Sunday, January 2, 2011

Event Fatigue...

A few years ago I picked up a hardcover trade in a Borders bookstore in my hometown of Austin, TX. As I sat down to read the first few pages I got hooked and hooked FAST. The detailed art was unbelievable and the well written story brought a character who had previously been on the periphery of my interest to the center of my focus. Needless to say I walked confidently up to the counter, whipped out my debit card and completed the purchase without a moments hesitation. That night I read the entirety of ‘Green Lantern: Rebirth’ by Geoff Johns in one sitting then closed the book and read it again. Flash forward to today and the walls of my bedroom are slowly accumulating action figures and posters. My DVD collection has turned from ‘just great movies’ to ‘superhero movies…and other stuff I like’. I have four BOXES full of comic books and I keep track of any and all news released about the upcoming live action Thor and Green Lantern movies. Geoff Johns made me a comic nerd but, sadly, Geoff Johns is slowly muting my passion.

Since I entered this world of comics, I’ve heard of a ‘condition’ called ‘event fatigue’. While an official definition has yet to be coined, the basic gist of it is a feeling of exhaustion and almost boredom comic readers get when comic companies build up huge events that crossover into multiple titles. One or two such events (especially when written well) are all well and good, but in recent years it seems as if both major comic companies (DC and Marvel) cannot go a month without having SOME sort of event on the horizon.

I got into comics after DC had released the first two trades of ‘Sinestro Corps War’ into hardcover. Since then Geoff Johns has built the character into one of DC’s biggest selling properties. Last year Johns headed an event centered around the character called ‘Blackest Night’. ‘Blackest Night’ was an 8 issue stand alone mini series that flowed in tandem with both existing titles of ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Green Lantern Corps’. From there DC decided to publish 3 more three issue mini series: ‘Blackest Night Batman’, ‘Blackest Night Superman’ and ‘Blackest Night Titans’. After the first issue or two of those mini series came out, we got word that DC was going to do it again with ‘Blackest Night Flash’, ‘Blackest Night JSA’, ‘Blackest Night Wonder Woman’ and ‘Blackest Night Tales of the Corps’. Then came the multitude of inevitable tie-ins that spanned DC’s existing books like ‘Booster Gold’, ‘Justice League’ and ‘Secret Six’ to name a few. Then 6 issues or so into Blackest Night the main series, we received news that they were doing a ‘skip month’ in which no new issue was going to come out for the Blackest Night main series but instead DC was going to resurrect a few OLD titles they had cancelled in the past for one tie-in issue each (Phantom Stranger, The Atom and Hawkman, Power of Shazam, etc.). By the time DC finally finished Blackest Night, we had well over 20 issues involving the storyline and I had bought them ALL.

I was floating on an event high. Not only had the main books (and a good slice of the others) been exceptionally well written, but I had just finished reading a MASSIVE story involving my FAVORITE DC character.

Then we got word that DC was launching it’s newest event following ‘Blackest Night’, the 26 issue main series called ‘Brightest Day’. It was advertised that ‘Brightest Day’ would follow one main series and sub plots (which would all have SOMETHING to do with the main series, to an extent) would extend through ‘Green Lantern’, ‘Green Lantern Corps’ and a multitude of other books. So I started buying ‘Brightest Day’ and continued to buy the Green Lantern books and picked up the first issue of each of the ‘Brightest Day’ banner books. I dropped them all one by one (except ‘The Flash’) and quickly began to understand what people meant by ‘event fatigue’. I was (am) BURNED OUT. I’m still excited for the comic series that I am currently reading, and I’m still an avid comic fan, but events have stolen the feverish passion I once had for comic books. Now it’s just a passion, no fever.

Within the past few month we’ve gotten word that DC plans to put out ANOTHER event called ‘War of the Green Lanterns’. Whether this is an event that is SUPPOSED to cross over through MULTIPLE titles or just the Green Lantern books I do not know. But DC is building it up to fans. Not only that but they have two MORE big story lines and/or event’s lined up to begin soon, ‘Flashpoint’ and ‘Reign of Doomsday’. I’m tired. I’ll still pick up ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ and ‘Flashpoint’ but I wish the comic companies would take a BREAK from events for a couple of months. Can I PLEASE just have my STORIES back? I suppose from a marketing standpoint it may work (‘Brightest Day’ got me interested in the Flash and now I’ll be buying ‘Flashpoint’ as a result) but eventually comic readers are going to get pushed so far into the burnout that comes with event fatigue that they just are going to DROP whatever titles have a crossover and look elsewhere for their comic entertainment. I hate to say it, but if they don’t stop pushing Green Lantern into these HUGE story lines, I may just end up sacrificing my FAVORITE superhero character of all time in order to save my comic book passion.

It took a lot of words to say something so simple, but some comic readers don’t see event fatigue as a real thing. Even Dan Didio thinks its just another term for ‘getting sick of this shitty comic book’ (http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2009/11/dan-didio-vs-joe-quesada-on-event-fatigue/). That’s not true. ‘Blackest Night’ was AWESOME in my opinion and I STILL have event fatigue from it. I’m ENJOYING the main Green Lantern books and ‘Brightest Day’, but I still need a BREAK. Come on DC, I’m begging you…

Can we do an EVENT skip month? Nothing but AWESOME one shots? Please?

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