What Makes a Successful Character?
Stan Lee and Marvel Comics Senior VP of Sales and Marketing David Gabriel weigh in on why certain characters succeed and others don’t in a recent article on Forbes.com.
After taking a few undeserved jabs at Quasar, the space-faring Marvel hero created in 1978 and recently rejuvenated by a new miniseries, the article gets down to brass tacks and talks to Lee about what makes a superpower success story.
"I’m not sure I have the full answer, but my guess would be in many cases it’s just the quality of the writing, or the artwork or whatever," Lee said.
"For example, take Sherlock Holmes. There have been millions of detective stories over the years. Many of them are forgettable. Somehow Sherlock Holmes has endured, mainly because no one could write a detective story as brilliantly as (Arthur) Conan Doyle, and nobody could come up with a character as interesting and flawed as Sherlock Holmes."
And what did Gabriel, one of the marketing gurus behind all of the recent Captain America hub-bub, have to say?
Gabriel said it’s tough pushing some books on a consistent basis. People in his business have the blockbuster movies and videogames to thank for bolstering demand. With the exception of the diehard fans, this is what gets people into the 3,500 or so comic book shops nationwide these days. Slap the death and resurrection of a flagship character in there, and you’ve got a surge in the franchise.
Well, there you go. If they just killed off Quasar, Marvel would have a hit on their hands… right?