Marvel parties like it’s 1995

Remember the bad old days, the low water mark of the comics industry? Image had just launched, igniting the speculator market. Marvel, meanwhile, was greedily overprinting everything—QUASAR had his own ongoing series, for cryin’ out loud!—in an attempt to put all the smaller presses out of business. They largely succeeded, but managed to drive themselves into bankruptcy in the process. In the long run this was a good thing. New people took over the running of the company, people who actually cared about the quality of their product; this improved approach led to greater success and the eventual purchase by Disney. The rest is history, as they say. But does history have to repeat itself?

The dearth of quality is still absent from Marvel Comics today—for now. But look at all the new titles that are about to be published under the Marvel NOW initiative, books that don’t have a chance in hell of succeeding long-term: Solo; Prowler; Cage (again); Gwenpool (?!?); Slapstick; Foolkiller; etc. Is Marvel trying to glut the market again? Or have they reached a level of success where they are willing to experiment on riskier books and characters? I hope it isn’t the former. I would’ve hoped they’d learned their lesson on that one.