Follow-up to the Sunday questions, part one.

§ June 19th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Follow-up to the Sunday questions, part one.

I don’t know why I say things like “[I’ll] provide some kind of analysis/commentary” on your responses to my Sunday questions regarding what you want/don’t want to see in your comic books. Throwing around the word “analysis” makes it sound like I’m going to come up with some kind of in-depth study or something.

However, looking at your folks’ answers (and thank you for participating), a few general trends can be discerned. In short, folks want self-contained, fun comics, uninvolved in company-wide crossovers, free of explicit ‘n’ bloody violence, and containing imaginative writing and quality art. And they all want ponies, which I thought was kind of strange.

Above and beyond anything else, respondents tend to be suffering from crossover burnout. Not surprising, and completely understandable, since Marvel and DC have been front-loading their super-books with big mega-event shenanigans over the last couple of years, with each new crossover leading into the next crossover, and so on. Alas, I don’t need to tell you that crossovers aren’t going away anytime soon.. they’ve been selling enormously well, and they’re too good of marketing tools for the companies. Rarely does anything of permanent significance come out of them, but that’s hardly the point. Crossovers exist for the same reason superhero team books were created…it’s to get a fan of (for example) Green Lantern to buy another book that has Green Lantern in it (say, Justice League of America), and hopefully that fan will see the Flash in that comic and say, “Hey, that Flash guy is pretty cool…maybe I’ll try out his comic, too.”

However, fans also like to see their favorite heroes team up. Nothing wrong with that. We all want to see Red Tornado pair up with Ultraa to fight Crazy Quilt. Okay, maybe we all don’t want to see that particular team-up, but you get the idea. I don’t think that we all would object to the occasional big crossover hoo-har…but that’s the key word, there: “occasional.” As I said above, the last couple of years have been crossover/event heavy, with DC’s multiple Crises and attacking Amazons and One Year Laters, and Marvel with its Civil Wars and Initiatives and World War Hulks and now that whole Skrull thing we have to look forward to. As commenter Laurie says:

“Less crossovers & tie-ins to big events. Just let the books stand on their own for a few issues.”

And commenter Poormojo adds:

“…I’m tired of books with good continuing stories being thrown off track by editorial fiats to join in the latest dumb crossover.”

That’s what happens when the emphasis increases on the “shared” part of “shared universe.” Books try to get some momentum, some traction on their own, then suddenly they’re part 15 of the “Secret Crisis Millennium” and everything’s on hold for a month or three. And then it’s time for a crossover with “War of Infinite Genesis,” followed by a tie-in to “Infinity Trinity,” and whatever story the writer is trying to write has to be pushed aside to accommodate what’s going on with the rest of the company. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but not much.

But, like I said, feeding readers from one “event” to the next with little or no break has been mostly successful, even with fan grumblings, so, alas, we’re stuck with this particular publishing strategy for now. Once the diminishing returns set in, as they must, it’ll be off to the next Big Comic Publishing Idea.

Anyway, I’m writing this very late Monday night/early Tuesday morning after a very long day, and if I don’t go to bed, I’m going to fall asleep with my face pressed against the monitor and drooling on my keyboard. I’ll continue my commentary (with maybe a word or two more about crossovers, and more about the other survey responses) in the morning or Tuesday evening. Thanks for your patience and for reading!

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