Robot 6

Tell Tom Brevoort what you think of Marvel’s event comics

Tom Brevoort

Tom Brevoort has a question for you. During his regularly scheduled “Marvel T&A” Q&A alongside fellow Vice President-Executive Editor Axel Alonso, the outspoken editor wondered aloud whether Marvel’s new model for event comics — several smaller ones spread throughout various franchise families rather than one massive line-wide mega-story — was being received by the readership as Marvel had intended. So he decided to take it straight to the source and ask the readers what they think:

There’s one thing I want to ask the readership before we wrap things up this week. At the Baltimore show I held the “Marvel: Your Universe” panel on Sunday, which is our casual conversation panel where we solicit feedback to see what our fans are thinking and feeling about our stuff. And one of the things I came away from that panel with was that a great number of our fans seem to feel that, rather than doing fewer events, we’re doing nothing BUT events. From my point of view – and I don’t think Axel feels any differently – we shifted away from the model of doing one massive, concentrated event as we moved from SIEGE into The Heroic Age, with the idea of making every individual title its own event. And in some cases, every little subgroup forms its own event that’s a little smaller, a little easier to digest and a little easier for fans to get their teeth around. But at least judging by the casual reaction I got in Baltimore, the message they’re picking up from that is “Oh my God! There are events everywhere! I can’t read anything!”

So I’m curious as to what people are thinking about “Second Coming” and “Shadowland” and “Chaos War” coming up, or “Three” and the first arc of “Avengers” – all these smaller so-called events that we’re doing. We’ve very specifically stayed away since the end of “Siege” from doing any one, big, massive event. And yet, that doesn’t seem to be the message people are taking away from us. So I’d like to get a sense as to how people are feeling about what we’re doing right now – what they like, what they don’t like and how we could be doing things better.

Well, Robot 6 readers, what say you? How is Marvel handling its events and crossovers, and how is it affecting your enjoyment of the books, your budget, or both? Let us — and Brevoort — know in the comments below.

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54 Comments

The smaller events are fine IF executed well. Shadowland and Daredevil is terrible. Terrible. I canceled Daredevil and Shadowland. I’ve been reading Daredevil consistently, without taking breaks, since Kevin Smith wrote the title. Since Diggle, it’s terrible. I gave Diggle 4 issues to hook me. Not hooked. Just disgusted. Brubaker, why did you leave so quickly?

Doomwar was excellent, in part because it was by itself, 6 issues.

Shadowland should have just been the mini and the DD title, but they threw out so many minis and one-shots it’s not small anymore but an event so I don’t care about it.

The same with Second Coming. Just the 4 X-titles (no Greg Land tracing though) over three months, and none of these one-shot bookends that Marvel likes to do so much and one-shots. This is why Messiah Complex worked out well.

And Siege as well. If you mean a small event, do it that way. A 4 issue event with 10 other tie-ins isn’t a small event anymore.

I’m enjoying the events, yes, but I can’t help but feel that overlapping Shadowland and Chaos War isn’t a little painful to a lot of folks who read both Daredevil and Hercules. I had to think long and hard on whether I really wanted to read Chaos War as much as I felt like I did, because doing so, along with the tie-ins, would mean a second significant surge into my pull list within just a few months. Saying that, though, I enjoy not having the entirety of the universe disrupted by one huge event.

If anything, the only thing I’d suggest is making it so that if you do these mini-events, don’t let them overlap. For October and November, I’ll be pinching pennies to get to the comic store because Shadowland’s end overlaps Chaos War’s beginning.

I think it’s funny that the comics he’s holding were NOT part of some massive-time & money-consuming-go-nowhere-company crossovers. The “Galactus Saga” alone was only 3 issues .

Events?
Don’t need ‘em.
Don’t want ‘em.

How about just concentrate on writing/producing strong stories that may take only 3, 2 or even *gasp* one issue!

Loved the events that span the whole Marvel Universe, But im glad we are taking a break from that.
The smaller events so far have only been ok and I agree the others that it’s not a small event if there are multiple one-shots and tie-ins.

An Event should be a big deal, ya know special, but that’s not the case when it’s every comic and every story line, every month, why can’t we just have a one to three issue story arcs? The problem with events is there are only events, Disassembled, Civil War, Dark Reign, Seige wait I forgot Hero’s Reborn, Heros Return, how long has this been going on. Does everything have to be written so it can fit into a TPB colection.? why do we have to stop and start titles every year?

I wouldn’t mind if they were just spread out a little better. It seems in the last year we have had Siege,Doom War,Second Coming,Thanos Imperative,Fall of the Hulks and World War Hulks,Shadowland and Chaos War. That is a lot to follow in one year.

I stopped buying Marvel and DC comics over a year ago when it became obvious that the business model is now event comics. I do enjoy the extra money I save every month.

Richard J—couldn’t agree more….who cares how many books an event is? If it sucks it sucks–I would love to see shorter 2-3 book stories and a lot more one offs–it is a tough challenge to write a good-great condensed single issue story—why I love J Stra current run on the Brave and the Bold.

The problem I have with these is they aren’t really “small” events at all….there are WAY too many tie-in miniseries for both Shadowland and Chaos War for them to come so close together.

Ignoring both the quality of the results and the 5 tie-in one-shots that came out during the skip month, Siege was actually a pretty decent template: the crossover itself in the tight 4-issue miniseries, and the fallout tie-in stuff is in the pre-existing ongoings that set up the crossover (the Avengers books and Thor) and one epilogue one-shot. As a reader already reading all of those books, I had no problem with adding on one more title to get the big crossover. But with Shadowland, I took one look at the amount of tie-in miniseries and passed on it….the hook wasn’t incentive enough to get me to make that kind of buy-in.

That said, I will be buying Chaos War. But that’s because my love for Van Lente and Pak’s work on Incredible Hercules is enough to overcome that hesitance. It’s highly likely I’ll be sticking to just the main series and only buying the tie-ins once they’re in the store and I can give them a flip-through.

The Coolest Dad (tm)

September 13, 2010 at 9:47 am

Count me in as another person who agrees that the smaller events are fine if executed well. Maybe it’s just because the only exposure I’ve had so far to the smaller events is Shadowland, but right now I can’t say I’m excited for future events if they are in any way similar to Shadowland in quality.

I know I may be in a minority, but right now Shadowland is too decompressed and overpriced for me to fully enjoy. I’ve bought a little under $50 worth of Shadowland comics and so far the story has not gone anywhere. Every issue is Daredevil remarking that he needs stronger allies and his friends standing around questioning his motives and what they are going to do about it.

To me, it feels like the events of Shadowland could have just been a story arc in the Daredevil on-going. Instead, the plot has been expanded to bloated proportions simply to make it “an event” in the Marvel Universe. It feels like big name characters (namely Spiderman and Punisher) have been thrown into the story simply to get big names on the title and to draw fans in while adding nothing to the plot.

If future smaller events are simply bloated story arcs that could be contained within an on-going line, then no I am not interested in future smaller “events”.

The Coolest Dad (tm)

September 13, 2010 at 9:51 am

To add some constructive criticism: I’d also like to say that overall, I’d be more interested in seeing very small crossovers. For example, the Thunderbolts / Avenger’s Academy crossover. Very small, very well done, and very interesting to see the same event told from two different angles.

Granted, I wouldn’t want to see this across every line and every issue but in moderation (the key to most problems in this world) it would be nice.

I find it odd that he lists the first arc of Avengers and the FF arc “Three” among the “events”. They may be big stories, but they’re self-contained (unless I’ve missed an announcement about “Three”). I don’t think anybody really has a problem with big, momentous stories in and of themselves.

(That said, the way “Three” has been promoted — killing off one of the FF and cancelling the book, when we know full well that neither of those things will last — just makes my eyes roll. I’ll buy the book because I think Hickman has more hits than misses so far, not because of the hype.)

Where it gets irritating is when there is a crossover between several unrelated books, or one core series and a bunch of tie-ins. Some recent examples:

- I dropped Daredevil because I just wasn’t interested in Shadowland. It might have been an okay idea as an arc within the DD book, but it wasn’t interesting enough to make me buy a separate miniseries for the main plot, let alone tie-ins.

- I thought the new lineup for Thunderbolts was interesting, but after three issues the book got hijacked by an Avengers Academy crossover for one issue, and then a Shadowland tie-in for two more.

- I skipped all the tie-ins for Curse of the Mutants, just reading X-Men #1-3 so far. I don’t feel like I missed out on essential information, but it does seem to mess with the pacing of the story. And any impact the ending sequence in issue #3 might have had was spoiled by the pages being released as an online preview, weeks ago. I don’t plan to come back for issue #4. With Uncanny and Legacy ongoing, and Astonishing apparently coming back, the “adjectiveless” X-Men book feels especially pointless and redundant.

When I see all the crossover tie-ins for something like Shadowland or Chaos War, I get frustrated. Not because I feel like I’ll have to buy them all (because I won’t) — but because there are often very talented creators on them. I love Chris Bachalo’s work, for example, so it’s tough to see him doing a one-shot that’s not even an integral part of the main story. It would be great to see more of these creators working on new characters or revitalizing old ones, rather than just milking the same few cash cows.

There actually are a fair number of Marvel books I do enjoy right now, but I’m trying to cut back on my comics purchases, so it doesn’t take much to get me to drop a title these days.

I like an event if it’s good, but Marvel hasn’t had one of those in a long time, which was part of why I was relieved to hear Siege was going to be the last for a while. Of course… then Shadowland comes around and it’s got eight or nine tie-ins. That’s an event; sure, maybe it’s not universe wide, but if you start having more than one or two stand alone spin-offs in addition to your ongoing series tie-ins you’re getting to event territory. The difference is mostly one of scope – the events are no longer drag-all-the-big-guns-in, but on certain sets of characters – but it still smells of event; not to mention that there are usually two or three in the pipeline at a given time, it seems, at which point you can probably argue that the only thing that’s changed is from one huge event to two or three medium sized events.

It’s a feeling of “the more things change”, I guess?

These so-called mini-events are incredibly and unnecessarily bloated. Shadowland is too big a story to just be in Daredevil? Fine. Then do the Shadowland mini AND make it clear the reading order (Daredevil #508 is part 1, Shadowland #1 is part 2, etc.). DON’T have 4 or 5+ addition one-shots and miniseries on top of that. Because A) this event is not longer “mini,” B) you start to confuse the audience on what to read when (in addition to making reading future trades even more confusing) and C) if the tales being told in these peripheral books aren’t important to the story, then they shouldn’t be told. And if they are important to the story they should be in the main book(s). It ends up reeking of trying to extort your audience.

From a story level you should really focus on point B. These stories become a big cluster-f**k. Shadowland is now a big cluster-f**k. Fall of The Hulks/World War Hulks was one of the biggest cluster-f**ks i’ve ever seen. Hulk, Incredible Hulk, Red Hulk, She-Hulks, Hulked Out Heroes, WWH: Cap vs Wolverine, WWH: Thor vs Spidey. And not a single part number to let you know what to read when.

And reading the trades was useless. I read the Incredible Hulk: FoTH trade and didn’t have a clue what was going on because the story ran concurrently, and relied on, the events happening in Hulk. And of course anything that happened in the Red Hulk or She-Hulk minis were completely lost to me, even after the Hulk: FoTH trade came out and i read that the following week. I expect to have similar frustrations when the WWH trades come out.

Why couldn’t the stories just be told in Hulk and Incredible Hulk, alternating issues with part numbers. Then you can have it collected in one easy to read trade. Easy for monthly readers, easy for trade readers.

So, the concept of mini-events are nice. I like the idea that some stories are just too big for a single comic. You just gotta keep em tighter and more organized.

cut down or lose the tie-ins and it just seems like an arc and not an event, that works for me.

I was a longtime weekly comic book reader, but event comics pushed me to trades…and I don’t even buy most of the event comics in trades because (like everyone above is mentioning) they’re not very good.

Why does each line have to have “events”? Why can’t each line just tell a good story within its own title? Why couldn’t “Shadowland” have been completely told within Daredevil? Hell, for that matter, “Siege” could have completely taken place within the pages of New Avengers (as far as I was concerned) – four issues for a single battle? How is that an “event”?

Hickman is telling a single monstrous story in Fantastic Four, and you haven’t felt the need to make that an event (thank goodness!). Why can’t each book just tell the best stories within their own titles?

Do publishers even understand that comic readership is a finite group? By milking that same group for one event, they’re forcing their readers to stop purchasing other books from their own universe in the long run. Allow me to explain – I’ve got $20 to spend on comics each week. This allows me five books (under current pricing). When something like Shadowland comes out, I have to weigh my purchases. The Hulk books have beat the Red Hulk storyline to death, and I’m sick of it. So I’m bailing on all my Hulk purchases (present and future) in the hopes that Shadowland is going to be great. But…it’s not, plus the book ends the Daredevil monthly.

So now I’ve stopped buying Hulk, the Shadowland event is over and I’m not buying any books from that line. You may relaunch Daredevil, but now I’m so burned that unless you bring Kevin Smith, Bendis, or Brubaker back to write the book, I’m done with it.

Short term gains do not equal longterm financial health. And story-wise? Just tell good ones…please!

By the way, for the record – Kurt Busiek was right.

I pretty much go out of my way to avoid all the “event comics” that exist. Outside of Daredevil, the only Marvel books I’ve been reading are Ultimate Spider-Man and the occassional random non-continuity mini-series. Now with Shadowland, I’ve dropped Daredevil, a book I’ve been reading/buying since 1988.

So yeah, I’m not a fan.

I could go on about the topic forever so lemme try to be as succinct as possible

I love love love these “family book” events strictly based on one factor alone, an effort by Marvel like none other in the past on focusing on some of the awesome minor characters that usually cant handle being in an ongoing sales wise.

Ill lay out the kind of spoiled that fans of overshadowed characters such as I have been benefiting from these recent events

Shadowland: Three different books related to Heroes for Hire (Daughters of the Shadow, Power Man, and Blood on the streets), a Ghost Rider one shot (art by clayton crain…awesome), and a home for the recently canceled Moon Knight

Curse of the Mutants: FINALLY a Namor ongoing, FINALLY another Blade book even it was a one-shot(art by tim green…awesome), another totes awesome X-Club book written by Si Spurrior (seriously, X-Club ongoing now plz), and a pleasently enjoyable Gambit-Storm one shot (art by chris bachelo…awesome)

and dont even get me started about Chaos War, besides from continuing plot threads from my favorite comic book and creative team in the world, IHerc by Pa and Van Lente, we get the honor of an Alpha Flight tie in…im sorry, did you not hear me? ALPHA MOTHER UFCKING FLIGHT IS BACK BAAAAABAY!!!!!!!! im literally so excited for Chaos War I could pee blood, basically the continuation of IHerc, Alpha Flight, an Ares one shot written by Oeming?!, even Dead Avengers, God Squad, Chaos King and Thor one shots along with the Hulk tie-in all have some kind of merit to them

So Mr Brevoort if you are reading this, if eventually getting new ongoing for Ghost Rider, Heroes for Hire, Moon Knight, Blade, the X-Club, Ares, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY Alpha Flight means that we support these family book events, I will buy everyone, buy multiple copies and then get all loud and obnoxious on the internets.

I will do all of this for a Alpha Flight ongoing.

I might have bought Shadowland if it had been $2.99 an issue. As a result, I really don’t think I’ve missed anything… I hate tie-ins, as the semi-related stories are rather boring. (Nothing happens in them!)

So, overpriced events are not my cup of tea. Good series at $3 an issue I will very much consider….

I totally agree with you Ziggy. The Fall of the Hulks was so tangled up that I didn’t know where to begin or end. And having a seemingly endless event within the hulks turned it into and either/or situation: Either you’re reading all the hulk titles or you’re reading none of them. I can’t imagine a new reader trying to figure out what’s going on.

Oh and I forgot to mention, Klaws of the Panther maybe an excellent opprounity to attempt to launch a new KaZar mini/one shot….

As Messiah Complex and some of the other X-events have shown, title family events can work if they are well executed and move along at a decent pace with a title’s regular characters. For the big Marvel events, I think the Atlantis Attacks method of just having the line-wide event occur in annuals works pretty well.

That said, some of the best Marvel events I can think of are the Infinity Gauntlet and the original Secret Wars. Both of those books fit in a single, reasonably-sized TPB. The same cannot be said for Civil War, Secret Invasion, etc.

If all of Chaos War was $2.99, I’d buy the whole thing in a second, but with that kind of price point, I don’t know if I’ll even get a single issue.

I agree with a lot of the people above–lose the bookend titles. Hell, lose the tie-ins, if you have to do an event, keep it entirely in the family. I don’t mind crossovers (too much), but I do mind being saddled with extra miniseries and one-shots that cost $3.99 apiece.

Every tie-in I buy because I feel forced to buy because of an event ends up with me deciding to drop another Marvel title once the event is over just to get my pull list under control. For example: I used to buy Avengers Initiative, but I opted not to pick up Avengers Academy when it started.

if there’s a checklist involved to keep track of the issues, I don’t want anything to do with it.

I’m tired of Event comics. Sure, the whole tie-ins & events are not as bad they were in the 90s, but its still pretty bad.

I’m even tired of just the small, in-house events like all the Spider-man ‘events’ (One More Day, O.M.I.T., even int he multi-part Spidey stories).

What I’d love to see is smaller stories. Two or three parters. Heck, even try to bring back the ONE PART story. Like Stan use to do. I think Amazing Spider-man is the PERFECT place to start doing this. Just focus on telling a done in one story. How do you get people to come back? Continuing elements, subplots in the background of each issue like Stan did. Sure, some two or three parters are fine, but when a storyline drags out for an entire year, heck when it drags out to four or even five parts, it gets old.

And as aside: What is Marvel doing to Daredevil?! Man! And I thought Spider-man was messed up…lol.

Come on Marvel, don’t be like D.C. Going back to telling stories the Marvel way (which use to be much smaller, in title “events”. And only once and awhile). Stop being like D.C.

Godawful

I agree with a number of people that I like events, but there are just too many of them. I feel overwhelmed with events. In September we have Shadowland, Curse of the Mutants, and Thanos Imperative. How special are these events when there are three(or more) at once?

More than that though, I wish that the events were spaced out more so that individual titles could have time to grow through their own stories. I read the x-books the most and between Utopia and Second Coming(both of which I thought were great) Uncanny had one story arc. I’d love to see Uncanny have a couple of years to tell stories that don’t involve an event. I’m just glad that Uncanny hasn’t been involved in Curse of the Mutants.

Events are also the reason I’ve avoided trying the cosmic line. It seems like there’s never a time to jump on because they are always in the middle of an event. Thanos Imperative, Realm of Kings, War of Kings, it doesn’t seem like there’s been a break since Annihilation. I like the big events, and I like the small events, but they don’t seem eventful when they roll on into the next.

The main problem with this event model that I have, which led me to drop all Marvel and DC completely, is not so much a particular event itself but the new business model direction that is behind the never ending stream of events.

The mindset at Marvel and DC as I interpret it through these events:

So, the comic market is shrinking, there are less people buying comics for various reasons. Those remaining buyers are the hard core; the type that will keep buying a bad comic because a favorite character is in a panel or two.

It’s pretty hard to get new readers to start buying comics, so instead of working towards increasing the market to new and under served audiences, we’ll just get to get our already committed buyers to buy even more.

Instead of trying to get 100 people to buy 1 comic each, we’ll get 10 people to buy 10 comics each through events and all the bloated tie-ins.

I don’t know what Brevoort is thinking, but Marvel has been publishing almost nothing but events these last few months. Avengers reboots/Heroic Age, World War Hulk, Realm of Kings/Thanos Imperative, OMIT, Ultimates reboot, SecondComing/Curse of the Mutants, Shadowland… I’ve had customers dropping Marvel books left and right. Our sales on Marvel titles have never been lower.

BTW, I love the shot of Tom B with the comics…. What a fun & welcoming picture! (good for him for asking our opinions, too!)

What’s the difference between an event and a story arc? Is Spider-Man’s Gauntlet an event? The Clone Saga was…

Sure, it’s got to have a good reason, be well thought out, and hopefully have some change at the end. Myself, I was disappointed that Attilan did not become a sanctuary for super-powered individuals avoiding the whole Civil War problem… Imagine the story you could have told of a homogeneous society centered around an almost religious process (the Inhumans) and suddenly there is an influx of immigrant outsiders. You don’t even need a-list characters… just create five or six refugees, and depict their experiences trying to fit in to Attilan. How the U.S. react? Do they have diplomatic relations with Attilan?

I completely avoided the Secret Invasion event, but I suspect the religious themes of prophecy, fanaticism, and tolerance were also not actively explored. (But then, that’s the elephant in the room… superheroes are mythology, and mythology is awfully close to religion, which can be a powder keg of controversy.)

If there’s an event, it’s got to be an Event. There has to be massive change, it has to have some great story ideas, and it should be referenced by future stories for being such a massive event. Marvel’s Avengers-based events, starting with Civil War and just ending with Siege, did cause some major change. X-Men, starting with House of M and continuing on since then, also rewrote a lot of back story and history. Will we see ripples of these events five years from now, or will they go the way of Onslaught?

I don’t read the events. Wikipedia and other sources do a decent job of summary, and there are many other titles and books I can spend the money on. If it is really good, then I’ll buy the trades, like 52. I prefer either self-contained series (Marvel Adventures) or mini-series (1 Month 2 Live), series I know are well-written, don’t require a scorecard, yet feature some of Marvel’s A-list characters.

Personally, there’s an attraction to me in linewide crossovers, for all their faults, that the smaller things lack. I mean, I remember franchise-specific crossovers from the bad old days, and it’s hard to get all that excited about them now; by contrast, the sheer chutzpah it takes to make all of your comic books about Green Goblin, Secretary of Defense feels like it’s taking advantage of the shared-universe and serialized-publication models inherent to Marvel and DC in a way that the umpteenth X-over doesn’t.

I’ve been a comics reader for 50 years, yes, I’m old. And I do NOT like events. I won’t buy them. Period. The only Marvel titles I buy are unconnected to the events.

Tom, thanks for asking. I’d also prefer stories of one, two or three issues generally contained within a single title, though occasional crossovers between just two books could be a treat (like in the old days). Perhaps have a story culminate in an annual, as was once common practice prior to the annuals being co-opted for massive crossovers.

I’m turned off by the so-called mini-events, because generally they aren’t especially ‘mini’, what with the one-shots and limited series people have mentioned, and often they’d benefit from the stories being more concentrated. If the minis are directly related, they dilute the core story; if they’re not, they come across as happily skippable (happily cos comics are so darn expensive these days).

I’d love to hear what you make of the feedback you’re getting.

Here’s what I posted over on the CBR forums in response to Tom’s questions about their so called “smaller events”.

Replacing one huge line wide event with numerous unnecessary (and in most cases, meaningless) tie in mini series and tie ins in the ongoing series, with 3 almost simultaneously occurring (or at the very least, over lapping) separate “smaller” events with numerous spin off mini series and one shots, is like deciding to hit someone in the head with a hammer instead of a baseball bat. In other words, all you guys did was make a smoke and mirror switch that still allowed you guys to put out another (in this case, 3) short term sales boosting crossover stunts that when all added together, equals the number of books and tie ins that we would have gotten with one huge crossover event.

And let’s not kid ourselves here, the sole reason for these event crossovers (read “gimmick”) is to sell lot’s of comics by catering to speculators and completest. And no matter how much you guys try to deny it or pretty it up by saying “it’s not the same”, you guys are intentionally repeating the same stupid mistakes that were made in the 90′s by the Big 2 with all of these gimmick crossovers. You guys know full well that the only way for you guys to either boost or maintain the sagging sales on your books is to use short term gimmicks like event crossovers,limited edition variant covers,and “controversial” and shocking mainstream news media grabbing stories (like gay Rawhide Kid,THE TRUTH,and the death of Captain America).

On the flip side, major story arcs resigned solely to a single series (even if those story arcs are gimmicks like the upcoming “3″ story in FF) is the right way to do an event, since it is more easier to keep yp with and doesn’t require readers to spend lot’s of money trying to keep up with all of the unnecessary tie ins. So the upcoming AVENGERS story arc is less of an event, and more of a standard story arc.

I like…

restricting the events to separate “lines”– I like the cosmic books so I’ll buy Thanos Imperative, I don’t care for Daredevil, so I can avoid Shadowland. I buy Thunderbolts, so I’ll buy the 2 or 3 issues of that book that crosses into Shadowland, but I’m confident that I’ll get a complete story within that book set around the fringes of the event, and not be completely lost.

I don’t care so much for…

bloating the events with extraneous one-shots and mini-series. Cross over into ongoing titles where appropriate, but I’ve learned that a separate sideline mini-series is going to be beside the point, collected into it’s own trade, and can more than likely be completely ignored.

So here is what I want from my comics: I want to follow some creators I like, telling coherant stories with characters I am interested in, and I’ll keep on buying that as it goes on from month to month. What
do I not want? Anything that messes with that. So that’s cancellations, changes of teh creative team to people who I am not interest in, and events. All of those are dealbreakers.

DC and Marvel are kind of made of dealbreakitonium at the moment.

Yeah, I’m at the point where DC and Marvel are, for the most part, unreadable, due to their event-mongering crap. I’ve been reading Marvel in trades, but Shadowland just killed Daredevil for me, and it hasn’t even started yet in my reading. Diggle is terrible.

This is a thread of posts addressed to Tom Brevoort that has existed for over 12 hours and has not had a single contribution from Steven R. Stahl.

I find that kind of scary, actually.

Personally, I’ve regretted nearly every “event” book I’ve ever purchased and have done my best to stay away from them in recent months. One really annoying feature of The Event is that it consistently results in the current arcs of less popular titles being sidelined to make way for the tie-in story. Since many aspects of the tie-in are dictated by the nature of the event (e.g. Secret Invasion, the bad guys have to be Skrulls), and since the story is not necessarily one the scripter is keen on writing, and since the writer’s hands are tied as to what he or she can do with the players of said event, AND SINCE the artist for the tie-in is seldom the regular artist on the title, the event tie-in does not feel like an organic outgrowth of what the creative team has been doing with the characters. And if we’re being honest, I’ll say it often feels like an intermission, with suspended character arcs to be resumed after the tie-in has concluded.

One book that comes to mind in this discussion is Thunderbolts. Looking at the twenty-nine solicited issues since Warren Ellis left the title, we have (1) a four issue Secret Invasion tie-in (2) a two issue crossover with Deadpool to coincide with the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (3) a three-issue tie-in with Siege (4) a two-issue x-over with Shadowland. That’s 11 out of 29 or a little under 40% of issues whose purpose is to tell part of a story that continues in another title. And let’s keep in mind that all but four or five of the remaining eighteen tie into the Dark Reign semi-event.

I have a run of the Thunderbolts starting at issue 1 with Kurt Busiek and the Masters of Evil. While I thought Jeff Parker and Kev Walker did a bang-up job on their latest storyline, remembering how tie-ins plagued Andy Diggle’s run, I suspect that if I pick up issues 148 and 149, I’ll be paying the normal price for a sharp decline in quality. That’s why I’m not going to pick them up. This week I will break my 147 issue run on the title. And to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll pick it up again at 150, not because I think Parker will do a bad job telling a story that he wants to tell, but because, bluntly, I feel like the title has become Marvel’s bitch. Marvel says “Skrulls,” and Thunderbolts says “how many?” I fear that storylines in Thunderbolts will remain in constant jeopardy of being derailed by the next big idea at Marvel.

“Event fatigue” is the feeling I roughly translate as “Man, the shared universe concept is cool, but enough is enough. I want to read a story with a beginning, middle, and end about character(s) X completed in the book that is titled after character(s) X.” I agree that you guys seem to have toned down on the line-wide crossovers, but I think the way you’re marketing non-event books feeds into event fatigue. For instance, the Gauntlet was marketed to seem like it would be one story about the return of the rogues gallery told over several months worth of comics. However, it became readily apparent after a few storylines that the Gauntlet would not be a whole, but rather a sum of disjoint parts, or parts thinly connected by a few cursory nods to the Kraven family.

I see what you were trying to do, to create the sense that every story is important, every story counts and intertwines with a wider tapestry, and to create this sense while still turning out relatively self-contained tales. But understand, in your marketing, you’re telling people “This is a big event! It’s important to buy the next book so you can get the whole story!” Obviously, I don’t have any figures to back this up, but in light of your open question, my thinking is that the advertising achieves the opposite of its desired effect. Instead of getting people to think “Gee,I better stay onboard to get the whole story,” which is something you can do anyway with a good writer and artist, you discourage people who now see buying your comic as a big commitment if they want to read a complete story. And at $3.99 per comic and a dozen+ comics per event, it is a big commitment. It’s the reason I never bought a single X-Men title since I was a kid. I don’t have a pathological, Magneto-esque hatred of the X-Men; I’m just afraid that I’ll get sucked into buying lackluster books to keep up with what’s going on.

I’m another one who gave up Marvel and DC comics because of all the event crap. I think the only real difference between the “bigger” events and the “smaller” events is how many books you don’t care about you have to purchase to keep up with a story you don’t care about.

Here’s an “event” I would consider buying:

You’ve survived the War! You’ve lived through the Siege! You’ve had therapy for the Complex! Now, enjoy the pulse-pounding, sense-shattering power of Twelve! For one year every title, yes, EVERY title, will take comic books to the next level! Twelve issues! Twelve stories! Twelve complete tales! Is there an overall theme? There might be! But only YOU can supply it! Our writers and artists will work like they’ve never worked before to give you powerful, interesting stories in the great comic book tradition! All you need to do is buy only the titles you’re interested in and bring a sense of wonder and imagination!

Mr. Brevoort, I really hope that you read this thread, and I really hope that you take Cass’ comment above to heart.

I believe events should be organic- that is, naturally grown from a particular series’ already planned storyline. If, say, you have a plot in Thor that you know is going to end with a huge battle in New York City, well, logically other Marvel heroes should join in. This can be done in one issue of Thor, or, if appropriate, could extend to other heroes’ comics. Creating specific events by themselves and then forcing your whole line to fit into them can come across as heavy handed and disrupt ongoing plotlines.

Note I’m not against “Status Quo changing” events like Civil War; it’s just that I would have preferred if it had started as a storyline in say, Captain America, and then extended its effects to the rest of the Marvel Universe once the SRA came into effect.

Speaking of Civil War, while I wasn’t too happy with the way it was handled, I DID like the idea that the S.Q. of Marvel could be changed *temporarily* in order to see how things would work under different conditions. I always expected Marvel to get back to its true Heroic roots eventually of course, and I’m very glad it’s finally happened. I’m still waiting for it to happen over at DC…

Can we all just agree that Marvel’s cosmic events are the best example of how to do an event. Have it happen organically and naturally. Let it build on what’s happened before in a logical way. After Annhilation it would make sense that a group would take advantage of the war ravaged Kree. The Vulcan X-Men stories and Son of M, Silent War, and Secret Invasion: Inhumans again just naturally fell together in a way that made sense. Each mini that goes along with the event really does add a lot to the story but isn’t required reading. I also don’t see how anyone can complain about having to buy more comics during The Thanos Imperative since they’ve put GotG and Nova on hold. In fact your buying less then you normally would. Based on the quality of the event thus far I’m wishing they had some tie in series.

Marvel is so stale right now. I think the company wide events contributed to that staleness, so breaking those up is a good idea, but to me, it seems like the main issue is that Marvel is not using the talent that they have in the proper way.

We all know that Brubaker, Bendis, Fraction, Ellis, etc are capable of writing some really creative and amazing stuff. Imagine what would happen if Marvel unchained these guys and let them write whatever they wanted the way DC does with Grant Morrison. With the names I mentioned above and guys like Jonathan Hickman and Jason Aaron, every Marvel book should be a must read every month and that is not happening.

I’ve always come and gone on Marvel titles. I might follow a writer or an artist for a while, but when they leave the book, I do, too. Right now I don’t buy any Marvel books (though I’m waiting for the last issue of Atlas, which I will miss terribly), mostly because I don’t see a way in. Every book seems to have a surtitle and a subtitle and I have no idea where any of the stories are in their arcs. I don’t even know if this is a fair assessment, but I get the impression that Marvel is more interested in rewarding (punishing?) regular/loyal readers, while the rest of us can go hang. So, I guess I’ll stick to reading the few “Essentials” collections I’ve picked up at used book stores. Story-wise, they are much more manageable.

“Imagine what would happen if Marvel unchained these guys and let them write whatever they wanted the way DC does with Grant Morrison.”

Hard to say, seeing as I hate what Morrison has done to the DCU… Thanks to Morrison, I stopped buying DC books. Let him write out of continuity Superman stories, but get him far, far away from writing Batman or any major DCU “event” books.

OTOH, Brubaker and Fraction are great and don’t delve into Morrison’s penchant for weirdness. So maybe it would work. Maybe.

Honestly, if Marvel did some good events again, I might be interested. That’s a might. This is the first time in years that I’m currently not reading anything at Marvel, largely due to high prices and lack of interest in the stories.

On the other hand, I think it’s hilarious that some people typify some of the stories he mentioned as “events”. Anything that’s a big story is not an event. That’s just another story arc. While Shadowland has certainly become an event, Second Coming is just another crossover in the X-Men tradition. “Three” is simply just another story arc in Hickman’s FF run and the first of arc of Avengers is simply…the first arc of Avengers. I think Chaos War might be the closest thing to an event (besides Shadowland) but even that might be a stretch.

As for their quality, I dropped Shadowland after the first issue and only have a little interest since I’ve followed Matt Murdock for so long. I plan on getting Second Coming in hardcover but it doesn’t seem stellar. Three sounds promising. I’m not sure about Chaos War yet but Pham’s artwork has certainly improved. Avengers is too expensive but I might pick it up in hardcover.

Tom, don’t kid yourself we love the MASSIVE event!

All these little events are burning me out and don’t really have me excited for comics.

Plus, the lesser selling title would get a boost whenever they tied into the Massive Event and would help sustain them. Now all we have is Avengers, Avengers, Avengers, Spidey, X-Men and Hulk. I do enjoy those, but like the “niche” comics as well – Marvel Cosmic in particular. :)

See I like the idea of telling an event in a mini series and leaving it at that. Like Thanos Imperative in and of itself is fine. I am saddened it killed both Nova and Guardians and to lead up to it we had two events where there were multiple minis, and the ongoings feeding into a single series, but the current series is fine. It feels like an event. To understand the book (in theory) I read that book, the same goes for Doom War, to understand the event I read that book, and nothing more.

Shadowland has a huge check list, and at least requires you to read Daredevil at the same time to understand and follow. If I was interested in the series I must commit to reading two books, forget that. To understand where certain bits and pieces fit that could be part of the greater story (I won’t know until I’ve read them) there are a ton of other minis and one shots. So instead of giving the series a shot, I just avoid it.

I’d prefer “events” to be handled in one of two ways. 1) the event begins, and ends in a single mini series, separate from everything else. There can be some hints and lead in to the books that have characters involved in it, and fall out seen in those series (and really it gives more incentive to read the damn event) but I don’t want to see crossover of the event in the main books, I don’t want there to be a ton of random mini series or one shots added on. If the event is supposed to be a 4 issue series, or 6, or however many, make it JUST that many. Alternatively, make the event happen in a single book, or cross over through a few books if need be. The cool thing about the Marvel universe is that it is a shared universe, Spider-Man can appear in Captain America out of the blue, Beast can visit the Thunderbolts, etc, why not just have big stories happen in the main books? Otherwise what is the point of picking up the blasted books in the first place if nothing that “matters” happens in the main books?

I avoid events for the most part, not worth the hassle, they typically involve me to stop reading the books that are involved in them at the time since I don’t follow the event or read it, so I will just be lost reading the book I was buying monthly for the specific event.

I gotta admit, I am wayyyyyy over the events. “Hope” has been through three “events”, and it still feels like nothing has really happened. Oh yeah, Nightcraler is dead. I was enjoying Daredevil, then Shadowland started and now it’s terrible. I don’t want any more Events with “additives”. What do I want? The relaunch of Avengers and New Avengers have been the best work Bendis has done so far on Avengers. The art is amazing. They feel like big, important stories, and the stories are complete in ONE series. The first arc of Black Widow was excellent. There were several guest stars, so if felt very much in the Marvel Universe, but it was complete on ONE series. FF keeps building and getting bigger and more and more fun, and it’s all in one book. These are the kind of comics I want!!! No more events with lame “additives” please!

Tom,

I assume you’re asking this because you have seen some dissatisfying consumer trends. Either that, or I’m just projecting.

Ever since I started reading comics, I’ve been a Marvel guy, but even a dedicated fan can get fed up at some point. As a Marvel reader, I succumbed to event fatigue half-way through Secret Invasion. I completely stopped buying ANY Marvel comic after the $3.99 price increase (Really Marvel? All of your best selling books needs an industry-first 33% increase in price to support themselves? Really?). I’m glad I did too, because Marvel started doing another thing I hate–they started re-numbering their titles.

What does starting X-Men over at #1 do? (especially when you’re going to, yet again, start dual numbering and then continue the old numbering again).

It’s the 90′s all over again. Kill everybody. Resurrect everybody. Publish a whole bunch of #1′s….and I even notice you started foily covers again on your Ultimate line. This.Must.End.

Comic readers are a loyal lot, but we don’t like to be taken advantage of with cheap, short-term sales gimmicks. You should sell to people that enjoy READING COMICS, not people that enjoying SPECULATING on comiccs. Just tell good stories and we’ll buy!!!!

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