Now we all love a good inter-company crossover. Over the years, Superman and Batman have met characters as diverse as the Predator to Bugs Bunny; Superman has met the Thundercats (and going back in time a few decades, He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe), while the Avengers, well……
With IDW pushing Mars Attacks into a number of licence crossovers that while not yet reaching the substantial quantity of the Aliens/Predator record; is at least a healthy challenger. Put them on the same chart, and Mars Attacks would at least be noticed.
I imagine Batman team-ups easily equal if not outnumber the many Aliens/Predator crossovers over the years, but I would assume the margin is slim. Remember, it was the Alien Xenomorphs that finished off the first (or so) incarnation of Stormwatch, and the Predator that rampaged through the Comics Greatest World before it came to an untimely close.
Speaking of which, just like Ghost (which this writer highly recommends), the Man From The Vortex could easily be reintroduced; and with his back-story, be reintroduced anywhere, in any universe.
IDW have demonstrated just what it takes to breathe life back into a licence that had been inactive for quite some time (although that being a franchise that includes a pretty cool movie doesn’t harm). The Mars Attacks crossovers have varied in tone, with a curious role reversal in that the Mars Attacks The Transformers was played purely for the comedy, but Mars Attacks the Real Ghostbusters was far more of a sci-fi geek’s dream, with homages not only to the original War Of The Worlds, but to a classic sci-fi B-Movie from way back in 1953, the Invaders From Mars. (A must-see if it is missing from your library, though I can’t speak for the 1986 remake that I just discovered!)
It’s a shame that none of the one-issue specials are as fun or as intricate as Mars Attacks the Image Universe/Mars Attacks the Savage Dragon, but the old Topps title takes some beating, and at least in the stand-alone Mars Attacks, IDW is doing the franchise proud.
It led me to thinking about what other properties could be reinvigorated with a few well placed crossovers. We’ve seen the Cybermen challenge the worlds of Star Trek: The Next Generation, crossing timelines and realities to expand their power, maybe we could see them arrive to see the Alien Nation (which never really succeeded as a comic but has a lot of potential). Or Earth Final Conflict maybe?
IDW seems to be spear-heading the crossover concept currently, even fitting a sneaky Legion Of Super-Heroes story in there. So let’s see more. How about Buffy The (Former) Vampire Slayer vs Predator? It would make sense, and Dark Horse wouldn’t even have to hire that many lawyers.
So come on, comic companies, give us fan-boys some sugar!
Newsarama have started a discussion asking ‘do fans even know what they want’? This week, the topic has turned to that bugbear of the discussion boards (and articles such as this one); the company crossover.
On such a contentious topic, I could hardly resist contributing my own point of view. One can hardly deny the efficacy of the crossover. From my own experience, Unity introduced me to the rest of the Valiant universe way back when; initially I had only read Solar. Break-Thru helped introduce me to parts of the Ultraverse that had hitherto remained unseen by me. Wildstorm Rising served a similar role, and Dark Horse’s late (and lamented by me at the very least) Comics’ Greatest World began its life as a weekly event, mapping out their universe from the word go. More recently, the Dream Eater saga over at Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales has finally made that universe make sense for me, and I am richer for it.
Notice I have left out the Big Two from that description, even though the phenomenal Crisis On Infinite Earths served the same purpose for me, introducing me to the many corners of the DC universe. In fact, until the very first mega maxi crossover that hit the newsstands, the DC universe barely made sense to me. I imagine there will be younger readers out there for whom Flashpoint, or more precisely the DCnU, has served the same purpose.
Yet what we as fans require is a good story. I can think of many such ‘events’ that failed to reach the dizzying heights that we demand. Anyone remember ‘Extreme Sacrifice’ from the Liefeld family of Image titles? Nah, me neither.
Some so-called events are no such thing. As much as I enjoyed Marvel’s Dark Reign, that was not a crossover event. It was a backdrop, much like the Crisis was a back drop in some of the labeled crossovers back in 1985. Some events are so large that, apart from a central pivotal cast, a backdrop is all they can be.
Other crossovers have no need to be all encompassing. With wallets more limited nowadays, does the company really need to draw attention to the entire line all at once? One of my most favourite events was the Janus Directive, which I think occurred shortly after the Millennium crossover in DC. I was already a Firestorm and Suicide Squad reader, but the restrained cast and chapter order led me to Captain Atom, Checkmate and Manhunter, the latter two becoming regular monthly additions to my pull list. This was effective, and more importantly, fun.
Sometimes, smaller is better. Like the Janus Directive, an event does not have to be all-encompassing to be large, and to be successful. What we as readers require is not issues that carry crossover banners and are integral to some uber-story, but simply comics that are obviously in the same universe, and recognise and reference the events occuring elsewhere in that universe. If I want to by Spider-Man, I will. But if I am an X-Men reader, I do not want to feel badgered into buying Spider-Man, but having the events of Spider Island being reported on a television in an X-Men title, would be fine.
Curiously enough, I don’t think that happened. But surely there is a difference between tightly dove-tailed titles or titles that retain their independence?
Independence does not have to mean ignorance, just as recognition does not have to mean inter-twined.
After all, smaller can be better. You know what they say about small packages.
So the War Of Kings is finally over. Black Bolt and Vulcan may be dead, Gladiator may well be declared Majestor of the Shi’Ar and peace across the galaxy seems to have been aquired, merely for the price of a giant tear in space time, parsecs across.
Just what we had been warned about in the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy series.
Now as part of the cosmic uber-story, War Of Kings is an excellent instalment. However, as a final issue of a six issue mini, well, I for one was disappointed. Too much action, not enough exposition, and I could tell how it was going to end a few pages in. This seems to have been a bad habit of Marvel with their crossovers nowadays, they don’t end. The Infinity Trilogy ended. However Civil War seemed to have sacrificed an ending for the ramifications.
Admittedly, the Infinity Trilogy had few ramifications, but they were self contained. War Of Kings left me unsatisfied. I would have wanted more anyway, I’m a sucker for this stuff, but I feel like there was no conclusion whatsoever. Yeah, Black Bolt beat Vulcan, sort of, though I imagine it won’t be long before either of them are seen again. But so far there are no Inhuman series or Starjammers series advertised that I have seen, so where do we get our conclusion?
On another level, this morning I was reading about Image United, a 6-issue series written by Kirkman and featuring the art and characters of Image founders Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. Where each artist will draw not entire pages or issues, but simply their own characters in an artistic jam.
While a nice idea, it may be jarring to the eye, but I am looking forward to this. The Image universe has long resisted any semblance of unity. Hell, that was what the whole Shattered Image mini was about all those years ago. (Well worth digging out of the back issue bins by the way.)
I hope the story will be compelling though, else I think I would very quickly lose patience with it. I never thought I would say this, but I could soon be suffering from crossover fatigue.
Although it is a phrase you may have heard many times before, there has never been a better time to be a superhero comics fan. The current output of quality material doesn’t show any signs of abating, and even the dreaded crossover event has begun the long trek to redeem itself.
Recession? What recession?
This week, the long awaited Blackest Night begins, as before the War Of Light has even really kicked off in the DC Universe between the Green Lantern Corps and their other-hued counterparts, the dead shall rise.
The boards are ablaze with all the possible pros and cons of this newest crossover, but if the recent Sinestro Corps War is anything to go by, then we are assured an exciting ride, even if everything seems a little convoluted at the minute. My own personal theory is that the Blackest Night will prove to be the birth and baptism by fire of the new Corps that have formed, and they shall be sticking around for many years to come, this may only be the first act in the War Of Light.