Axel-In-Charge: New X-Men Editorial Era, Garth Ennis' Marvel Return
It’s a Tom Twitter Twofer today! Perhaps unsurprisingly, Marvel Executive Editor and Twitter king Tom Brevoort took to tweeting on the topic of Marvel’s offer to exchange unsold copies of the Blackest Night tie-ins that were part of DC’s successful power-ring promotion for a rare Deadpool-themed variant-cover version of Siege #3. His opening statement:
I see there’s a lot of chatter about our SIEGE #3 offer, so I have to ask the question: how is this bad? We’re making no money on the deal (actually losing a little) but it will put some more much-needed cash in retailers’ pockets, And if your retailer doesn’t have these books in stock, excellent! Good on them, they ordered appropriate to their customer base. But while no retailer wants to hurt their relationship with DC, we’ve been hearing from lots of them that they’re happy we’re offering this. As for the stripping, that’s all about making it cheaper for these guys to send the books back. But we’ll take complete copies too. And sure, send the stripped insides to the troops–well done, you! They tend not to keep comics mint on the battlefield in the first place. And while we listed the titles we’d be taking–all of the “ring” books– we never mentioned either DC or Blackest Night at all. Not a knock. And if DC wants to make their own offer, let ‘em! That’s cool too, if it frees up deadlocked capital for retailers to order new stuff.
Gentle Reader, in the afterglow of the fallen year that lies some days past behind us, and the all new, all different decade we have taken our first few steps with, isn’t it appropriate that Marvel has escorted us into 2010 with an Event book and her banner book spawn? This is it, it’s a new year preparing for a new way of looking at the Marvel Universe, the branding of what’s to come as the Heroic Age, an epic tale that’s been (*gulp*) seven years in the making. All of the last decade? Tiddly-winks to what’s coming up next.
It’s incomparable, inconceivable that you could read the first issue of this mega event and know what is to come. The first piece of the puzzle isn’t going to tell you what the picture’s looks like, even if it’s a corner piece. So what do we do, friends? Do we read Siege #1 and give it a value judgment, based on what we know and have heard? Or do we sit back, bag it up, place the issue into the long or short box and wait for #2 the way hard men swallow their emotions only to find themselves teary-eyed at a championship sports event?
Or do we compare it to Star Trek?
(WARNING: … actually no spoilers for Siege below, but some for first season TNG’s Encounter at Farpoint. Awkward. If you hate Star Trek, you’d probably want to turn back now.)
It may have taken a couple of weeks, but the Chicago news media have finally detected the coming destruction of 85-year-old Soldier Field in Marvel’s Siege #1.
The landmark’s explosive fate was revealed Dec. 3 in a preview sequence reminiscent of the razing in 2006 of Stamford, Connecticut — the Marvel Universe version, in any case — used as a trigger for Civil War.
“I’m not the biggest sports guy and I meant no disrespect to sports fans,” writer Brian Michael Bendis tells the Chicago Sun-Times, “but we needed something so horrendous to happen for [Marvel’s superheroes] to be united again. Hopefully, this will ring in a new day for Marvel readers.”
Chicagoans don’t appear particularly alarmed by the development. In fact, they’d be okay with a little more devastation.
“Marvel people,” one commenter writes in the comments section of the Sun-Times article, “Next time, please fill the stadium with Illinois politicians before you blow it up.” Says another: “In the next issue they should blow up Wrigley Field.”
Siege #1 debuts on Jan. 6.
Thank heaven for Marvel’s delightfully candid Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. On slow news days like this frigid December Friday, what would we comics bloggers do without him? Brevoort once again took to his Twitter account yesterday to call ‘em like he sees ‘em about DC’s week-long wave of big, news-dominating announcements:
Nice to see DC showing some signs of life with all of their announcements. Competition is the lifeblood of the industry. Like any other pundit, I have opinions on what they’re doing, but it’s nice to see them trying stuff. Blackest Night won’t go on forever. And, honestly, it’s not much of a win if the other team doesn’t show up for the game, or sleepwalks through it. I’ll happily put our best efforts up against anybody else’s, win, lose or draw. And feel confident in a win most of the time. Also: Superman appearing in Superman comics? Genius!
Okay, we should all have this particular saying down pat by now: it’s “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Basically, if I tell you an issue is going to be 48 pages of all new content for $4.99 and then you get the issue and it’s like half that plus a reprint of an issue I didn’t want? That’s a bad thing to do and I should feel bad. But if I tell you that I have another 48-page issue of all new content for $4.99 and I again farm out half those pages for a reprint or ads or a bunch of encyclopedia biographies? Then you’re the one who should be reading solicitations more carefully and not buying the issue when it comes out.
Hits a little too close to home? I’m sorry; that’s bad and I do indeed feel bad.
Anyhoo, Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Get smarter, says the credo. Don’t fall for the same trick twice.
Hey everybody! Siege: the Cabal came out yesterday! Let’s go take a look inside, shall we?
(WARNING: Spoilers for Siege: the Cabal, the first six-pages of Siege #1 and Dark Avengers Annual #1 reside below. Yep, it’s a doozy this week, folks.)
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Life in the Event Age has been tumultuous for superhero fans. Ever since Infinite Crisis and Civil War cemented a storytelling mode that had begun showing sparks of life during such proto-events as Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Identity Crisis and the pre-Infinite Crisis minis, the Big Two have been dominated by massive meta-stories that tie in, spin off, and otherwise control the direction of nearly every title in their respective lines.
On the one hand, sales levels have been tough to argue with, interest in the characters at the heart of the events has spiked (cf. the Avengers, Green Lantern), and fan-favorite writers from Brian Bendis and Mark Millar to Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison have had the opportunity to make their mark on their respective universes in a nearly unprecedented way. On the other hand, critical reaction has been mixed, reader complaints about the need to follow multiple books to make sense of a single storyline have been abundant, and one assumes individual creators have chafed under the need to tell stories dictated from the top down — a trio of factors leading to a sense of dissatisfaction with this method of superhero storytelling commonly referred to as “event fatigue.” As the era of the event nears its sixth birthday and the concept of “event fatigue” gains traction in the fan community, what does the future hold?
“Well, I’ve proved that talking smack on Twitter gets you press,” tweeted Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort on Friday. And indeed, Brevoort’s Twitter account and blog have proven so juicy of late — witness his wager on whether Marvel’s upcoming Siege event will wrap up before DC Comics’ current Blackest Night crossover — that I’m thinking about awarding him an honorary Robot 6 membership.
Brevoort was in unusually fine form Friday night, though, even by his own standard of dishing (and taking) criticism. In a series of tweets regarding DC’s capture of the top six sales slots for October, Brevoort wrote:
I hear tell that folks up at the DC offices have been feeling pretty cocky this past week or so. To which I say … first off, good for them for having a good month. But also, don’t confuse having the top six books with winning the month. We still took both dollars and units. And too, that was in a month where a few of our big books slipped out of the month. I don’t think we have to worry at all about January, for instance, where SIEGE #1 is up against a BLACKEST NIGHT skip month. Cold Jan [for] DC. By that same token, enjoy the moment–because all of those books that missed [October] are in the November numbers.
And oh, yeah, he kicked it all off by teasing three major deaths in Siege, “at least one of whom will surprise you.” I’d encourage you to follow his Twitter feed yourselves, but as the middleman, I can’t very well endorse cutting myself out, can I?
They say nice guys finish last, but when event comics will finish is anybody’s guess. The demands of a high-profile series around which entire shared universes revolve can play havoc with scheduling. Naturally, editors and publishers love to maintain the artistic quality and consistency (and sales levels) provided by the big-name writer-artist teams that tend to lend such books a sense of “this is a big deal.” On the other hand, they need to get books out on time so that other series whose storylines depend upon what happens in the event can proceed as planned — and so that they don’t end up alienating retailers and readers. But these same readers and retailers can end up just as irritated if they get the sense that the creators are being rushed, or if fill-in artists aren’t up to snuff. It’s a tough row to hoe.
With his front-row seat for a variety of events this decade, including Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort knows this better than anyone. So it was with an obvious mix of boldness and trepidation that he made the following prediction on his Twitter account:
It’s height of hubris time: I’m willing to bet that SIEGE will wrap up before BLACKEST NIGHT does.
Very busy writer Brian Michael Bendis became an even busier writer this weekend. With little fanfare — it “happened by accident” — Bendis spent over an hour on Saturday answering reader questions via his Twitter account.
The 125-message micro-interview cost him some followers, irritated Warren Ellis (not really), and was eventually cut off by Twitter, but by the time all was said and done some interesting info had hit the Internet courtesy of his tweets.
First up, Bendis spilled the beans on a trio of upcoming projects with familiar collaborators:
* Bendis and his Daredevil: Wake Up partner David Mack will reunite for a new Hornhead project, Daredevil: End of Days, next summer. The project was first announced in February 2007, with Bendis and Mack as co-writers and art from Alex Maleev, Bill Sienkewicz, and Klaus Janson. (Daredevil will also appear in New Avengers #60.)
* Look for a creator-owned crime project from Bendis and his Daredevil and Spider-Woman collaborator Alex Maleev next summer.
It’s like looking back and seeing the tide recede. You turn and think, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of water back there, all going backwards… I wonder what’s going to come next?’
We have three major plotlines coming to fruition or at least the first blossom of a long road ahead: the Siege, Fall of Hulks (wait, wasn’t this War of Hulks?), and the start of the new era of Captain America. No one is surprised that Steve Rogers is back in the old costume, but what he does next will have to rock the foundations of the Marvel Universe as did his passing. 2010 will one of those years we’ll look back on as a point of interest on the Marvel superhighway, but for now, we can plan our trip along it’s crazy, windy route and hope for a next rest stop along the way.
It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube these days … according to the person who posted it, it is “Marvel’s Secret trailer that was shown to us at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore tonight.” Not sure how long this will be up or if it’s supposed to be out there yet, so check it out while you can:
Read more about Siege over on the main CBR site.
In an extensive interview with Attack of the Show‘s Blair Butler, Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis confirms that Marvel’s “Dark Reign” storyline will come to an end with a “big Marvel event” called Siege. It starts in December with a one-shot called Siege: The Cabal, which is followed in January by a four-issue Siege series.
Michael Lark will draw the Cabal one-shot, while Olivier Coipel will draw Siege. Both are written by Bendis. He says the storyline will bring a “seismic shift” in the Avengers titles on the level of what happened in Avengers: Disassembled and will reunite Thor, Iron Man and Captain America.
Siege was just one of several subjects Butler asked Bendis about; he also talked about Powers, various Marvel films, Fortune & Glory‘s 10th anniversary edition and much more. Check out the second part of the interview below (he talks about Siege at the very end) and go here to find the first half.
Also be sure to check out Dave Richards’ interview with Bendis on Dark Avengers over on the main CBR site.