Off My Mind: Should Events Be Spread Over Several Titles?

Posted by G-Man (35119 posts) - - Show Bio
 What? G-Man stopped reading Batman for a while?
Comic stories these days are all pretty much about big events. You can barely pick up a comic without having it be part of some bigger story. This can be cool as it helps unify the larger universe. I just can barely remember the time we didn't have some huge epic story flowing throughout several titles. 
 
One of the current events we have is Second Coming. The story starts out in a Second Coming one-shot. The second chapter appears in Uncanny X-Men #523 and next week it jumps over to New Mutants #12. My problem with this type of event is, what if I don't read a certain title? Sure I'm reading all the current X-titles but I guess I'm thinking about those that don't. These type of crossovers force you to either read all the issues involved or you have to miss out on what's going on to figure things out. 
 
It was this type of crossover that actually lead to my dropping all the Batman titles (I kept reading Robin and Nightwing to stay in the loop). I've always loved Batman but when Contagion started in 1996, I had enough of the crossovers. I got tired of being 'forced' to pick up all the titles to get the complete story. I find it annoying picking up an issue that continues from a series that I don't normally read. I had to say buh-bye to Batman for a bit (but I did go back and pick up some of the back issues). Part of my decision was also in trying to cut back my comic spending. I just had one crossover too many in the Bat-universe. With Second Coming, readers will have to buy all the titles unless they want to guess what happened in between parts.
== TEASER ==
 Yes, Illyana, you need to buy all the X-titles to get the full story.
The other type of event we could have is one like Blackest Night. Yes, I felt it went on a little too long (dead character rises from the dead and says a bunch of nasty things to make the hero sad), but that was more because of the tie-in books. What I liked about Blackest Night was the fact it was a mini-series. You could just read the eight issue series and have a pretty good idea what was going on. Some of the tie-in mini-series did help to flesh things out in some cases. Others didn't add a whole lot to the overall story. 
 
With Blackest Night, I felt like we had more of a choice. I could decide to buy or not buy any of the one-shots or mini-series. With Second Coming, each part is labeled as a 'chapter' so that means it's a bigger part of the overall story. I know I shouldn't complain too much. At least Marvel is keeping their word and keeping this event contained to the X-family books. With Dark Reign, it felt like almost every coimic had the logo slapped on the cover.
 
Pretty much the first crossover I read was Secret Wars back in 1984. It was a twelve issue series that didn't have a ga-jillion crossovers (although 1985's sequel did have them). With Secret Wars, you saw the heroes disappear in their own books one month but they returned in the next issue. Marvel took a gamble by making big changes occur that wouldn't be explained for months in the Secret Wars mini (like Spider-Man having an alien black suit or She-Hulk being in the FF instead of the Thing). What was nice was you could move on and keep reading your favorite titles. The explanation was in one mini-series and not spread across several dozen titles. 
 
Will we ever see the end of the big events? It doesn't look like it. I would just rather see them more self-contained. Yes Second Coming is in just the X-titles but I suppose I'd like it even more contained. Rather than make one-shots to fill in the missing pieces, just make one big mini-series. I also wonder, how do people that subscribe to comics feel about these massive crossovers? What if someone only subscribe to New Mutants and not all the other X-titles? 
 
What are your thoughts? Do you like the events spread over several titles to bring more unification or would you rather see a separate mini-series pulling the different characters into the story?
Staff
#1 Edited by Nova`Prime` (4165 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't really mind cross overs as a way to tell a story. But I do believe they go way overboard with all the tie in titles. I think they main story should be told in its own title and then have side stories that are effected by the main story, but they do not effect the main story. (sorta like the Infinity War was done.... its the only one I can remember were you didn't have to pick up the tie ins to get the main story) That's why I am going to wait for Blackest Night and Seige to come out in trade to pick it up.

#2 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

theyre just trying to sell comics.
marvel figures if they have a crossover over a number of books, youll also get interested in the other books and pick those up as well or youll want to know what theyre all about and read previous issues. its a win for everyone but the reader who has to buy all these comics. but if you love reading comics it works.
What i want to know is why Illyana has bloody hands on her boobs?
crossovers are bad buyer-wise but its as if they are all part of one world and all the things are happening in the same world. UNLIKE how batman, robin, red robin and batgirl werent fighting in blackest night and were concentraiting on their own finding bruce. SELFISH! BRUCE would have been in that crossover!

#3 Posted by timrothsays (653 posts) - - Show Bio

that's why Siege sucks. i must buy a bunch of other titles to see what's what

#4 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3556 posts) - - Show Bio

In many ways tie ins are almost required when you have series taking place in the same universe, If all of these events are happening in this world. Does it make sense  to have a single hero fighting against some sort of massive alien invasion that looks to destroy the world. While at the very same time in another heroes book. They are sitting at a cafe drinking coffee as if nothing is happening.
 
That was one of my biggest complaints about Marvel. They had the vast majority of their heroes based in the greater New York area. It just felt odd that if in Spider-man New York is on fire, but the Fantastic Four or Ironman don't even try to help. Not to mention SHIELD must just be watching as they sit on their hands.
 
Events actually show that these dramas are happening within a cohesive universe. They may not always reflect the bigger picture, but they are happening.
 
I do agree that Blackest Night handled it well. They had a complete story on it's own, but if you were a fan of these other books. You could see how this event effected you favorite hero.
 
For myself, the first big event that I ever got really involved in was Age of Apocalypse. Though that was back when events were pretty rare and it only really involved X-Titles. Even then, I didn't get all of them.
 
When it comes to series like Second Coming, where so much of the story is spread throughout multiple titles, I  don't buy the comics and instead wait for the trade paper backs. That's pretty much what I did with X-Men Supernovas, Blinded by the Light, and Messiah Complex. That way I have all the stories together.

#5 Posted by Chane (539 posts) - - Show Bio

Line wide, personally, I prefered the way that DC did it back in the 90s with Zero Hour, Final Night, Genesis etc... You'd get a mini which was 4-5 issues and each title that month would have a red sky crossover, or something more pertinant depending on the main character.  Bang, one month later and it's all over, none of this waiting around like with Blackest Night. 
 
For series family crossovers, like Second Coming, or the bat books, it makes sense to do it how they do. Tho I never read any bat books for the same reason as the article, and I'll be picking Second Coming up in HC whenever that may be. If I was reading a "family" title (Bat, X, Supes, etc..) I'd accept the risks of the family crossover and probably even budget for it, if I wasn't reading all of that family. 

#6 Posted by Decept-O (7279 posts) - - Show Bio


I am so with you on this one, G-Man.  I agree, having a big event contained to a mini-series or one-shots is ideal for me.  However, I think the mini-series should be contained to 2, 3, or at the max, 6 issues.  12 issues is pushing it.    

A bit of a tough call with this one but I do prefer keeping the major story arc contained within one title, and not cross-overed to another one.  Mini-series do get my attention, actually, so I think it's poopie-doodle the publishers make it a point to start Chapter 1 of a majory event in one title and then Chapter 2 in another title.  So yeah, I'm with you on this one quite a bit.

#7 Posted by Green ankh (998 posts) - - Show Bio

Id rather see it be in a Limited Series. Most of the time i don't like the BIG EVENTS or they just take way too long. And i don't like shelling out 3.99 for a book i'd rather not have just to get the story.
#8 Posted by DMC (1551 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually G-Man there is a 3rd type of "event" which, more accurately goes under the term "status quo" 
Dark Reign was the layout (status quo, or canvas) of the Marvel U, as a result of Secret Invasion. Just like "The Initiative" was for Civil War, "The Heroic Age" will be for Siege,  Brightest Day will (most likely)  be for Blackest Night, Realm of Kings for War of Kings....etc, etc
 
It makes sense that after these BIG events, that are suppose to have a huge impact on their comic universe (or part of it) that we see the changes caused by this event played out to some extent.....depending on how big the change is of course. 
 
I actually prefer crossovers over a mini-series event with a ton of tie-ins. The less tie-ins I have to worry about the better.

#9 Posted by Kid_Zombie (824 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm a fan of events. I agree with some of your points. With the x-men it dosent bother me to much I collect most the x-books, but even if i didnt id still go get the other issues. But if i wasent a huge x-fan maybe i wouldnt do this.  But that's what trades are for!  Second coming will be put into a trade so it dosent matter.
I think arguing over issues is pretty useless these days. especially when companies make most their money based off trades and not issues.  Their main focus is making the trades now a days, so crossover events dont really matter in that sence, because you can just pick what trade to read, and with second coming it would all be put into one trade. 
from a marketing standpoint its smart to do it the x-men way so more people, who buy the issues, buy all their titles. But the way seige is cool also, you have your main story, then you have stories that focus on certain characters during the event, like thor new avengers ext.  Which i think is also cool, but again there is trades and you can just pick up what ever issue or trade you want to read.
Although I read issues, I love trades way better, just because you have the full story. No offence but I hate when a single issue gets reviewed. Its literally reviewing a chapter in a story, (unless its a one shot) i would much rather see reviews based on a full story arc and not just a chapter of it.  But now im off topic ha ha

#10 Posted by danhimself (22586 posts) - - Show Bio

I like tie ins....It helps add more continuity between titles and it makes sense that if something big is happening to a character then other characters should notice it

#11 Posted by Aspenite (892 posts) - - Show Bio

I only read X-Force so I think I will have problems to get the full story. I have enough other titles to pick up so there is no money left to get the other X-titles. But for this I have Comic Vine to fill in the gaps :)

#12 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

I think they do it so people pick up other titles also.  Problem is when the title characters aren't the major stars of that particular book, or the buyer doesn't want to pick up the other titles and has random books.  The big events should stay with in the title or a seperate book like Secret Wars or Infinity Gauntlet.  When Morrison finished his run on JLA with the WW3 (Meggedon) story it stayed in JLA and felt like a major stroy line.
#13 Posted by Nateabusa (20 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the way that Blackest Night was it's OWN mini and if you wanted to learn more about a certain character you could get their own book or mini without it really affecting the main story to much. And where i can see marvels strategy in having their events span multiple books as a way to A. get more money and B. Possibly attract new readers to new title(s), i think people (after the pain in the ass it was trying to keep up with Messiah Complex and now Dark Reign/Siege) are really just going to wait for the trade to come out so it's easier to read and they don't end up buying titles that they have no interest in. But even the trades for some of the events are getting out of hand (im looking at YOU House of M!)

#14 Edited by Divine_Monkey (28 posts) - - Show Bio

 I agree. I hate it when they do this.
 
This is why I stopped subscribing to comics (now I only buy paperbacks). I will not be forced to buy comics I don't want, just to follow a story. It's one thing to have a "theme" that involves several titles. But to have a single storyline jump between titles is just plain wrong.
 
In fact, I'm a little surprised no one has sued them over this. Think about it. If you subscribe to a title, should you not get the full story you've been paying for?

#15 Posted by GraveSp (318 posts) - - Show Bio

Some cross overs get excessive but others I think are really good.  Like the Green Lantern/ Green Lantern Corps 5 part story during Blackest Night may have been a bit excessive but the Secret Six crossover during Battle For the Cowl is what got me reading that book.  

#16 Posted by The_Martian (36984 posts) - - Show Bio

I find this annoying. It makes it complicated to know what titles. If you can't manage to get those titles you don't normally get, you miss half the story and don't have a clue what is going on with these characters you have been reading about.

#17 Posted by leokearon (1815 posts) - - Show Bio

Crossovers have always be terible, anyone else remember Spider-Man in the 90's. 
 
Crossovers are just a way to sell more comics.
#18 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd prefer 1 miniseries as opposed to me getting several issues of a title that I have no interest in

#19 Posted by Korg (11931 posts) - - Show Bio

With the overlap that exists in these books already, I don't see it as a problem, really. I don't buy Uncanny, but that has not stopped me from keeping up with the X-Men, and it won't now. I just flip through the issues in the store. I can see how it might suck if you don't have an LCBS, but if that were the case for me, I would just wait for the trade anyway. If you're only reading X-Force or New Mutants, you are going to miss out on things that are happening with those characters, regardless of whether or not a crossover is taking place. The X-Titles interact constantly, and they have done for many years. For long stretches of time, it was pretty impossible to read just Uncanny, or just Adjectiveless, because they crossed over with every single issue, like one continuous series.

#20 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio

Today, I read one of the best cross-overs ever.  It was in one issue, picked up on events from another title without directly effecting the other title... and what's more it was completely unexpected so it was a fantastic surprise... 
 

Moderator
#21 Posted by Quest (108 posts) - - Show Bio

maybe i will get back into x men when scond coming is over
#22 Posted by Yung ANcient One (4810 posts) - - Show Bio

 

 

#23 Edited by cmaprice (809 posts) - - Show Bio

Events should be set in a miniseries. They should have ramifications across titles, but you absolutely should not have to deal with a crap-ton of tie ins to get the full story.
 
Furthermore, no matter how they're released, the companies NEED to start releasing the collected volumes as complete and in a sensible order. Things like Civil War and Blackest Night need to have an omnibus released that has every pertinent book together. This is something Messiah Complex did right. Even though it was a cross-title event, the hardcover edition is clear and seemingly complete. There weren't a bunch of second-tier tie-ins. I don't have the time, the money, or the willpower to go on an egg hunt for a web on convoluted mess. Offer me a cogent story, or rethink why you got into this industry. Did you want to tell stories or milk us dry with gimmicks?

#24 Posted by jamdown (294 posts) - - Show Bio

the fact that comic writers do this really pi$$e$ me off because that mean 6 more dollars i spend
#25 Posted by aztek_the_lost (28224 posts) - - Show Bio

If you want an event to have lasting ramifications it should be spread over all the titles it's intended to affect, otherwise what's the point? Don't get me wrong, I'm not drawn into comics by big all-encompassing story arcs and I by far prefer comics set in their own untouched universe but most people like having a universe of titles that's connected and in that case, the story arcs should take place in all those titles.

Moderator
#26 Posted by Grim (2080 posts) - - Show Bio

i feel like as long as all the titles are headed by the same writer, its fine. Its only when you have multiple writers writing the same overview story at the same time that things get lost and fudged.

#27 Posted by Violet-Eyed Dragon (2271 posts) - - Show Bio

the events need to be even bigger.  it makes more sense, makes the characters be really connected, and also has the factor that if it is a big event chances are its a good stroy so most of the tie-ins will be good too.  for example, i thought dark reign was just long enough and i was frustrated that it had too FEW titles (the x books ignored it too much).

#28 Posted by War Killer (20258 posts) - - Show Bio

That the biggest thing I hate about Second Coming, I've been trying to get into the X-Men books for some time now (because I need to spread out and read more of this huge universe) but right when I start reading Unicanny X-Men (since I figure that was pretty much the main X-Title) BAM! I have to read New Mutants...I don't even know who's on the New Mutants :/ And then X-Men Legacy which again I don't know anything about other then I think Rogue has something to do with that book? I normally don't have a problem jumping into a new title, even if it's in the middle of a story since I can just pick up the trade or something later, but like lets say I only want to read Uncanny X-Men, well SC part 1 is in a one-shot, I can dig that, and part 2 in in UXM #523, while when I pick up just #524 next month, it'll be part 5...Wait What, where are parts 3 and 4? (See what  I mean?) 
 
But while I reading this, I did think of Utopia, it was in two titles (Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-Men) but most people were already reading those to series' anyways, and even if they weren't, it wasn't that hard to pick a one-shot and then two series for what, four, maybe at times five issues, not that big a deal since it was only two books, but Second Coming, I have to pick up, UXM, X-Froce (which is a good book don't get me wrong), XM Legacy, and New Mutants, bit over-kill don't you think?

Online
#29 Posted by Meteorite (3351 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the way House of M/ Secret Invasion did crossovers was good. Just one big mini, with some titles adding bits here and there to it. It worked because it saves people having to buy outside of their usual series for the whole story. Personally, I hate it when crossovers are in the format of Second Coming, you either have to buy way more comics than you normally do or just try and pick up the story as you go along.

#30 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2260 posts) - - Show Bio

I only buy the main books, like with Dark Raign I only bought Dark Avengers, sometimes New Avengers and Mighty Avengers, but usually only Dark Avengers and now Siege.
With Blackest Night I only bought Blackest Night and Green Lantern.  So I don't buy the tie ins.

#31 Posted by growup (525 posts) - - Show Bio

yeh I think they should just do event in the format of blackest night

#32 Posted by Girth (1041 posts) - - Show Bio

All I can say is thank God for trades. I am just too lazy to get all these different titles.

#33 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5446 posts) - - Show Bio
@Girth:
Amen, lol 
 
I think it's ok to have these huge crossovers if they stay within the titles affected i.e. if it's an x-men event, sure have the other mutant books involved, if it's an Avengers event fine have it in the Avenger related titles, same with Batman or JLA. 
 
Leave other books not normally associated with these books out of the event whenever possible.  Something "Universe wide" fine, put in an apperance in the rest of the books, but they don't have to be nessecary to the plot and "must haves". 
I like how Secret Wars and Mellenium were done, sure they went into pretty much every other book but you didn't need to get every book for the whole story.  They were just side trips to bring others into the loop.
#34 Posted by danhimself (22586 posts) - - Show Bio

I like tie ins because they sometimes force me into books that I normally wouldn't read and I've found some great books because of that

#35 Posted by Hawkling (178 posts) - - Show Bio

An event like Second Coming needs to be in all the books I think. This storyline is going to change the marvel universe for mutants completely, either ruin or re-population.

#36 Posted by Omega Ray Jay (7841 posts) - - Show Bio

 I concur, ironically the Secret War was not only my first crossover but the first comics I came into position of and read and you’re right about the simplicity of the setting. 
 
It seems that comics are starting to head down the same murky road as the film industry when it comes to these crossovers, and I mean in terms of the money angle. A story like Blackest Night could have been self contained within the main mini series but think of all the money the company would be loosening if they just played it simple with the one series. It seems to me that the main and possibly only purpose for these kinds of events is purely for the money and less and less about the actual stories themselves I mean would it be that hard just to have one issue of Second Coming for instance feature the New Mutants than have the crossover invade there title? 
 
I think these kind of ‘events’ are only going to become more and more common because they know that if they have a fans of certain series, fans that must stay in the loop they can more or less push them as much as they want into buying all these tie in books, the only way this is going to end is if enough people put there feet down and say no, and as grand as that sounds I don’t know and doubt if that is going to happen anytime soon on any mass scale, but I’ve been wrong before.

#37 Posted by dan1509 (183 posts) - - Show Bio

i dont mind cos i like seeing how other people are affected Like with civil war, the spiderman tie in was great but I dont like it if im guna miss out cos i need to get all the mini series just to understand whats happenin

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