If you hate event comics, then you don’t really like comics.
There. I said it.
I don’t feel as if I need to go on, but you’re still here, so allow me to explain myself.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “There’s so much more to comics than just mainstream superhero books and every year, the Big Two roll out the same rhetoric about how nothing will ever be the same and the universe as we know it will be fundamentally changed for all time.” And after that sentence, your next one will probably be, “I’m tired of event comics.”
I turn now to the man with all the answers, Grant Morrison, and a quote concerning “Event Fatigue” from an interview after Final Crisis had ended:
Every time I read about the agonizing pains of “event fatigue” or how “3-D hurts my head…” or how something’s “incomprehensible” when most people are “comprehending” it just fine, it’s like visiting a nursing home. “Events” in superhero comic books fatigue you? I’m speechless. Admittedly they do tend to be a little more exciting than the instruction leaflets that come with angina pills but… “fatigue”?
Superhero comics should have an “event” in every panel! We all know this instinctively. Who cares “how?” as long as it feels right and looks brilliant?
So, before we can address the reasons why someone MUST support comic events, I suppose we must define exactly what “Event Fatigue” is.
Event Fatigue seems to be an adverse reaction to company-wide crossover event stories. Typically, it occurs due to an overwhelmed feeling that is caused by the enormity of the plot within the comic or due to the sheer number of comics that are connected to the event.
A lot of animosity seems to come from a perception that the Big Two are somehow forcing readers to buy tie-ins. While this may be the case for some event titles (Civil War in particular seemed to be a series that required readers to seek out more than just the main title, and I suppose Blackest Night was guilty of this to a certain extent because the event wouldn’t be the same without reading Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, but the key difference is that Blackest Night was a Green Lantern event and Civil War was a full Marvel Universe event), many events don’t require a full investment from readers.
So, it is ridiculous to be upset if Marvel wanted to do a Howard the Duck tie-in to Fear Itself or if DC wanted to do a Bwana Beast mini-series for Flashpoint because, while they may have an audience, they aren’t intended for everyone nor are they essential to understand the main story.
I think the problem most people have with event comics is one of perception. A common complaint with event comics is that some readers are ready for the comic universe in question to “calm down” as if there is a time where superhero comics are relaxed conversations between friends rather than explosive action. What these people don’t understand is:
Action generates money.
I understand your frustration that event comics rarely have moments to breathe or moments to allow for character development, but there is a time and place for that. Event comics exist to showcase the best of a universe with over the top action. I mean, do you really want to read an event comic where Superman and Batman spend page after page affirming their friendship rather than them slugging out with Darkseid? Do you want to read an entire issue of a comic where Captain America and Iron Man discuss their philosophical ideologies instead of blasting villains? Is that really want comic readers want?
Event comics are part of the natural cycle of a comic book universe. Hollywood has created this mentality of summer being a time for action films, and the comic industry has adopted this philosophy. Whether they want to admit it or not, comic fans want controversy and action in their comics. They need that satisfaction that comes with being upset by a plot point from an event comic.
Controversy is what drives this industry. Controversy brings media attention which generates sales.
When the news hit that Captain America had died, average people who hadn’t cared about comics in years went back to the store in order to get that issue and it sold like wildfire, which is sort of amazing.
When there were rumors that a member of the Fantastic Four was going to die, my mom called to ask me if I heard any news.
When Batman died in Final Crisis, my father-in-law read about it on the internet and wanted to know more.
Even if people aren’t die-hard comic fans, they want to know about what happens to these characters when controversy occurs, and the best place to generate controversy and sales is through an event comic.
Maybe you haven’t heard, but the comic industry isn’t in great shape. Sales have been low for awhile because there is this little recession going on and gas prices actually cost more than an issue of a comic book. I know that it may be expensive to keep up with every single issue of a event comic, but to outright complain about an event series is foolhardy.
Event comics generate a lot of money. And even when they aren’t great, they are still entertaining. But they require a proper mindset in order to fully enjoy them.
Think of it this way: you don’t go into a movie starring Jason Statham and expect an Oscar-worthy film. You expect a competent action movie performed by a former Olympic diver. Such is the case with event comics.