Marvel has been doing some shake-ups and revamps over the last few years, with new and old characters taking the mantle of other characters such as Jane Foster becoming Thor, Sam Wilson becoming Captain America, X-23 becoming Wolverine, and the big one recently is Riri Williams becoming Iron Man, as well as revamps of older properties such as the Inhumans and the Squadron Supreme. This usually comes with fan outrage, and questions like: “Why don’t they just make new characters?” or “Why are they trying to make them cool?” I hope to answer those questions, and even though this is mainly going to focus on Marvel comics, I will bring up DC comics.
Question: Why Doesn't Marvel just Make New Characters?
When the question is: “why don’t they just make new characters?” the answer is: You don’t buy them.
At the end of the day, Marvel is a company and people need to buy what they’re coming out with and most readers (according to sales) don’t buy new characters. The most successful new character that didn’t take up someone else’s name at the moment from Marvel are Silk and Gwenpool (I love these characters, by the way!).
It’s not from Marvel's lack of trying either, here are some characters Marvel has attempted to launch over the years and ended up failing:
- Red Wolf
DC comics has been trying to launch new characters such as Talos, Talon, Batwing and you know what? — all those characters books got canceled because of low sales. Marvel is still trying to launch new characters; they just announced Mosaic, an Inhuman character that can jump bodies. Interesting premise, but I fear his title might not last, but only time will tell. To be honest, it must be hard trying to launch a new character in Marvel and DC comics nowadays. They have to go up against characters that have become more than just comic characters. Now, they're up against movie stars, toys, movements, clothing — icons.
So here’s the next part of my answer: Marvel knows (from sales) that you won’t pick up an X-23 or a Falcon (Sam Wilson) comic. They do know, however, that you will pick up a Wolverine or a Captain America comic. So, why not give these mantles to other characters?
As long as they make good stories, that’s really all we should be caring about. It has come to the point where we care more about who’s wearing the costume than if the story is good, and that really sucks. Marvel's recent shake-ups have actually been quite good, and if you’ve been on the fence about these titles, I highly recommend them.
So, Why Does Marvel Still Revamp Properties?
Marvel has been revamping a lot of their old properties recently, most notably the Inhumans and the Squadron Supreme. This usually comes with the question I don’t understand:
“Why are you making them cool?”
Why not revamp things in comics to make them cool? I mean, something a lot of comic book fans don’t seem to remember is that one of the most beloved superhero teams of all time, the X-men, was a revamp. When they first started in the 1960s, the X-Men were constantly failing in sales. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when they got a revamp, that they became what we know them as now.
Revamping doesn’t hurt anything, it gives us new stuff to read and see in different, new and interesting ways. Take the Inhumans for example — they’ve been revamped recently and now they’re on earth, facing new problems, interacting with different characters; new, interesting Inhumans that have been popping up on earth.
The new Inhuman stuff has been great, especially the Charles Soule stuff, but when you look at anything about the Inhumans from forum posts, YouTube videos and social media, you’ll see someone comparing them to the X-men or saying “This shouldn’t be good or cool.” We ask for new stuff and new ideas, and new takes, but when we get them, we have a habit of focusing on every flaw and rejecting them.
The answer to “Why does Marvel revamp things?” is simple: To give you new ideas, new stuff, and new takes to read. Like I said earlier in this article, what really should matter to us comic readers is that we’re getting good stories. I advise you to check out the recent revamps from Marvel comics, like the Inhumans and the Squadron Supreme, as they’re really good stories.
So this is why Marvel does what it does! I hope you enjoy this and it gives you some insight into why Marvel has revamped characters you know and love. Whether you agree or disagree, let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter!