Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Marvel Bullpen as marketing tool

… to extol the virtues of these creators would seem to have the potential to drive people to more consumption of Marvel product. No, it’s not 1.5 billion dollars in movie tickets, but I know I’ve bought Disney-related material presented to me via the idea of the Nine Old Men; I don’t know why Marvel Bullpen isn’t a similar organizing principle for that company.

Tom Spurgeon, explaining why it’s weird that Marvel Studios doesn’t make a bigger deal about the creators of its characters.

It makes sense, right? I don’t know when the last Visionaries collection came out, but at one point Marvel saw potential in marketing comics based on the names of legendary creators. Think how much better those collections could sell if the names were known by the general public. Seems like an opportunity for corporate synergy that they’re just walking away from for no reason that’s been explained very well.

(Bullpen photos via The Kirby Museum)




I understood that the Marvel Visionaries hardback line underperformed, probably because most of its content was redundant with other series like the Marvel Masterworks and Marvel Premiere Classics. I like the books, though, and think they are nifty as samplers. They’re quite affordable these days at Amazon, etc., as well.

As for using the Marvel Bullpen as a marketing tool, isn’t that exactly what Marvel has tried to do with its ‘Architects’ label the past few years?

Stan sure saw the value of promoting his creators! Reading those Silver Age comics, back then, created by the likes of Sturdy Steve, King Kirby, Jazzy Johnny, Wild Bill Everett, Rascally Roy, and Gene the Dean, helped my generation of readers feel like they were part of something much bigger than mere monthly periodicals. It was like rooting for your favorite baseball team. The bullpen seemed like a TEAM, and we knew all the players!

But Marvel and DC are faceless corporations now. Corporations have no soul. Nor are corporations far-sighted. The suits are interested in profits THIS QUARTER. Six months from now doesn’t matter to the suits, because they’ll probably be working somewhere else by then.

And in their short-sighted greed, the suits are unlikely to promote the artists and writers too much. Gosh, if they did that, the artists and writers would ask for more money. And the executives would rather believe they themselves deserve to make more money, not the mere artists and writers who produce “content”. The executives at Marvel and DC (and Disney and Warners) have the same mentality as the execs at McDonald’s and Burger King: They value the individual artists and writers only a teeny bit more than McDonald’s values the employees who crank out the french fries and burgers.

Yeah, I really don’t see this as very mysterious at all. Frankly, it’s astounding to me that Spurgeon genuinely finds this at all weird.

Only took 2 comments to get to”Corporations are bad,Business is Evil!!” That may be a record.

Didn’t marvel try something with that with “The architects” and then the message boards crapped on them for treating their writers like a marketing tool?

I’m guessing one reason Marvel doesn’t promote their old creators is because it just opens up the door to more “boy those older creators sure were treated like crap” discussions.

@Mike: I’ll agree that Jake’s post is pretty negative on corporate America, but I must have missed the part where anyone said “business is evil”. Spurgeon’s argument is, inherently, that giving more credit to creators would be GOOD for business.

@Joseph: “I’m guessing one reason Marvel doesn’t promote their old creators is because it just opens up the door to more “boy those older creators sure were treated like crap” discussions.”

Sooo they’re worried that if they stopped treating their old creators like crap, people would complain about how they kept treating their old creators like crap?

Yeah, actually that sounds like Marvel Exec Logic to me.

Sal Buscema’s gonna hafta cut a bitch.

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives