Stop Stealing My Money: Event Books Bleed the Consumer Dry

Superman rips through dimensions gathering a storm of other supermen to aid him in his fight against a evil vampire Monitor, all while on earth the rest of the DCU superheroes square off against villains being mind controlled by Darkseid using the anti-life equation in the city of Blüdhaven. Superman returns somehow after doing battle with Superboy-Prime and memorizing the schematics of some device presented to him by the Legion of Superheroes. The funny thing though is the reader doesn’t know this and they are confused because they picked up the wrong trade paperback.

As a comic book reader I find myself fed up with the constant bombardment of company wide crossover stories that seem to never end. It has become a trend by comic publishers Marvel and DC, especially Marvel, to move from one crossover to the next making it almost impossible for a new readers to get involved with the characters I grew up loving.

One topic I want to touch upon though is the way these epic crossovers are published when they come to trade. You would think collecting a title in trade would make it significantly easier to follow the story from start to finish without ever actually having to collect the single-issue comics. Well if that was your thinking then you would probably be partially right.

See, these comic companies produce there trades marketing one book as the whole epic, and then it will sell these companion pieces to go along with it. The only problem is what is supposed to be the main story is actually really just a part, instead what you have to do is buy that trade and its tie-in trades. Sure you could just read the main book but ultimately you would be left with a few unanswered questions.

It seems to be in the comics businesses marketing tactics to leave as many holes as possible in each trade and thus taking advantage of the obsessed consumer willing to go out and buy additional books to get the rest of the story. From a business standpoint this is probably brilliant but from a fans standpoint this sucks, especially considering that a 200-page newly released hardbound book from Marvel costs approximately $30-35, and when it reaches paperback maybe drops to about $26-30.

So as you, the reader can see that having to buy multiple books just to get a whole story for a crossover event can become quite expensive. Certain books are marketed simply as the main story and yet do not contain key elements explaining what is happening. I think the biggest perpetrator in this sort of underhanded marketing was what DC did with its “Final Crisis” epic.

“Final Crisis” was either loved or hated by those who read it, but could part of this be that those people who hated it were also the people who never read the entire series including tie-ins? I would maybe have to say yes, because much of the story is explained in supplemental text as well as in the actual main storyline collected in the “Final Crisis” trade.

I for one actually like “Final Crisis” despite not entirely understanding all of it, I never read all of the tie-ins but I did read most of them, minus Geoff Johns “Legion of 3 Worlds.”  That being said I have read online that much of the “Final Crisis” ending is linked to events that happened in Legion. So you can only imagine how upset I was that when I bought my “Final Crisis” hardcover that Legion was not included.

The same goes with stories like Marvel’s “Civil War,” if you weren’t reading most of the tie-in material you wouldn’t know what side which hero was fighting on or who were the consciousness objectors in the whole thing. Its been a while so I can’t be sure but I believe that the death of Bill Foster, Black Goliath, wasn’t even included in the main title of the series, an event that was actually kind of important to the whole event and the next one following called “World War Hulk.”

Query: Why don’t comic book companies publish all the important material involved with a storyline in the same trade?

Answer: Because they want your freaking money.

Is it that simple? Actually yes I believe it is, it makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, but I wish that companies and Marvel would publish the stories with all their key tie-ins in one volume. Perhaps for the hardcore fans they could publish the stories in some sort of Omnibus or Absolute edition.

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