Thursday, December 30, 2004

Warlock - What was the point exactly?

As I get ready to read the last issue of Marvel's excellent Warlock (retroactively mini-) series, I have to take a moment to reflect about the sheer insanity surrounding this series and ask the question...what was the point of this series exactly?

Yes, I understand that, like many series, the "point" was to make a good comic book.

But come on, you and I both know that's not enough nowadays.

So what was Marvel thinking with this book?

First off, it's freakin' WARLOCK.

Who doesn't exactly have the largest fanbase in all of comics. However, a recent Thanos series was actually keeping ABOVE the typical mark for cancellation, so there clearly is A market out there for Starlin fans.

Okay, but to this small market of fans, Marvel offered up a series that had almost NOTHING to do with Starlin's Warlock!!!

So what was the point?

Offering an intelligent, thought-inspiring comic book...but one that had nothing but a passing connection to a character whose fan support was niche-y at best to begin with!

Okay...okay...that is not THAT bad...after all, Sandman was not exactly a household name. So I guess Marvel could at least hype this project...after all, Joe Quesada was recently quoted in an interview saying how upset he is that more people don't read Warlock.

Here's the solicitation support for Warlock #1.

"In a world on the brink, humankind’s time is running out, but deep in the jungles of South America a solution is being forged, a solution that will bring about a grand new utopia — and that solution is Adam Warlock! Warlock is written by director/screenwriter Greg Pak (Robot Stories) with art by Charlie Adlard (THE WALKING DEAD, Batman/Scarface) and covers by Eisner-Award winner J.H. Williams III (Promethea). Prepare yourself for the brave new world of Warlock!"

That's IT!

No article, nothing.

So it's almost like this was Marvel's answer to the zen question of "if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there, does it make a sound?"

"If an excellent book is released with no fanfare or support, alienating the only possible support it could have, was there a point to it?"

Ah well...the time for bemoaning is over, now it's time for me to actually read the issue.


Blogger Brad Curran said...

Paul O'Brian's year in review at the X-Axis has some interesting stuff about how many X-Books have a decent reason for being published. Seems like the same problem here.

12/30/2004 02:18:00 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

I always felt that it was a way to publish something written by Greg Pak before they put out Phoenix: endsong so it wouldn't seem like they were giving the "last" Phoenix story to an unknown.

At SDCC, Quesada was talking about how he loves Pak, he feels that Pak is one of the best new writers he's read, but for whatever reason they've had to kill a bunch of projects he was working on in the past year for legal reasons or something.

Warlok was probably just to get his name out there.

12/30/2004 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

So this WAS one of those retroactive minis . . .can't say I'm surprised. But this was an excellent book. And this last issue even brought in the old boring Starlin version and had him do something worthwhile, and even ended on an interesting, set-up note.

But what WAS the point? It's clear that the marketing folks at the big 2 are about as clueless as that kid in high school who believed there was a prize that came out if you ever "finished" a water fountain (true story). Beautiful covers, great interior art, interesting premise, strong characters (male, female, non-white), and even humor. And POOF it's gone.


12/30/2004 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the reasons Marvel does series like these is to re-establish their ownership of characters. They go through their files and find characters who haven't done anything for awhile and get someone to pitch a series.
The titles aren't supported as it is immaterial whether or not they sell.
The crunch may also have been part of the post-Jemas intellectual (and political) conservativism running through Marvel like a plague at the moment.


12/31/2004 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

Welcome Pol, by the way.

I assume most of the "copyright comics" aren't usually of such a high quality.

I mean, JH Williams covers! Charlie Adlard, hot from The Walking Dead! Sigh.

12/31/2004 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Alexandre said...

Another difference between Sandman and Warlock (of many of them, of course) is that, in Sandman, Gaiman treated the previous incarnations of the character with wit and respect, handling even goofy concepts like the Jack Kirby's version of Sandman with care.

In Warlock, quite the opposite happens: all the Starlin-era elements are ridiculed and made fun of: the original costume (used as an example of "cheesy stuff that just doesn't work") and the super-hero genre as a whole (in the first issue's dialogue). I can't see the point in doing that. Who Marvel thought would read a Warlock comic? Non-super-heroes readers?

1/03/2005 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

If, when writing a superhero comic, you can't have a little fun at your own expense, then what's the point? I didn't see it as disrespectful. It's Adam Warlock, not Jesus. Besides, in the final issue, Adam showed up and actually had one of the few appearances where he was bearable.

1/03/2005 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

But Joe, like Alexandre said, Marvel certainly wasn't marketing this book to NON-Warlock fans (okay, they had a small push RIGHT before the book came out, when all retailers already had their orders in place), so it is odd that, without marketing the book to non-Warlock fans, they release the book that is anathema to Jim Starlin's Warlock.

Just a strange, strange state of affairs.

1/03/2005 11:28:00 AM  
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