Marvel is one of the most popular entertainment brands on the planet, and the company’s comics are among the biggest sellers in the comic book industry. It gives them some leeway to come out of the comics. They can afford to throw everything on the wall and see if it sticks. Beyond that, early MCU characters typically get solo books when their movies come out, an attempt at cross-media synergy.
Marvel has been at the helm of sales longer than the MCU existed and has always given away all kinds of solo character books. A lot of them didn’t deserve it and nowadays there are plenty of characters who don’t really need a solo book anymore either.
ten Doctor Strange only got one book again because of the MCU
Doctor Strange has long been a Marvel devotee, but he ran out of steam in the ’90s. For a long time, the character disappeared before returning to the team books. Eventually, when news of his MCU debut hit, he got another chance to read a solo book, with writer Jason Aaron and artist Chris Bachalo’s team of superstars working on it.
While their print run performed very well, subsequent print runs for the book fell flat. Doctor Strange is too powerful to have just one book all the time; a creative team needs a holistic story to make it work. Beyond that, Strange as a character just isn’t interesting, so keeping him in a solo book for long periods of time doesn’t make sense.
9 Shang-Chi hasn’t had a solo book in decades, and only had one because of the MCU
Shang-Chi has a solo book again, and the reason is a bit of a mystery beyond the MCU. The last time Shang-Chi was a big deal was in the ’70s and while he has had fans nowadays, his appearances in the years since then weren’t really much publicized. Marvel gave him a complete boost when announcing his movie, but he’s nowhere near ready for prime time.
Shang-Chi only really works in certain types of stories and Marvel having it beating overpowered heroes and villains is just a little weird. The book is not selling very well and once his MCU star disappears, his books will be gone.
8 Deadpool got a little too ridiculous
Deadpool has long been a big seller, but his shenanigans have come to a standstill. Deadpool is more than jokes, but too many writers fall back on ridiculous ultra-violence. While it’s a lot of fun, a comic book just can’t get by for years on Deadpool Madness, and that’s what happened. While he doesn’t have a book right now, it can be argued that he will never need one again.
The best Deadpool stories are far in the past. While there may be new ways to present the character, too many fans just want the same old, same old and this leads him down too familiar paths for fans to enjoy in the long run.
seven Scarlet Witch does not do well in a solo environment
Scarlet Witch is one of Marvel’s most powerful heroes, and she’s become quite prominent in recent years, both in the comics and in the MCU. A longtime avenger, she’s made a name for herself in the team books, but Scarlet Witch’s solo comics don’t quite work. At first glance, it’s a little weird; he is a character with a rich history and a lot to explore.
In practice, it never really works that way. She doesn’t have too many enemies to have her exclusive and the magic corner of the Marvel universe isn’t the most interesting. She’s still a great character, but no writer has ever found a way to make her work on her own.
6 Marvel keeps trying to win back Doctor Octopus’ top Spider-Man fame
Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s oldest enemies. He got a major upgrade when he became the Superior Spider-Man, taking over Peter Parker’s body and trying to prove he was better than his old nemesis. It brought a rebirth to Doctor Octopus, but after the story ended, Marvel kept trying to get that back.
It never worked so well again; Marvel often tends to beat a dead horse and that’s exactly what happened with Doc Ock. He’s a great character, but he’s a better villain than a longtime solo star and every time Marvel tries to bring him back for another nostalgic tour they belittle everything.
5 The cable days are over
Cable’s status as Summers makes him a powerful mutant royalty, but his popularity has always been a bit inexplicable. One of the mysterious and violent men of the 90s, his big guns and many aesthetic pouches went out of fashion a long time ago, but he’s still here. He’s one of the few mutants to back a long-term solo book, but it’s hard to say he needs it.
When it was announced that he would be getting a solo book instead of many other Great Mutants at the start of the Krakoa era, fans were mystified. Cable has been a fossil for years and even bringing in a younger version of him hasn’t breathed new life into the character.
4 The thing works best as a whole
The Thing is one of Marvel’s most popular powerhouses, but putting it all on its own is a weird idea. Marvel recently tried out another Thing comic and while people love the character, his solo books never last. He had a leading role in Marvel two-in-one in two different volumes but it is not really a solo book and it is floundering on its own.
The Thing is a great character when he can play around with others. On its own, it just isn’t that interesting. Teaming him up can’t work forever, so his solo books for him just don’t work that well.
3 Black Cat is better as a supporting character
Black Cat is literally Marvel’s Catwoman. He’s a cat burglar who has a crush on Marvel’s first vigilante. While there are a few differences, she’s still a supporting character at best. Felicia Hardy may be fun, but she’s not at Selina Kyle’s level. Marvel only recently tried pushing her as a solo star, but it all depends on the skill of the book; it takes a great writer to do your long-term solo work.
Divorced from Spider-Man, Black Cat is just another thief with a heart of gold. He’s not exactly a high-stakes character and his stories will always be the same. Eventually, even the best writers will run out of good black cat stories.
2 Venom has always been an odd choice for a solo star
Symbiotes have been a big deal at Marvel for a long time and it’s all because of Venom. Initially the most popular new Spider-Man villain of the ’90s, Venom jumped on the anti-hero bandwagon and has stayed there ever since. While there have been more interesting runs with the character, like the Flash Thompson Agent Venom version, Eddie Brock has never been an interesting hero.
Venom still feels like a character slowing down his success in the ’90s. There’s not much new to do with him, and any ideas that seem like they could work are a little silly.
1 Iron Man hasn’t been popular in the comics for years
Iron Man may be popular in the MCU, but the comics are a different story. Iron Man is one of Marvel’s most hated heroes in the comics and he’s earned it with years of terrible deeds. He betrayed his friends, became completely fascist after Civil war, and created the Illuminati, and aided them in committing large-scale genocide during the incursions.
Marvel tried to make it more in line with the MCU version of the character, but fans never bought it. He’s at his lowest in popularity for years and yet he has a career going and stars in a miniseries with Captain America, which doesn’t have a book of its own. Iron Man having a book and not Cap is a travesty. Iron Man hasn’t needed a book in years.
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