Before I begin, this was originally a follow-up post to something I wrote over a year ago. It was left unpublished and will maybe one day see the light of day…but not sure yet.
After twenty years of buying and collecting comics, I’m going to stop and spend my money on something else.
As I have mention in some of my blogs in the past, I have been actively collecting a selection of Marvel comics since the mid 1990s. Spider-Man, and anything related, throughout that time I usually picked up. And during that twenty plus year period, buying comics has cost me thousands of dollars and years of entertainment. Characters in comics have been friends as well as inspirations. Yet, as I have found lately, comics have just turned to garbage.
A year ago, I wrote a blog post that I never published. It focused on the (then) current run of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) written by Dan Slott. The blog had a recap of my love of Spider-Man and also detailed by displeasure at his status quo as a try-hard Tony Stark wannabe. The ‘down on his luck character’ of the past was gone in favour of a global trotting business owner. Side note, maybe one day I will upload the unfinished, and very rough draft, so you can all get a glimpse of how my mind works. During the unpublished piece, I said that no matter what happens, I would always have faith in the character and continue to support Spider-Man by collecting the series. The phrase, ‘speak with your wallet’ comes to mind, and that was my though. However, since originally writing that, things have changed.
I tried collecting DC Comics during the New 52 relaunch, but i found the aimless direction bothersome…so I stopped. Marvel on the other hand, has been there all along, until now.
As of publishing this, I will no longer be purchasing a Marvel comic book in physical or digital form. I will no longer look forward to waking early on a Thursday morning to continue the adventures of Peter Parker/ Spider-Man, I won’t need to bother topping up my iTunes credit and most important of all, I won’t need to be disappointed by what Marvel continues to publish. And no, this is not a Disney bashing blog. There is no need for that, because frankly, Marvel has been losing me for years now.
Every month Marvel seems to now just be pandering to a particular group of buyers/readers, and if it sells, then why not continue. However, when Marvel seems to focus on destroying older ‘legacy’ characters in favour of introducing newer ‘fresher’ ones…well, it just bothers me. Every few months, Marvel tries to ‘shake things up’ and for many years, I have put up with this. Crossover after major event, I kept on going just hoping that Marvel would reset the universe and start all over again. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, this event would be the one to knock some sense into Marvel Comics as a whole.
But now enough is enough, and Marvel needs to be called out on their crap. Here are just a handful of crossover events which have caused nothing but disappointment for me in recent years. Mind you, Marvel seems to publish something new every few months. But the ones listed below are just a few I actively looked forward to and read.
Avengers vs. X-Men (2012) was uninspiring and boring. It contained world-changing characters which didn’t impact the wider Marvel universe at all. Nothing from this comic stuck around, except for Cyclops being the bad guy and Professor X dying…and even then, Charles isn’t really dead. Oh, and Cyclops was returned to his normal self when Marvel decided to send Beast back in time to grab the teenage versions of the original X-Men and bring them into modern times.
Original Sin (2014) pretty sure Marvel claimed this would change the Marvel universe from here on. It didn’t. A Watcher died and some characters were changed for about a few months after this series concluded, and then everything was 80% back to normal. Again it was boring.
Death of Wolverine (2014) damn you Marvel, they just never let a character’s death mean anything. Death of Wolverine is a complete and utter lie. They simply kill off the main Wolverine, bring in a replacement in the form of X-23 dressing up as Wolverine…oh and to make sure they cover all bases, they even bring in Old Man Logan from an alternate universe. Also, pretty sure original Wolverine is coming back soon.
Spider-Verse (2014-2015) this was a little better because the event affected Spider-Man comics in a fairly interesting way. However at the end of the day, the event felt like Marvel was throwing as many Spider-Man characters at the readers as possible, and whichever felt most popular would get their own series. Oh, hello Spider-Gwen.
Secret Wars (2015-2016) what the hell even happened here? The main Marvel universe and Ultimate universe now combined to create a new universe. Which means, now Marvel has a grown up Spider-Man, and a young teenage Spider-Man. That is pretty much the entire point of Secret Wars. Marvel just needed a way to kill off the Ultimate universe series without killing off the character which was the best seller. So now we have Miles Morales in the regular 616 universe.
Civil War II (2016) oh hey! You know how Captain America: Civil War is coming to theatres soon? Well guess what? Now you can read the Civil War II comic book which pretty much has all your favourite characters acting completely OUT of character. Oh, and Tony Stark basically dies, but don’t worry, he is back in hologram form acting just like Robert Downey Jr, so no stress.
Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy (2016-2017) has all the previous dead Spider-Man characters returning to life again as the Jackal is up to his old tricks. But this time, Marvel have returned Ben Reilly to the Marvel Universe instead making him the ‘bad guy’ to torment Peter and all his choices in life. Oh, and the events of this series will completely change the Marvel landscape, again.
Secret Empire (2017) was the payoff to Hydra agent Captain America. It was boring, long and pointless. Like always, the events in this series were meant to impact the rest of the universe, but all it did was piss people off, then again, Marvel just used this event to return Captain America to his previous status quo. It may have also kick started Legacy, but too little, too late now.
A little more than a handful, but I think you can see that almost every six months, Marvel was pumping out a new Major Event that would shake up characters, and or, the Marvel Universe as a whole. It failed. They all did. Secret Empire, which had the bonus of being wonderfully set up during the Captain America comics failed HARD. Promises of the fate of Steve Rogers proved false as the ‘good’ Captain returned to take down the ‘evil’ Captain. The brilliant lead up was pointless with the major event proved to be a waste of time and money.
As you can see, I have not been too kind on the events Marvel has been pumping out. But I have figured out the formula on how to handle the situation. You see, Marvel just needs a NEW Major Crossover Event that will FINALLY prove to be the shake up the Marvel Universe needs. Let me give you a rundown. Listed below, I have a step-by-step guide which will allow anyone to follow along. This guide will let you, yes you, create your very own super awesome Marvel Major Crossover Event. Also, feel free to pick up any of your recent Marvel events and see if they tick any of the steps off.
Step 1. Cool/Relevant Title
Something that is obviously cool and catchy with fans, or at the same time, it must incorporate things that are relevant at the present time. Marvel doesn’t always follow this guide, but lately it has helped drum up a lot more interest in the event. The Cool/Relevant Title must also be the very first thing that happens. Characters don’t matter at this point, just the title itself. Everything can be worked out later on.
Step 2. Series Length
Remember, Marvel is all about selling comics. They are a business after all, and making money is part of the game. When it comes to Marvel, they want you to buy lots. So once the title is all sorted out, the series needs a length. Again, this can range from a few issues, but most likely we’re looking at six to twelve issues. I should mention, no matter how many are chosen, you’ll also need to factor in the ZERO issues, the preludes, tie-ins and even epilogues. This can push the major event from lasting six to twelve issues to bloat out closer to twenty-four issues…if you want the full experience though, you’ll need to dig a little deeper than that. Which brings us to the next step.
Step 3. Those Involved?
Now the fun really begins. You see, the title and length of the series has already been decided, so now we choose the players involved. I’m not talking about writers or artists, I’m talking about characters. This depends on a few things. Which character is selling most at the moment? Which comics have the best potential for major event and lastly, what is the Marvel Cinematic Universe doing at the current point in time?
Step 4. Hype Train!
This is the best part. Marvel has already worked out when the next major event is going to take place which means laying the ground work. This may be a simple few lines by a character to warn of a major coming event/character arriving. This is will be littered throughout comics for a good few months before hand and its required to drum up hype in other ways. Usually teasing readers with posters of character one shots with them surrounded by silhouettes. In time, the silhouettes will be filled in leaving the readers coming up with interesting theories.
Step 5. First Issue
I’m not saying every event does this, but the trick Marvel needs to do is have the first issue sell the event to you. Something fantastic will always happen which is meant to provide the hook for you to return. From this point on, readers need to pick up each new issue (on a fortnightly basis). However, the first issue will also only provide about 70% of the story, with Marvel letting readers know that further story details can be found in issues zero (released last month) and prologue issues (usually during Free Comic book Day). Plus as characters come and go throughout the first issue, their story will be continued in another tie-in comics which Marvel will be happy to point out, but only very loosely tied into the major event.
Step 6. Character Death/Diversity
Don’t worry about it people, because even if you are shocked by the surprise character death, Marvel is just using the event to replace this long-established character with someone new. The new character will of course need to be someone young enough that new readers will fall in love with, and it’s a great way to continue having the character name around. So don’t worry long time readers, by this point you’ve already grown to dislike the character by the way Marvel has been writing them out of character, so their death is almost welcome. Also, the new replacement character must be either female, part of the LGBT community, a different race/religion and also young. Diversity is key here, and Marvel will go out of their way to please any SJW who is willing to read an article which praises the change. YOU MUST SELL THIS CHARACTER TO THE YOUNGER READERS.
Step 7. Big Reveal
Don’t stress, you may have thought you knew the surprise ending. But honestly, Marvel knew you were going to think that and already spoiled their own surprise by having the current regular Marvel comics spoil the fate of characters before the major event even revealed it. So by the time the reveal happens, you don’t really care.
Step 8. Final Issue
What, you think this is the end? No way! Marvel is a business with comics to sell. The final issue is only the conclusion of the event, but nothing is concluded because the ending is locked behind a pay wall Marvel likes to call, epilogue series. You see, you may have collected the prologue issues, zero issues, tie-ins and the major event, but you need to pick up the epilogue issues too. How did the events of the story affect everyone? EPILOGUE!
Step 9. Nothing Changes
Some things from the major event will leave lasting changes…for a little while at least. I mean that is inevitable of comic events, and although the status quo of a character may be affected, things will soon revert back to normal because no one likes change.
Step 10. Next Major Event
Now that the final issue of the previous major event has just hit store shelves, its time to discuss the next major Marvel event which means back to step 1.
So how did you go? Managed to nail down a great major crossover event, something that will change the Marvel landscape for years to come? No, oh well. Don’t stress much about it. You only have to wait a few more months until you can try it all over again with a few new characters in the lead.