Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How Star Wars -- and Roy Thomas -- Saved Marvel Comics

I'm not a big comics reader and never have been. I read a handful of comics when I was a boy -- Dr. Strange, Star Wars, Micronauts -- and I continue to read them when someone else suggests I take a look at a particular issue or series. Even so, I have a longstanding amateur's fascination with comics as a medium and as an industry, so I'm quite keen to learn more about both. My friend and business partner, Richard Iorio, pointed me toward yesterday's entry on Jim Shooter's blog, where the former Marvel editor-in-chief spins the tale of how, in the mid-70s, Marvel was floundering and the combination of Roy Thomas and the Star Wars license helped to save the company.

It's an interesting read, especially if, like me, you have a fondness for the Marvel Star Wars comics.

6 comments:

  1. And those Star Wars comics were pretty great- one thing they did that I loved was they included the movie adaptations in the regular numbering, so you'd go from star wars, 3 years or so worth of between movie comics, and then Empire, really giving you the sense that the comics were filling in the gaps.

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  2. I have heard (although I can't point to anything substantiating it) that the same is true of Lego. In the 90s it was facing diminishing sales and a lack of brand recognition until they picked up the Star Wars license. And, if that's true, then it's interesting that it was the same generation of consumers who having saved Marvel as children now save Lego as adults, paying premium prices for the nostalgia filled toys.

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  3. While as a comics fan I do see the significance of what Jim is saying, I think anybody who has ever read more than two comics knows to take anything Jim Shooter says with an iceberg of salt.

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  4. One of Roy Thomas's later creations - Arak, Son of Thunder, which he wrote while at DC - was my first introduction to fantasy, and opened the door to everything else. I remember eagerly checking the comics stand at the drugstore each month to see if the new issue had arrived. Good memories...

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  5. The movie also saved 20th Century Fox, which was foundering because of a decade of high-priced flops.

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