The Ridiculous Way One Of The Biggest Comic Events Was Named

In the 1980s, the bestselling Secret Wars miniseries was an antecedent to today's comic book mega-events, as it featured almost all of Marvel's marquee heroes and villains beating the tar out of each other. But how was it named?

Over at his blog, Secret Wars scribe Jim Shooter, who was the editor-in-chief at Marvel at the time, recalls the profound narrative hemming and hawing that went into naming the series:

The road that led to Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars actually began when Kenner Toys licensed the DC Universe for a boys' action figure line. Their competitor, Mattel, already had their He-Man action figure line, which was doing very well, but wanted to hedge the bet in case comic book character action figures became the rage. So, they came to Marvel to talk about licensing our characters. One thing they demanded of us was an "event," a special publication or series to help launch the toy line. I offered an idea that was suggested by a dozen or so correspondents — usually younger ones — in the fan mail every day: one big, epic story with all (or many) of the heroes and villains in it. Everyone agreed.

We went through a number of ideas for names for the toy line and series. Mattel's focus group tests indicated that kids reacted positively to the words "wars" and "secret." Okay.

Mattel had a number of other requirements. Doctor Doom, they said, looked too medieval. His armour would have to be made more high-tech. So would Iron Man's, because their focus groups indicated that kids reacted positively... etc. OK.

They also said there had to be new fortresses, vehicles and weapons because they wanted playsets, higher price point merchandise and additional play value. OK.

Oh, toyetic marketing and your damnable mass appeal. You're the reason Sym-Bionic Titan recently got the heave-ho from Cartoon Network.

[Via Super Punch]


    And we all sigh in releif knowing that Shooter is GONE!

    I'm a big comics nut and while it's interesting and (harrowing) to know my fond memories of Secret Wars came about through merchandising whoredom, I've read this all ready a few places on the interwebs. Why is Kotaku covering it at all?

    All the Gawker sites seem to be cross pollinating like crazy recently.

    I'm just thankful we didn't end up with He-Captain, SkeleDoom and Hulk-Ra.

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