 3 of the original 4, it will still seem like Fantastic Four. While I do not like the idea of them dumping one of the originals, something drastic must be done to save the comic....

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