Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Longing for a simpler time, before all those Big Events

At ICv2, retailer Steven Bates remembers a time before Big Events That Will Change Everything, such as Identity Crisis and Avengers Disassembled, ruled the comics world, and wonders whether publishers might do well to "Keep It Simple, Stupid":
Megalithic comic book series were born in the 1980's, with DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths and Marvel's Secret Wars. I remember both fondly, as well as the myriad spin-offs and cross-overs. At the time, these series were the exceptions, not the rule. Because of their unique, cosmos-spanning nature, and epic storytelling scope, both events sold well. This, of course, spawned a slew of bastard offspring, such as Millennium, Atlantis Attacks, Legends, and Secret Wars II. New (smaller) generations of comic book readers were weaned on these visual car-wrecks and storytelling train-derailments, and came to accept them as the norm. By the time Mark Waid co-oped the six-issue-story-arc cum trade paperback format from Vertigo to boost sales on Flash, the industry had already turned the corner. Ironically, as writers and artists explored the freedom offered by longer, more complex stories, overall sales dropped. Had the industry "grown up" to become "real literature" at the expense of the comic book fan?