Midtown Bloggerinos! Raph here this week with some thoughts and a review! The prelude to the Marvel event Fear Itself, Book of the Skull, came out last week. With that book, the 2011 Event Cycle is gearing up, and I can already hear the groans about “event fatigue”, and I actually have some thoughts contrary to “popular” belief.
March isn’t just the start point for Fear Itself, this week’s Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps set up the War of the Green Lanterns, DC’s latest Green Lantern epic. Down the line, there’s also Flashpoint, which is an alternate reality DCU that has come to pass because someone the Flash knows has gone back and messed with history. And thus, the Event Saga of 2011 begins, and the cries of “I’M TIRED OF THESE EVENTS!” begin… and I disagree.
As an employee of Midtown Comics, I see people come and go, so I see what people buy. When it comes to trade paperback/graphic novel buying, the superhero books that do well are event books. I get numerous people asking for Blackest Night or Siege… there are still people looking to get started with Civil War! That’s a 5 year old story! For single issue buyers, that can be an eternity. I can understand that: I buy mostly monthly titles and a few collections here and there. I know buying 25 books for an event can feel overwhelming, but there are two truths when it comes to events.
The first truth is that like Hollywood blockbusters, event books put rear ends in chairs… wherever you sit to read your comics. Last year was a down year for single issue sales, and if you look at the landscape, you’ll notice that for most of 2010, there was no tentpole book, to borrow the term from Hollywood. Both Siege and Blackest Night were done well before June. People flock to events. We, as fans, fuel this fire. Some of us complain about it, but the vast majority support these books.
The second truth is a lesser acknowledged truth: Event fatigue doesn’t have to happen. Marvel and DC create numerous spin-offs and tie-ins to entice people to read (and buy) more… and that’s their right. They need to generate interest (and profit), and they have the right to do so. It’s up to you, as the consumer, to know that you only need to read a handful of the series that come out to enjoy the experience. If you wanted to enjoy Blackest Night, all you really needed was Blackest Night and Green Lantern. It’s up to you to pick and choose what you want to read. It may seem like consumers of comics don’t have a choice, but that’s a collector’s mentality that doesn’t have to persist. I hope people see that, and that they can enjoy books without feeling the need to bankrupt themselves in the process.
I know it’s a touchy subject, and of course, DC and Marvel could always cut back on the tie-ins, but it’s give and take. If you buy it, they’ll make it. And if you really don’t like it, they won’t do so many of it. In order to save your wallet, you need to save your wallet. Let DC and Marvel know “HEY! I don’t want to buy a Fear Itself Tie-In with Forbush Man and Stilt-Woman (not an actual tie-in)!” You have the power to send that message, and you should do so. By buying the extra books and grumbling about it, you’re only showing the publishers that you’re willing to buy their product. My belief is that you buy what you love, and you love what you buy, when it comes to comics… and figures… and cards… and video games… I have my own buying problems… but don’t persist in something you don’t like! Break your cycle of buying! Enjoy the great storytelling!
That’s all for this time. Next time, I hope to have some thoughts on FF #1, including some questions answered by someone from the House of Ideas! Enjoy those comics!