Why is Riot Games Licensing ‘League of Legends’ to Marvel?

Forbes has some more about why Riot Games gave Marvel the license for adapting their League of Legends franchise into comics, and also how they’ve formatted it. Here’s what the game studio’s development head, Greg Street, had to say:


Street says Riot’s partnership with Marvel was a natural for several reasons. “LoL is superhero IP fundamentally,” he explained. “The stories we tell are about being exceptional, relating to the rest of society.” He said those storytelling principles are also at the heart of Marvel’s brand, and the company’s talent and experience in the comics marketplace bring the project immediate visibility.


IMO, he’s way behind the times. They’ve thrown away any plausible flow in their superhero line for the sake of diversity-pandering that doesn’t put high value on story merit, nor genuine personality, if you consider how much of today’s offerings are more like Mary Sues, and what “talent” do they still have writer and art-wise? Most of the people working for them today like Slott and Aaron are awful, and from the samples I’ve seen so far of these LoL adaptations themselves, they don’t look very inspiring. Whatever energy Marvel once has was destroyed once Quesada got his foot in the door, and Bob Harras, now figurehead editor for DC, likely isn’t sorry he gave him the keys to the kingdom on his way out.




The brain trust at Marvel seems to agree. “Many fans of the Marvel Universe and comics share their interests and passion for storytelling with the gaming community,” said C.B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel. “League of Legends is one of the most well-known games in the industry, and their unique world and extensive roster of rich characters and are a perfect fit for comic books. We’re excited to partner with Riot and help build the League of Legends Universe for fans and players around the world.”


Many Marvel fans today don’t share their passion for the modern storytelling since Quesada came about. Sure, LoL does have potential for comics. But I don’t think Marvel’s the right place to do it. And just how are they adapting LoL? Here’s the curious part:

Interestingly, Lux single issues are only being distributed digitally rather than through the direct market to comic shops. Street said that was in recognition of the realities of the retail business right now. “We don’t want to force retailers to carry material they don’t know will sell,” he said, so Riot’s sticking to distribution through its website, Marvel’s site, and other digital comic apps like Amazon’s comiXology. Eventually he says the series will be collected in a trade edition, where it may be more viable.


Well how about that! This wasn’t immediately clear to me. Both game studio and comics publisher seem to realize the chances this would succeed in the pamphlet format are very slim. In that case, you can’t say at ease Marvel has what it takes now to make their adaptations visible, any more than any other publishing arm this could’ve been licensed to. We’re long past the days when products like the Micronauts had any selling power as comics characters. And, you can’t say fans have a passion for this material if there’s little chance they’ll bankroll it at store level through pamphlets.


“What we’d love to do is bring the LoL audience into comics,” Street said. “Our audience is much larger worldwide, and this is something to get them interested.” For that reason, he says, he and his team are working with Marvel to deliver a product that’s “taken seriously by the [comics] industry.”

“We respect the medium,” he said. “We don’t want this to be seen as a marketing ploy.”


At least they’re taking the right path and not setting out to make themselves look like deluded opportunists. Their marketing direction is admittedly better than it would be to go automatically for pamphlet mode, but even so, I still think they could’ve just released this direct-to-trade, giving the audience the story as a whole rather than in parts.


And I still hold that Marvel, due to the harm Quesada inflicted, isn’t a good place to adapt these products. Once it certainly could’ve been. But not anymore. If they don’t offer the best talent and avoid political correctness in adapting, that’s why it’s just not worth it.





Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1