Comic Store Owner Perch reacts to Marvel’s “Absolute Carnage” and “Future Foundation” Events
One of the more objective & insightful voices commenting on the comic book industry is Perch, an anonymous comic book shop owner who has appeared on several social media channels including the Larry King and Alterna Comics YouTube channels.
Below are Perch’s thoughts on how Marvel’s editorial practices are evident in two of the company’s current events: Absolute Carnage and Future Foundation.
This week we got Absolute Carnage #1 and Future Foundation #1. Two new number one issues, both out in the same week. One is billed as the “top event” this year, the other a teen-friendly book by the creator of the Wasp. And… there’s one more similarity that makes me angry. Both comics (both out in the same week) use the same character as part of their story. In both cases, the character is promised to have an impact as the story goes on. Problem is… this same character is drawn – and more importantly written completely different – in both books.
Here’s The Maker, aka Reed Richards from the Ultimate universe. (below) He’s been appearing in Venom for a while now and he’s stated to be working on a device around the symbitotes. (Donny) Cates has been building him up as a key player in his book.
Also, here’s the Maker who appears as part of a prison breakout that Julie Power is conducting for the Future Foundation. (below) He hasn’t appeared in the (Fantastic Four) title yet, and apparently has been in space jail for some time. Enough to gather a gang anyway.
This isn’t new. For some baffling reason Marvel continues to latch onto villians and use them in multiple titles all at once, written in wildly different ways. Daken, Ultron, Kraven; it feels like there is a mandate to use characters across books with no editorial control.
Future Foundation is edited by Sarah Brunstad, Absolute Carnage is edited by Devin Lewis. Brunstad reports into Tom Brevoort, Lewis reports into Nick Lowe. Both report into CB Cebulski. A main purpose of editorial is to prevent this nonsense and avoid brand confusion.
Now, some are quick to point out that this isn’t a big deal. Who cares? The books are marketed to different audiences so does it matter? Funny thing though; it used to matter a lot. (Jim) Shooter was aggressive about not letting inconsistent takes run simultaneously. What changed?
The answer is seemingly nothing: in a recent conversation at a Con, CB (Cebulski) expressed a high desire to maintain continuity and not confuse readers. So with five editors how do things like this happen? Is this an oversight or done on purpose?
When the company advertises writer and editorial summits to coordinate plans… wouldn’t someone point out that a key character in Cates’ Venom and big event storyline shouldn’t be shoved into a new #1 (Fantastic Four) spinoff in literally the same week? Isn’t that what the summits are for?
Maybe it’s not a big deal. Except as people inside the company struggle to understand why new comics don’t take off and why the business is stuttering… maybe some of these things DO matter. Like, a whole lot. Because in the end it comes down to caring about the product.
I know this little topic isn’t big enough to get coverage on the big (YouTube) channels. It isn’t juicy enough or has enough elements of outrage and drama. But I think THIS is one of the big cancers right now in comics. It sends a message to customers being asked to drop $4 a book.
If anyone has the ear of the big followed, big subscriber channels: get them to pay attention to this. Because it’s this stuff that dilutes characters, sends a message that it all doesn’t matter, and it hurts commitment… which all of us in comics need badly right now.
PS: Meanwhile (Jonathan) Hickman creates a f**king graphical timeline chart to help explain and clarify continuity that spans multiple pages. (above) People within the company proceed to wonder aloud why the book sales are so successful and high. It’s as if people like it when people give a s**t.