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Marvel Ads Nausia

This started off as a review for the second issue of Avengers, but the short and skinny of that was destined to be; I don’t care for John Romita Jr.‘s art and Brian Michael Bendis makes it worth reading.

What caught my eye that inspired this little rant was the advertising in the issue itself. I can understand Marvel hocking Marvel products. I can understand ads for other comics, video games, movies, etc. What I can’t fathom is how effective a marketing campaign for children’s lunch boxes, Popsicles, inflatable pool noodles, Spiderman themed fishing rod toys, footballs and freeze pops could be in a comic that wouldn’t really be read by many kids in elementary school. Is this some kind of misguided edict sent down from on high? Does Disney make these decisions and have no idea what their demographic is? Maybe they know exactly what they’re doing, but I don’t remember the last time a ten year old kid came in the store and started talking to me about how cool Siege was! Comics aren’t targeting little kids anymore, so why is their publicity department doing it?

How will comics garner the respect they deserve as a legitimate literary format if we keep up the pretense that these are written for kids? When parents come in the store and ask what they should have their kids read, you almost always have to explain that comics for kids are their own entity now. Sonic the Hedgehog, Johnny DC, Superhero Squad and so on are not part of regular continuity. Somebody needs to wake up and realize that times have changed. Okay, rant over.

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  • Reply Mike

    It’s difficult, because I think that the editors are trying to make that distinction for sure, but maybe the advertising department isn’t on the same page.

    You mentioned yourself several imprints under which the major publishers are marketing to kids, like Johnny DC. This shows that DiDio and his counterparts are paying attention to this, but that, like you say, the advertisements aren’t reflective of that move forward.

    I wouldn’t blame Warner Bros. or Disney for this, but just the outdated corporate model of separating the departments and focus testing the crap out of everything. The fact of the matter is that Spider-Man and Wolverine both appear in Avengers, and as such, the marketing department probably gets notified that they need more Spider-Man inflatable-water-wing ads for that comic. More than likely, a computer programmed algorithm made that decision, and not a real human being.

    It’s just the way they THINK they’re supposed to be doing business. That, and I’ll bet that print advertising revenues are down, so they’re padding their issues with their own ads for licensed products just to subsidize the cost of printing issues.

    At the end of the day, I think this is just a necessary evil of comic books. If you’re gonna read the issues, you gotta flip past the crappy ads. It’s just the way it is…

    June 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply Kurtis Findlay

    While comics are not being marketed toward kids, movies and tv shows are. A lot of that merch is to support film and TV.

    Plus, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, Hulk and more recently, X-Men have now become national icons. Kids don’t have to have ever read a comic book in order to know who these superheroes are.

    The same can be said about other iconic characters like Bugs Bunny, Popeye the Sailor and the Flintstones. When were any other these characters recently shoved in the public eye? Not in a very long time. Yet ask any child and I bet you they can identify them.

    These marketing companies are making money off of the iconic status of these superheroes, not to help promote the comics.

    June 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm
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