As Marvel’s movies have become more successful, a number of comic book fans have taken increasing umbrage at the idea that Marvel’s comic books have started to take direction from their cinematic brethren.
In particular, last month’s revelation that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were actually not the children of the X-Men’s Magneto — a “fact” that had been part of comics mythology since 1982 — has been seen as the latest example of "proof" of this trend (Marvel Studios, which is using Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, doesn’t have the rights to use Magneto in movies). According to Marvel publisher Dan Buckley, however, the truth of the situation is far less sinister.
Fan reaction to the revelation about Quicksilver's and the Scarlet Witch’s parentage was neatly summed up in a piece from leading comics news site Comic Book Resources, which complained that the decision “undermine[d] one of Marvel’s greatest asset [sic] — its unbroken and rich history, and add[ed] needlessly impenetrable complications to characters that will make them off-putting and confusing to any new reader that decides to look at any of the comics published prior to 2008.... The forced synergy we’ve seen between the comics and movies feels counter to the incredibly progressive and brilliant work currently being done on the vast majority of Marvel’s titles, books like Thor and Daredevil, because this synergy doesn’t feel story driven.”
In an interview with industry blog ICv2, Marvel’s Buckley pushed back against such claims.
“I think people like to jump to conclusions, “ he said. “There’s no way that these movies, which are seen by millions of people, are not influencing what we’re doing in the books, but we’re not looking to align continuity between the two storytelling worlds because, frankly, that would be a venture into madness.”
Instead, he suggested, what happens is simply that comic book creators are inspired by the way characters and concepts appear on screen, and that inspiration finds its way back into the comic books. “Both mediums have influence on each other, yes,” Buckley said. “They will creatively bleed into each other; people are going to steal good ideas from each other. That’s always going to happen,” he added, pointing to the launch of Marvel’s SHIELD comic book series, using characters created for the ABC Agents of SHIELD series as an example. “But they’re going to act, breathe and operate in the comics universe in the continuity of the comics universe. In the television universe they’ll still be in the Cinematic Universe doing what they’re doing.”
“One [universe] is not overriding the other,” Buckey said. “It would be way too hard. But they do influence each other and that’s a lot of fun.” Bad news for everyone who was secretly hoping to see the comic book Doctor Strange suddenly turn into a Brit who looks a lot like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes.