Friday, June 22, 2007

When is it a Crossover Event?

I was recently reading a guy's blog post that my google alerts found (click here to read it) where he discusses how he's not a fan of comic book crossover events. He called DC's new weekly series, "Countdown" a crossover event. I felt that it wasn't really a crossover event. Clearly there are differing opinions about what makes a comic book crossover event.

I said that Coundtown wasn't a crossover because really it isn't essential to the other DC books. Sure, there are things that happen in it that touch upon things that happen in the other DC titles, but I would not say that reading Countdown is essential to understanding the events in those comics, nor would I say that if you read Countdown you have to read any of the other DC books in order to understand that story (although a basic understanding of some of the DCU's past is helpful with the series).

Civil War - I am more inclined to call that a crossover. While the main story was contained in the regular series, the Amazing Spider-Man issues in particular seemed to have an important role to play in the story, and if you didn't read that you definitely felt like you were missing something in the Civil War storyline. And, I think if you weren't reading Civil War then those issues of Amazing Spider-Man that tied in would have seemed to not make as much sense either. But, is it a cross-over or just a tie-in? What's the difference?

Now the X-Men event Endangered Species I would consider a crossover event. Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, New X-Men and X-factor are all a part of this event, that will run from June - October. While each book will have a regular story not completely related to this Endangered Species story, if you DO want to read the Endangered Species story it is going to be an extra 8-pages in all of those X-Men books I listed. Some 17 issues of X-Men comics will cover this added story. But if you don't pick up one of the comics, you miss those 8 pages of this story completely. It's not that you'd miss some little event or character comment that might play a part in the overall story, like Civil War was, you will miss an entire 8 pages of the Endangered Species story if you don't pick up, let's say, Uncanny X-Men #489. This story ties into House of M and the fact that there have not been any NEW mutants since that event, so there is a chance of the race dying out unless Beasts can figure out what's happened and how to fix it.

Wikipedia says that a crossover is an event when any two or more otherwise separated characters interact with each other. The thing that complicates that is that both Marvel and DC are now trying to have more solid continuity, where they all are part of the same land area and time and interact with each other in real time as if they were all parts of a real-time community.

So, what do YOU think? Is Countdown a crossover? What about Civil War or Planet Hulk? Do you agree that this Endangered Species story counts as a crossover?


James Meeley said...

So, what do YOU think? Is Countdown a crossover? What about Civil War or Planet Hulk? Do you agree that this Endangered Species story counts as a crossover?

I don't think Countdown is a crossover, for the very resons you stated, lisa. You aren't REQUIRED to buy a bunch of other books, to follow the stories within it. Sure, it might help give you a better understanding of the DCU as a whole. but you don't have to buy other things to follow Countdown. At least, not at the moment. That could change, though.

Civil War, OTOH, had a lot of the important and character related moments happen in the various series of the characters involved. I've seen more than one person comment that if you just read the Civil War mini-series, you only got half the story. That, in my mind, is what makes something a crossover. If you have to buy other books, besides the one you are reading, to follow the events within it, that is a crossover.

Planet Hulk wasn't a crossover, but World War Hulk is. Endangered Species is a crossover, Countdown (right now) is not.

Scott King said...

I always thought... 1 title isn't a crossover. If the story then crosses out of that 1 title and into another, it then becomes a crossover.

Scott King said...

Wait... how does "Endangered Species" work? I thought it was 17 books and each book is a chapter in the overall story. Are you saying that those 17 books have like 8 pages in them that are part of "Endangered Species" and the rest of the pages are normal ones?

Lisa said...

scott - yes. Each of those X-Books will have a regular story in them as part of the continuing series. Then after that Marvel is including "8 FREE PAGES" as they say, of the total story of X-Men Endangered Species. Now you do trades mostly, and I don't have confirmation on this yet, but I'll bet that once the whole deal is over they'll have just the Endangered Species story collected in trade. But for those single-issue X-Men fans who want to read this Endangered Species story, they're going to have to buy ALL of the X-Men titles from June - October to get it.

Scott King said...

That's really lame. That's not even a "REAL" corssover. That's just some marketing crap to make everyone buy all those books and raise sales!

And yes I know crossovers are all about raising sales, but this is taking it too far.

Good thing I do get only trades :)

Thom said...

Countdown will have some spinoffs...that certainly takes it closer to Crossover territory.