Marvel President Talks Relationship Between Comic Content and Movies

Thanos Illustration - P 2013
<p>Thanos Illustration - P 2013</p>   |   Aleksi Bricklot/Marvel Entertainment
Dan Buckley tells fans complaining that Marvel's comic books are guided by upcoming movies "that's what we should be doing."

Dan Buckley, Marvel Entertainment president and publisher of print, animation and digital, has responded to repeated criticisms that the creative direction of Marvel's comic output is guided by Marvel Studios' upcoming releases by telling fans "that's what we should be doing."

In the second part of an interview with comic industry website ICv2, Buckley said that he found such complaints "ludicrous," adding, "In order to help the print business we need to get as many people as possible excited about the content we're delivering to them, and the less confusing it is for them to engage in our product, the more success we're going to have."

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He went on, "Does Marvel give editorial direction on what you can and cannot do with our characters? Yes. We did that before we made movies and before we went to Disney. That’s what the editorial group does here for a living. … But this is pretty much the same stuff we've been doing for 10 years in publishing in relationship to the film folks. We just got better at it when we started making our own films because we could have a better sense of what each other was doing."

Buckley explained that Marvel publishing plans to "build some heat around a character [in comics] 18 months to a year before the movie releases," although he admits that the publisher was "caught flat-footed with Avengers … because we realized we didn't have a definitive Thanos book." That gap was the reason behind the creation of last year's Thanos Rising series, he said.

According to Buckley, Marvel would ideally be able to improve its identification of a small number of mass-market tie-in releases for each new movie. "I'd love to just have two or three books; then you could have book market retailers really focus on merchandising stuff," he said. "We're always going to have a pretty big backlist of availability for the hobby market retailers because we have a rather significant backlist for all the major Avengers characters. The people you have to train are the book market distributor and our book market retailers and say, 'No, no, don't look at the 30 titles. Look at these three.' This is what you really need to focus and go deep on."