“Realistically.”

§ July 11th, 2018 § Filed under batman, publishing § 9 Comments

In response to my not-at-all-about-Batman-#50 post from the other day, I’ve had a few folks here and there note that a “these characters get married!” comics event isn’t really the same as a “this character dies!” event, and, well, yeah, sure. There’s more of an implied permanence, I think, with marriage in comics, versus a death in a comic basically having the “well, how will our hero get out of this one?” question implied. (Though maybe that question is implied in the former situation as well…joking, I’m joking.)

However, to clarify my thoughts on the matter…I don’t think the nature of the event itself matters so much as the fact a specific event was specifically marketed and then not delivered. It’s kind of a moot point now, I suppose, as the initial sales window for Batman #50 has come and gone, and hopefully retailers managed to sell the majority of their copies that they almost certainly ordered large-ish numbers on. I mean, yes, realistically, Batman and Catwoman shouldn’t get married, such a major change to iconic characters may be too much…but then again, Superman and Lois Lane are married. And have a kid. And for that matter, Batman has a child as well. Those are all fairly significant changes to the status quo, so yet another marriage didn’t seem entirely out of the question. And besides, all these changes could be swept away in the next series of relaunches/reboots when everyone gets tired of dealing with them.

Like I said, no beef with the story itself, or the tie-in “Prelude to the Wedding” issues and whatnot. But the “invitation” postcards and retailers being encouraged to do in-store celebrations…that’s the sort of thing that seemingly should only be occurring with an event that’s actually happening, not “FAKE-OUT! Nothing’s changed!”

It reminds me in a little way of the Fantastic Four issue where it was promoted as a big deal character death (complete with putting the issue in a black polybag deliberately reminiscent of the “Death of Superman” issue) and it was reasonably clear within the story itself that there wasn’t really any death happening. I wrote about it way back when, and yeah, a character goes missing, and the rest of the team is bummed and thinking he’s dead, but…it just felt like marketing overhyping a minor plot line that would get resolved in short order. I mean, most character death stories are like that, I guess, but this one in particular. Under normal circumstances that issue would have been follwed by the next one emblazoned “THE SEARTH FOR THE HUMAN TORCH!” and then we’d have that goin’ on for four or five issues.

So that’s that. I know a lot of you agree with me that the Batman “event” build-up was misleading, which I appreciate. Everything sold great anyway, so yeah yeah, I know, what are you complaining about, Mike? I just hope it doesn’t encourage more fake-outs: “hey, if we just TELL them that Iron Man is going to lose a leg in isue #12 and then never actually do it…they’re still gonna buy it!”

Okay, no Batman marriage stuff in the next post…I mostly promise!

9 Responses to ““Realistically.””

  • Bruce Baugh says:

    C’mon, Mike, I have confidence in you! I believe that you can tie in Batman’s non-wedding to at least two of 1) Sluggo, 2) Man-Thing, and 3) Korea!

  • How can Superman be married to Doomsday and Lois Lane? Is this an Earth-2 thing?

  • Jon Rollins says:

    I still can’t believe that they left Batgirl paralyzed for almost 30 years! Much more egregious than a couple getting married, imo.

  • Daniel T says:

    I’m not trying to apologize for DC here because I genuinely do not care about this on any level, but I do want to propose this thought experiment.

    So Tom King proposes this storyline and DC says “Great! Do it!” What should DC do now?
    A) Hype it the way they did.
    B) Hype it way less.
    C) Don’t hype it all.
    D) Don’t approve the story in the first place since it’s a fake out.

    If the answer is B, what would have been the appropriate level of hype? What should they have done differently?

    I am really surprised so many persons were surprised the marriage didn’t actually happen (and if you want to get pedantic, DC promised a wedding, not a marriage). Batman is not Superman or Spider-Man: being married would change the character in a much more fundamental way than it does Supes or Spidey. Even Bruce having a kid is much less of a change than being married.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    This brings to mind the 50’s and 60’s Supes & Bats comics. How many times did the cover show Lois or one of the guys in an improbable wedding situation that didn’t completely happen? I have no specific recollection but it seems like the kind of thing I’ve seen/heard of often through old Hembeck articles, etc.

  • @misterjayem says:

    No one ever has — or ever will — over-promise AND over-deliver like the blurb on X-Men #142.

    IMHO, YMMV, Etc.,
    — MrJM

  • Mikester says:

    Daniel – Honestly, it’s hard to say. Promoting as, I don’t know, “The Marriage Saga?” “DON’T REVEAL THE SHOCKING CONCLUSION TO #50 TO YOUR FRIENDS!” Unfortunately, hyping events is just how things are done, and pushing this as they did is probably the only way DC could handle it to maximize sales and interest. I’m not happy with the non-event being pushed as “THE EVENT” but yeah, what else was DC going to do?

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    They should have set up a 1-800 number and had fans vote on whether or not Batman should get married.

    “Someone’s bachelorhood will die because Catwoman wants commitment… but you can prevent it with a phone call!”

  • Jeff R. says:

    I’m going to go with a strong ‘D’. A story that can’t be promoted without dishonesty is a story that should not be done.

    (E, make it technically true in a crowd-pleasing manner, would have been valid too, even with the X-books doing the same thing; a Batwoman elopement or something like that.)

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