Who is Gladiator aka Melvin Potter?

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Who is Gladiator aka Melvin Potter?

Gladiator is a villain who battles the Marvel hero Daredevil.  While strictly an evil person Melvin Potter at various times has engaged in criminal activity that have put him on the radar of Daredevil.

Real Name: Melvin Potter

First Appearance:  Daredevil #18

Gladiator News:
All Daredevil and Defenders Saga News! 
Who is Daredevil?
Who is the Kingpin

Daredevil Store:
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Gladiator Bio:

Gladiator is one of the first costumed villains encountered by Daredevil.

Melvin Potter is a costume designer who decides he can make more money as a criminal.  He creates a special suit of armor that includes spinning wrist mounted blades.  He trains heavily in martial arts.  He becomes a super villain using the name Gladiator.

Working as the Gladiator he is defeated by Daredevil.  After numerous failed attempts to beat Daredevil on his own he joins groups like the Emissaries of Evil and the Maggia for various schemes.  These schemes are always thwarted by Daredevil.

Eventually, Melvin reforms and goes legit.  He even becomes a vocal supporter of Daredevil.

Melvin has come to the aid of Daredevil in various ways to help atone for his earlier criminal activities.

Gladiator Powers:
Melvin Potter has no powers but he uses martial arts, armor, and is in peak physical condition.

Melvin's armor features spinning buzz saws on his wrists that he uses as weapons.

Gladiator in the MCU

Melvin Potter appears in Daredevil season 1 and 2.  In Season 1,  Daredevil battles him and convinces him to make a suit for him so that the Kingpin can be stopped.

In the background of one scene it appears the Melvin is working on the suit for the villain Stilt-Man.

Melvin helps Daredevil repair his costume in Season 2. These is an obvious reference to Melvin Potter and his gladiator suit.

Melvin Potter continues to help Daredevil in Daredevil Season 2.  In this season he helps reconstruct Daredevil's suit and adds the Daredevil bully clubs as weapons.  Melvin did not appear as Gladiator in the season 2 that seems to be set up for a confrontation in Season 3.

Kingpin will likely coerce Melvin into donning the Gladiator suit and going after Daredevil.

More Mevilin Potter Links

Who is the Kingpin

Force Friday Guide and News

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Another Force Friday is COMING! Sep 1st 2017 will be Force Friday II

I could just say that and repeat that 50 times because lets face it in the toy world nothing compares to Force Friday.  It is the biggest Toy day of the year with tons of new toys, cool deals and all of the major toy manufactuers and retailers involved.

When: Friday Sep 1st, 2017.

Where:  All Major retailers

Lots of cool stuff is happening I have collected the official public announcement releases from a variety of stores below.  While many people will focus on the toys which are awesome also be aware of things like the Apple Store will will feature activities like Coding the Droids and making your own Star Wars Trailer.  Fantasy Flight Games will also be releasing a brand new Star Wars game.

We will try to cover these things on the day!

Star of Force Friday BB-9E
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Meet BB-9E
BB-8 was the star of Force Awakens with one of the most popular toys being the Sphero remote control droid.  For this Force Friday I expect BB-8's evil doppelganger to steal the show.  Meet BB-9E the dark version of BB-8.

As variety reports:
The companies described the new toy as a “rolling menace” and said that it was part of the Astromech unit of the First Order that keep their starships and machinery operational.
Like BB-8, BB-9E has a ball body but it differs with a small dome-ish head that moves independently of the body. It also has a red eye.

A Sphero version of BB-9E will be available at the cost of 149.99 and it looks very cool!  Sphero will also have an R2-D2 based droid as well.

Likewise there will also be a BB-9E Funko:

Funko The Last Jedi Pop BB 9E

Find the Force Experience
You also might want to download the Star Wars App for the "Find the Force" Experience which will allow you to see Augmented Reality features on the figure boxes.

Sneak Preview of Last Jedi Merchandise:
A Walmart put some of the items out early.

Star Wars Store:
Here are some toys we found on Amazon that you can check out.  You can Snoke and other Star Wars toys at major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us.

Disney Store:

To commemorate Force Friday II, ALL Disney Store locations throughout North America will open their door on September 1, revealing the first toys, collectibles, books, apparel, and more inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans will be able to tap into the Force to help with the opening ceremony and enjoy limited-timeFind the Force.

Disney Store locations in New York City’s Times Square, on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, and on San Francisco’s Stockton Street will participate in Force Friday II midnight madness! Doors will open at 12:01 a.m. local time on September 1, where attending fans can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win exclusive Star Wars products!

Other activities at select locations on Force Friday II include:
  • FREE Star Wars mini poster set for the first 100 guests who make a Disney Store purchase
  • Ways of the Force activity
  • Star Wars Story Time
  • Art of Drawing: R2-D2
  • Epic Star Wars theming that pays homage to both the dark side and the light side

Additional details about Disney Store’s activities surrounding Force Friday II are available at DisneyStore.com!

Target's Force Friday Announcement: Bring your Rey Game
Target Force Friday Logo

Just a few more months until “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” hits theaters … but until then, here’s your second-hottest ticket:Star Wars Force Friday II, the long-awaited date when new merchandise inspired by the film launches across the globe. And fans will want to be at Target for the big reveal.
We’re inviting guests to join us Sept. 1 at midnight in more than 500 of our stores across the country as we unveil hundreds of new toys, collectibles, apparel, books and more. The events will also feature lots of fun activities for kids and adults, including the chance to unlock characters and digital content through Star Wars Find the Force—an augmented reality experience taking place during the Force Friday II weekend.
Target’s campaign and Force Friday II event lineup celebrates the upcoming film and its unstoppable star—Rey—as she sets out on a new adventure. Ready to bring yourRey game?
Looking for a Target Force Friday II event near you? Search participating locations. And for more fun while you wait, share your favorite Star Wars photos and memories using the hashtag #SharetheForce.


“Be Jedi Ready” with Walmart stores during Force Friday ll weekend! Starting on September 1, Walmart stores will be giving fans their first opportunity to see and purchase toys, collectibles, apparel, and more from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Select Walmart stores will host a Force Friday II weekend parking lot event with “Be Jedi Ready” games and activities. There will also be FREE giveaways including Topps’ Galactic Connexions Trading Discs and EA Star Wars Battlefront II video game posters while supplies last. In-store fans can become inventors at the tech demonstration.

The six-foot-tall model of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars: The Force Awakensmade out of 36,743 LEGO bricks will be unveiled at our Orlando, FL, store (11250 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32817). The creation was first unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con and has been on a six-city nationwide Walmart store tour. Don’t miss your chance to see it in person at its final location!

In ALL Walmart store locations customers can participate in Find the Force.

Visit Walmart.com to find even more great Star Wars products and information about events coming to your local store.

Toys R Us:

In celebration of this year’s Force Friday II event, Toys”R”Us and Toysrus.com roll out the red carpet for Star Wars fans as Destination: Star Wars—Gateway to the Galaxy!

On Friday, September 1, Toys”R”Us will host a Force Friday II Midnight Opening Event at its stores all across the country, which will give fans their first opportunity to shop the brand-new toys from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Force Friday II attendees will receive a FREE Funko POP! Star Wars T-shirt AND a FREE collectible Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster (while supplies last)—it’s the first in a series of FREE poster giveaways, with a new one each month leading up to the theatrical release of the movie.

Fans will not want to miss the debut of Find the Force! Fans can access augmented reality characters EACH DAY from September 1-3 in all stores*! It’s a GREAT time to be a Star Wars fan, and the celebration starts at Toys”R”Us, your Gateway to the Galaxy!

*Excludes Toys”R”Us Outlet & Express stores.

Fantasy Flight Games

Enjoy thrilling adventures in the Star Wars universe with games like X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, and Star Wars: Destiny and get ready for new Star Wars games available September 1!

Check with your favorite local comic book and specialty stores for hosted Fantasy Flight Star Wars gaming events with your friends and family. Visit fantasyflightgames.com for more details!

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Build-A-Bear Workshop is celebrating Force Friday II with their biggest Star Warsevent ever! All weekend long, Guests can go on the ultimate space journey by making a brand new furry friend and taking part in exciting events and special offers.

  • Build-A-Bear Workshop is launching an out-of-this-world Force Friday II offer forStar Wars fans! All Star Wars furry friends are BUY ONE, GET ONE 50% OFF! This highly-anticipated Star Wars offer is valid in stores and online during the Force Friday II Weekend only!
  • Find the Force at Build-A-Bear Workshop! Visit participating Build-A-Bear Workshop stores to experience Find the Force. Blast into your Build-A-Bear Workshop store for new experiences each day from September 1-3.

Force Friday II is coming to Apple!
Apple stores around the world are joining in on Force Friday II on September 1 and through the weekend with new and exclusive Star Wars Today at Apple sessions, a new lineup of third-party Star Wars app-enabled toys.
Today at Apple
Join Star Wars-inspired, hands-on sessions at Apple stores around the world. Kids will learn how to code droids in an exclusive Kids Hour session. Star Warsfans of all ages can uncover the magic of creating a Star Wars trailer. And theStar Wars makers and creators from Industrial Light & Magic will showcase their craft over Force Friday II weekend at Apple Union Square, Apple Regent Street, and Apple Orchard Road. Sign up for Today at Apple sessions now at apple.com.
All Apple stores starting September 1:
Check apple.com for the schedule of events at your local Apple Store!
Kids Hour: Coding the Droids from Star Wars
Join an exciting Kids Hour starring the galaxy’s favorite droids. Using the same code developers use every day, kids will bring Star Wars droids to life by programming simple movements, loops, and more. Then they’ll design a maze and navigate their droids through the obstacles. Kids can bring their own iPad and Sphero robot, or we’ll provide them. Recommended for ages 6 to 12.
How To: Build A Star Wars Trailer
Explore how to create a Star Wars trailer with authentic footage from the films. You’ll discover signature Star Wars trailer-making techniques in an exclusive video from The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson. Then you’ll create a trailer complete with titles, transitions, sound effects, and official Star Wars music your local Apple store.

2nd and Charles
 Come celebrate Force Friday II with 2nd and Charles! Kickoff event begins on Friday, September 1 from 4-6 p.m. with Star Wars cosplay, games, activities, and a special surprise for fans! The party continues all weekend long with the Find the Force and activities on Saturday, September 2, from 2-4 p.m. and Sunday, September 3, from 2-4 p.m. Visit 2ndandcharles.com for more information.

Legendary Pokemon Cheat Sheet for Pokemon Go

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The Legendary Pokemon are here!
The Legendary Pokemon have finally started being released into Pokemon Go and they are as awesome as many expected.  We decided it was time to create a cheat sheet where all the posts on how to beat and catch Legendary Pokemon in one place.  Fans of Pokemon Go have waited an entire year for the ability to catch Legendarys so the enthuisiasm around the Legendary Pokemon is intense.

To catch a Legendary Pokemon you will need to defeat it in a Raid.  Raids appear periodically at gyms and you will be altered on your game when one is nearby.  The Legendary Raid's have the 5 Rhydon head symbol and when the Pokemon is revealed you can battle it in a Raid by using one of the special Legendary raid passes.

You absolutely must have a group with you to defeat a Legendary Pokemon in a Raid.  There is really no way to defeat one by yourself they are all just far too powerful.   That said we do have tips.  Including breakdowns of each Legendary and a link to use Raid Beacons.

WOW check out with these fun Poke Products!
Toylab is a member of the Amazon affiliate program and is thrilled to be able to offer a wide arrange of Pokemon shopping deals like the products below in our online Toy and Collectable Store.  If you are searching for Pokemon Christmas or Birthday gifts this is an excelent place to start. We have all of the hot pokemon gifts.  If you need something right now you can find Pokemon Products at Walmart, Target, CVS, Toys R Us and Walgreens.  These products come directly from Amazon so you get the best deal and the best shipping.

It is also cool to have some cool Pokemon Threads to wear while you are out hunting. Check these out!  It helps tell people hey I am here to catch Pokemon.

What are Legendary Pokemon:
The Legendary Pokemon are ultra rare and powerful Pokemon whose existence was hard to confirm in the Pokemon world.  They are broken up into different groups that appeared in different generations.

Legendary Birds:
There are 5 Legendary birds being Luggia, Ho-Oh, Zapdos, Articuno and Moltres.  Sometimes the Legendary bird moniker is only meant to address Zapdos, Articuno and Moltres.  Luggia and Ho-Oh are held out as something special.

Legendary Dogs
There are three Legendary dogs Raikou, Entei and Suicune.  While not a dog, Ho-Oh is considered to be the leader of the dogs as it created them after the event of the burning of the brass tower.

Mew Duo
The Pokemon Mew and MewTwo are called the Mew Duo.  MewTwo is a genetically altered pokemon created from the DNA of Mew.  Both are highly powerful pscychic pokemon.

How to Beat Legendary Raids 
In Aphlabetical order.


How to beat and catch Entei (Click on Picture)

How to beat and catch Ho-Oh (Click on Picture)

How to beat and catch Mew? (Click on Picture)

How to beat and catch Mewtwo (Click On Picture)

How to beat and catch Moltres (Click on Picture)

How to beat and catch Lugia (Click on Picture)

How to beat and catch Raikou (Click on picture)

How to beat and catch Suicune (Click on Picture)

How to beat and catch Zapdos (Click on Picture)

Raid Beacons:
A Raid Beacon lets other players known you are going to a Raid.  It also lets you see Raids being targeted by other players so you can cordinate an attack on Raids.  You can find the Raid Beacon set up on the link below:

Silph Radio (Raid Beacons)

Are we missing any tough Pokemon?  Let us know in the comments below.

Click Here to Return to Pokemon Go Dashboard

Toylab's Pokemon Go Guide - See Tips, Tricks, How to Beat

Marvel's lost market share to DC in 2016 - Black Octopus Team Report

There has been a lot of talk about Marvel losing sales to DC.  Marvel has been doing a variety of things with their comic line that have caused controversy recently.  Fans of either side of these issues have been very passionate   Rather than debate we decided to sort out the facts of what is happening and look at sales data.  The data used was from Chomiccron.com which houses comic sales data of all the Diamond Distributor retailers going back for many years.  We then tasked the Toylab data team aka The Black Octopus team with analyzing the data.

We wanted Facts and.... we got them!

Update 8/30/2017
The Journal of Marvel misery really now needs to start being expanded to the industry as a whole.  The weakness at Marvel (For whatever reason) has led to lower than ussual sales of the comic giant.  What is really striking about their sales is that some comics are selling fairly well however these are all #1 issues.  Almost no issues past #1  nd not an event are selling beyond 40k units.

I have spoken to many people in comic stores who are very worried about the comic industry due to Marvel's sales.  They feel that while DC and Independents have gained readers its not nearly enough to make up for Marvel's continued drop in sales.  There is also a lot of pessism on any of Marvel's current plans turning things around soon.  Many feel that creative changes need to be made soon.  Many are hoping the end of Secret Empire will at least stop negative publicity and some dissafected Marvel fans may return.

Star Wars sales continue to be a bright spot and many comic store workers have told me that Star Wars and Rebirth/Metal are what is saving their stores.
All comic book store owners were up on X-Men Gold still even after the title has slid.  They still felt it provided a path forward for the company.

In July here were the top selling issues of Marvel (Star Wars Comics Excluded)

  • Astonishing X-Men #1                                122,287
  • Secret Empire #6                                          85,887
  • Secret Empire #7                                          81,365
  • Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #1 74,006
  • Spider-Men II                                              67,362
  • Amazing Spider-Man #                                 56,560
  • Peter Parker Spectactular Spider-Man #2         54,247
  • X-Men Gold #7                                            53,462
  • Edge of the Venomverse #2                            50,128 
  • X-Men Blue #7                                            48,481
  • Old Man Logan #26                                      47,252
  • X-Men Gold # 8                                            46,615

Under 40K: 
Mighty Thor, Weapon X, Captain America Steve Rogers, Venom, Avenges, Doctor Strange, Deadpool, Spider-Man Deadpool, Uncanny Avengers.Invincible Iron Man

Under 30k: 
Cable, Black Panther, Thanos, Champions, Spider-Man Master Plan, Jean Grey, Daredevil, Punisher, Infamous Iron Man, All New Guardians of the Galaxy, Totally Awesome Hulk, Iron Fist, Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider, Jessica Jones, Spider-Gwen, Ms Marvel

Under 20k
Hulk, Secret Empire Brave New World, Black Bolt, Royals, Captain America Sam Wilson, Iceman, Mighty Captain Marvel, I am Groot, US Avengers, Luke Cage, Rocket, Hawkeye, Guardians of the Galaxy Tell Tale Series. Black Panther and Crew,

Then at the bottom is America based off of American Chavez with a measely 11k units, Nick Fury 10,973, Unbeatable Squirel Girl 10,425, Occupy Avengers 10,092.

Then at the very bottom is a comic I actually like but I am apparently alone in this Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur 7,586.  Oh yes and there is Unstoppable Wasp at 7,431.

Data pulled from Comichron.

Compare this to July of 2015 When Marvel was king.  This was not very long ago.  Secret Wars #4 sold 221k Units and Civil War II sold 170k units  those 2 alone create a stark contrast with the sales up above.
The other striking thing is that Marvel comics in that sub 15k unit range were mostly 2nd prints.  These were titles that were effectivly adding to their sales totals from previous months.

A couple of other observations the Black Bolt comic is actually really good, but is obviouisly not selling well.  The whole Inhumans line has seemed to outstay their welcome likely not a good sign for the upcoming show.

The most socially political push comics such as Occupy Avengers and America continue to be outright rejected on the comic stands.

I also don't understand how Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is still a thing.  I continue to hear she does well in trades but she can't do well enough to support these low of numbers.  A lot of these low title look like nothing but charity cases.

Update 5/16/2017 - Black Panther and the Crew meets the Axe

Black Panther is one of the most intelligent and best fighters in the Marvel universe but he did not stand a chance against Marvel's Axe.

Marvel has gotten itself into a terrible set of bad sales and controversy this year.  The reasons for this are legion but do include an overwhelming political bias, and a lack of their traditional main characters appearing anywhere.   Now while I do think Marvel could cut down on the politics I also think that having a couple books taking on controversial subjects is ok and might even be embraced.  Ta Nehisi Coates has been writing Black Panther for about a year.  He is a talented but also  definetly highly political writer and frankly I don't agree with him 70-80% of the time.  However, I did enjoy his take on Black Panther and thought he was playing with some interesting ideas.  I would say his series was definitevly the best book at Marvel over 2016.  He did run into some pacing issues with the series particulary through its midpoint, but taken as a whole its a great and interesting story.

Ta Nehisi Coates was then put on a new project to write a Black Panther in NYC story that was going to focus on elements from the Black Lives Matter movement.  The comics was to be called Black Panther and the Crew and would also include other top tier black heroes including Luke Cage, and Misty Knight.  Obviousily, the combination of Coates and the theme of Black Lives Matter was going to have a political tinge.  Once again Black Lives Matter is a group that I think has a good point but often takes things to a destructive place.  I am a huge fan of the blues musician Daryl Davis and I think his documentary really exposed the limitations of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Daryl is a black blues musician who has for years gone around the country and become friends with members of the Klu Klux Klan in an effort to restore their humanity.   I might be the only person who thinks Daryl Davis is awesome though, which is kind of sad because I think he has tapped into something very powerful. At any rate look for Daryl Davis's documentary and you can form your own opinion.
I am not sure exactly what Coates was going to say with Black Panther and the Crew but I was curious and eager to read it whether I agreed with it or not (I am quite positive that Daryle Davis and Coates do not agree).  This is the type of book that could sit on the shelf and be political and have that be its purpose.  My beef with Marvel has not been that they have political beliefs so much as that they have allowed it to permeate EVERY single book, and it often just feels beligerent and out of place.  A book like Black Panther and the Crew though should be able to come out and have its place on the shelf.

What is curious now about Marvel is after foaming at the mouth like a rapid dog for years they are now doing a HARD U turn and trying to become a cute puppy.  Now instead everybook being infused with Politics they are now stomping on the head of any form of politics.  Thus Black Panther and the Crew recieved the axe after only 2 issues.  Marvel claims that sales were the cause of the book being canceled but they have kept many low selling books going for more than 2 issues.  I think the real reason is pretty obvious and evident.  Marvel did not want issue #3 of this book and what ever is in it to hit the stands.  They have had enough controversy and they want to go back to the mainstream fans and are trying to moderate their brand.

I will say that lower sale books at Marvel are littered with these types of books.  Occupy Avengers is another one of these books but Occupy Avengers has gotten more than 2 issues.  Occupy Avengers is actually on Issue #6.  The sales for that book have barely breached 10 thousand.  So were sales of Black Panther and the Crew really that much lower than Occupy Avengers?  No, it is just that Coates was going to say something more controversial than what is in Occupy.  That said I don't think Occupy will ever say anything interesting (Which is why I don't buy it) and Coates on the other hand would have.

There are no easy answers here but if I step back I think Marvel overused the Diversity and Left Wing Politics as a gimmik to get on late night TV and the View.  They initially got good press and some books sold well.  However, they continued to double down on this until Marvel books became synomous with bunch of political gimmiks.  They also hiked up the cost of their books and suddenly they were asking their fans to pay top dollar for a bunch of people they did not care or know about.  There is a reality that there are other books on comic shelves, and those other books are cheaper.  The reality is that without recognizable characters, without good stories Marvel stopped being Marvel.  People went else where.

Numerous black writers of independent comics have long said that Marvel would eventually change course.  They are now being proven 100% right in their assessment.  These sales angles that the company tries are fickle and they quickly cave into pressure and go in the other direction.

Now with this hard U turn is Marvel going to go too far?  Maybe.  I really think they need to just find BALANCE.  Somewhere in the middle.  When you spit out 50+ comics a month one a few of them can take on controversial topics but find a way to balance them out.

I don't have the answers, and I really am not trying to bash Marvel but these are my thoughts and observations.  My proverbial 2 cents.

Maybe just maybe we can learn what Coates was planning with Black Panther and the Crew.  I am definetly more curious now than I was before.

Update: 4/4/2017 -Marvel Day of Rage
Holy Crap Marvel is a complete PR disaster right now.  Watching them talk to both retailers, fans and their creators reactions on twitter is like watching the Hindenburg go up.

This day's news from Marvel has been so epic that I feel like it needs its own name, maybe "The Marvel Day of Rage".

Honestly there is so much stuff going on right now where does one begin.

First, Marvel has acknowledged that its sales have fallen very low.  Unfortunately, how they said this was very poorly done.  In an interview with ICv2 (geek blog) David Gabriel VP of Marvel Sales was quoted as explaining Marvel's sales slump:

“What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity,...They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not ... We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.”

He then talked about how the Publisher is going to react to the sales slump by saying:

“After looking at everything that was going on, we knew that we had to make some changes and we couldn't do anything the next month. We had to wait six months before things could start taking place. That's sort of what we're getting to now.”

That statement may not seem so bad at first but it went off like an A-Bomb.  Interestingly this comment pissed every person off.  It pissed off people including retailers and comic fans who were not buying Marvel comics (Because they have sucked recently) by basically calling them bigots and racists.  It also pissed off people who want more diversity in comics and see that Marvel is moving away from that because of money.  Fortune magazine that same day published an ill timed piece about how well Marvel's diversity push was going.  Likely should have published that a year ago.
The comment also pissed off critics of Marvel who are tired of the company blaming everyone else for their problems.
Honestly, I am ok with Marvel or DC making comments that piss people off.  Anyone who has been a fan of comics knows its really easy to piss off one segment of fans.  I am still amazed though that they managed to piss off everyone.  That takes some real Anti- PR skills.

Gabriel walked back his statements some by saying that some new diverse characters have been popular and that of course they would all continue to exist but more focus would be going to core characters.  This would likely have been the smarter statement to come out with initially.

Then......Yes this crap just keeps going.

A few of the creators have accused the comic blogs like the Nerdist for going after them unfairly with click bait articles.  In some sense I agree with that.  Yes some blogs do have click bait style articles but guess what so does all of media right now.  However, everybody knows the rule .... don't feed the trolls.  I have been sitting back, reading and just shaking my head.  I love Marvel but this is getting embarrassing.

Alex Alonso complains that without Wizard artists no longer move the needle on sales.  This made a bunch of artists and fans of artists mad.  Various artists rush to his defense on Twitter this of course does not help.

Then Nick Spencer starts writing on twitter because he thinks he is a political genius. He tried to defend Alonso's comment about "Artists no longer moving the needle" and then just descended into a tirade.
 He the starts attacking a critic from Nerdist and also takes some swipes at DC (Just because).  Last I checked he was still tweeting back and forth with trolls.

Marvel get control of yourselves.  You make fun of Trump and his twitter shenanigans but look who is talking.

On one hand you decry the loss of Wizard Magazine a fan outlet while in the same breadth bashing the massive replacement in Fan Blogs and Media.  Yes, that community including this site will publish click bait but what the heck do you want us to say?   I and a whole slew of other sites also publish posts that highlight artists.   Do you want us to write articles that its ok your comics don't sell because they are soooooo brilliant and fans just don't understand your brilliance?  What do you want from us?

The reality is that you laid an egg in 2016.  A bad year is not uncommon among sports teams or businesses.  However, the real question is,  How will you deal with that set back? How will you make adjustments that determine your future.  Dealing with a loss, any loss, by pointing fingers and blaming people is never, never the way to right the ship toward success.

I'm still rooting for you Marvel, don't let me down.  Stop being so defensive though.  A lot of people love your characters and are passionate about those characters that is a strength of your brand and not a weakness.

Update: 2/6/2017
Marvel sales have continued on a tragically downward spiral.  Meanwhile major retailers have begun issuing public letters imploring Marvel to tone down its politics and return to storytelling.  The total rejection of the hyper political story telling in Civil War 2 is being cited as a major cause of the events sales woes.  The other major reason is the lack of original characters left in their books.

Bleeding Cool is reporting that the Marvel recently finished a summit where they will radically alter course.  Apparently, a major talking point at the summit is what DC was doing with Rebirth as to what they were doing.  The plan after the summit was for original characters to return.    "Marvel brings back the X-Men line with a bang, to expect a return to more of a status quo for titles such as Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and more. A more familiar looking Marvel Universe by the autumn – although, just as with Captain America, as classic-look-characters return, expect new characters to keep a number of their books."

While the company is planning on going on less political tangent it seems they are still locked into the Secret Empire story line. A story line that has already created great lamentation and groans among the fan base. However the story is too far along for them to change course now.

My opinion on all of this:

Sounds great!

I like a lot of the new characters and I am fine with them staying. If the company could keep some of its original characters around though that would be great TOO. Also I think its fine to get political from time to time however the problem with writers like Nick Spencer is that its all they do. Right now the world is full of heated political debate everywhere and I think one reason people buy comics is for escapism or at least to explore things in a different way. Getting a barrage of politics on the comic shelf is a good way to keep people out of comic book stores (Which is exactly what has been happening).   I think there is plenty of room for political discourse and certainly for criticism for things going on but pick your places.  If your characters are vomiting out political talking points with every issue you have turned your comic into a propagandist rag.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Calm down, and pick your spots and above all....ENTERTAIN ME!!!!!!!!!!


Believe it or not most comic readers are smart, read a lot, and already have political opinions. and believe it or not most of us get real political news from "gasp" other sources?  Whether it be from a News or "Fake News" source.  I really don't think comic book fans need and or want a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th regurgitation of the hot political item of the day.  They especially don't want it from a comic book.  We don't need to be propagandized to and we know it when your doing it.

Will the shift be enough to stop the surging DC Rebirth? Only time will tell.

I am super excited for the following things; X-Men returning! and Thor returning!  I should also note that to my knowledge no changes have been announced for Wolverine (Likely continue to be Old Man Logan) and the Fantastic Four (I actually have no idea where they are).

I hope they keep these new characters going Ms Marvel, Moon Girl, Miles Morales and Kei Kawade. Honestly though I am not a big fan of Riri Williams to me she is a complete Mary Sue.  Also I have grown pretty tired of the Spiderverse characters like Spider-Gwen too. Outside of Miles I think its time to rest them.  I would also like to see a return of single solid Guardians of the Galaxy tile instead of 50 crappy ones.  That is all just my opinion though and I was not at the summit so we will all have to follow along and see what the company does.  Who knows maybe the Secret Empire will do great and they will change gears again and go hyper political.

Also one more thing Marvel, your books are getting pricey.  Just a thought but you may need to look at that.

What is the Black Octopus Team
Toylab has built up a group of our bloggers who happen to be data and marketing analyst wizards.  They routinely go out into the market place and analyze data to find trends.  If you find the Black Octopus team finding interesting or want to join the team you can subscribe to their newsletter on the bottom of the page.

The Top 20 Comics Sales Study:
The Black Octopus Team analyzed November Sales on a unit sales basis.   The team decided to focus on the Top 20 sold books as these tend to be the biggest indicator of sales for each company.  These are the 20 books that comic community is focusing on in a given month.  The Black Octopus team found that Marvel had lost significant market share in this group over the past 5 years.

While it is hard to say that a trend is forming the team did conclude that 2016 marked a low point for Marvel over the 5 year period of analyzed data.  While Marvel is still selling well it clearly is not dominating the market place as it has done in years past.  In every metric tested DC has risen in to the leading position.  This is significant because Marvel had led all categories tested in the previous years and typically by a wide margin.

2016 Ugly Marvel Milestones
Marvel Milestones in the 2016 period were all negative.
  • Lowest Sales - Over the period analyzed 2016 marked Marvel's lowest unit sales.  
  • Lowest Market Share Position -This was the first November of the 5 period where Marvel had lower market share of the top 20 than DC.
  • Lowest # of Top 20 Titles - The number of Marvel titles in the top 20 hit a low point of 8.  The previous low point was 2013 at 9.  In 2015, Marvel had 17 Top 20 tiles meaning that the year over year drop in this category was 9 titles.

2016 Beautiful DC Milestones
DC Milestones in the 2016 period were all positive.

  • Highest Sales  - Over period analyzed 2016 marked highest unit sales by DC.
  • Highest Market Share Position - First November over period where DC had higher market share than Marvel.
  • Highest number of Top 20 Titles - DC reached a peak of 10 Top 20 Titles over the period analyzed

Note: Overall units sold were on the low side but not too much below average indicating that DC is picking up at least part of the sales that Marvel is losing.  There does appear to be a significant decline in sales from 2015 showing that some sales are being lost from the comic industry as whole.

Percentage of units sold in the top 20 by Marvel vs DC.

Marvel has lost significant market share of the top 20 books sold in 2016.

Marvel held a major lead in this category through the 5 year period right up until 2016.  Marvel's biggest lead was in 2015 which coincided with Secret Wars and major Star Wars books that helped the company completely dominate the top 20.  In 2016, DC greatly climbed and Marvel shrunk to its lowest point.

Unit Sales:
DC hit a high of 867k units sold in the Top 20 titles while as Marvel hit a low of 712k units sold.  2016 marked the highest point for DC and lowest point for Marvel.  Marvel had over a million in sales in the top 20 for 3 of the 5 years analyzed.  DC has by far its highest sales in 2016 but did not crack the 1 million mark in any of the 5 years analyzed.

Number of Titles in Top 20:
Marvel reached a dramatic peak in having 17 of the top 20 comics in Nov of 2015.  In Nov 2016 the company's fortunes have dramatically inversesd with its lowest showing in the period analyzed of 8.

DC had been sliding downward on this scale while hitting a low in 2015.  This trend was reversed in 2016 with the company's highest showing of 10 titles in the Top 20.

Why has Marvel lost market share?

There have been a few reasons cited for the loss of market share and they include:

1)  The Inhumans Agenda  - There has been a major pushing out characters that Marvel does not own film rights to.  This includes the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men some of the biggest flagships Marvel has traditionally had.

2) Diversity Agenda - Replacement of major characters with other characters to increase diversity.  To many this is a good thing or even a necessary change to update the universe with modern times.   However this combined with the Inhumans Agenda has definetly added to instability.  There is a list below of popular classic characters and 1 +2 have made it impossible to find current comics with them in it.

3) Seasonal Event format- Marvel has begun rebooting its universe multiple times a year  and even equating it to the seasons of a TV program.  The seasonal format is meant to hype titles with each "season" theme but some fans say it leads to fatigue and feeling that stories are gimmiks.  This has also made continuity a total mess to explain.
Many Marvel fans tell me they are enjoying series that are outside of the events like Black Panther.

4) DC Rebirth - DC rebooted its universe from the New 52 and into DC Rebirth.  During Rebirth the company changed a number of items that had given its fans consternation, DC managed to keep some of the aspects from New 52 that had been popular, while merging it with some classic DC elements.  These moves have generally been met with positive acclaim at both Comic Conventions and in stores.  While Rebirth is effecting the numbers in this analysis it should also be noted that Rebirth began in May and its new #1s are not effecting the November numbers. In fact none of the DC titles featured a number #1 in Novemeber.  Marvel though benefited from the release of #1s and 6 of its 8 titles were #1.  Comic Fans tend to buy more #1 of a title than they do of other numbers and it should disturb Marvel that its poor showing would have likely been even poorer if it had not released so many #1 titles.  Another disturbing feature of Marvel sales is that Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Unworthy Thor, IVX and Civil War II are not ongoing titles.  Also the current Amazing Spider-Man event the Clone Conspiracy was able to crack the top 20 when normally Spider-Man event sales are in the top 10.  DC numbers from the past 2 months not analyzed were even more dominating than the November numbers.

Which of these did it?
We do not have any empirical evidence of which of these reasons are driving sales lower for Marvel but it seems likely that all of these in conjunction  are weighing down sales.  Generally, Marvel feels complicated, and unstable it is hard to invest in storyline and characters when they are going to disappear completely in a couple of months.  All the items above have increased this instability.

The drive to increase diversity at Marvel has often been cited as a positive reason for previous years sales growth.   Characters from different backgrounds have increased the types of stories Marvel can tell and appeal to a wider base of individuals.   However, the company has seemingly hit an inflection point where it no longer has any of the traditional characters left.  This has left many longtime fans of the company feeling disillusioned.  It has also made it harder for new fans to walk in and buy the book they want.  Numerous retailers have complained that children are coming to stores hoping to buy a book of their favorite hero and are not finding them on the shelf.

To illustrate how far Marvel has gone in changing characters consider that right now in Marvel:
  • Thor - Is not Thor
  • Iron Man - Is not Tony Stark
  • Hulk - Is not Bruce Banner
  • Spider-Man - Is Peter Parker in some titles but not all
  • Captain America - Is not Steve Rogers
  • Vision - Is not the Vision
  • Wolverine - Is not Logan
  • Fantastic Four - Are dead or something who knows anymore
  • Ghost Rider- Is not Johnny Blaze
  • X-Men - Are a confusing mess
  • Hawkeye - Is not Clint Barton
It should be noted that changes to characters has not been restricted to white characters:

  • Falcon - Is not Sam Wilson
  • War Machine - Is dead
  • Shurri - Has been dead, but recently resurrected
  • Brother Voodoo - Dead twice but also brought back

Any one of those changes alone is not a problem but consider when all of these are done at once.  Its literal chaos.  These characters and their stories are what Marvel sells, they are the company's bread and butter and they are not on shelves right now.

If a person came to the comic book store hoping to buy a comic about the heroes they see in film or from cartoons they would find themselves completely and utterly lost.  While doing some of these changes can be good, doing it all once has made Marvel books unrecognizable.  The whole sale change feels forced and agenda driven.  Even fans that were for increasing diversity have begun to buy DC comics in the hopes of finding more stability.

I do not take this data to mean that Marvel should give up on stories with diverse characters.
Marvel has successfully done numerous books recently with diverse characters that include Black Panther's phenomenal series a Nation Under Our Feet, and also Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.  These series have sold well and have also earned the company critical acclaim.  One thing to note though is that these series are not replacements of original characters.

The company has also had great success with Kamala Khan and her mantle of Ms Marvel.  While Kamala did replace Carol Danvers, Carol herself moved on to a different mantle of Captain Marvel. This has not been the case when other characters are replaced.  In some cases the replacements have rendered the old characters dead, missing, old, evil or otherwise unrecognizable.

While the company should be commended for increasing the diversity of its characters in order to maintain sales I think they will need to find a way to achieve better balance.  Getting rid of all the classic characters does not seem feasible  over the long-term status quo.  Marvel needs to find a sense of balance.

One thing Marvel really needs to think about is where should a new reader start.  The continuity escapades of a character like Steve Rogers are a complete and total mess.  I could explain 40 years of Captain America  history better than I could explain his last 5.  Moreover, Marvel's .1s that are supposedly been designed for new readers are not good at explaining anything.  They are seen by Marvel fans as cash grabs, because they are.

There is a bright spot on the horizon for Marvel is that in January they will be launching a new event called Monsters Unleashed that really looks exciting and may help them revive themselves.  It should worry Marvel some though that there are no plans for any of the major pillar characters to star in the series.

Here are the Top 20s going back through 2012:
You can find this data at: http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales.html

Comic-book Title Issue Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Batman 10 $2.99 DC 120,901
2 Batman 11 $2.99 DC 116,690
3 Civil War II 7 $4.99 Marvel 116,447
4 All Star Batman 4 $4.99 DC 99,064
5 Invincible Iron Man 1 $3.99 Marvel 97,713
6 Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows 1 $4.99 Marvel 96,111
7 Batman Annual 1 $4.99 DC 91,033
8 Venom 1 $3.99 Marvel 90,138
9 Walking Dead 160 $2.99 Image 88,367
10 IVX 0 $4.99 Marvel 84,181
11 Avengers 1 $4.99 Marvel 81,885
12 Justice League 8 $2.99 DC 80,696
13 Justice League 9 $2.99 DC 77,905
14 Batman TMNT Adventures 1* $3.99 IDW 75,974
15 Star Wars 25 $4.99 Marvel 75,234
16 Detective Comics 944 $2.99 DC 71,923
17 Flash 10 $2.99 DC 70,681
18 Unworthy Thor 1 $3.99 Marvel 70,424
19 Detective Comics 945 $2.99 DC 69,942
20 Flash 11 $2.99 DC 68,304
Comic-book Title Issue Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Dark Knight III Master Race 1 $5.99 DC 440,234
2 Star Wars Vader Down 1 $4.99 Marvel 384,969
3 Deadpool 1 $4.99 Marvel 180,565
4 Secret Wars 7 $3.99 Marvel 177,019
5 Extraordinary X-Men 1 $4.99 Marvel 133,716
6 All New All Different Avengers 1 $4.99 Marvel 128,570
7 Star Wars 11 $3.99 Marvel 126,780
8 Uncanny X-Men 600 $5.99 Marvel 126,447
9 Star Wars 12 $3.99 Marvel 123,133
10 All New Wolverine 1 $4.99 Marvel 119,786
11 Darth Vader 13 $3.99 Marvel 113,448
12 Mighty Thor 1 $4.99 Marvel 112,053
13 Batman 46 $3.99 DC 106,989
14 Amazing Spider-Man 3 $3.99 Marvel 93,848
15 Deadpool 2 $3.99 Marvel 92,008
16 Darth Vader 12 $3.99 Marvel 90,077
17 Batman Europa 1 $4.99 DC 80,721
18 Ms. Marvel 1 $4.99 Marvel 79,222
19 Carnage 1 $3.99 Marvel 69,773
20 All New Hawkeye 1 $3.99 Marvel 68,933
Comic-book Title Issue Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Amazing Spider-Man 9 $4.99 Marvel 135,280
2 All New Captain America 1 $3.99 Marvel 120,500
3 Batman 36 $3.99 DC 115,183
4 Amazing Spider-Man 10 $3.99 Marvel 100,899
5 Spider-Woman 1 $3.99 Marvel 93,723
6 Thor 2 $3.99 Marvel 89,131
7 Superior Iron Man 1 $3.99 Marvel 83,994
8 Avengers and X-Men Axis 4 $3.99 Marvel 79,068
9 Avengers and X-Men Axis 5 $3.99 Marvel 74,928
10 Justice League 36 $3.99 DC 74,796
11 Avengers and X-Men Axis 6 $3.99 Marvel 73,824
12 Harley Quinn 12 $2.99 DC 71,245
13 Spider-Verse 1 $4.99 Marvel 71,232
14 Walking Dead 134 $2.99 Image 68,093
15 Superman Unchained 9 $4.99 DC 65,478
16 Guardians of Galaxy 21 $3.99 Marvel 62,387
17 Captain America and Mighty Avengers 1 $3.99 Marvel 60,206
18 Wonder Woman 36 $2.99 DC 58,965
19 Wytches 2* $2.99 Image 58,345
20 Detective Comics 36 $3.99 DC 58,171
Comic-book Title Issue Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Batman 25 $4.99 DC 125,602
2 Harley Quinn 0 $2.99 DC 114,212
3 Amazing X-Men 1 $3.99 Marvel 112,337
4 Superman Unchained 4 $3.99 DC 110,611
5 Forever Evil 3 $3.99 DC 105,755
6 Infinity 6 $5.99 Marvel 100,292
7 All New X-Men 18 $3.99 Marvel 82,365
8 Superior Spider-Man 22 $3.99 Marvel 81,250
9 Batman Superman 5 $3.99 DC 77,198
10 Superior Spider-Man 21 $3.99 Marvel 74,940
11 All New X-Men 19 $3.99 Marvel 71,044
12 Justice League of America 9 $3.99 DC 71,008
13 Walking Dead 116 $2.99 Image 69,913
14 Walking Dead 117 $2.99 Image 68,818
15 Avengers 23 $3.99 Marvel 66,501
16 Uncanny X-Men 14 $3.99 Marvel 65,655
17 Detective Comics 25 $3.99 DC 64,392
18 Superior Spider-Man Annual 1 $4.99 Marvel 63,595
19 Uncanny Avengers 14 $3.99 Marvel 60,750
20 Superman Wonder Woman 2 $3.99 DC 60,185
Comic-book Title Issue Price Publisher Est. sales
1 All New X-Men 1 $3.99 Marvel 181,693
2 Batman 14 $3.99 DC 159,729
3 Captain America 1 $3.99 Marvel 123,667
4 Deadpool 1 $2.99 Marvel 118,976
5 Indestructible Hulk 1 $3.99 Marvel 118,200
6 Iron Man 1 $3.99 Marvel 116,529
7 Fantastic Four 1 $2.99 Marvel 114,532
8 Uncanny Avengers 2 $3.99 Marvel 114,257
9 Justice League 14 $3.99 DC 113,094
10 Thor God of Thunder 1 $3.99 Marvel 110,443
11 All New X-Men 2 $3.99 Marvel 96,436
12 X-Men Legacy 1 $2.99 Marvel 87,081
13 Amazing Spider-Man 698 $3.99 Marvel 81,342
14 FF 1 $2.99 Marvel 80,701
15 My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic 1 $3.99 IDW 80,128
16 Green Lantern 14 $2.99 DC 78,499
17 Batgirl 14 $2.99 DC 77,468
18 Batman And Robin 14 $2.99 DC 75,543
19 Detective Comics 14 $3.99 DC 74,560
20 Iron Man 2 $3.99 Marvel 72,902

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