Welcome back to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.
The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them to the list…
This week’s question comes from Alan Larken and is as follows:-
“Crossovers. Should we really have to buy every damn issue to enjoy them? Are they a good idea? Are they worth it?”
I do enjoy crossovers when it is pertinent to the main story, but when it branches out so far from the original vein, and it¹s only related by slapping the crossover’s logo in the corner’s well obviously that’s upsetting. I always loved crossovers where characters meet each other and we get to see personalities bounce off of each other. Ezra actually has her first cross-over coming really soon.
Sean Patrick O’Reilly is Editor-in-Chief of Arcana Studios, and the writer of their book, Kade.
Crossovers, we should buy them if we want to. Otherwise they cease to be fun. And fun’s what it should be about. They’re a good idea when they’re done for fun, not for a cheap promotional stunt. I’m not saying a crossover should never be approached from a financial viewpoint, one should make a living after all, but when they become nothing more than, “hey what sort of crossover can we do for the summer sales?” then forget it. Personally, I like the sort of crossover that used to happen in the early days at Marvel. One story would just naturally flow into another. Thinking further back, the early Human Torch / Sub-Mariner crossovers were done just because their creators wanted to have some fun. That sort of attitude is what’s needed.
James E. Lyle is a cartoonist and illustrator, including co-creating titles Escape to the Stars, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. and DoorMan, plus work on Fright Night, Cynicalman Sells Out, and the accurately-spelt Wiindows. More recently Lyle worked on Turok, the “missing” Paul Gulacy T.h.u.n.d.e.r. Agents, and DRASTIK #1.
I feel your pain and I say no, you should not have to buy every damn issue to enjoy a crossover. Crossovers are a tricky thing… and I say this from a reader’s standpoint as I’ve never done a crossover event yet. But as a reader I’ve learned what should and should not be done in a crossover. Each title should still stand alone for the readers who have been following a particular series and if they do not want to participate in the crossover, they don’t have to for their reading enjoyment. However if they do want to participate then they will get a larger story as a reward. The crossover should be two to four issues long at the most. The more titles involved, the shorter the crossover event should be.
Are they a good idea? In some cases and if done right, yes. I think DC’s Identity Crisis was a good example of a company crossover event. I read the main series and didn’t touch most of the other titles that felt the “ripple effect” from the main Identity Crisis mini series. I enjoyed that. I happened to read a few other titles from DC that happened to be affected and it only expanded the greater story.
Are they worth it? Again, in some cases and if done right, yes. But most of the time I would say no. But I harbour a lot of bad memories from the crossovers of the 90’s… lately a lot of things have changed for the better, including the crossovers. I don’t think there is a catch all answer… take each one on a case-by-case basis and use your own judgment on what you feel is or is not worth your hard earned dollars.
Bart Thompson is the founder of Approbation Comics, creator of Vampires Unlimited, the Metamutoids, ChiSai, and Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies while the publisher of Myriad from Approbation and writer/creator of Blood, Shells, & Roses coming soon from Arcana Studios!
To keep the answers simple and coming from the perspective of a fan and former retailer:
No, you don’t have to buy every damn issue to enjoy them. The way things are nowadays, the trade will collect all the pertinent issues anyway.
Crossovers can be a good idea, if the story is worth telling on such a grand scale. If it’s just a gimmick, then it’s a bad idea. Secret Wars 2, anyone?
If the readers enjoy the crossover, then it’s worth it. If the readers don’t give a damn, then no, it wasn’t worth it at all.
Vince Moore is the editor for DarkStorm Studios, a comics company started by Kevin Grevioux of Underworld fame.
No, no and no.
Crossovers, almost without exception, are crass marketing ploys.
They’re not done for artistic reasons, they’re done in the hope that popular characters appearing in less popular titles will boost sales momentarily and make more money for the publisher. Unfortunately, they keep doing them, so therefore I guess the trick must work. If you don’t like them, then stop buying all the crossover issues that you wouldn’t normally buy.
Remember, it’s not publishers that make good comics; it’s not the
Characters that make good comics; it’s the creators that make good comics. You can’t make comics without all three of course, but if you follow your favourite creators, you won’t go far wrong.
Gary has been self-publishing his award-winning Strangehaven comic book series for ten years and his third trade paperback collection Strangehaven: Conspiracies will be published later this summer http://www.millidge.com
Generally speaking, crossovers are company-originated solely for the purpose of selling readers comics they don’t usually buy. From my experience, most crossovers are not enjoyed by the writers, artists or editors–only by the sales/marketing department.
Some crossover stories demand to be written–e.g. Lobo versus Wolverine. But then you see the shite they come up with, and wonder why anybody bothered.
Alan Grant, writer of Dredd, Batman, and the slightly mad Doomlord, can be seen currently with Arthur Ranson on Judge Anderson in the Judge Dredd Megazine, and the superb Com.X trade collection of The Last American.
Oh my, is that the time? Must dash!
Stephen Holland runs Page 45, a comic shop in Nottingham UK, with Mark Simpson and Tom Rosin. He wonders what a crossover between Maus and Sandman would look like, and when he does, he reaches for a gun.
I would like to do a crossover of The Desert Peach and Wolverine.
Can you see the Wolvie in that stiff collar and the spiffy boots….?
Donna (F**king Fashion Freak) Barr
Donna Barr has books and original art at www.stinz.com, webcomics at www.moderntales.com, www.girlamatic.com, and has POD at www.booksurge.com Nothing she won’t try, at least once…including writing a column for SBC at this link!
Our questioner poses the question in such a way that I already know what he thinks!
No, of course you don’t have to buy them all. In fact, these days the publishers are making it easier on the fans. With the Countdown to Infinite Crisis crossover, for example, the main comics dealing with the crossover are clearly stated, and the titles that briefly crossover can be easily missed. There was a time you had to buy all the titles, or you’d miss out on some important plot progression.
From a writer’s point-of-view, crossovers are a great idea. It gives us a chance to play with a lot of fun characters in fun, and hopefully exciting ways.
As for whether crossovers are worth it, only you can know that. Do you enjoy them? Yes? Great! Get a job to pay for them all. No? Skip ’em.
Jesse Leon McCann is a New York Times Best-selling Author. He’s currently editing the fourth Simpsons TV Episode Guide for Bongo Comics/Harper Perennial, and writing stories for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Cartoon Cartoons.
Well, here’s the thing about crossovers…they are designed to bring in more money. And I don’t just mean in sales. I suspect that the appeal of a crossover is to read a comic you’ve never read before. If leads to a 30% increase in new readership/30% more units sold, then it’s a success. I’d even say 10% would be a success. The companies are funny because they say that “you don’t have to read every book to follow the story.” It’s probably true most of the time. As a reader, though, you do want to follow even the smallest story, so it’s like a backhanded warning. I don’t mind crossovers when done right. I don’t mind crossovers with a lot of hype behind them. I don’t mind crossovers when they kill my favourite hero/villain. Just tell me a good story. I’ll read all 12 if you can lock me in 3.
Vito Delsante’s creator owned mini-series, “The Mercury Chronicles”, with artist Jim Muniz, is now in development with Image Comics and will hit stands late this year. “Batman Adventures Vol 2: Shadows and Masks” (DC Comics) is out now! His work can also be seen in Reflux Comics #3 and in X-Men Unlimited #5
I personally like crossovers, but only if the story is good. I think Vito’s comments really make sense. Thanks again to all the Panellists for taking part, again with them we would have no panel… (duh!) but more importantly without you and your questions with would have nothing to talk about SO please email me your questions.
I have a question for you guys, “do you like crossovers?”
Why don’t you tell us know your opinion and interact with the Panel at the SBC message forums… see the link below, I’ll be there waiting for you!
The views and opinions expressed on the panel are solely those of the panellist who has written them. They do not reflect the views or opinions of silver bullet comic books or myself. Freedom of speech is great isn’t it – James
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