Guardians of the Galaxy 2008
I created the site which sprang out of the Bring Back Wendell Vaughn as Quasar campaign as a result of Marvel Comics and its pr websites not caring at all about the Marvel Cosmic brand. I came up with the idea to help promote the Marvel Cosmic comic books -- hence "Cosmic Book News."
We regularly put up exclusive previews for Guardians of the Galaxy and the rest of the Marvel Comics cosmic books; we regularly conducted interviews with the various creators; Marvel often quoted our reviews in solicits and on the covers of their comics and trades; we even provided Marvel with information they could use regarding Richard Rider Nova, such as offering tips about which rank of the Nova Corps wore certain insignia and helmets.
And dare I say Marvel Cosmic became a success. The then-editor on the books stated Marvel Cosmic had rock solid sales and bucked the trend of losing readership each month. Marvel Cosmic succeeded even though it wasn't attached to the cruddy Avengers, cruddy Spider-Man, cruddy Earth and Marvel's cruddy comic book event crossovers. And of course, there is the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Without the Annihilation-era of Marvel Cosmic, there would be no Guardians of the Galaxy movie, no Guardians of the Galaxy 2, no Rocket and Groot, no Chris Pratt, no new billion dollar franchise for James Gunn and Disney.
And how were the creators of this Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Cosmic era rewarded for inspiring the Disney billion dollar franchise? They were fired.
Brian Michael Bendis, who is a part of the Marvel Comics Committee that, up until recently, advised on the movies, took over the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Bendis who knew the movie was coming out. What a classy individual Mr. Bendis is, huh?
Likewise, Abnett and Lanning also wrote the popular Richard Rider Nova comic, a sister title to Guardians of the Galaxy. Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel TV and chums with the Marvel Comics Creative Committee, took over Nova, replaced the character and put the new character in his animated Spider-Man TV series.
Under Bendis, Loeb, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Stephen Wacker and Axel Alonso, the Marvel Cosmic era officially ended and was replaced with goofy takes on the characters akin to Looney Tunes. Marvel then proceeded to do everything they could do sell these new "cosmic" books: Bendis was given 30 variant covers for his first issue of Guardians; both Loeb and Bendis were given A-list Marvel artists; the characters regularly were featured in big events and promotions -- which is something the preceding Marvel Cosmic brand under Abnett and Lanning never got, yet was a success against all the odds.
However, what Marvel Comics didn't count on is that Marvel COSMIC fans are from a different breed than the Marvel "zombie" readers: We don't just gobble everything up because it's the Marvel "brand." We don't settle just because it's "Marvel." All that does is lead to stagnation and a poor product. We don't think we OWE Marvel -- quite the contrary -- Marvel OWES us the reader. We are the ones shelling out our hard earned dollar, traveling through snow storms, rain storms - the thick and the thin - each week to BUY the product. You wouldn't go into your favorite restaurant and eat a pile of crap just because it's your favorite restaurant, right? You would demand the restaurant give you the reason why it's your favorite restaurant: the great taste and quality of the food you are used to.
Sales on Loeb's new Nova quickly fell. Loeb was announced off the series with publication of issue two because the sales couldn't justify his pay grade. The new Nova consistently sold less than the previous Richard Rider Nova series. My question: Is Marvel Comics in business to make money? I know Disney now owns them, and since Disney is a publicly traded company, you would think Marvel Comics would be in the business to make money. The latest issues of Loeb's Nova have sold half as many copies than the Richard Rider Abnett and Lanning Nova. Is that good business?
Regarding Bendis' Guardians of the Galaxy, admittedly it sold pretty well (again in part due to promotion and of course Gunn's GOTG movie), but it was a shadow of its former self and no longer the Guardians of the Galaxy that Marvel Cosmic fans have come to know and love. Bendis completely butchered the concept, brought the Guardians to Earth as second-rate characters to the Avengers and added in Spider-Man characters and other Marvel "street-level" characters that belonged nowhere near a cosmic title. Bendis' Guardians is now selling similar numbers to Abnett and Lanning's previous version, and you guessed it -- Bendis has been announced to be leaving Guardians of the Galaxy, which we can speculate, similar to Loeb, is a result of lowered sales that don't justify his pay grade (and why Bendis' Moon Knight was cancelled -- magic number being around the 50K mark).
Obviously we're no fans of what Marvel Comics, Bendis and Loeb did to the Marvel Cosmic brand as we're the only site that has ever pointed out the "Marvel Cosmic screw job heard around the universe." Back in 2014 we even questioned whether or not Bendis ever read any of the preceding Marvel Cosmic comic books in our review for Bendis' GOTG #20. Now it's learned we were right.
As pointed out by Bleeding Cool, Bendis recently revealed on Twitter (Bendis has banned us from reading his account), that he's never read a previous issue of Guardians of the Galaxy. And he said it with a smile.