The Week In Crossovers

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By Todd Allen

Comic books crossing over?  The crossover quote of the week goes to Dan Buckley in his Comic Book Resources interview:

Dan Buckley: 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.

I gotta say, I was in Iowa for the holidays and that statement sure would be right at home alongside the lines the presidential hopefuls were using before the caucus… read into that what you will.  If part one is in a Spider-Man comic, part two is in a Darvedevil comic and part three is in a Punisher comic, I’d like to know what new term is being substituted for “crossover,” so we can definite the semantics being argued here.

Fortunately, Kieron Gillen is an Brit and not seeking the oval office, so he was able to use the term “crossover” multiple times in an interview with Newsarama:

Kieron Gillen: I’ll be entirely candid here: my entire run has been conceived in order to build towards AvX. I knew that was coming, and I wanted to do everything I could to increase its importance for it. You get people saying how they hate their favorite books derailed for a crossover, and I wanted to avoid that. AvX is the logical endpoint of huge chunks of what I’m doing. I sort of call the process “Steering into a crossover.” I’ve done it with most of my Marvel work — in that if you know something enormous is on the horizon, your story best veer in its direction otherwise it ends up feeling false when you do a story which does tie in. If you’re writing a shared universe book, you want it to help the book rather than hurt it.

Gillen: Heh. Once again, entirely the opposite. Since I knew AvX lay ahead, I knew that with the double-shipping I’d get 10 issues before the crossover hit. The crossover, as I said earlier, is such an enormous thing that it’s going to fundamentally change the sort of stories it’s possible to tell. So I knew that I had this space to basically let the Extinction Team exist. And I basically wanted to tell a year’s worth of stories in it. So rather than the 4-issue arcs I was writing before the relaunch, I aimed at three-issue arcs. The second arc expanded to four issues — I’d written it for three, but due to the density of subplots, it sat better in four. And the final arc, I compressed down to two with every technique I could think of, which makes it incredibly punchy. Issue #9 may be my favorite “traditional” X-men issue of the run, actually. #4 is my favorite generally, but that was so leftfield, I’m not sure I can count it. The #9-#10 arc is about a jailbreak from the Peak, and in #9 alone five different alien invasions are defeated. Hypercomics are go!

First up, we have something that isn’t precisely a crossover, so much as introducing concepts behind new titles and possibly setting up a crossover.

Parallel worlds come to the forefront of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 “Second Wave,” with titles such as EARTH 2 and WORLDS’ FINEST exploring the adventures of heroes on alternate Earths. ACTION COMICS #9 sets up the multiverse with a standalone story of a Superman from another Earth, who must fight a monster from yet anotherparallel world. But this isn’t just any monster; it’s a Superman surrogate known as Superdoom, twisted into an unstoppable agent of evil.

The back-up story will also feature an adventure of this alternate Superman, set on his parallel Earth.

Then we establish that Batman Annual #1 is part of the “Night of the Owls” Event.

Coming this May, BATMAN ANNUAL #1 features the hotly anticipated introduction of Mr. Freeze into DC COMICS-THE NEW 52. But what is the icy villain’s role in the machinations of the sinister Court of Owls and their plot to control Gotham City? Is he friend or foe, ally or enemy?

“Mr. Freeze is a character full of pathos and tragedy and at the end of the day, he’s one of Batman’s deadliest,” said writer Scott Snyder. “So as you can imagine, I’m very excited to be able to do a story that establishes him in the new DCU, with rising stars James Tynion IV and Jay Fabok. This will be tale that really digs into Freeze’s psyche, explaining his connection to the Court of Owls in the present, and exploring dark secrets about his past. Really thrilled to see what you guys think!”

Critically acclaimed for his work on the ongoing BATMAN series, Snyder will be joined by artist Jay Fabok for the oversized issue, with James Tynion IV co-writing.

Expanding the story of the “Night of the Owls” and introducing one of Batman’s classic rogues, BATMAN ANNUAL #1 is not to be missed.

ANMAN ANN 1 The Week In CrossoversWe find out Animal Man Annual #1 is setting up that Swamp Thing crossover:

“In many ways this Annual is like a prequel to the crossover storyline that Scott Snyder and I have planned for ANIMAL MAN and SWAMP THING. But the best part is that I get to work with Timothy Green II. I’ve been a fan of Timothy’s since I first saw his work a few years back and I was really excited when Joey told me he would be drawing the Annual. I’ve seen the first few pages of art and man, is it gorgeous. He draws a great Swamp Thing and an even better Maxine!”

We find out that Teen Titans Annual #1 kicks off a crossover which launches the Ravagers title:

Check out TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #1, and follow the story through SUPERBOY #9, LEGION LOST #9, TEEN TITANS #9 and THE RAVAGERS #1.

And over at Newsarama, this crossover gets a name (possibly making it an Event):

“The Culling” crossover in May will return some fan-favorite Teen Titans characters and concepts to the DCnU, including Beast Boy, Terra and the origin of Kid Flash.

Comments

  1. Mike L says:

    Whatever happened to just having guest-stars within a single title? If you want to do Spider-Man, DD, and Punisher, for example, then do it all in the framework of one title.

    It would be nice if the writers were actually allowed to just tell their individual stories without needing to have everything be a big collaboration, or to constantly work under the constraint of ‘steering’ a story toward another story.

    I know, it sells, so that’s why they do them, that’s the standard editorial response, that the fans want it.

  2. While I’m all for what’s nice for the writers, I’m more concerned about what’s nice for the readers. Buying additional books to get the whole story is not nice for the readers. “Culling” is what I routinely do to my reading list when the series I’m reading cross over with series I’m not reading.

  3. Glenn Simpson says:

    I find that the crossovers are much less painful if you just buy all of the comics anyway.

  4. “I know, it sells, so that’s why they do them, that’s the standard editorial response, that the fans want it.”

    That’s what everyojne says … The crossovers sell … yet, we keep siting comic sales that are dropping a little but more every month. Obviously, crossovers are selling to the people still purchasing comics, but there are more people jumping ship every month.

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