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AVENGERS Disconnect? MARVEL's Identity Crisis
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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One of the greatest brands in recent history has a screw loose, if you ask most avid comic book readers and superhero movie watchers. The all-powerful MARVEL appears to be having an identity crisis. The esteemed home of super factions like the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers has recently announced the creation of MARVEL NOW!, which has left most of its fans thinking their Spidey sense never saw the PR backlash coming. 

The iconic storehouse has established a gentler, kinder comic brand that is made up of hipsters who think the comics and movies should get more "with it," so they have taken these apparently dormant age-old personas people have grown up with since 1933 and had them all wake up and smell the 21st century. How? Development change, culture change, outfit change, and even a sex change. If you ask the hidden generation who lives in big mama's basement surrounded by action figures, posters, and a MARVEL Snuggie, this is one change that should have never come. 

For example, Thor. You know, the strapping god of Asgard who wields the impervious Mjolnir (the big hammer to those not in the know)? Yeah, he is now a she. Captain America portrayed by Steve Rogers, and then his sidekick Bucky Barnes, is how this nation knew its chief defender. Now, it's Sam Wilson, as in The Falcon. To the more conservative of the audience, that means Captain America is now Captain African-America. Iron Man's Tony Stark is apparently in love with the Silver Surfer, because his legendary red-and-gold suit has been traded in for one that is completely silver, known as "Superior Iron Man." 

Needless to say, you can imagine the hubbub in the superhero universe. This is 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! (Shout out to the children of the '80s with that line.) There have been reports that say the outlash of this 'NOW!' movement is worse than when Lebron took his talents to South Beach. People aren't big fans of change. In fact, some hate it. And when you jack with figures of lore like superheroes, prepare to deal with some bad PR.

Granted, making things more current is a good thing if you ask most of America not living in a basement. Culture rightness. Power to the sexes. And there's nothing wrong with sprucing up the wardrobe. But what's next is what has fans petrified. 

Maybe Black Panther goes for more of a chartreuse hue? There is already a She-Hulk, so why not have her pregnant and really attitudinal toward Mr. Mad Green Guy? Dr. Strange goes to the pharmacist, grabs some anti-depressants, and now he's Dr. Normal? Ghost Rider decked out in Harley-Davidson gear may actually just wear all that leather because S&M is trendy? And let's just freak out the world and have Storm visit the hairstylist to get rid of all the gray. 

Those comic book fans who read that are probably eating glass right now. While those examples are a little jokey-jokes, it begs the question: Why change? The answer is easy: Because. 

It's a brave new world, people. Time to get on board and enjoy the ride. 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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