Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Variant Covers, Mega Cross-Overs and Weekly Comics

When I owned a comic shop in the early ninties it was a time of mega cross-overs and variant covers. The most famous variant cover was the X-Men #1 with five seperate covers. The two most infamous mega company cross-overs were Secret Wars II and War of the Gods. Both marketing ideas were pushed to the max until the market place just said no to them.

Personally I think we have hit that wall again. The variant covers do not seem to have the buzz they did just a year ago and the mega cross-overs seem to have over stayed their welcome. I think Civil War and the constant delays has been the burn out point for me.

Now if the result of Civil War is some exciting stories in the regular Marvel books, then I'm all for it. DC did a terrific job since Infinite Crisis with many of their regular series. So why Infinite Crisis was not all that, it served a good purpose.

I state all of this as a preamble because I believe both DC and Marvel have another mega event in their plans soon and I hear both companies will be doing a weekly book. The sales numbers show you why they want to try and replicate what they have done. 52 and Civil War books are the top selling books (at least to the direct market - who know what the sell through is at this point). I just thing that the market cycle for those ideas needs a breather. Variant covers should disappear (unless a 2nd print is called for), mega cross-overs should take a year or two off and the weekly book idea may have been a one time winner.

Should be interesting to see what next year brings (although we already have March solicitations and it appears everyone is sitting tight so far).


  1. What stoer did you own? Were you the original Cosmic Comix owner???

  2. My store was in Scotch Plains, NJ and was called Comics And..., it still exists but has been sold and resold and is now call "The Little Shop of Comics or something like that.

  3. I never even notice the variant covers - you save me that headache ;)

  4. It seems today like Marvel is trying to relive it's glory days of the 90's. Liefeld is at work again. Variant covers are all the rage, at least as far as the publishers go. But the fans tastes have changed. Personally I think DC and Marvel are both lacking direction and looking for gimmicks to boost sales. 52 rambles on, losing focus and feeling like the writers have no real ending in mind. Civil War drones on and on, seemingly neverending. It's been leaked that as soon as Civil War ends, Marvel is gonna hit a reset button of sorts to "fix" some of the glitches of their universe. A multitude of Spider-men are coming. Uncle Ben is being brought back to life in some for or another a la Winter Soldier. Thor is coming back in full force. Their really just doesn't feel like there is a driving vision at either DC or Marvel right now. So it's gimmicks and fancy covers to help dull the pain of ever increasing cover prices and overly long stories that go nowhere. Not the best time to be a comic fan, but there are some bright spots out there. Check out Darwyn Cooke's Spirit and you'll see what I mean.

  5. Sad story... I was in the local store today talking to the local worker bee. He says... and I quote "Civil War is awesome. I can't wait for it to come out. Some of the best stuff I have read"

    OW OW OW my head hurts. BUT, that would explain why all the x-overs and covers are working again.

    And, having lived thru Secret Wars II, War of the Gods, and even Atlantis Attacks (x-overs in the annuals! A genius idea), reliving old times sucks

  6. Even sadder, I was looking through my nephew's copy of Maxim and it had a write-up on Civil War. They said that it will go down in history as Marvel's Dark Knight Returns, standing side by side with that book in terms of quality and effect on the comic book marketplace. I totally disagree and think that Civil War has been a total mess. Not good at all. How can these youngsters be so misguided??