The Walking Dead creator and undead savant, Robert Kirkman, has fired a broadside at Marvel Comics claiming they are "destroying the industry."
Talking during a panel discussion at Image Comics' second annual Image Expo, Kirkman took at swipe at his former employers, raging that they are "a poorly run company that is partially destroying the comic book industry," while also claiming that Marvel's upper management are "extremely short-sighted" and stating that he would rather focus on "long game" storytelling instead.
Before we get incandescent with rage at the temerity of somebody criticizing the house of Marvel, it's worth looking at the reasons for Kirkman's outburst.
The problem Kirkman has with Marvel stems from his time as an employer at the company and what he sees as their 'success-at-all-costs' mantra.
Kirkman left Marvel for Image Comics due to what he perceived were unfair working practices. The accusation is that the all-powerful studio makes stacks of cash off the merchandising of its artists creations, while the artists themselves get very little compensation in terms of royalties.
The second issue Kirkman has with Marvel is their constant rebooting of their franchises and some of the ridiculous storylines they concoct to keep readers interested.
Whereas Spawn and The Walking Dead over at Image Comics are playing the 'long game' in terms of artistic storytelling (and with Spawn 20 years old and counting, it really is the 'long game'), Marvel - and by the same rationale, DC - focus on rebooting series' because the plotlines have either become so convoluted that a fresh start is necessary, or, in their haste to get more readers, they've killed off a fan-favorite and iconic character and need to resurrect them.
It's also worth noting that #1 issues sell very, very well.
On which side of the argument you fall depends on what you look for in a comic book experience. For what it's worth, I prefer long-game storytelling — comics that reward the loyalty and intelligence of its readers without having to sensationalize for sales. But that's just me.
What do you think about Kirkman's comments? Hit me up in the comments below or over on Twitter.