“we do not do ‘crossover’ events, and we have always been at war with eurasia.”

February 9th, 2012 by |

Here’s Marvel publisher Dan Buckley in an interview with Kiel Phegley of Comic Book Resources on the subject of Marvel’s… overall status in 2012, I guess:

First, I want to clarify that we do not do “crossover” events. This is [an] important distinction. I was here in the ’90s when “crossover” events were the norm, which is when you make a reader buy four or more different titles in a specific order to get the whole story. “Galactic Storm” is the example that jumps out from my memory banks.

Marvel’s biggest 2012 publishing initiative is the 12-part “Avengers Vs. X-Men” event
We do line-wide editorial events. These events usually involve a core book like “Civil War,” “Secret Invasion,” “Siege,” etc. that could be read on their own for the complete story. Other books in the line will then use that event to develop “tie-in” stories which could be “in line,” a new miniseries or one-shot. Sorry to go off on a tangent but this is a very important distinction because we are not requiring the fans to buy into three or four other ongoing series to get the main story.

At the end of each issue of Fear Itself, Marvel’s tentpole event for 2011, readers were urged to pick up other comics, like Journey Into Mystery or Invincible Iron Man, to find out the rest of the story. There were characters who just suddenly popped up for what seemed like no good reason if you didn’t read other comics, and those comics had big fights, plot twists, and more. Maybe those are tie-ins by Buckley’s definition, but my understanding (from interminable conversations with friends who read the series) is that Fear Itself 1-7 was not a complete story, unless you’re using the most generous definition of complete in the entire world.

Marvel recently announced an event for 2012 called The Omega Effect. I quote: “”The Omega Effect” begins in April in “Avenging Spider-Man” #6, continuing to “Daredevil” #11 and “Punisher” #10.”

A couple weeks ago, Mark Waid, Emma Rios, Kano, and Javier Rodriguez did a banging two-part story. Part one was in Amazing Spider-Man 677. Part two was in Daredevil 8, which apparently isn’t available on ComiXology because Marvel is intent on being as awkward as possible about digital comics. (see also: Secret Avengers 22 and Thunderbolts being exclusive to Marvel’s ComiXology-powered app but not being on ComiXology itself, the inability to buy Marvel digital comics via retailer affiliates, absurd pricing schemes, etc)

The X-Men status quo right now has its roots in Second Coming, an event from 2010. From Wikipedia:

Chapter 1: X-Men: Second Coming #1
Chapter 2: Uncanny X-Men #523
Chapter 3: New Mutants #12
Chapter 4: X-Men: Legacy #235
Chapter 5: X-Force #26
Chapter 6: Uncanny X-Men #524
Chapter 7: New Mutants #13
Chapter 8: X-Men: Legacy #236
Chapter 9: X-Force #27
Chapter 10: Uncanny X-Men #525
Chapter 11: New Mutants #14
Chapter 12: X-Men: Legacy #237
Chapter 13: X-Force #28
Chapter 14: X-Men: Second Coming #2

Before that was Utopia in 2009. More wikcraft:

Chapter 1: Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1 (one-shot)
Chapter 2: Uncanny X-Men #513
Chapter 3: Dark Avengers #7
Chapter 4: Uncanny X-Men #514
Chapter 5: Dark Avengers #8
Chapter 6: Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 (one-shot)
Epilogue: Dark X-Men: The Confession #1 (one-shot)
Aftermath: Dark Reign: The List – Uncanny X-Men #1 (one-shot)

World War Hulks in 2010:

Hulk vol. 2 #22-24
Incredible Hulk #609-611
World War Hulks #1
World War Hulks Hulked Out Heroes #1-2
World War Hulks Spider-Man vs Thor #1-2
World War Hulks Wolverine vs Captain America #1-2
Fall of the Hulks Red Hulk #4
Fall of the Hulks Savage She-Hulks #2-3

Age of X, 2011:

Age of X: Alpha
X-Men: Legacy #245–247
New Mutants #22–24
Age of X: Universe #1–2

Buckley, rephrased: “We don’t do crossovers, except for the five we did in the past two years, the one we just finished, and the one we just announced the other day. But other than that, no crossovers! We hate those things!”

I feel like if you’re going to lie in an interview for the sake of… I’m not even entirely sure of his point. It’s some kind of rah-rah “We do right by our fans, we don’t jerk them around by making them buy a bunch of comics they don’t want” thing, I guess. But anyway, if you’re going to lie for whatever reason it is that Buckley is lying here, then at least tell a lie that isn’t easy to disprove with half a moment’s thought and a single Google search.

And make no mistake, this is a blatant lie, an untruth, a falsehood, the sort of thing your mother would and should swat your lips for. It isn’t spin, which is what DC does when they “clarify” sales figures one month to passive-aggressively show how the numbers don’t really matter and then crow about the numbers the next month on the exact same site.

I’m not sure which is more insulting, actually, the spin or the lie. Both assume that you, the reader, are an idiot with no memory and no sense. Then again… Buckley’s lie did get me to read the rest of the interview to see what else he lied about, so mission accomplished there, man.

It’s not hard to not lie. Marvel has a fistful of great books by talented folks. DC… most of it isn’t to my taste, but sure, let’s say the same for them, too. That’s what you should be crowing about, rather than fake numbers or fake stands that you have taken for the sake of the fans. “We got that new Ann Nocenti! New Ed Brubaker! Holler at us!”

I mean, is this how dumb they think we are? Seriously? C’mon, son. Who’re you trying to fool and why?

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25 comments to ““we do not do ‘crossover’ events, and we have always been at war with eurasia.””

  1. The scuttlebutt I heard was that Fear Itself never really became an understandable story, no matter how many issues you bought of any comic from Marvel. An event, minus the story.

  2. I understand his distinction, which is that they do one big “event book” which (hypothetically, at least) contains the big story, and then there are a number of books that follow the other sub-stories that aren’t compulsory reading. The problem is that the execution is flawed – most of the time important parts of the story spill into the other comics and it all gets too complicated. You /could/ read just the event book, if you wanted, and at least be aware of what was going on, but you’re not likely to understand it very well. (And Omega Effect… yeah, that’s a crossover, unless each part is a stand-alone story that sort of tie together.)

    But yeah, it’s not especially well-thought-out, as an argument, and… what’s the point? If I’m reading the interview, I’m already reading comics, probably from Marvel and DC. The only way to make me read more, or to make someone else start reading, is to just make better comic books. Telling me that your sales are better, or that your crossovers aren’t crossovers… what does that do?

  3. Man, I tried to pick up Fear Itself sometime just after it launched, and the whole thing was completely impenetrable to me. I didn’t know if what I was reading was part of the core story, or a diversion that related to it, or what. Instead I just had basically no idea what was going on, and so couldn’t read any of it.

  4. This whole interview just came off terribly. I kept on getting reminded of when I was a teenager and started working at a movie theatre, and NOBODY was allowed to call people who came to see a movie a “customer”, but rather a “guest”. In other words: a bunch of corporate types who live on their own little clouds, making up things to justify their paychecks, and thinking that if you call something other than what it is, then maybe some peon down the line will like their job better or that a customer will think that mmmmmaybe the peon cares a little more about what they’re doing. Fallacious thinking, all around, that unfortunately is all too prevalent in any number of corporations.

  5. What gets me from these interviews lately is how much the tone has changed. Back when Quesada and DiDio did these things, there was still corporate spin, but mainly it was two guys with distinguishable personalities responding to questions and explaining their approach in a fairly relaxed fashion.

    Lately, though, each of these things is the same. It’s all about touting successes, spinning publicly available sales information in whatever direction is in demand in a given week and hitting all kinds of talking points. There also used to be a difference in whether ICv2 (a trade site) or CBR (a fan site) conducted these interviews. There isn’t anymore. It’s like watching some kind of political debate.

    Basically, there’s a sense of everybody being wound tight and a little bit desperate and worried less about fans or journalists and more worried they could say something that their higher-ups, shareholders or “trade partners” might take issue with.

    I don’t get the sense from these interviews that creativity is as much in demand at Marvel or DC as it was two years back. I don’t get the sense that these are fun places to work at right now, or that anything they did in the last year worked as well for them as they were hoping.

  6. […] an untruth, a falsehood, the sort of thing your mother would and should swat your lips for.” [4thletter!] Dial H […]

  7. I share your frustration at Marvel’s awkward rollout of its same-day digital releases — DC just setting one date for everything to be all same-day was much easier to follow, whereas Marvel is adding titles willy-nilly — but Daredevil No. 8 is available on Comixology. I know because I bought it.

    And, to your main point, Buckley is talking crazy.

  8. I stand corrected: I still have it in my digital collection from when I bought it, but they appear to no longer have it for sale. What the heck?

  9. I laugh everytime I read the “we don’t do crossovers” line. Sure, they write one main “event” book and say you don’t have to read any other books to get the whole story but that just isn’t true. Major things happen to characters in their books based on the main event.

    And don’t get me started about them publishing two of the same title in one month! I’ve had to cut back on the number of books I buy because of this.

  10. I don’t believe that there are reptilian aliens living among us in secret, but if I did, I would be convinced that Dan Buckley was one of them. He comes off as one of the most willfully disingenuous people I’ve ever seen interviewed.

    And I know that we can make a lot of assumptions about tone or intent when we read, but if you’ve ever seen Buckley in person (for instance at a Marvel panel at a con), you know he’s just as bad in person.

  11. hahahahahhahaha *gasp!* hahahahahahahahhahaahaha

    Ok..Ok… who the hell is Buckley trying to kid here? The Hundreds of Dollars spent by me in the past 10 years disagrees with you. I’m a Marvel Zombie and even so you lie in my face like this…

    THIS is the sort of thing that makes it hard for me to defend my Marvel love sometimes. I have already gone on record about trying to avoid this Avengers vs. X-Men fan wank on the grounds of lack of villain development (mostly on the X-Men side) but its tendrils are already affecting Avengers Academy and New Mutants who both had to rush to close storylines in the past couple of months…

    *SIGH* “We don’t do crossovers” goes right there with “Honest Politician” and “I Did It For Creative License Not Money”….

  12. They don’t do business either.

  13. They don’t boast about their talent in their interviews because swathes of their target readership don’t give a shit. I’ve talked to plenty of guys who mostly read crossovers and events and they scoff at the idea of caring about creators. Surprisingly, its not just crusty old fanboys, but also dudes who got into comics through video games and movies. Maybe they’re newish so they figure that they should only read books they’ve been told are “important” and they don’t know the people who create?

  14. I picked up the Mike Carey X-Men: Supernovas hardcover for $8 from Thwipster and I was just amazed at how tightly plotted the series was when you just focus on a small team kicking ass, but then everything after it just gave into the usual bloat and waste that comes with that particular territory.

    The only books in Marvel that I’ve been genuinely excited to buy every month and follow in recent memory are Captain America (at least the Bru Death/Rebirth arc) and Uncanny X-Force – mostly because both of those (with a few minor exceptions like Civil War) were disconnected from whatever other insipid huckster crap that was going on in their respective Avengers/X-Men camps. The fact that UXF was able to tell a pretty complete epic from issues 1-18 that will read even better in omnibus form is pretty rare these days, the fact that Captain America could do it in three massive hardcovers is even better. Has there ever been anyone who was really digging a book who then thought “wow, awesome, the next issue of the story is actually part 13 of some other series!” ?

  15. So Avengers vs X-men going by what each meant government vs a minority school.
    Avengers picking a fight with X-men is enough political push to lead to Iron-man pimping the sentinels, every-one agreeing that Victor von doom is right and should all hate mutants? Or are they going to say this is in the Marvel vs. universe and that their no needed reason for Captain America to shield bash a bunch of mutant kids in the face then tag in Ryu to Metsu Shoryuken their heads off?

  16. “I mean, is this how dumb they KNOW we are? ”

    Fixed that for you.

    Anyway, no one should be financially supporting these scumbags until they drop their lawsuit against Gary Friedrich. And then say sorry to the world for being gigantic pieces of shit just ‘cuz.

  17. […] an interview Marvel’s publisher tried to tell us that they do not do crossovers, nope never, which is just plain strange and not true. It doesn’t seem like a big deal perhaps, but lying to your fanbase makes them question why […]

  18. Well, that’s it for me and Daredevil. I just read the first Waid HC collection and had added to my pull list because everyone kept raving about it. I enjoyed it, but not so much that I’ll put up with the series crossing over with the Big Stupid Event. Anything that was interesting from Marvel for the last few years have existed in their own little world (like Whedon/Ellis Astonishing X-Men). :barf:

  19. @kevin patterson:

    In fairness, the Omega Effect is a three-part crossover, but I don’t think comparing it to line-wide events makes much sense. I don’t want to sound like a Marvel huckster Kevin, but not buying a series you enjoyed because it will cross over with just two other issues of characters that DD has a long history with (Punisher & Spider-Man) seems self-defeating.

  20. It’s worth noting that the Daredevil crossover is spinning out of the storylines going on in Daredevil. DD is highjacking Spider-Man and Punisher, not the other way around. It’s still not great, but its better than the alternative.

  21. @Bob: “I don’t want to sound like a Marvel huckster Kevin, but not buying a series you enjoyed because it will cross over with just two other issues of characters that DD has a long history with (Punisher & Spider-Man) seems self-defeating.”

    How so? The notion of just wanting to follow one book by a particular creative team without losing out on a major part of the story doesn’t seem so alien or complicated to me as to require further explanation.

    I’ve been enjoying DAREDEVIL more than any other Marvel or DC superhero comic in recent memory. That said, #10 is my final issue, because that’s when Marvel stops supplying what I’m interested in. (If I’d known about the SPIDER-MAN crossover sooner, I’d have pulled the plug with #7.)

    It’s not like there’s a shortage of good comics, you know, so I don’t mind dropping titles when it’s clear they’re about to jump the shark.

  22. @Marc-Oliver Frisch: What Bob is trying to say is that the issue of Daredevil in question, despite being drawn by Marco Checchetto (who is a good artist) is still being written by Waid, will most likely be accessible to someone who’s only reading Daredevil, and the book will continue as normal afterwards. It just seems a bit petty to be all :argh: about “CROSSOVERS!” in this case, when there are so many other better examples of how crossovers derail books.

    If you don’t like shared universes at all, why even read Big Two superhero comics?

  23. @Lugh: I don’t see any reason at all to be so optimistic, since I’m not aware of a single case where a good book was made better by crossing over with other books. And, vice versa, the Marvel and DC runs that hold up for me a few years on are, almost exclusively, ones that don’t include crossovers.

    So it’s simply a quality issue, without question.

    There are much worse examples than DAREDEVIL, certainly. But that doesn’t matter to me, since I don’t follow those books anyway. (And I don’t mind shared universes at all, obviously. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. Some of the best Marvel runs manage to be shared-universe stories without being crossovers just fine.)

  24. @Marc-Oliver Frisch:

    If the Omega Effect was published in Daredevil 11-13 with the same creative team and the Punisher and Spider-Man as guest stars would you still buy it? I don’t mean to be snarky, but I’m curious. Do you think the publishing model of telling a story across multiple titles (even with the same or mostly the same creative team) always dooms a story to sucking?

  25. @Bob: “If the Omega Effect was published in Daredevil 11-13 with the same creative team and the Punisher and Spider-Man as guest stars would you still buy it?”

    If by “the same creative team” you mean the creators who do DAREDEVIL, then yes, I’d be more likely to buy it, at least.

    That said, I think there’s a certain limit to how much material a stable creative team can produce, and at Marvel, I don’t see a single book right now where that limit isn’t exceeded horribly in the name of pumping out more issues and crossovers for short-term profit. And that’s really damaging to the line, in the long-term, because the quality and integrity of these books suffers as a result, and with every crossover or “guest artist,” the material becomes less likely to resonate or leave a mark creatively.

    If Marvel doesn’t make enough money with a really good DAREDEVIL that comes out every four to six weeks by a good and stable creative team, then you’d think the logical solution would be to publish more good series like DAREDEVIL that come out every four to six weeks each and are REALLY, REALLY GOOD. Instead, though, Marvel opts to make more DAREDEVIL and do crossovers between DAREDEVIL and other books, thereby watering down what makes DAREDEVIL good in the first place. I don’t get that at all, and I think it’s really damaging Marvel’s business in ways that Marvel seems completely oblivious to.