I've met many aspiring comic writers who say their ultimate goal is to work for Marvel. When I ask what book, they generally pause and say, "Whatever they'll let me write." Seems like backward thinking to me. Concentrate on creating your own characters and world seems like an aimless goal. Like saying, "My goal is to be someone important." Yeah, well, lots of people are important in different ways... Work-for-hire gigs are fabulous experiences (most of the time). But no writer should set such a fleeting thing as their ultimate goal.
I don't know that I've talked to many comic creators (or future creators) about their goals, but I'll take MacPherson at his word it's a common refrain. It certainly wouldn't surprise me.
He's right, of course, that having your goal to be working as a creator for Marvel shouldn't be an ultimate goal. But you can hardly blame someone for thinking that it's totally valid. After all, we live in a society which is constantly telling us how success is defined in financial terms. Successful comics are the ones the ones that sell the most. The sales numbers on the new Justice League caused people to celebrate. The celebrations were not so much for the content being good or not, but just that it sold a lot. I haven't read the issue -- it may well be fantastic, but that's not what people were cheering about.
Look at webcomics for a smaller scale version of the same argument. Webcomics' success is measured by financial measures. Can the creator earn enough money from their webcomic to make a living? It's a lower financial bar in that regard than what mainstream publishers are looking at, but it's a financial measure just the same. Even the visitor count or page impressions or whatever other technical stats you can find about a webcomic are seemingly irrelevant compared to the "bottom line."
But that's the United States in the 21st century. We are told since birth an infinite set of variations on "he who dies with the most toys wins." Life, according to what nearly everybody tells us, is a competition and the yard stick you're being measured against is your bank account. The "success stories" we hear about on the news are those people who fought a variety of hardships, but still went on to make a good amount of money. Granted, they're generally not considered in the same class as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, but the root of the story is always, "They worked hard and are making good money now." Occasionally, "They worked hard and stuck to their ethics... And are making money despite their ethics!"
Reflecting on that, it's little wonder many comic creators aspire to simply work for Marvel. Look at the sales charts during any given month, and the top-selling books are dominated by Marvel. Even with the huge sales spikes with Justice League #1 and Flashpoint #5 in August, Marvel still snagged six of the top ten sales slots. And, overall, Marvel had a 37% share of the market in August. Let me re-state that. Thirty-seven percent of all comic books sold in the U.S. in August were published by Marvel. We're so used to numbers like that it probably isn't as staggering as it should be, but that is a HUGE domination of the market. Marvel sells the most comic books. Period.
So if you want buy into the accepted philosophy of the country -- that you can only be a success in your field by making a lot of money for someone doing whatever it is you do -- then an aspiring comic book writer will have a greater likelihood of "success" by working for the company that has the most success itself. That is, Marvel comic books sell better than any others, so writing for Marvel means you'd be writing one of the most successful comics on the market. Even the best selling non-Marvel/non-DC title last month sold worse than 47 others. Of the top 100 titles, only two were not published by Marvel or DC. So even the worst-performing Marvel titles continue to outsell the vast majority of non-Marvel/non-DC work. Yeah, that's great that you sold 100 books at that convention last weekend, but even if you did that every weekend for a year, you'd still be selling less than anything Marvel does in a month. So it makes complete sense that, using the "success = sales" mindset, working for Marvel is the ultimate goal in comics.
If that's how you define "success", I'm not going to stand in your way. But, me? I think there are MUCH better measures of success in life. I don't think that they're as quantifiable as sales numbers, and I know I'm not measuring them against however the next guy is doing. I'm just saying that you should just take the time to really evaluate what "success" really means to you, and how you might try to measure it.