How Marvel and DC Could Help Us Through The Virus
Let’s get this out of the way – this whole situation sucks and is in no way fun for anyone. Coronavirus has stripped us of our norms and robbed us of our normal ways to enjoy life. But everything doesn’t have to come to a grinding halt on the comic book frontier. There are several things each company can do to continue to keep comic book fans across the world entertained during the shutdown. Of course, they would find a way to benefit, but this is the perfect time to step up and show fans that they care. Below are 5 things each company could do to give this pandemic a little less cabin fever.
Publish all new comics on the DC Universe App - DC has a distinct advantage with this first one. The Twisted Cape has talked about how much we generally enjoy using the DC Universe app (with no kickbacks… thanks DC!) and all of the content available on it. It’s a bold move, and it would put the company at a disadvantage financially, but to those who are subscribers to the service, getting new books every Wednesday would be a huge boost and relief to DC fans everywhere. We could keep the train rolling and not miss a beat when we get back to stores, hopefully later this spring.
Open up DCU Free Trials and Increase The Content – This piggybacks off of the last point, but extending that free trial to about 10 days allows people to really explore some of the content available. There are a ton of shows that were excellent, as well as an abundance of animated and live action movies, that could hook people and when that time is up, you’ve likely gained new subscribers. And the comic book content already accessible only sweetens the deal. Also, make sure you add every DCEU film and Arrowverse show to put everything in one place for maximum binging.
Release The Snyder Cut – This would satisfy every fanboy and fangirl on Twitter like crazy. Take the time to dig it out, release it digitally on every platform Warner Brothers has access to: HBO, cable’s On-Demand service, DC Universe, and anywhere else rentals are possible without physical human contact. Plus, we’d finally get to see the difference between what we got from Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder. Would it be better and unify comics fandom, or would it tear us further apart? Either way, it’s worth the controversy. Look at what Netflix did with Tiger King and people can’t stop talking about it.
Make DC Universe Online (and other DC games) Relevant – This MMO has been ongoing for quite a while now – 9 years, which is a great lifespan for an MMO. DC should take the opportunity to draw people back in by offering bonuses for new characters, XP boosts, and other game progression items to all players. It would be difficult now but adding a new story that reflected a classic comics story (I’m looking at you, Crisis) would be incredible. In addition to movies and TV shows, video games are an incredible way to get people into the universe. Also, work with the 3 console manufacturers to make DC games free to play for a limited time or give them away, or even add to their on-demand services.
Give Away Some Swag – We all love free stuff. Do that now – your possibilities are endless. DC has no idea how many Batman shirts I have in my dresser right now. Do I want more? Of course I do. Give them away! Twitter contests, DC Universe contests, live trivia – really anything to break up the monotony of being stuck in your house watching The Office for the 90th time. While giving away books could be difficult due to the virus, clothes, yearlong subscriptions to DC Universe, custom videos from creators, and creator signed merchandise (pre-COVID-19) is still awesome.
Lean in to Marvel Unlimited and Release New Books – Much like the first point under DC, Marvel also has a comic book reading service that is subscription based. They should take the time to include new releases here so that comic book fans can still gain access to the books, stories, and characters that they love. Also, make sure that as much of the entire catalog as possible is available for people to delve into.
It’s Time We Discussed New Mutants – So, coronavirus has managed to put yet another delay on a movie that’s already in its second full year of delays. New dates, rumors of re-shoots and re-writes, and reportedly, Disney had been unhappy with previous versions of the movie. However, it was supposed to release on the weekend that I’m writing this. At this point (and it’s not a new idea here, people), the studio needs a plan to release it on streaming. Disney has recently set precedent on this by releasing Onward, a Pixar film, directly on to Disney+. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t release The New Mutants on Disney+ or the majority Disney-owned Hulu. Just put the movie out and then we can enjoy it or trash it and move on with our lives.
Make Marvel Ultimate Alliance DLC Accessible – This obviously comes at a direct cost, especially with no money coming in. That said, allowing fans to come to your game and allowing access and maybe placing the full campaign behind a paywall would help this game out a little bit. Additionally, if you were planning to drop a version on Xbox One and PS4, now would be the time. I love that they kept it exclusive to Nintendo, but in this environment, we don’t have time for exclusivity. Besides, no one can get a Switch anywhere right now because Animal Crossing.
Go Non-stop On Marvel Content On A Disney Owned Channel – Take this opportunity to make use of this captive audience. There’s no shortage of ideas here. Use the weekends and broadcast every Marvel cartoon and animated feature around the clock. During the week, show MCU Marathons starting in release order, then mix it up later and put it in chronological order. Use all those properties that you’ve recently reacquired. Go full-on X-Men for 2 straight days. Get crazy and broadcast some director’s commentary or show some deleted/extended scenes. Show movies that fans vote on as their favorites. Taking this time to increase interactivity with fans could be a blessing in disguise.
Commit To Developing More Serious Animation For Next Time – This is huge. Instead of relying on items from yesteryear (seriously, Disney+ has the 60’s and 80’s Spider-Man series), commit to making more adult/mature themed animation. What is on Disney XD is fine, but to properly tell certain stories – I’m looking at you Civil War – it’s not something that can be watched on a Sunday morning with the kids. DC is still blowing you out of the water here, and even though it’s not a competition (it’s totally a competition), your fans don’t stay 10 forever. Give us the option to grow or stay innocent, but don’t keep making the choice for us
Will any of this happen? Who knows, but at least some of it would be an awesome start. As a result, both companies could make their die hard fans more loyal, as well as create a few more die hard fans of the company willing to lift the companies even higher after this whole thing blows over.