Will Marvel comics Die

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Is time for Marvel comics to die?

Lower comic sales at Disney and a SXSW panel from Marvel's Editor in Chief have led many fans to speculate that Marvel Comics could be fighting for their existence.

The comic panel in questions is a panels by Marvel's Editor in Chief CB Cebulski and Joe Quesada at the SXSW in Austin Texas.  The hour long panel is called "Marvel: From Comics to Screen" and is to focus on how the comics have effected the films.

Here is the full description of the panel:
"Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and Chief Creative Officer + fan-favorite writer/artist Joe Quesada lead an interactive discussion on the unprecedented vast creative landscape and content factory that is MARVEL COMICS.  Marvel’s characters have achieved international renown, and now the movies, television series, and games of the Marvel Universe are the most popular in the world  – but everything starts with an idea, and Marvel Comics is the spark that lights the fire. Heroes and villains were teamed together in an epic challenge against each other in the first ever Marvel limited series Contest of Champions in 1982 before it became one of the most successful and popular mobile games of all time.  The Guardians of the Galaxy as they were seen in the 2014 film assembled for the first time in 2007’s Guardians of the Galaxy comic book.  Iron Man and Captain America had their first Civil War in the pages of the Marvel Comics series of the same name in 2006.  Cloak & Dagger first came together in a 1982 issue of the Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man comic book.  Are the next breakout stories of film, television, and gaming happening in the pages of Marvel Comics right now?  Hear from two of the Marvel Comics’ biggest story-crafters on what it’s like to lead the way in the Marvel Universe!"

Some have begun to argue that the panel is basically the leaders of Marvel comics to justify their existence to Disney excutives.

The current conspiracy seems to land mostly with a article by Jude Terror a click pait provocteur at Bleeding Cool.  You can find his post at: https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/03/01/joe-quesada-c-b-cebulski-survival-comics-sxsw/ Like most Jude Terror articles I read I think its 90% hype and 10% fact.  I leave asking myself why did I just waste time reading this.

Is there any truth in any of these rumors that Marvel comics is going to die?  Yes and No.

First, comic sales are down.  Marvel was doing very well from a sales perspective in 2016 but has had a rough 2017 and 18 mostly due to a backlash over Hydra Cap and due to a slow down in Star Wars comics.  The slow down in Star Wars merchandise has been felt at Disney through out its entire consumer products industry.  That is not specifically a Marvel Comic issue.

Marvel comics sale drops also effect the entire industry.  Marvel being a flagship publisher tends to bring buyers into the stores.  Its lower sales have in turn led to lower comic sales throughout the industry and also have likely ended a few comic stores.

That said Marvel and the comic book market have had similar declines over the past 20-30 years.  Ever since the 90s comic bubble burst they have dealt with similar lulls.  I would say they are not yet dead but do need to start finding comics that get their fans into the stores.

There is also a rumor that Disney could close the comic division and license them out to a third party comic maker.  There is one huge problem with that idea though.   If Marvel the flagship comic publisher were to go down it would take the entire industry with it.  There would be no one to license comics to at that point.  A similar argument is that comics could be distrubuted digitally or through trades.  While both channels are growth prospects from the industry  I don't see those channels replacing the floppy anytime soon.

The definite no in my book is that the CB Cebulski panel has something to do with Disney's plans.  If CB wants to talk to Disney he will talk to Disney through a myriad of internal channels.  He does not need to go to the public at comic con to make this appeal.  Likely CB just sees the panel as another way to sell comics and bring fans from the films into the comic book stores.  I see this strategy as smart.  The blockbuster films of Marvel have been a vastly under leveraged source for the company to sell comics and get new fans with.  Its high time that Marvel begins to utlisize that connection however they can.

Joe Quesada also blew away the idea that panel has anything to do with Marvel's survival on his twitter.

All in all, comic sales are not in a great spot but saying that Marvel is dead is still very premature.

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The Thing aka Ben Grimm

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Who is the Thing aka Ben Grimm?

The Thing is a Marvel super hero and a well known member of the super human team the Fantastic Four.  The Thing was for a time the most popular super hero character at Marvel and in all of comics.   The Thing was played by Michael Chiklis in the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four Films.  He will played by Jamie Bell in the Fantastic Four 2015 film.  He was ranked the 18th greatest super hero of all time by IGN in 2011.

First Appearance:  Fantastic Four #1

Real Name: Benjamin J. Grimm

Species:  Human Mutate

Catch Phrases:  "Its Clobberin' Time" is one of the most well known catch phrases in comics.  The Thing often utters it before engaging in battle.

 The Thing in News:
 Fantastic Four movie head quarters, news, and casting

The Thing in Multimedia:

Early Years:
Ben Grimm grew up in a Jewish home in Yancy street in the lower East Side of Manhattan.  He was a scrappy, streetwise youth in a poor neighborhood.  When Ben was 8 years old his idolized older brother was killed in a gang fight.  His parents are later killed and Ben goes to be raised by his Uncle Jake and Aunt Petunia.  Ben is a tough kid and as a teen becomes the leader of the Yancy Street Gang.

Ben leaves the gang as he begins to go straight and excels at football in High School.  Due to his football prowess he receives a full ride scholarship to Empire University.  At Empire University he meets his life long friend the prodigal genius, Reed Richards.  Ben hears Reed's dream of exploring the universe on a rocket and Ben jokingly exclaims that he would pilot the mission.

Ben goes on graduate with numerous engineering degrees and joins the Marines.  In the Marines he is a test pilot for the Navy.  He also flew missions directly under the the orders of Nick Fury.  He would then go on to join NASA as an astronaut.

Fantastic Four:
Ben is contacted by his old college friend Reed Richards.  Reed has built the space craft that he said he would during college and asks Ben to pilot it.  Ben agrees.  The project was nearly mothballed but the four crew members find a way to access the craft and take off.    Ben is initially reluctant to break into the ship but is convinced by Sue Storm whom he respects.

During the voyage the four are bombarded by cosmic rays and mutate.  Each member gains special powers.  Ben's powers and changes are the most pronounced of the group.  He gains massive strength, and rock hard durability but his appearance is monstrous. Ben has to deal with the changes, and his appearance.  Of all the members he is the most inclined to want to give up his powers.  Much of the early period of the Fantastic Four is spent with Ben trying to find a cure to is powers.  He also spends a great deal of time being angry at Reed for his mutation and feeling envy that the others maintained a normal appearance.  Eventually, Ben realizes he can do great good with his powers and reluctantly accepts them.  Once Ben was cured of his condition but then purposefully changed back to battle Doctor Doom.

He is known as the Fantastic Four's hot head, and is easily the most temperamental member of the team and but is also the teams best fighter.

As a super hero the Thing has battled many heavy hitters (Hulk, Namor, Doctor Doom) and is considered one of the best fighters in the Marvel Universe.  He is generally considered one of the most reliable members of the Fantastic Four but has gotten in trouble with his temper.  When gone from the team others have filled in for his role.  Those that have filled include Luke Cage/Power Man and She-Hulk

The Thing spends money earned from the Fantastic Four to build a youth center in his old neighborhood on Yancey Street.  His old Yancey Street gang plans to attack the place as they dislike Ben for leaving and are angered that he named the institution after himself.  When the gang learns that the Youth Center was named after Ben's brother Daniel Grimm who died in the gang they respectfully leave the structure alone.

The Thing's skin is made of a flexible orange rock that gives him a variety of powers:
  • Super Durability - He is rock hard
  • Super Strength - From his hardened musculature
  • Super Stamina - Does not tire like a normal human
  • Super Breathing - Can hold his breath far longer time than a normal human in space or underwater.
  • Immortality - The Thing does not age so long as he is in his rock form

The Things skins has withstood powerful blows from heavy hitters like the Hulk.  He can also withstand gunfire.  The skin can be pierced though.  Wolverine was able to slice through his skin with his admantium claws and make him bleed.  The Rock hard skin does heal once pierced.

The Thing has three fingers and a thumb and these large rocky fingers can make it difficult for him to use fine tools, like dialing a phone, pushing buttons, or tying his shoes.

The Thing is a master of a variety of fighting styles that come from both his street fighting days as well as martial training from the US military.

Highly skilled pilot and engineer - Though often portrayed as brutish the Thing is very intelligent with a high level of engineering background. 

Fantastic Four Films:

The Thing was played by Michael Chiklis in the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four Films.  He will played by Jamie Bell in the Fantastic Four 2015 film.

Fantastic Four (2005, 2007)
Michael Chiklis as the Thing (2005 and 2007):

Fantastic Four (2015)
Jamie Bell as the Thing in Fantastic Four (2015)

 This Thing will not wear clothes he will walk around in the nude.  He also does not appear to be anatomically correct.

The film did very poorly in part due to a lack of action.

Interestingly a large action sequence that was hinted in previews of the Thing dropping from a plane then smashing a military force was cut from the film.  Entertainment Weekly found the scene description for the cut scene.

A Chechen rebel camp in the wee hours of the night. There’s no explanation for where we are, but there are soldiers speaking a foreign language, and they are loading up some heavy-duty weaponry. Crews are filling truck beds with the gear, preparing to mobilize – then a siren goes off. Everyone freezes, and one by one they turn their faces to the sky. A stealth bomber whispers by overhead, and a large object falls from it, streaking through the air at great speed. The object – a bomb, a missile? – collides with the earth in the center of the camp, sending debris is all directions. The soldiers take cover, then tentatively emerge and walk toward the crater, where there is a giant pile of orange boulders. Slowly, the rocks begin to move on their own, becoming arms, legs, a torso, a head …


This rock-figure lumbers out of the smoke, and the soldiers level their weapons – then open fire. As The Thing lurches into view, bullets spark and ping off his impenetrable exterior. Rather than some elegant, balletic action sequence, The Thing moves slowly and deliberately. He’s in no hurry. The storytelling goal was to show the futility of firepower against him as he casually demolishes the terrorists. It’s a blue-collar kind of heroism. When it becomes clear this rock-beast cannot be stopped, the surviving Chechen rebels make a run for it – and that’s when a hail of gunfire finishes them off. From the shadows of the surrounding forest, a team of Navy SEALS emerge with their guns drawn and smoking. The cavalry has arrived, but the enemy has already been subdued. The film would then have shifted to a bird’s-eye view of the camp, an aerial shot showing waves of American soldiers flooding in to secure the base. Just when it appears the American soldiers may be ready to clash with the rock monster, The Thing gives them a solemn nod, and they clear a path. He lumbers past them, almost sadly, a heartsick warrior. Then he boards a large helicopter and is lifted away.


Only then does the movie cut to that conference room, where Tim Blake Nelson’s Dr. Allen is crowing to his military overlords about how this mutated team of scientists is helping do the heavy lifting for America’s rank-and-file soldiers.

Interestingly, the cut scene may have also helped with the break in the film where it shifts to one year forward.  The break in the final cut felt jarringly abrupt.  Entertainment Weekly's source was  unclear whether the scene was not included due to decisions by Josh Trank or by Fox.  It has been suggested that it was filmed with a documentary camera style that may have clashed with the rest of the film.  It is also possible that Fox already knew the film was going to be a bust and did not want to pay for the special effects to finish the scene.

Fantastic Four movie head quarters, news, and casting
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