1969. The offices of Marvel Comics.
STAN: So, Jack...we've built up the Marvel brand, established ourselves as an exciting new comics line for adults as well as children, and created some iconic characters that will stand the test of time. I think it's time we dealt with our major competitors.
JACK: Walt Disney?
STAN: No, I think our plans for Disney will have to be...longer term. No, I was referring to DC. Their brands continue to be more recognizable than ours, and their reinventions of classic Golden Age characters are proving to be dangerously popular. I think it's time to crush them. Are you ready to implement "Plan Poison Pill"?
JACK: The alliteration thing, Stan? It's got to stop. It's become a sickness.
STAN: I don't know what you're talking about, my astonishing artist of pencil-pushing perfection! My magnificent mind is every bit as alert as an amazing aardvark, and my brain is bursting with brilliant bideas bat brush balefully babble bubble **slaps self** You're right, Jack. But I only have to hold it together for a few more years before I can pass the editorial reins on to my disciples. And we won't have to worry about competitors, not if you're willing to do your part.
JACK: My part? I've been working on every book we publish for almost a decade, Stan. I've strip-mined my imagination for every sellable concept I ever came up with, from the Fantastic Four to the X-Men to Captain America. We even threw in Toomazooma the Living Totem, Stan! Let's face it...I can't come up with another best-selling idea.
STAN: I know, Jack. That's not what I'm asking you to do. What I'm asking you to do is far more sinister, far more devious...a plan that will cripple DC for decades to come. I want you to defect, Jack.
JACK: Defect? But they'll never--
STAN: Of course they will. We stage a falling out. Some nonsense over money, we'll funnel your royalties through Swiss bank accounts for a while. You'll decide to look for a better deal elsewhere, and who better than our major competitor? And then...
JACK: And then what? I write their titles? I don't exactly think that's going to cripple them, Stan. Not unless your plan is to have them trip on piles of money.
STAN: Oh, you'll make them money. That was never in question. But it's what else you'll do to them that interests me. Remember those "New Gods" ideas you had? The ones we agreed were cool but uncommercial?
JACK: ...I think I see where you're going with this one, Stan. You want me to introduce them into the DC Universe.
STAN: Exactly! They'll never sell, but DC's writers and editors will be fascinated by them! They'll keep trying to launch them and relaunch them, make them the centerpiece of their mythos, maybe even launch a gigantic company-wide crossover based on them! But they'll never be anything more than a cult phenomenon. DC will slowly sink into obscurity trying to make them popular, while we will rise to the heights of popularity!
JACK: And I get to finally write all the characters we thought were too crazy to publish! Kamandi, the Forever People, Mister Miracle, Glorious Godfrey, Granny Goodness, Devil Dinosaur--
STAN: Wait. Let's hang on to that last one. I kind of like the sound of it.
JACK: Seriously, Stan. Get help.
Friday, September 30, 2011
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To be fair, The New Gods are the LEAST of DC's problems. Either Jack did some extra corporate sabotage yet to come to the surface, or possibly they just have no idea what the hell they're doing over there.
Oh, who am I kidding, we all know which of those is more likely. RELEASE THE FILES, STAN!
You forgot the first part of Stan's plan. Sending over Steve Ditko. DC will forever try to make Hawk and Dove work, despite the fact that no one I know even gets its point. Take ham-fisted 1960s political metaphors and try to make them work in post 9/11 world.
And then getting DC to keep trying to make Green Arrow work. Batman clone, fine we'll make him a liberal Robin Hood. Doesn't work, we'll have Mike Grell and Chuck Dixon turn him into Dirty Harry who sleeps around. No? Kill him and have one on his many bastards replace him. Doesn't work again. Bring him back to life and have Smith and Winnick make him a corrupt politician (makes deals with gangsters instead of putting them in prison) and a thief (uses insider information to regain his fortune). Doesn't work again. Have him marry Balck Canary, despite fact that she has done well on her own and is more popular and have him turn her back to a bimbo and he'll treat her bad. Oh come on public, this stuff is gold, why aren't you buying? We'll turn Roy into a one-armed nutjob and Ollie into a remorseless killer. He's still not popular? Well another reboot will work, honestly.
Okay THIS one, I'll buy. :)
There was an excellent Brave and Bold with Hawk and Dove that played precisely with the idea that they're now hopelessly anachronism (though I liked the Kesel series that played them as Law and Chaos avatars too).
It's funny to look back at the seventies and see how little regard DC had for the New Gods. Secret Society of Supervillains specifically stated at one point that the editors removed Darkseid from the book because they didn't want to be bogged down with a flop comic.
Seriously, though Brendan's right. The New Gods are not the problem (funny post though).
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