Marvel is easily the most significant comic company in the United States, controlling the majority of the market. This has been a pretty standard thing for decades. Marvel pulled ahead in the Silver Age and never looked back, putting out superhero comics that changed how fans viewed them. Marvel has so many great aspects, and that’s why fans love the company.
However, with the good comes the bad. Marvel has a lot of tendencies that have turned off fans in a variety of ways. The company has made many mistakes and missteps, showing that even the industry’s most beloved company isn’t perfect.
10/10 C.B. Cebulski Was Punished For Lying To The Company By Being Made Editor-In-Chief
There are many cringe aspects to Marvel, and the fact that C.B. Cebulski is Editor-In-Chief is a big one. In the ’00s, Cebulski was Marvel’s liaison in Japan, working to bring manga talent to the company. He did a pretty good job, but his most significant success was with writer Akira Yashida. The writer got several high-profile jobs, including an Age Of Apocalypse 10th anniversary sequel.
The problem is that Cebulski was posing as Yashida to get a job as a writer. It was blatant dishonesty. Firing him would have been fitting, but instead, he was allowed to stay with the company and became Editor-In-Chief.
9/10 Marvel Doesn’t Push Female-Fronted Books
Marvel does marginally better than DC at female representation in their comics, but saying they do a good job is laughable at best. Marvel is a company that will basically give a comic to just about any hero or team to see what sticks, but when it comes to books with female main characters, they put them out with little fanfare.
For example, the upcoming Wasp miniseries has A-list talent attached to it, yet it’s nowhere near as well advertised as the other 60th-anniversary Ant-Man books. Likewise, Scarlet Witch’s marketing is nearly nonexistent compared to books from male heroes of similar stature. Captain Marvel is consistently among the best superhero books every month, but it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. That’s just how Marvel rolls.
8/10 Redeeming Villains In Order To Put Them In Books Is Dumb
Marvel basically created making villains into heroes, with examples like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Rogue. It’s a tried and true trope with the publisher. Marvel has been known to take a popular villain and make them into a hero to put them into team books or miniseries, which is ridiculous.
DC has been putting out books about villains being villains for a long time now. Sure, Marvel does this too at times, but for the most part, it’s a cycle: the villain gets popular, becomes a hero, gets into a book, and then either stays a hero if their popularity continues or goes back to being a villain. It’s such a strange way of doing things.
7/10 Marvel Never Strays Beyond Superheroes
Marvel has put out amazing comics, but they all have one thing in common. They’re all about superheroes. While this seems like a no-brainer, one need only look at DC, Marvel’s main competition, and they’ll find many books that aren’t superhero books at all. DC has a long history of putting out various comics that don’t contain superheroes, stretching back to the horror anthologies of the Silver Age.
Marvel puts out horror books… with superheroes. It does noir books… with superheroes. There’s some great Marvel sci-fi… starring superheroes. Marvel has brilliant talent, but they’ve pigeonholed their company into a niche, and it can be a tad bit annoying.
6/10 They’re Known To Make Things More Like The MCU In Hopes Of Bringing In Crossover Fans
The MCU is huge, even if it’s fallen in fan estimation since the end of Phase Three. The MCU has propelled Marvel into the stratosphere, making it a pop culture juggernaut. However, the success of the MCU hasn’t really translated to the comics, as crossover fans are rare. MCU fans like superheroes; they just don’t like comic books.
This is why it’s so bizarre that Marvel keeps making their universe match the MCU. There’s a vain hope of an influx of MCU fans, but they never show up in numbers that move the needle. So making changes for fans that don’t exist is asinine.
5/10 The Avengers Feel Like Second Class Citizens Sometimes
The Avengers are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They’re one of the cornerstones of Marvel, along with the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and Spider-Man and Wolverine. However, for whatever reason, Marvel is okay with letting them fade into the background. Comparing the Avengers to the X-Men, the two properties are treated entirely differently.
While the Avengers started the multiple-book angle that has allowed the X-Men to flourish, Marvel hasn’t allowed the Avengers to use it nearly as much. The last time there was true variety in the Avengers books was during 2012’s Marvel NOW! relaunch. Even then, there were only four books, five if one counts Young Avengers. There are two Avengers books currently, but Marvel barely pushed them until recently.
4/10 Sales Are More Important Than Quality
Once upon a time, a writer named Chuck Austen wrote Uncanny X-Men and then X-Men. Fans hated both books with a burning passion, constantly complaining about the quality of his writing and stories. However, he stayed on the books from 2002-2004, writing stories that have gone down as the worst X-Men comics of all time. So why was he kept on the books for so long? Sales never went down.
This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Marvel has done this many times in the past, ignoring fans’ complaints until sales suffer. Marvel has put out huge-selling comics, and it seems like that’s all that matters. As long as sales don’t suffer, changes don’t get made.
3/10 Consistent Yet Mediocre Talent Get High Profile Jobs
Marvel has long been a company that rewards loyalty and punishes disloyalty. This has been a thing since the Stan Lee days at the publisher when being part of Lee’s circle meant jobs and being outside of it meant getting fired. Marvel has kept this up, with many getting jobs more out of consistency and loyalty than talent.
There are several examples of Marvel writers and artists who hit their deadlines and do what the editors say but create subpar work getting big jobs. Consistency and loyalty are fine traits, but rewarding mediocrity has damaged many books.
2/10 The Amazing Spider-Man Is A Best-Selling Book That Is Hated By A Large Percentage Of Its Readers
Being a Spider-Man fan is trying, and Marvel seems to want it that way. The Amazing Spider-Man is always at the top of the sales charts, yet reader satisfaction hasn’t been high in years. The current run has seen fans enjoy individual stories while hating everything else about the book. This is quite common for TASM in the 21 century.
Marvel editorial has decreed that Spider-Man shouldn’t be allowed to grow as a character at any time beyond his pre-Mary Jane marriage status quo. They’ve used the Parker luck as an excuse to destroy any character development. TASM sells very well, but its esteem in readers’ eyes is remarkably low.
1/10 X-Men Has Completely Fallen From Grace
In 2019, X-Men was riding off the success of House of X/Powers of X, with writer Jonathan Hickman at the helm. His twenty-one issues weren’t always amazing, but it was still a great book. Unfortunately, he left the book in the summer of 2021 before leaving the X-Men line altogether. Writer Gerry Duggan took over, and the book has taken its place among comics’ biggest disappointments.
While the book’s art has ranged from stellar to great, the writing barely rises to mediocrity. It was the flagship of the X-Men line until the 2022 premieres of Immortal X-Men and X-Men Red, two books that run circles around it. It’s not a coincidence that fan esteem in the X-Men line and sales fell during that period.
NEXT: First 5 Marvel Heroes To Explore The Multiverse