Skip to Content

Mark Gruenwald

Characters drive comicbooks

Recently, we found this analysis by Ed Campbell, pointing out that big comicbook editors (Marvel or DC) haven’t been able to create as many characters in recent years as they had in previous decades.

But does creator’s rights make the comic book industry stale?  Or does it only affect the “big 2″ comic publishers, while smaller publications thrive?

If you look at Marvel and DC over the past decade, there haven’t been too many new characters come out for the comics.  There were some characters who were “re-imagined” when DC launched the New 52.  But on the most part there haven’t been any characters to really jump off the page and become household names.  Even Marvel has introduced some new characters like Ghost Rider, Nova and Ms. Marvel.  But they are just older characters with new characters portraying these long-time Marvel personas.  (“Creator’s Rights = Stale Creativity,”, June 20, 2014).

To find proof of this stagnation in character development, one need only think of Mark Gruenwald, who invented dozens of characters—some of them quite memorable—during his time on Captain America. There’s no sense of such a rich creative vein being tapped nowadays. New characters allow heroes to face new experiences and new adversaries that multiply fans’ reading pleasure.