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Scott Johnson Pontificates With Us On Marvel Comics Seizing Control of its IPs As Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios Logo

A Maker or Breaker Deal?

Donning a costume can be a hard task for a superhero, but it may not be as hard as making a Marvel film studio fly.

Well, hard or not, it’s happening. Marvel is working on releasing both Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk this year, and prospectively working on 2 more titles for ’09. Purpose? Marvel wants to have a good deal of control over how their various IPs get thrown on screen. Heavy undertaking, if you ask us. In fact, Screen Rant reports that limiting factors may be putting this fancy goal on hold.

As the first film to be birthed by the studio, Iron Man appears to be setting them up all pretty. The movie has boasted so much buzz, that one hardly wonders about success. But amongst the rumors and scuttlebutt orbiting this new venture is the fear that the formula has already been overworked. From an article found in Newsday today:

Launching a major movie production company right now seems like a dicey venture. But the Marvel formula has been a spectacular success for other studios the past eight years. The self-doubting Spider-Man, the bickering Fantastic Four, the misunderstood X-Men and all the other Marvel misfits have racked up a stunning $5 billion in worldwide box office, most of that for Sony and Fox.

So the question is, has the genre already made its chunk of money? Investors may chomp at the bit to get a piece of this pie, but are there enough capes with compelling enough stories to make this juggernaut of an idea turn into marketable goods?

Scott Johnson's MyExtraLife Comic

[Image via MyExtraLife.com]

We interview Scott Johnson for his take on the new Marvel Studios

We sent a few questions over to Scott Johnson, cartoonist and comic artist. Scott pristinely runs a couple of popular podcasts about World of Warcraft as well as comics and all things of the sort. Scott’s work is mostly shown either on his website, MyExtraLife, or on his Flickr page. In short, he knows his stuff. Here’s what Scott had to say:

MyDisguises: What do you think of Marvel starting their own film company? Do you think it will serve a need that hasn’t been served with other studios?

Scott: I think its actually a little weird. They should just leave it to the people in the know, and press more for creative control over their own property. Heck, maybe that’s why they are doing it in the first place. The film business is such a jungle sometimes.

MD: Is the whole comic-book-into-film thing hitting a dead end anytime soon? Most of the big names in comics have made it to film… is there much else out there to explore?

Scott: I think there is room to grow, but I think Marvel and others need to start working on building new character possibilities like folks at DarkHorse, Image and others have been doing.

MD: How vital do you think it is for Marvel to get this first film right? Will fans lose faith fast or will they trust the Marvel name?

Scott: I think the first movie that comes from this will make or break the deal. if they deliver the goods, then people are on board. If the first effort sucks rocks, then they are screwed.

MD: Now that Marvel has their own studio, do you think we’ll be seeing
some more obscure characters get some time on screen?

Scott: I hope so. Cable anyone? Oh yeah, baby.

MD: How do you think fans would respond to animated features by Marvel?

Scott: I think they will give it the one big shot, but they will be picky.

MD: Why do you think there are so many comic book characters that flop in film?

Scott: Because people don’t really think through the characters and such. Take movies like 300, Road to Perdition, the first Men in Black, Spiderman II, X-Men one and two…these movies were taken seriously by both the creators and the film makers and as a result, we got really great stuff. I think if you put really talented people on it that love the work, great things can and will happen.

With a couple of the big blockbusters set to hit this summer, we’ll find out soon enough.

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