Mike Gold: They Aren’t So Fantastic…
There has been a debate amongst comics wags that the rumor about Marvel cancelling their flagship title, Fantastic Four, during their 75th anniversary celebration was just that – a rumor. Marvel/Disney couldn’t possibly be that petty. Bleeding Cool.com‘s Rich Johnson, who carried the story, steadfastly stood behind his sources. Good for him.
Evidently, Marvel wasn’t happy with how 20th Century Fox was treating the property in the forthcoming movie reboot, they didn’t want to support it and so were cancelling the comic book. OK, but would they cancel all those X-Men titles if they didn’t like the way Fox handled their latest X-movie? Of course not. Nor did Marvel cancel the Spider-Man titles despite the atrocious way Columbia handled the Spidey flicks of late – and they’ve got release dates for three or four more.
To be fair, compared to the profits of the X-Men comics or even the (fewer in number) Spider-Man comics, the revenues racked in off of The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine are a fart in a blizzard. Even so, it just seemed real petty.
As it turns out, Rich was right. Kudos, pal. But it’s a damn shame anyway. Historical affinity aside, James Robinson was settling in nicely on the series and he’s one of our medium’s best writers.
Prior to this brouhaha, some cast members of this forthcoming FF flick were saying it wasn’t really based on the comics, it was an “expansion” of the concept, it wasn’t comic book shit, it’s goddamned art and they wouldn’t be associated with lesser trash. Yes, I’m wildly paraphrasing, but not out of my long-acknowledged love of the Stan Lee – Jack Kirby creation. No, I’m crabby about this because it’s a stupid business decision. Haven’t they seen any of the Marvel Studios movies? The recently concluded Batman trilogy? Any of those Marvel and DC shows on television right now?
All of these shows have one thing in common: they treated their source material with respect; Marvel Studios more than DC/Warner Bros., but at their worst neither ever distanced themselves from the comics.
Heaven forbid 20th Century Fox should have a movie as entertaining and as profitable as Guardians of the Galaxy – and that movie wasn’t based upon a comic book series that has been published since 1961. In fact, few civilians ever heard of the Guardians.
Now we have what, for me, may very well be the final nail in the new Fantastic Four movie coffin. Over at Collider, actor Toby Kebbell gave us the bird’s eye lowdown on the character he portrays in the film, somebody called “Doctor Doom.”
“I’ll tell you this because of our history.” Kebbell confided to Collider. “He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story. And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that. The Doom in ours – I’m (Doom) a programmer. Very anti-social programmer. And on blogging sites I’m Doom… The low-fi way he did it, the whole ultra-real, it was just nice to be doing that, it was nice to be feeling we had come to terms with what we had been given.”
Hey, what were you given, Toby, other than characters and a concept that had been around for 53 years and raised three generations of followers in comics and on radio, television and movies?
By the way, as of this writing IMDB is wrong. They still list the character as Victor Von Doom.
So… maybe Marvel/Disney’s reaction was not so petty. Maybe it was more fanboy, and I mean that in the most positive sense of the term.
Fine. One less movie to see and, sadly, one less favored comic book to read.