Posted by: Graeme McMillan on March 20, 2007
So, I’m working on the New Comics part of the new Onomatopoeia (For those who don’t live in San Francisco and/or have never been in the store to know what I’m talking about, Onomatopoeia is the free monthly Comix Experience newsletter thing; I do a bunch of blurbs about the new comics that can be preordered that month, Peter Wong does a column called Lost in Pictopia, and most importantly, Jeff Lester from this very parish does a column called Fanboy Rampage! – He came up with it first; I stole it without realizing it, because I am unoriginal and a pilferer – that is more often than not the funniest thing you’ll read of a month. Really, it’s a rather wonderful little newsletter thing and you should all check it out), and it strikes me how insanely that Marvel are throwing things out there. I mean, as of June, there are going to be five ongoing Avengers books. Five! There weren’t even that many in the 1990s, weren’t there? There are also nine regular Spider-Man books (Amazing, Sensational, Friendly Neighborhood, Ultimate, Loves Mary Jane, Marvel Adventures, Family, Spider-Girl and New Avengers, if you’re wondering about my math), and if you’re an X-Men completist, then things get even uglier, because June will see you picking up the following ongoing books:
X-Men: First Class
Black Panther (because Storm is now a regular cast member; she also rejoins the X-Men in June’s Uncanny, according to the solicits and Ed Brubaker’s comments at Wizard World LA that she’s in the book for the foreseeable future)
Fantastic Four (because Storm’s now a regular cast member of this book, as well. She’s the new Wolverine!)
New Avengers (because Wolverine’s a member)
And that’s missing Astonishing, because – no surprise – Astonishing isn’t shipping in June. I missed out the mini-series and guest-shots for the month, as well.
The moral of this story is either that it doesn’t pay to be an X-Men completist in financial terms as well as spiritual ones, or that Marvel is literally out to flood the market with their product without really taking much notice of its audience. Maybe the most obvious example of this currently is the surprise hit of last year, Marvel Zombies, which had three separate books solicited for May (Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, Marvel Zombies Vs. Army of Darkness and Black Panther, which is hitching itself to the bandwagon for a storyline). Way to run a sleeper hit into the ground, Marvel.
Sure, you could make similar noises about DC. To use DC’s biggest franchise, a Batman completist would “only” be picking up eleven books in June, and that’s not counting trades. But Marvel feels like a much worse offender – In June, DC are launching four new series, three of which are in their CMX line, but Marvel are launching more than ten, including three different “events” (Major Arcana; World War Hulk and Annihilation: Conquest. That’s not even mentioning Endangered Species, the X-book back-up crossover that’s really just a 17-part lead-in to another crossover event that’s starting later this year).
I dunno; I’m not a retailer like Hibbs nor anything other than a generic loudmouth on the internet, and maybe there’s an eager audience for all of these books, but it strikes me that when you get a four-issue miniseries about Daredevil’s dad’s boxing career, then just maybe Marvel is putting out too many books. Am I overreacting because I have to write about all of them, or does anyone else think that there’s something horribly familiar and ’90s-esque about the sheer volume of product these days?