Much has been made the past couple months / years regarding the apparent disrespect of the comic book industry (fans included) towards artists. From a lack of focus on art in comic book reviews or an entire months' worth of solicitations all drawn by the same person - TBA* - comic book artists are getting the shaft when it comes to recognition and credit.
Well, have no fear, it's about to get much worse. Bleeding Cool is reporting that Marvel Comics, a subsidiary of Disney, has registered the trademark Color Your Own, "solely for comic books." From Bleeding Cool:
The Adult Colouring book boom shows no sign of stopping. They made up five of Amazon's top 10 sellers last week. Brazil had six in their top 10 non-fiction list. And last year in France, they sold 3.5m of the buggers.
(wait, what's that "u" doing in the word "color?")
That's right; it seems that Marvel's next big slogan will be "Color Your Own [Damn Books]." This marketing strategy is reminiscent of Marvel's 2010 "I am an Avenger" tagline that went with their Heroic Age branding which saw hundreds of comic book readers die horrible deaths as they all tried to foil crime and stop terrorism by themselves or with a group of like-minded and similarly stupid friends.
According to Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, the "Color Your Own [Damn Books]" campaign is about more than just getting rid of undesirable artists, it's about fan generated variant editions:
As anyone who has been following the industry the past few years knows that comics are doing great, and if we can keep up the pace of too many movies, too many comics, too many variants, and too much cost indefinitely then we'd be all good. Unfortunately each new (and smaller) generation of fans eventually learns to ignore metallic covers, re-launches, and an over-priced anniversary issues (i.e.: issue numbers divisible by 5 or 12) so we have to keep coming up with new ways to grab the attention of our fan. I mean fans. Fans. You can fix that quote, right?
In other words, "Color Your Own [Damn Books]" is an attempt by Marvel to get comic book readers to create their own individual variant issue without the bother of naming or even paying an artist.
Joe Q: Once everyone has their own variant then all variants are special
OH: I don't think that's how variants work
Joe Q: Hey, who runs a comic book company; me or you?
Joe Q: Well?
OH: ... you do ...
Joe Q: Well Then, VARIANTS FOR / FROM EVERYBODY!
Of course there's a chance I made all of that up and this is just some stupid marketing gimmick to promote Marvel's new "adult" (but not "adult themed") coloring books due out next year.
But, c'mon, really, where's the fun in that.
* - to be announced