ByRalph Buttigieg, writer at
Like comics, Science Fiction and the MCU
Ralph Buttigieg

Marvel is slowly but surely killing the X-Men comics. The confirmation that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are not mutants is another step in Marvel’s attack on the X-Men. That follows the death of Wolverine and the general down playing of the X-Men line. New X-Men characters have been forbidden instead we see new Inhumans like Ms Marvel.

From a commercial perspective this makes sense. Comic book revenues are miniscule compared to the movies. The entire comic book market in North America grossed $850M , a bit more than half of what the first Avengers movie alone grossed.

It comes back to the role of comics to Marvel. They are support mechanisms for the movies. They provide new ideas, characters etc and self supporting promotion to the big money earner Marvel Studios. Which means the X-Men are a crippled line for Marvel.

Disney owns Marvel but Marvel , prior to the Disney takeover, sold the rights to the X-Men (and Fantastic Four) to 20th Century Fox and Fox is making squillions from the mutants so have no reason to give them back. Why should Disney promote their competition ?

That’s very different from Sony with Spider-Man. Having the rights to only one major character is a major creative restriction. After you have told Spidy’s story what do you do? The only thing Sony could think of is retell the story. So Marvel knew it was possible to get Spider-Man back. They must have been in talks with Sony for months prior to the recent deal. During time they had been going all out developing the Spiderverse. So now Sony gets access to not only Spider-Peter but Spider-Miles, Spider-Jessica, Spider-Silk , Spider-Fluffy the wonder dog (haven't heard about him? Don’t worry I’m sure Marvel is working on it) etc.

Contrast that with the X-Men. Thats a whole army of characters who have their own stories to tell. As well as the main X-Men series , Fox can tell the tales of their individual characters which is why we have had Wolverine solos and are getting Deadpool, Gambit etc. Fox have their little but very profitable Xverse.

Now don’t expect the X-Men to disappear overnight. Their death is more like a slow strangulation rather than a quick assassination. The X-Men provide writers with two very important qualities, they can have a powered person without a fancy origin story and the X-Men are outcasts , people fear them. Marvel needs the time to develop their X-Men substitute the Inhumans. They are introducing more characters and titles and the Inhumans have been introduced to the MCU through Agents of SHIELD. The big splash will of course be the movie in 2018.

So are the X-Men doomed? Will their comics just wither away? Maybe not, there is one chance for their survival. Marvel could sell the entire franchise to Fox. Admittedly it's only a slim chance but such a deal could be in both companies benefit. Maybe Marvel get the the Fantastic Four back. I don’t expect the X-Men comics to really be a big seller by 2018 anyway. Fox doesn't have a publishing arm any more but they can do a deal with one of the smaller comic companies and theres big money in merchandise.

So would you like to see the X-Men go completely to Fox? Let me know.


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