The GeeksverseRelaunching – In Name Only

Relaunching – In Name Only
Published on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 by

Years ago a new company hit the comics scene and created quite a splash. Crossgen Comics was pretty popular and had some innovative ideas. Their way of thinking and treating their artists definately helped alot of guys. Guys like Scot Eaton and Paul Pelletier were okay when they went to Crossgen and they came away very good.

For multiple reasons Crossgen folded. Disney bought up the rights to their catalog of properties mostly to get ahold of Abadazad by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog. Eventually Disney bought Marvel and it was only a matter of time before the Crossgen books made an appearance. And now they have.

There have been three Crossgen titles released so far, all 4 issue mini-series, and only one of them bears more then a superficial resemblance to it’s namesake. The other two are so different, what was the point of using the Crossgen title?

Ruse had only the planet changed but everything else (minus the sigil/watcher that linked all the books together) remains the same. Marvel even brought back the original Ruse writer, Mark Waid.

Mystic, the latest to be released, keeps the names of the two main female characters but changes pretty much everything else. Planet name? Changed. The two characters are no longer sisters. How magic is “run” on the planet? Changed.

Sigil, the first to be released, is the most changed. The original Sigil was about a space faring ship’s captain and his crew. This Sigil is about a young girl with a symbol (and this is the only book that bears the familiar Crossgen symbol) on her neck and how she gets involved in a time spanning war between sigil-wielders. This comes across as the original Crossgen’s Meridian but with the Sigil title. Except it’s not that close to Meridian either.

So what is the point in calling these by the Crossgen name aside from marketing? They are totally new concepts that could have worked under any title. Marvel just wants to use the recognizable name to help increase sales.

In a way this is a slap to the fans of the original property. They hear that Mystic is being relaunched and they get all excited. They know there will be some changes, it always happens, but to have things changed that much? Does anyone really want that?

When a relaunch is so different that it’s not even recognizable as the same, and names don’t count if the characters are different, then there is no point in calling it by the original title. It ends up being just a ploy using the name to generate sales.

Shouldn’t the concept be good enough to get those sales on it’s own?

The most blatant was the movie Wanted. A couple of shared names (Wesley and Fox) but beyond that there wasn’t anything recognizable as the comic book that Mark Millar created. And Millar was fine with that apparently. I remember an interview where he said the core of the book was still there in the movie and thought to myself “it’s buried pretty deep”.

Wanted would have been an impossible movie to make and to sell to the general movie going audience. So instead they kept the name and even credited Millar and J.G. Jones, and used that to draw in the comic book fans.

Here’s the funny thing, those same fans would have probably gone to see it even if it had been named “Son Of An Assassin” or something. I would have. I liked the movie. I liked the comic. They are not connected in any way, shape or form.

Yes, changes happen when something gets relaunched. That’s the name of the game. The old concept didn’t fully work (in the case of Crossgen, it wasn’t the fault of the concepts, it was the execution by the company) in most cases, so there has to be some change up. But to keep the name and change everything else just doesn’t make sense.

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