Logan’s Last Days: The Death of Wolverine
Just released in a surprising move by Marvel Comics is The Death of Wolverine #1. Wolverine, a character known to many by his appearances in numerous cartoons, several summer blockbuster films and countless comic book appearances, will finally succumb to death’s touch.
This may leave you with a few questions, such as why would Marvel Comics go and eliminate a character who has been in so many different comic book series? Or maybe you’re asking yourself why would they kill off a major character when there are movies that he’s featured in and could easily profit from? Or maybe you’re just skeptical about Wolverine staying dead, and honestly I can’t even blame you for that.
To simply answer why Marvel would eliminate Wolverine if he was a major character and in so many of their series, it’s simple: they did it for the Benjamins–money, dough, bread, moola, or whatever you want to call it!
Let me explain. With Wolverine gone, Marvel can now acquaint their audience with other characters from their catalog to fill in the void he left behind–characters that they own all the rights to. Those characters will be (re)introduced in comic book series and then in movie form. It’s just simple math. More characters mean more movies, which mean more money.
At the same, time there have also been a few complaints about Wolverine as of late, mainly that he’s been in too many different comic book series at the same time. At one point Wolverine was a member of the Avengers, New Avengers, X-Men and X-Force comic book series.
This was comically addressed in comic book form in New Avengers Vol. 2 #1 (2010). Where Wolverine says, “Hey, I’m an X-Man and on two Avengers teams…Multitasking, it’s my mutant power. Don’t tell anybody.” A seemingly subtle message to the critics from Marvel, “Yeah we know he’s being used a lot, get over it…”
To answer the second question, Marvel doesn’t seem to care about losing money on comic books. They make so much more money off films, plus I believe that they would rather not give any free publicity to a competitor. A great example of this would be the Fantastic Four and X-Men, whose film rights are both owned by 20th Century Fox.
Marvel Studios tried to reacquire parts of the Fantastic Four franchise and could not come to a deal with Fox. Marvel Comics have since rumored that they will not be releasing any new Fantastic Four comic books in the future. And to make matters interesting, coming up is the 75th Anniversary of Marvel Comics. A promotional poster for this event lacks any member of the Fantastic Four. See? Marvel would rather not even acknowledge characters that they don’t have the rights to than give out publicity.
Another example is the X-Men, which just released a film this year, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Surprisingly there was no major toy collection released for this film. Marvel usually creates a line of toys to coincide with a film’s release, which is usually a win-win for both companies. On the other hand there was a major toy release for Guardians of the Galaxy, which is owned by Marvel. Again, Marvel would rather not promote a competitor than make money.
For the third issue, I can’t blame you for being skeptical that Wolverine will actually stay dead. Many believe that this is just a publicity stunt to drum up interest. With this in mind take a look at the tragic death of Captain America/Steve Rogers.
His death came in a similarly named comic book series, The Death of Captain America, and made national news. Yes, a comic book character’s death actually made national news coverage. And, just two years later, it was revealed that he wasn’t actually dead but was alive the whole time. And not only was he alive, he was being transported in and out of time, reliving his life over and over again until the Red Skull brought him to the present and attempted to take over his mind and body.
Like I said earlier, I can’t blame you for thinking he’ll be back soon. However, I feel that Wolverine could be added to the list of comic book characters that actually stays dead. Marvel has a lot to gain by introducing other characters and has even more to gain by not indirectly supporting a rival film company.
So if this is for the long haul (or maybe just until Marvel Studios can regain the film rights to Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett), then let me say requiscate in pace, my friend.
(Slider image photo credit: geek-prime.com)
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