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Monday February 22, 2010 8:38 pm

A Marvelution Flashback

Marvel HandbookUnless you’ve been living in a hole for the past week or infected with a Zombie virus that’s harmed your brain, you’re aware that DC Entertainment has made a significant restructuring move in their executive suite and put a team of 5 people in charge - Dan Didio, Geoff Johns, Pat Caldon, John Rood and Jim Lee - to replace the outgoing Paul Levitz.

The internets abound with excellent coverage and analysis. One of the best pieces is from Heidi McDonald who lands a short interview with Diane Nelson, the head of DC Entertainment who put the team together.

Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter runs through some very worthwhile bullet points in a “fingers crossed” sort of way.

And Dirk Deppey, no fan of the outgoing Paul Levitz, is optimistic about the new DC Team-Up.

I’m reminded of a time many years ago when Marvel Comics went on a buying spree that included the acquisitions of Panini, Fleer and Malibu Comics and culminated with the buying of Heroes World to be Marvel’s sole distributor. Under different circumstances, they also put a team of 5 in place as editorial shopkeepers. They called it “Marvelution.” A similar, “clever” phrase has yet to be made from DC’s name. “No Fear” might somehow stick in some way, but I think someone else already has that trademark. “High Five” is getting some play over at Bleeding Cool. And maybe if the DC gang do well, someone will tag them “The Superior Five.”

I happen to have a copy of the 1995 Marvel Editorial Handbook (pictured at the right) which explains to a then-worried world - in language that appears to be written by school textbook writers and vetted by lawyers - how Marvel had the situation well under control and that no one should feel any anxiety. After all, change is good.

From the handbook, then, here’s what Marvelution was all about.

“Q: What is Marvelution?

Marvelution is the word that Marvel has coined to describe Marvel’s recognition of the dramatic changes that have occurred in the marketplace and Marvel’s response to these changes. It defines two clear goals:

1) Increase reader satisfaction with Marvel products.
2) Make it easier for retailers to sell Marvel products.

To achieve these goals, Marvel has undergone many changes under Marvelution:

1) Restructuring of Marvel Editorial into “families” of books to bring more focus to and improve the quality of individual books.

2) Reducing Marvel’s title count.

3) Upgrading production quality, including paper and separations, on Marvel’s books.

4) Acquiring new publishing ventures to reach new readers and to expand Marvel’s presence into other markets.

5) Acquiring a distributor - Heroes World - to exclusively distribute Marvel’s products to the direct market and to make it easier for retailers to order and sell Marvel products.

Marvel’s hope is that the benefits of these changes - and changes yet to come as Marvelution continues - will bring Marvel, and the industry as a whole, to new levels of success.”

Anyone remember how that worked out?

[Artwork: cover to 1995 Marvel Editorial Handbook, © 1995 Marvel Comics]

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