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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #169

This is the one-hundred and sixty-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and sixty-eight. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel sold all the copyrights to their characters to a separate company, Marvel Characters, Inc.

STATUS: False, with some chunks of True mixed in there

Reader Josh Dahl asked me the following a few weeks back:

[B]ack in the 90s when Marvel was “corporate raided”, the guy that stripped them out sold off their assets. Like raiders do.

One of the things he did as Marvel was going bankrupt was to sell ALL of the character’s copyrights to his own, different, company called “Marvel Characters Inc”.

And since then, any time Marvel has wanted to use any of its own characters, they have had to pay “Marvel Characters Inc” for the right to do so.

Is that true?

Josh’s question involves the sad story of Ronald Perelman’s involvement with Marvel Comics.

Ronald Perelman purchased his first company in 1961, while still in college!! With monetary assistance from his father, Raymond (also a prominent businessman), Ronald purchased Esslinger Brewery for $800,000. He sold the company three years later for a $1 million dollar profit.

Perelman continued a very public career purchasing companies. Usually, when Perelman purchased a company, he would fire almost all of the management of the company, then he would try to sell off parts of the company to make it as lean as possible, then he would sell the company off (or keep it for himself). His most famous purchase (of a controlling share of the company) is the cosmetics corporation Revlon.

A few years after purchasing Revlon, Perelman turned his eyes to Marvel Comics, which had only recently been purchased by New World Entertainment. In 1989, Perelman purchased the company for a little more than $80 million dollars. Soon after purchasing the company, Perelman took it public with an initial public offering that raised $80 million dollars!

In an interesting nod of what to become the biggest part of Marvel’s success, Perelman identified the strong position Marvel was in, with regards to their intellectual property. Perelman thought of Marvel like Disney – a company filled with strong intellectual property that could be exploited in a number of different areas.

To this end, Perelman purchased a number of other corporations to add to Marvel, including a card company. It also formed an exclusive agreement with the toy company, Toy Biz. Soon, Marvel was valued at over a billion dollars on the market.

This was during the early 1990s (the time of the speculator boom), and Marvel’s value was most likely overinflated at the time.

To cash in on this valuation, Perelman sold almost $800 million in high-risk/high-yield bonds (these are usually called “junk bonds”). Now Marvel was DEEP into debt, and that coincided with the comic market crash of the mid-1990s, which was also the time of Marvel’s ill-fated attempt to self-distribute their comics.

So times were extremely tough at Marvel. One of the owners of a significant portion of Marvel’s bonds, Carl Icahn, fought Perelman for control of the company.

Marvel ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

Avi Arad and Isaac ‘Ike’ Perlmutter, owners of Toy Biz, sought to protect their company (and, most likely, they also saw an opportunity here) and while Icahn and Perelman went at it, they swooped in and raised the money to purchase Marvel Comics.

They then merged Marvel Comics with Toy Biz to form Marvel Entertainment, Inc.

No one really knows how much money Perelman made off of Marvel – he likely took in a lot of money, but when things went bad, he lost a lot of money, as well, so some market observers suggest that he could theoretically have made almost nothing, in the end, but I think it appears more likely that he did end up making a sizable chunk of money, just perhaps not as large as some people seem to think.

In any event, in their reorganization of Marvel after the merger, Arad and Perlmutter restructured the company by forming a number of holding companies for the various parts of the company.

One of those holding companies is the aforementioned Marvel Characters, Inc., which contains all the intellectual property rights of the Marvel characters. This company is the licensing wing of Marvel Comics. That is why it appears with regards to Marvel films, as that is where companies go to license the characters for the films.

Marvel Characters, Inc. is owned by Marvel Comics – it is not some big scam.

That said, Josh is basically correct in that Perelman, in many ways, DOES exhibit a number of the attributes of a corporate raider.

In this instance, though, there is no worries – Marvel Characters, Inc. is still part and parcel of Marvel Comics.

Thanks to Josh for the question! For more information about this time in Marvel history, you could read the aforementioned Dan Raviv book – Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire-And Both Lost. You can find it on Amazon here.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Peter David was planning on killing off Aquaman during his run on the title.

STATUS: True

After doing a number of popular mini-series featuring Aquaman, Peter David finally began work on an Aquaman ongoing series in 1994, and he opened up with a dramatically different look at the character.

In the second issue of the series, Aquaman lost his hand!!

This did not put Aquaman in a good mood!

He replaced the hand with a harpoon.

He then gained a brand-new costume.

Besides the dramatic re-envisionment of Aquaman, what David’s run was also noteworthy for his work on Aquaman’s sidekick, Aqualad, who David also re-envisioned as a much more serious and powerful character named Tempest.

David devoted a great deal of time also to the inner workings of Aquaman’s kingdom of Atlantis. He introduced a number of new interesting supporting cast members and the book became an intricate series of inter-woven stories, all with the new take on Aquaman at center stage.

After a few years on the book, David became a bit irked at how he was being handled on the title.

He was told he was to show more stories featuring Aquaman as a leader, but he also was to show more solo adventures and less of the supporting cast.

He was told to ramp up the political intrigue, but try not to have the book take place in Atlantis that often.

These frustrating, seemingly conflicting decrees were making David a bit batty on the book.

It all came to a head with a story David had set up to lead into the 50th issue of the book. In the storyline, Aquaman would take on Triton, God of the Seas and die defending Poseidonis (capitol of Atlantis).

Garth would then take over the ruling of Atlantis, but, after some time being “dead,” Aquaman would return as the new DC water elemental, as a being made out of water.

Ultimately, David’s plan was to have him returned back to human via the intervention of Mera, complete with his hand back. Garth would stay in charge of Atlantis, though, and Aquaman would travel the world as a sort of ambassador to Atlantis.

DC turned down the story, telling David that, after the Death of Superman, no one would fall for such a stunt again.

So David left the book, with his last two issues a greatly condensed and lighter version of his planned storyline (Aquaman fights Triton, is killed, but comes back from the dead to stop him).

I’m sure it brought Peter David a certain degree of satisfaction (or, at the very least, some amusement) to see what DC did with Aquaman a few years later.

First, they killed Aquaman off…

Making Garth the new head of Atlantis (Garth soon sends Atlantis away to protect it from the villain Imperiex)…

And then, after some time “dead,” Aquaman returns as a being made out of water.

What an amazing coinky-dink!!

Thanks to Peter David for the information!!!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Chuck Dixon and Jackson Guice were in the middle of a Wild Wild West movie adaptation before learning that they didn’t have all the rights needed for the book.

STATUS: True

Dealing with licensed characters can be tricky, as you not only have to pay for the right to license the characters, you also have to get permission to use likenesses of the actors portraying the characters (usually, this coincides with a payment of some sort).

Awhile back, this led to a bit of an awkward situation with a comic book adaptation of the film, Wild Wild West (itself an adaptation of the 60s TV series of the same name), which starred Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Selma Hayek and Kenneth Branagh (this was the film that had a giant robot spider, which supposedly the producer of the film, Jon Peters, wanted in the Superman film he was producing at the time and when that didn’t work out, it ended up in this film, instead).

Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty were to write the story for DC Comics, and the art was going to be handled by Jackson Guice.

Guice actually had begun drawing the project when word came down that there was a bit of a snag – Will Smith hadn’t actually signed off yet on his image being used, and in fact, Smith did NOT sign off on it, so the whole project had to be scuttled!!

It’s a shame, because here is a sample page by Guice (click to enlarge) – he really did a nice job drawing Smith (click here for more pages of the comic at Dixon’s website).

Thanks to reader Jonathan Nathan for suggesting this one!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

89 Comments

In 1989, Perelman purchased the company for a little more than $80 million dollars. Soon after purchasing the company, Perelman took it public with an initial public offering that raised $80 million dollars!

He bought it for 80 million and then raised 80 million more?

So when Peter David chopped off Aquaman’s hand, his famous long-term planning had a years-long storyline in mind that would have brought him back to status quo. That makes sense. I’ll admit to dropping the book when it got too bogged down in Atlantis stuff. Same reason why I don’t read Thor: I don’t care about the fantasy-kingdom mumbo-jumbo, no matter how well it’s told.

Minor nitpick that I see a lot. It should be (for example) $1 million or one million dollars, but not $1 million dollars. It’s your classic “ATM machine,” or for you computer types “NIC card.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Aquaman in the 60′s and 70′s and was very depressed when they turned him into Namor. The same went for Green Arrow’s transformation into Hawkeye. Even though Aquaman and Green Arrow were the only two DC superheroes (besides the Big 3) to last intact throughout the “dark ages” between the Golden and Silver age, DC decided thay were too generic and needed their Marvel counterparts’ personalities.

I’d be interested in knowing why Smith didn’t sign off on it. Were they not offering him enough money? Was he embarrassed by the movie?

Amen to the redundancy. If you use the dollar sign you don’t need the word ‘dollars’. Were I Peter David I wouldn’t have been amused that my ideas appeared to have been stolen, I’d have raised a fuss. If you don’t make Aquaman and Green Arrow darker, how do you make them interesting at all for the times?

Don’t forget “DC Comics”.

Brian: You said “Peter DaviS” not “Peter DaviD” was planning…

Eric P.: Or, (As Keith Giffen pointed out in one of his lists) DC Comics = Detective Comics Comics…

“He bought it for 80 million and then raised 80 million more?”

That’s why he is rich and we are not.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

>>>If you don’t make Aquaman and Green Arrow darker, how do you make them interesting at all for the times?

Darker doesn’t necessarily mean clones. Hawkeye always had an edge to him, stemming from his personality derived during his super-villain origins. Namor’s golden years initially depicted his as a bitter, surface-world hating anti-hero, his return to the early silver-age as a full-fledged villain solidified this status.

True, the original Green Arrow could certainly be seen as a light-hearted Batman clone, and being a “millionaire-playboy” who is swindled out of his money, may predicate personality changes, but turn him into a street-wise, authority bashing, super-liberal? Clint Barton’s experiences as a super-villain are very different than that of a true-blue card-carrying member of The Justice League. In fact, the whole “being swindled” scenario stinks. He was close friends with Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, whose resources are limitless. He had three of the world’s greatest detectives (Bruce, J’onn and Ralph) at his beck & call. Ollie would have had his money back within 24 hours.

Ron Perlman is a corporate raider?

(Someone had to do it)

Who was supposed to publish the “Wild Wild West” comic? I assume DC, because “Wild Wild West” was a WB movie…

So the real cause of Marvel’s bankruptcy wasn’t their poor plans but rather one man’s huge greed… thanks for finally clearing that up for me.

And yeah, I can imagine David is not amused with DC stealing his ideas. (I can buy that DC killed Aquaman off, but turning him into a water being -however briefly- is too much of a coincidence.)

I can’t get over the fact that Peter David took two characters DC had had trouble selling for ages (Aquaman and Supergirl), managed to keep them afloat in their own titles for longer than anyone else had since the ’60s (80 issues of “Supergirl!” 40+ issues of “Aquaman!”), and DC drove him off one and cancelled the other.

David’s Aquaman story would’ve been good… (and I wasn’t even a fan of the run!)

Le sigh.

Good point regarding the implausibility of swindling Ollie. :D I never say ‘DC COMICS’. :D

In fairness to Hawkeye, wasn’t his ‘supervillain’ career QUITE brief and largely due to the machinations of Soviet spy Black Widow? Or crooked Swordsman? I forget for sure.

I doubt that Hawkeye was a consideration in the Green Arrow makeover. More likely Denny wanted a mouthpiece for his viewpoints and A.) Ollie was pretty much a blank slate, and B.) They figured he looked like Robin Hood already, so that making him a champion of the oppressed seemed logical. The flip, anti-authoritarian attitude was just a reaction to the rest of the JLA being establishment squares.

Taking Marvel public was such a dumb idea.

>>>The flip, anti-authoritarian attitude was just a reaction to the rest of the JLA being establishment squares.

And how many times did Hawkeye call Steve Rogers a square while Ollie was still riding around in his Arrowcar?

To RJ: I’m not so sure you can say Hawkeye was manipulated by The Black Widow. Certainly he was “blindly” in love with her, but there was no hiding the fact that she was a Russian spy and he was committing acts of treason as her partner. The Swordsman was retconned into Clint Barton’s pre-costumed adventurer days, serving more as a fallen idol than a role model. Clint admired the Swordsman before discovering that he was a thief.

So was a Wild Wild West comic (and movie).

Speaking of movie comics, I read a column in a DC comic about the time the second Lethal Weapon was being released that DC was planning an adaptation of the film which would spin off into an unlimited series. Was it true of just a wish on my part?

DC Comics is correct. Redundant, perhaps, but correct. The company is not named Detective Comics, that’s just what DC stood for originally.

With all the *stuff* Peter David has gone through to entertain us, It’s a wonder he hasn’t said “To heck with you all!”

Mucho PROPS to PAD. Keep rockin’ dude!

Reading that Peter David was planning to return Aquaman to something resembling his status quo is interesting. It’s too bad he wasn’t allowed to bring his plans to fruition. I can see DC’s point about the redundancy of killing off another high-profile character, though.

Phil Jimminez also had a bit to do with the transformation of Garth into Tempest, as I recall. He wrote & drew the miniseries where he’s first refered to by that name.

And considering how the Wild Wild West movie turned out, Dixon, Beatty and Guice should probably count themselves lucky they weren’t associated with it.

” I can see DC’s point about the redundancy of killing off another high-profile character, though.”

…that was sarcasm, right?

I’ve always bristled at the statement that DC turned Aquaman into Namor. Peter david went to great lengths to make Aquaman’s story more mythic in tone. His wonderful (and far too overlooked) Atlantic Chronicles set up a classic bother-against-brother motif that he took into Aquaman and made work well.

Thanks for the additional details about Hawkeye. Been MANY years since I read the stories. Scavenger, at one time the company WAS called Detective Comics. :D

I always thought that though the harpoon hand made for cool imagery, Aquaman losing his hand was a pretty lame idea. His primary superpower is that HE SWIMS!!!!!!

It’s like giving him a peg leg.

Yeah, terrible idea. Certainly didn’t work out for them, business-wise. I mean, look at the horrible things it did, took them from bankruptcy to having one of the most successful film slates ever under their total control…oh…oh, wait…

You heard it here…

Will Smith hates comic books!

(just kidding!)

I loved Peter David’s run and had read about these plans somewhere a few years ago. He had created an Aquaman Family, much like Waid had created a Flash Family at the time. I was never more interested in Aquaman than during Peter’s run, and I haven’t been as interested since ( I couldn’t care less one way or the other about the hand). It was sad to see much of his hard work undone by Erik Larson’s run (which really just ran the series into the ground, head first). Although I have to say, Dan Jurgen’s run afterward actually worked – and I’m not a Dan Jurgen’s fan.

Peter David is just too awesome.

Jim Shooter put references to Icahn and Perelman in a recent issue of LSH. Two groups of pirates named the Peril-Men and the Ikonns were fighting over who got to plunder the planet Velmar (Vel-mar? Mar-vel? Get it?). Why Shooter felt the need to do this is another question.

Aquaman’s and Green Arrow’s survival through the Golden Age had little to nothing to do with the characters’ themselves or their popularity. They just happened to be the two backup features to the book starring Superboy. Aquaman never appeared on the cover of a comic until the first JLA story in Brave and the Bold.

Yeah, but I think now the company is just known as “DC”.

Yeah, that’s true, they were in ‘Adventure’.

Paul Valois,

Are you kidding with the Green Arrow/Hawkeye stuff.

(1) Green Arrow has been portrayed as ultra-liberal since at least the GL/GA days and

(2) Hawkeye was ever portrayed as mister liberal back then. He was a maverick and a bit of a rogue maybe, but I don’t see the similarity between the characters.

And the Aquaman stuff? Just because David portrayed him as angrier?

As I recall Jim Shooter intended to buy Marvel, but lost to Perelman in the bidding war. He’s probably still pissed off.

Never heard of PAD’s plans for Aquaman but they really sound good. I don’t think there’s any doubt that DC did ultimately end up using his ideas, or most of them, for Aquaman. That happens all the time, whether it’s conscious or not.

I’ve never been a big Aquaman fan but am looking forward to how the character comes out of Final Crisis.

Actually, while it is redundant, DC Comics is the correct name of the company.

RJ: sure…way back when…but not these days.

I never understood why DC has felt this need to treat Peter David like crap. The man’s a fantastic writer, and his name alone is sure to draw in readers. He made Supergirl and Aquaman interesting for the first time…well, ever…at least in my lifetime…he wrote a really fun book with Young Justice and he also wrote Fallen Angel for DC, one of the best monthly books of the last 10 years.

So, they cancel all 4 books, tell him his plans are unusable, use them anyway except with lesser writers at the helm, and pretty much piss all over the continuity he established. Now DC doesn’t even know who their Aquaman is, the YJ members are all pretty much dead, forgotten or unrecognizable now, and David’s Supergirl was replaced with the insipidly stupid Paris Hilton version. Bravo, DC, bravo…

Joe Young:

Hawkeye (and his abrasive personality) has been around since 1964. Green Arrow didn’t develop his Hawkeye-esque personality until 1969. I hadn’t picked up Brave & Bold #85, but did buy the following issue of Justice League. The blatent rip-off was obvious at the time, as there were few abrasive super-heroes in either DC or Marvel.

It should be noted that Marvel would go on to spoof the Green “Hawkeye” Arrow character by having Hawkeye take up a new temporary identity of “The Golden Archer” in Captain America, complete with gold Robin Hood type costume and black goatee. The Hawkeye of The Squadron Supreme would later become a version of The Golden Archer himself, partnered with a Black Canary rip, Lady Lark.

Personalities aside, Green Arrow was never a very original Superhero to begin with. Beside the obvious Robin Hood ties, Centaur’s “The Arrow” and Fawcett’s “Golden Arrow” preceeded Oliver Queen’s introduction in More Fun Comics. What made Green Arrow original at all could be attributed to his Barman rips, the Arrowcar, Arrow Cave, Speedy and trick arrows.

Joe Young:

As far as Aquaman/Namor. That’s simple.

Namor has always been a regal, pompous, feared & untrusting, King of The Seven Seas. Aquaman was well-loved by his Atlantean subjects, admired as a hero by the surface world, and never so much as scowled (well, except for the death of Aqua-Baby). You could have taken the “new” Aquaman series, recolored Arthur’s hair black, pasted The Sub-Mariner over Aquaman on the cover, made the appropriate name changes on the inside pages and I doubt 90% of the readers would have suggested this was more an Aquaman story than Namor.

” I can see DC’s point about the redundancy of killing off another high-profile character, though.”

…that was sarcasm, right?

Nope. Just trying to look at it from DC’s POV in the mid-90s. After the worldwide the Death of Superman got in 1993, would you REALLY want to kill off another publicly-known hero like Aquaman just 2-3 years later? And then bring him back a short time later in an altered form? Probably not.

Agree with you that The Atlantis Chronicles is an unfairly overlooked book, though (REPRINT THIS IN A TRADE, DC!!!). It’s undoubtedly the best thing PAD ever did with Aquaman’s world. But the Brother vs. Brother motif was a part of Aquaman before that — Bob Haney (IIRC) revealed that Ocean Master was Aquaman’s brother back in the late 60s.

by RJ Sterling

Were I Peter David I wouldn’t have been amused that my ideas appeared to have been stolen, I’d have raised a fuss.

My wife used to be pretty widely read back in the days of Trek Fanzines, and she got to sit at a table once during a luncheon with Peter David because a story of his seemed to be remarkably similar to one of her’s. Coinky-dink??

Ummmm….let me amend that….a character in one of her original stories showed up in one of his stories….didn’t mean to get sloppy with the language, there. :oops:

Phil Jimenez made Garth “Tempest”. It’s the miniseries where Jimenez publicly came out of the closet, too.

As far as Namor/Aquaman goes, I can see why people make the comparision but I think they still stood out as being fairly distinct . While both had some anger that needed (or still needs) to get worked out, Namor is boisterous and proud, while post-David Aquaman seemed more bitter and depressed. Now I admit I haven’t actually read any of PAD’s Aquaman series (at the time I rarely read anything other then X-Men) but that’s the impression I get from his JLA appearances and the Timmverse JL/JLU appearances. So I think that while there was definately some common ground, they stood apart when you really looked at them.

Brian: You said “Peter DaviS” not “Peter DaviD” was planning…

What the hell?!?!

I’ve done that, like, three times now! I feel like I have some sort of weird mental condition that I keep spelling it that way (The simpler answer is that the keys are right next to each other on the keyboard, but me being crazy is more interesting).

I really think PAD is one of the best writers out there. I loved his rendition of Supergirl, taking a character that had been basically discarded by DC by the COIE, and bringing her back to prominence for 80 issues. And yes, it was Matrix, not Kara Zor-El who was the prominent character… . but Kara Zor-El DID appear towards the end of PAD’s 80-issue run, the last issue of which was cover-dated March 2003.

Imagine my surprise, then, to read the tribute to Michael Turner in DC Nation #123, especially the part where Supergirl is mentioned… . “Gone for nearly 20 years, Michael, working with Jeph (Loeb), returned the character….. ” So sorry, but why the swipe at PAD? 80 issues isn’t bad— consistent writers who stay on titles for extended periods of time are not that easy to find, but PAD is one of them… DC Comics –and yes, DC Comics is the correct thing to say, because if you look at the DC Nation page in any recent DC Comics comic, you will see that is how they identify themselves– took a fairly liberal swipe at PAD by snubbing his version of Supergirl and the fact that he did bring back Kara Zor-el in late ’02-’03…

Anyway, Kara Zor-el was not ‘gone for 20 years’, but obviously, nobody at DC really cares.

PAD has plenty of reasons to be irked at DC, it seems…

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

August 22, 2008 at 3:46 pm

It’s always weird when I see a post from Vinnie. I imagine he feels the same way.

I alway’s thought Peter David’s Aquaman was more “Conan with gills” than Namor.

While I didn’t care for that take on the character in the least, I imagine my opinion of David’s Aquaman run would be quite different if he had been allowed to complete his story. Shame, really …

Nope. Just trying to look at it from DC’s POV in the mid-90s. After the worldwide the Death of Superman got in 1993, would you REALLY want to kill off another publicly-known hero like Aquaman just 2-3 years later? And then bring him back a short time later in an altered form? Probably not.

Because here at DC Comics, we don’t tell stories, we sell stunts.

I get and understand the bad timing of the whole thing, but the wording there still irks me. Also, as far as publicly known heroes go, I’d bet more people would be glad to see Aquaman die than Superman.

R. J. Sterling
“if you you don’t make Aquaman and Green Arrow darker, how do you make them interesting at all for the times?”

*irk*

When did “dark” become synonomous with “good” ? Its as simplistic as saying making something “light” will automatically make it good.
Actually, the only way to make something good is to…make something good.

Indiana Jones, Star Wars (1977), Ghostbusters, E.T. Beverly Hills Cop. All succussful 80s films (all bigger than Dark Knight) that were ‘light’. This was before the 90s,when people started confusing ‘dark’ with ‘good’.

G.I.Joe, Transformers, Spider-man, Justice League International, Teen Titans. All huge 80s comic books that sold better than any “dark” comic publshed today.

So, to answer your question, you could just hire a writer with some imagination that knows how to make good stories: dark, light, romantic violent, magical, realistic…whatever the genre.

Rolf P- Please. It was a loving tribute to Turner, not a swipe at David. Get a grip.

Regarding the paying of licenses for intellectual property:
I recall an radio interview I heard a number of years ago in which an author was describing ways corporations pull accounting tricks to avoid paying taxes. He described a method whereby large corporations could form subsidiaries or holding companies that would be incorporated off shore or in some country with specifically advantageous tax codes. Then they sell the property off to these smaller entities and go on to pay them annual royalties to use their own IP. So the company holding the IP pays lower or no taxes and the parent company records it as a business expense, even though they’re paying themselves in the end. And the royalties are not taxed in the US until the money comes back to the parent. The theoretical example he gave was a company like Nike selling off their “swoosh” logo and then paying a fee to use it every year.

For a company like Marvel that plan seems like a neat idea, but it’s probably more complicated than how I described it for it to really work. It would be interesting to find out where Marvel Characters, Inc is officially located for tax purposes. Is that in the book?

Also, she was only “back” for one story arc. She was never intended to be back in the DC universe on an ongoing basis, so it doesn’t even count as a return.

1) Marvel Characters, Inc. is officially located in Los Angeles, where Marvel Studios is. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Avi Arad and Isaac ‘Ike’ Perlmutter saw Marvel as possessing IP (intellectual properties) to be exploited in other media, not as a comic book company. Perlmutter, by many accounts, has never even read a comic book. (That’s right, comic book fans – out in the real world, normal people don’t have the deep rooted emotional attachment to comic books that the schmucks that buy them do). Shutting the comic book division down and just licensing the characters for lunch boxes, toyes, movies, etc., was seriously considered. You know, like what happened to Harvey Comics. Remember Harvey?

2) Perelman may have bought Marvel for $80 million, but he borrowed $70 million of that. He only put up $10 million of his own money. The judge at Marvel’s bankruptcy hearings figured out that Perelman’s personal company (not Marvel) pocketed $240 million from the sale of Marvel junk bonds. That’s money that Perelman held onto, and was not recirculated back into Marvel. In other words, that’s how much he personally profited from basically mortaging Marvel through junk bonds which he never really had any intention of ever redeeming. The bonds were ultimately deemed worthless in bankruptcy court.

3) On the issue of Aquaman, from The Titans Companion Volume 2 (click my name to download a preview!), here’s what Peter David said about what happened on Aquaman after he left:

“What I was gonna do [was] a storyline in which everyone believed Aquaman was dead, and he was going to be out of the book for six months, and Aqualad was essentially going to take over as Aquaman. I was told that I couldn’t do that, and then I left the book. Then a couple of years later, that’s exactly what they did. Go figure.”

That’s The Titans Companion Volume 2, available at Amazon.com! ( http://www.amazon.com/Titans-Companion-2-Glen-Cadigan/dp/189390587X )

“Phil Jimenez made Garth “Tempest”. It’s the miniseries where Jimenez publicly came out of the closet, too.”

How do you come out in a mini series? Was there a text piece in the back or something?

Ok, Brian, I have a possible question for you: Why was the Mike W. Barr run on Detective so short? Did he get people too mad with his Son of the Demon graphic novel or was there some other reason?
Those issues he did with Alan Davis were really good…

” Perlmutter, by many accounts, has never even read a comic book. (That’s right, comic book fans – out in the real world, normal people don’t have the deep rooted emotional attachment to comic books that the schmucks that buy them do). Shutting the comic book division down and just licensing the characters for lunch boxes, toyes, movies, etc., was seriously considered. You know, like what happened to Harvey Comics. Remember Harvey?”

Screw you, Glen. Am I a schmuck because I’m too stupid to actually pay for the art I enjoy or because I actually read comics? From your hermetically-sealed geekness on the second response, I’d guess you, at least once, read them. Your a schmuck.

“Who was supposed to publish the “Wild Wild West” comic? I assume DC, because “Wild Wild West” was a WB movie…”

From what I’ve read, different arms of WB (until recently) didn’t feel compelled to work with one another. Actually, I believe there were recent stories about different divisions were actually OVER-charging each other. Though THAT’S probably the tax games going on. Brian?? (I’d really like some clarity on the accusations they were’t working in each other’s favor, at least.

“Yeah, terrible idea. Certainly didn’t work out for them, business-wise. I mean, look at the horrible things it did, took them from bankruptcy to having one of the most successful film slates ever under their total control…oh…oh, wait…”

Ohhh, I believe that had more to do with Arad’s tenure. From what I’ve heard, he’s the idea-guy behind the current movie-bananza. From what I’ve heard, Marvel took a raw deal on X-Men to make sure it was done right so they could start making big money on films (like they are now).

-Tano

To Mike: It’s a truism that the dark, damaged characters are more interesting. :)

Well, I hope Susan Sackett took Peter David to task for the appropriated character.

They were awesome, Sterg, but they didn’t really gel with the tone of the Bat-books at the time. After DKR and Year One, maybe Barr’s stuff- specifically the way he wrote Jason Todd- was a little too light-hearted? Who knows?

Davis definitely left because of editorial interference, though. He talks about it in his really great Modern Masters volume.

Wild Wild West ? They should of cancelled the movie after the first first pages of script. I mean, I only saw the first half hour but… man! That’s bad.

Squashua
August 22, 2008 at 10:35 am
I always thought that though the harpoon hand made for cool imagery, Aquaman losing his hand was a pretty lame idea. His primary superpower is that HE SWIMS!!!!!!

It’s like giving him a peg leg.
———————————————–

Uh, I really think you might want to reconsider what Aquaman’s primary SUPERpower is. It’s not “swimming”; it’s telepathy (albeit a fairly restricted form). Swimming is a NATURAL ability for the character. He’s an aquatic being, so swimming is as much a super power for him as it is for a whale or a shark.
Further, swimming does NOT require the use of hands. Look at the different species of aquatic animals and you’ll find very few have “hands”. Whales lack hands, dolphins lack hands, sea snakes lack hands, sharks lack hands. Yet not one of those creatures has trouble swimming. (For an alternate view of how a human might swim, find an episode of “The Man from Atlantis”, a mid 1970s series starring Patrick Duffy. Duffy’s character would swim with his arms at his sides, propelling himself with his legs and looking very much like the way a dolphin or whale swims.)

“So, they cancel all 4 books, tell him his plans are unusable, use them anyway except with lesser writers at the helm, and pretty much piss all over the continuity he established. Now DC doesn’t even know who their Aquaman is, the YJ members are all pretty much dead, forgotten or unrecognizable now, and David’s Supergirl was replaced with the insipidly stupid Paris Hilton version. Bravo, DC, bravo…”

Word.

From RJ Sterling
Well, I hope Susan Sackett took Peter David to task for the appropriated character.

Nope….Susan Sackett is not my wife, nor the lady in question. ;)

I honestly don’t see how anyone who read PAD’s Aquaman could compare it to Namor. Sure, if you distil the characterization down to a 3×5 index card, you could cherry pick bits of personality to make the two appear similiar. But, the whole story wasn’t even something one could expect out of Marvel, much less Namor.

Aquaman was, from my reading, slowly turning into Swamp Thing. He communed with The Clear, the same way Swamp Thing was communing with The Green and Animal Man was communing with The Red. His adventures were steeped in mythology and the supernatural. I bet if it had been a Vertigo comic instead of a mainstream DC book no one would have batted an eye.

What I always found ironic about DC’s stance that killing off two “popular” title characters would alienate readers is that it was PAD’s work on Aquaman, and Morrison’s maintainance of the same character personality and continuity in JLA, that made the character “popular” in the first place. It was like they were saying, “I’m sorry, but you made the character sell to well to continue with the story that made it popular.”

Theno

Mammalian Verisimilitude

August 23, 2008 at 4:35 pm

> Also, she was only “back” for one story arc. She was never intended to be back in the DC universe on an ongoing basis, so it doesn’t even count as a return.

If that was referencing the Kara Zor-El thing; http://peterdavid.malibulist.com/archives/001127.html

“Screw you, Glen. Am I a schmuck because I’m too stupid to actually pay for the art I enjoy or because I actually read comics? From your hermetically-sealed geekness on the second response, I’d guess you, at least once, read them. Your a schmuck.”

Tano,

Your response validates my sarcasm. Only the people who read comic books treat them religiously. To everyone else (namely, the people that actually OWN the characters in question), they are commodities like bricks, televisions, mobile homes, etc.. I remember when Marvel was in Chapter 11, there were people who could not conceive of a universe without Marvel comic books in it because Marvel had always been around in their lifetime, ergo it would always be around. Marvel was no more sacred than any other company that had filed for bankruptcy. Marvel came very, very close to getting out of the comic book business, and the people that would have made that decision would not have cared one whit for you or anyone else that thinks that comic books are important. You wouldn’t even have been on their radar.

How is presenting the accurate facts as to how Ronald Perelman bought Marvel “hermetically-sealed geekness”? Unless accuracy doesn’t count anymore?

Glen, buddy. I don’t know shit Marvel’s bankruptcy issues, nor do I care. You’ve got me pegged for the wrong guy. If Marvel ended tomorrow, my life would go on, so spout on, cause you’re preaching to the choir.

“Your response validates my sarcasm. Only the people who read comic books treat them religiously. To everyone else (namely, the people that actually OWN the characters in question), they are commodities like bricks, televisions, mobile homes, etc..”

This is where I take issue. That’s fine if that’s your opinion. BUT, do you take time to comment on mobile home websites, too? Fuckiung BRICK websites?

This is not a brick. Art is not a brick (though x-men might sometimes be a brick.) If there were less of you and more of me, comics might not be novelty-items.

You’re the schmuck. Bloiw me.

I always assumed that the whole “Marvel Characters Inc.” thing was a sort of safeguard. There was a lot of talk in the fan press at the time that if Marvel Comics went bankrupt, DC might buy the X-Men, Todd McFarlane might buy Spider-Man, etc. Characters could be auctioned off. I imagined Marvel Characters was formed so that if Marvel Comics went bankrupt, Marvel Characters would still exist independently and own the characters. A new publisher could then be formed, for example Marvelous Comics or Marvel Periodicals, and license the characters from Marvel Characters.

Didn’t Pat Lee do something like that? Sell the Intellectual Property of DreamWave to his new company DreamEngine? Or something like that, I don’t remember…

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 24, 2008 at 5:45 pm

(this was the film that had a giant robot spider, which supposedly the producer of the film, Jon Peters, wanted in the Superman film he was producing at the time and when that didn’t work out, it ended up in this film, instead).

He also wanted it in an adaptation of Gaimans Sandman.

It’s pretty funny that you can find interviews with two prominent comic writers talking about a guy trying to force a giant spider into two different scripts.

Brian From Canada

August 25, 2008 at 6:48 am

Actually, Dalarsco, Kara Zor-El wasn’t supposed to be there for just one arc: as a previous Legend points out, PAD was planning on using Kara, Linda and Power Girl in a series called Supergirls. DC pulled the plug on that idea because the Superman books were introducing a dark-haired Supergirl and they didn’t want the confusion — a mistake in a lot of people’s books.

Brian From Canada

August 25, 2008 at 7:06 am

I don’t know where you got the lack of compulsion from, Tano, because Warner’s was BUILT as an entertainment company on the concept of “corporate synergy”: no costs for licensing because the company owns the license in another division.

There’s a number of great articles about it in relation to Burton’s Batman — including how the only company that didn’t want to play along was DC because they were so upset with the film they even considered killing off the character in response.

If DC didn’t produce a Wild Wild West comic, it would have come down to one of two possible decisions: poor sales expectations or actor image licenses. Brian proves it to be the latter here.

As for Arad and his ability to turn it into a movie slate: Arad said after coming to power that Perlmutter would license the films in such a way to not get made so that Revlon could use the losses at Marvel to lessen its income for tax purposes. Arad was the one who pushed for the cartoons so he could sell more toys — and he’s responsible for X-Men, Spider-Man Unlimited, Avengers: United They Stand, etc. Which all sucked by most fan’s opinions at the time.

Fox bought the license for X-Men, Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer right out because (a) the animated series made money, (b) they expected they could do a Batman-style marketing push, and (c) it was cheap at $500k because Marvel was so desperate. Marvel wasn’t even being looked at as a movie slate until AFTER X-Men was made and that had less to do with Arad and more to do with the fact that X-Men made money, Blade made money, and Spider-Man was going to make money. And even then, it was expected to be a temporary fad at best like it had been in the 90s until lesser characters (not Marvel) were beginning to make money.

Arad was VERY un-fan friendly. He basically came out and said fan opinions on the ‘net were best ignored. Arad was also reportedly pushing for complete changes to the uniforms from film to film so that he could have new sets of toys. He NEVER cared for the characters beyond their marketability: one of the main reasons for Bob Harris getting fired was the inability of the comic division to profit from the X-Men movie.

And then there’s the whole Stan Lee miscalculation.

The real recognition of Marvel as powerhouse — especially the $585 floating loan Marvel has to produce movies on their own — came after Arad left in 2006 after months of speculation that he was going to become a license broker rather than a film producer.

“and he’s responsible for X-Men, Spider-Man Unlimited, Avengers: United They Stand, etc. Which all sucked by most fan’s opinions at the time.”

Well, X-Men wasn’t too bad (it just had the misfortune of coming out prior to BTAS re-writing the book when it came to cartoon heroes; the first Spidey animated series was post-BTAS, and holds up a lot better as a result). The latter two… yikes. Unlimited in particular was a massive misstep, and Spider-Man hasn’t ever really recovered as a TV property (the current series is the closest they’ve gotten).

“Marvel wasn’t even being looked at as a movie slate until AFTER X-Men was made and that had less to do with Arad and more to do with the fact that X-Men made money, Blade made money, and Spider-Man was going to make money.”

Yeah, X-Men was probably the real tipping point, since Singer delivered it (IIRC) within budget and it made tons of money, which opened a lot of execs’ eyes. And the reaction of the fan community – namely, that it miraculously didn’t suck – led to the benefit of the doubt being given to Spidey, which is what REALLY sent things into the stratosphere.

And while I don’t think Harras should’ve taken the fall for it, the X-Men comics around the time of the movie’s release really should have done more to springboard off the movie’s success. Then again, I have the feeling that even Marvel were stunned it was as well-received as it was.

Having X-Men comics involved in a multi-part, continuity-heavy story while the movie was out was a bonehead move. Price of, and lack of distribution for comics, however, probably had more to do with sales not increasing. After Batman (’89), I went out and bought part 1 of “Dark Knight, Dark City” at a convenience store. In 2000, the comics were at the comic book stores and (almost) nowhere else.

I never knew that about David’s plans. Sounds cool. While my actually statement was factually incorrect, my point still stands that her appearance in Linda’s book, despite awesome, was a footnote in the character’s history and as far as ongoing stories are concerned she stopped being an active character at the time of her death and returned in Loeb’s Superman/Batman.

Brian,

I believe, I read the “rumor” about DC in a semi-recent Lying in the Gutters. It might have been the same one that told a story about a then-recent meeting between a Warner’s exec and a Vertigo exec which resulted in Vertigo changing their creator-owned contracts. Warner’s weren’t in the loop about that, apparently. I’d do the footwork on that, but I don’t have the time today.

“There’s a number of great articles about it in relation to Burton’s Batman — including how the only company that didn’t want to play along was DC because they were so upset with the film they even considered killing off the character in response.”

Doesn’t that PROVE a lack of synergy. Jeez….write an outline first.

“Well, X-Men wasn’t too bad (it just had the misfortune of coming out prior to BTAS re-writing the book when it came to cartoon heroes; the first Spidey animated series was post-BTAS, and holds up a lot better as a result). ”

Well said. I (as a fan) was pretty impressed at the time. Afterall, they were the best we had at the time. I think Wizard burned up plenty of pages on them (not that THAT”S any sign of quality.)

“Yeah, X-Men was probably the real tipping point, since Singer delivered it (IIRC) within budget and it made tons of money, which opened a lot of execs’ eyes. And the reaction of the fan community – namely, that it miraculously didn’t suck – led to the benefit of the doubt being given to Spidey, which is what REALLY sent things into the stratosphere.”

Absolutely, Stephen. And I thought I remember reading an Arad interview (in Wizard, I think) at the time where he kind of spelled out the Hollywood trajectory at the time. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought he was the juice behind the strategy, at least.

“Arad was VERY un-fan friendly. He basically came out and said fan opinions on the ‘net were best ignored. Arad was also reportedly pushing for complete changes to the uniforms from film to film so that he could have new sets of toys. He NEVER cared for the characters beyond their marketability: one of the main reasons for Bob Harris getting fired was the inability of the comic division to profit from the X-Men movie.”

First, he was RIGHT about “fans.” If you want the prerogitive of fans to rule, read fan fiction. Especially fans who bitch and whine on the internet.

Second, SO WHAT he wanted to sell toys. the x-men are a KID”S comic. If you’re selling toys, you’re probably doing something RIGHT. Now I want good stories as much as anyone, but this ain’t shakespeare. Good comics and selling toys are not mutually exclusive.

Third, Bob Harris and Rob Liefeld could have saved the nineties comics-wise by being aborted. Harris just couldn’t imagine a comic that was understandable without having read the whole line. That was the best decision Marvel ever made. Say what you want about Quesada, but who in this room is rooting for a return to the Harris-era?

And he just couldn’t find a way to capitalize on the movie? Make all the exuses you want about no one expecting it to be a hit, but it was a big-budget summer movie with a decent director/cast and MASSIVE buildup/fan speculation. Making a strong effort to sell comics to the movie crowd is only as hard a foregone conclusion as being able to chew gum and walk. Even WILD WILD WEST was gonna get a tie-in (With BUTCH GUICE) for god’s sake. That guy was TERRIBLE!

And, finally, Arad may have left two years ago, but don’t you think all their major strategies which you see being played out today are AT LEAST that old???

Ohh, yeah. AND Glen still blows me.

Tano

Brian From Canada

August 26, 2008 at 6:02 am

Tano —

Warner’s wouldn’t normally meet with a Vertigo exec because Vertigo execs are supposed to report to DC execs (and DC to Warner’s). And that’s one ISOLATED incident which only underlines the importance of synergy — a concept you clearly aren’t understanding fully. In synergy, there are no licenses; in synergy, all divisions of the company produce products because it’s more profitable to do it yourself.

DC *did* make Batman tie-ins. But DC was royally upset by the feature film itself — especially since one of the prime motivations in doing Crisis On Infinite Earths was to clean up the backstory and make it easier for new fans from the film. DC mandates Joker was NEVER to have an origin, and Batman would NEVER show the Batcave to anyone other than his most immediate circle of superhero friends… but the movie opened with Jack becoming the Joker and has Vicki Vale getting the full tour. The memos are covered in a book called Batman Unmasked which goes into a lot of detail about how it was put together.

Arad’s strategy for the films was simple: license everything and then come back to me for how to do it. Wizard is hardly a reliable source for movie news because (a) what they printed was often out of date, and (b) they were notorious for announcing movies that weren’t even close to production. This is Hollywood we’re talking about. There are tons of movies that are in various stages of pre-production but it’s not until you get before the cameras that it’s actually going to be made — and, even then, it’s not a guarantee you’ll see them. The Corman-produced Fantastic Four is one example.

Marvel’s licensing slate also has a lot to do with other companies and other films. Even today, Marvel’s films would not be as important were it not for smaller films (Sin City, V For Vendetta, 300, 30 Days Of Night, etc.) showing the full fertility of the medium for profitable movies — not to mention the lack of ideas in Hollywood overall. [If you doubt that, look at next year's TV season which already has 2 remakes and 2 movie adaptations in the works.]

When I say “fans” I don’t mean the fan fiction-writing ones. I mean those — LIKE YOU — who seem to have even a mild investment in these things as “art” and therefore should have semblance of the original idea in them. Fans had every right to criticize decisions like the black and silver Spider-Man costume being mulled over by Marvel for the film (which Raimi jettisoned right away). If Arad had made Jean Grey an african american, he’d say “Who cares? It’s just a movie.”

That was part of the logic behind the Spider-Man: Unlimited cartoon. The costume was changed but it’s still Spider-Man. It will sell more toys. Never mind that the story premise was completely un-Spideylike and fans of the character rejected it; it was all about selling toys. That was Arad’s profit maker and he saw comics as the ads for toys ONLY. Movies? More commercials for toys.

Harras DID produce X-Men comics for the movie. And he did learn from the experience, which is why Ultimate Spider-Man got added to the slate around the time of the Spider-Man film. It’s all there in interviews. What I am talking about was Chris Claremont’s issues at the direct time of the movie that were completely incomprehensible even for a number of readers.

Marvel’s execs wanted to see big boosts in numbers from the film and saw a drop instead. It was unrealistic to see jumps in numbers — Batman got it, but Batman also was part of the upsurge in sales overall and the actual number of readers for his core books wasn’t as great as purported. But the drop in sales had more to do with the book’s unbelievably bad handling at Claremont’s hands, for which Harras took the blame instead.

The X-Men had already gotten a boost from the cartoon, but that might also have to do with speculators (5 covers for X-Men #1). And while the cartoon was “the best we had” from Marvel, and the first X-Men cartoon to actually work into a series, look again at its competition. NONE of the other animated series based on comics from 1991-1995 had viewers going to the comics and learning what they saw was kinda right and kinda wrong. I worked in a comic store in those years: I remember the confusion on kids’ faces when they had to learn the difference between cartoon comics and real X-Men comics.

I had many kids reject X-Men for its confusion. Not so with Spider-Man, Batman, or even The Tick.

Quesada’s continuity rant about the Harras days wasn’t aimed at Marvel overall, it was aimed at crossovers and at specific products like Mutant X and X-Men: The Hidden Years. And what do we have now? Oh yes, Exiles, First Class, Origins, Legacy… Quesada’s books are MORE continuity-tied than Harras’ were at this point, and that’s without accounting for his whole “restart” attitude towards Spider-Man.

His one big change is how crossovers are handled. But while we’re free to criticize how much better today’s are from yesterday’s, there still has to be an understanding that the industry hadn’t had a lot of experiences around corssovers other than THEY SELL when Harras’ reign was doing things like Onslaught or Age Of Apocalypse. And they did sell — keeping the books near the top of the sales charts.

Crossovers exhausted themselves out of the cycle, but again: THEY. WORKED. Readers and publications like Wizard paid a lot of attention to them. And that interest translated into sales, which was the point of them.

The problem in the nineties was speculators. It was also the comic store — and still is the comic store (because you need to want comics to go into one). Comics were struggling: the 99¢ line, which was much better for kids, was stopped by places like Wal-Mart because the profit line was too small. The industry was having a hard time bringing in new readers and is still struggling to some extent.

I doubt you’d be able to argue effectively that the strong majority of contributors here didn’t read their first comics from somewhere outside the comic store.

Few were complaining about the quality of stories until the very last year, when editorial commands from up high were forcing changes on the stories… commands that were coming from a committee, not just one man. By that point, Seagle and Kelly were taking their complaints to the Internet and building up fan ire there.

Leifeld… well… sure Rob’s art’s got problems. But have you ever seen the man at a convention with kids at his booth? Rob gets people excited about comics. Which is a lot more than I can say about Jim Lee (who refused to sign a book for a 10-year old at the con I attended because the kid was one spot past his “end of the hour” limit) or Todd “toys are my life” MacFarlane. There are a lot more people we can all respect in the industry — but blaming its weaknesses on one or two men is the wrong way to go.

“To Mike: It’s a truism that the dark, damaged characters are more interesting. “–No, it’s a bullshitism.

“Even today, Marvel’s films would not be as important were it not for smaller films (Sin City, V For Vendetta, 300, 30 Days Of Night, etc.)”

I think that was good for comic book movies as a whole, but weren’t Marvel’s films already doing well by that point, before any of these other filme came out? Spider-Man I and X-men I had both done extremely well by that point, the Blade series will doing well enough to keep having sequals made, and even DD made a decent profit…

“His one big change is how crossovers are handled. But while we’re free to criticize how much better today’s are from yesterday’s, there still has to be an understanding that the industry hadn’t had a lot of experiences around corssovers other than THEY SELL when Harras’ reign was doing things like Onslaught or Age Of Apocalypse. And they did sell — keeping the books near the top of the sales charts.”

I miss the early 2000s, especially the Cross-over free years at Marvel.

“Aqualad, who David also re-envisioned as a much more serious and powerful character named Tempest.”

Don’t know if anyone pointed this out, since you all get so many comments that it’d take me forever to see if they did…but Phil Jimenez created the Tempest persona for Garth. Changed my life.

“How do you come out in a mini series? Was there a text piece in the back or something?”

Yeah. Around that time, Phil Jimenez wrote a very touching text piece about, I believe, someone he was close with who he had lost. In it, he came out to the world. Gutsy, IMO.

I don’t care what silver age fanboys say. David’s take on Aquaman > Any other version of Aquaman out there.

“To Mike: It’s a truism that the dark, damaged characters are more interesting. “–No, it’s a bullshitism.
-Jono11

I have to agree. Dark, damaged characters CAN be interesting in the hands of a good writer, just like light characters can. Its all depends on the talents of the writer.

I think we all must recognize that since at least the late 1980s, North American pop culture has been in a dark phase that has affected television, film, music and comics.

Let’s not forget that when comic books actually were a part of the pop landscape from the 1940s to the 1970s, the stories all featured fairly well-rounded, noble characters in bright, colourful adventures. Then, when comic strip based characters like the ones in Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the rest of the Lucas/Spielburg canon were brought to film, they dominated the box office and created the modern blockbuster era.

ParanoidObsessive

November 22, 2008 at 4:44 am

>>> As I recall Jim Shooter intended to buy Marvel, but lost to Perelman in the bidding war. He’s probably still pissed off.

He did – in fact, it was the consortium of investors that he gathered together who were later repurposed to start up their OWN comic company, which is what later led to Valiant.

Of course, we all know how that went… and it’s a shame, because at the time, when Shooter was still on-board, it honestly seemed to be producing titles which were head and shoulders above most of what Marvel and DC were producing (and certainly better than the all-style, no substance product of Image). He seems to be one of the only actual people involved in that venture who saw it as a chance to form a real and lasting comic company, though – most of his investors just wanted the chance to realize a profit by building the company up and selling it off. Hard to fault them for it, though, since they WERE venture capitalists, and the entire POINT was to realize profit…

Incidentally, it’s “Salma” Hayek. I think “Selma Hayek” was Marge Simpson’s long lost half sister. Best thing about that movie.

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