Subject #15 Crossovers, Team-Up’s and Books Nobody Wants

Disambiguation

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I despise the practice of “Crossover Events”, aka the not so Secret War on your wallet…which is funny because I love when characters team up for a few issues. Last year we had Secret Wars. Oddly enough, there were several of those books I really liked. MODOK Assassin; Deadpool’s Secret, Secret War; Guardians of Knowhere; among others I really enjoyed.

Now I’m not trying to start a flame war on who’s better, Marvel or DC. The simple fact is it's a seesaw. One year fans will latch onto one crossover, the following summer it will be the other publishers.

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My major disdain for crossover events comes from the way publishers try to con us into buying books we clearly don’t want. If I wasn’t reading Spider-Woman (just as an example), why is it acceptable to cross a major story arc over into that book, that statically speaking nobody is buying? I get that a company is in the business to make money. Typically that's achieved by creating products people want, not by  coercing them into buying something they clearly don’t want. Instead of producing a book people feel is worth the cover price, tricking us is a more acceptable practice.

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This got me thinking that Marvel has really screwed things up…at least with me as a customer. I should be all over Civil War 2 because at its core, it’s one of the things I really enjoy about comics: characters vs other characters or teaming up with other characters. That’s totally my favorite thing about comics…well, after the artwork maybe. Anyways, it’s funny. My hatred of the crossover con job is stronger than my love of the team up.

I told myself after Secret Wars 2015 that it didn’t matter how great people said Civil War 2 was, I wasn’t going to purchase the main title just on principle. For the most part I’ve done a pretty good job boycotting Civil War on my wallet 2… Yes, I have broken down and picked up a couple issues here and there.

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All New Wolverine #10 is one of the books I picked up. Which I would have liked a lot better had it not felt the need to cut away to the Captain Marvel Civil War nonsense. This is a story about a couple burglars breaking into an apartment with nothing of value inside. The last apartment on earth anyone would intentionally want to steal from because Old Man Logan and X-23 are there and nothing else. It was an enjoyable little story for what it was.

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I also started picking up Rocket Raccoon and Groot with issue #8 (“Tree and Squirrel” vs “Gwen Pool”), hell yeah, sign me up! Only to be annoyed once again by more Captain Marvel nonsense that I didn’t want to read…alas, I’ll pick up Rocket Raccoon and Groot #10 today to see how the third part of this team up turns out… but my gut tells me this whole thing could have been a single issue without all the Captain Marvel Civil War 2 clutter.

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With DC’s Rebirth, at first I didn't feel the need to buy all the books. I’ve been picking up the first 2 or 3 issues of some of the Rebirth series but I haven’t felt forced or trapped into doing it…well, until the Monster Men arc started across the Batman titles last week. See, even DC can't resist it either. Both Marvel and DC feel compelled to swindle us into buying books we're not interested in for the sales boost.

What if Marvel and DC took some of these characters that can't support a monthly book and teamed them up! I'm not talking about folding them into some additional X-Men or Avengers book. Squirrel Girl and Howard The Duck Team UP, at best the sales will double and outsell Silk. At worst they can't possibly be any lower than they are already. Rather than reboot it with a new verb or adjective slapped in front of the name. Just publish the first 5 issues or whatever, collect it and then let it die.

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Marvel had a great idea with the Guardians Team Up book in 2015. Issues #4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 are all worth a look in my opinion. In issue #10, Rocket and Deadpool team-up! How is that not going to be a key book down the road.

You know what I always say, “Rebooting with a new issue one is a better jumping off point than a jump on point”

Marvel launched a slew of new #1’s right before Secret Wars 2015; then turned around and cancelled them only to relaunch those same books after SW. The sales numbers on the new issues are considerably lower than the previous issues. By the time the rebooted books got to issue number 3, the sales numbers were at or below the sales figures for the final issues pre-Secret Wars, with many ending on issues 5 or 7. Pretty crazy – by rebooting books after Secret Wars with new number ones, they were selling worst than before.

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Excessive new number ones and the crossover swindle event are not going to work anymore. Those tactics led the industry down a dark road once which it's finally just climbing out of…only to resort to the same kind of shortsighted thinking that was at the heart of the 90's crash. Crossovers and constant reboots drowned a market with issue #1's already glutted with comics nobody wants. It's a vicious circle when history starts needlessly repeating itself.

I know many people love crossover events. That’s fine. While I can’t stand them, I understand for many they have an appeal. We all buy, collect, read, invest and speculate differently.

Till Next Week, try not to trip over all those Harley Quinn and Marvel issue number ones out there.

4 comments

  • DrunkWooky

    You guys write some great articles, but please proofread this one.

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    Great article. All the more reason to branch out of the Big 2. They are slowly chipping away at the comic industry as a whole. Indie publishers are the future of comics. As a community we need to support stuff like Eric Powell’s new Albatross imprint where he’s putting out a new book every few weeks with the hopes of bringing in other creators and expanding the line (Hillbilly). Aftershock is another new publisher that is trying to bring something new to the superhero genre, with outstanding creators (Super Zero, Animosity, Altars). Valiant has a great sci-fi based shared universe. And even though Image has a new #1 pretty much every week, we usually get on every few months or so that is outstanding (Seven to Eternity).

    Marvel and DC may be where most of the spec is, but that will only last so long if they keep just recycling and not listening to fans.

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    That Secret Wars #7 Venom/Carnage/Anti-Venom Dell’Otto ComicXposure variant is way overlooked imo…

  • tsouthammavong

    Great article and I agree with the over saturation of crossover events. But looking at this from a business prospective, the big 2 does the crossover events to the different books in hope they will draw new readers to the book. They might feel they are putting a good product out but people are just not buying for whatever reasons.

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