"Siege"? I'm feeling 'event burnout' dude. Wait? Spider-Man! Wait! A new way to do events?

So this "Siege" thing looks cool! Spider-Man is involved, I guess. Now I can care...

I'm terrible. Time to be a bit more academic about this, Jon.

Joe Quesada has written about "Siege" and Marvel's 2010 crossover 'events' at his Cup O'Joe blog. Apparently, they are attempting a new model this year:
"Joe Quesada: It will be a different feel from what has been going on these last few years, let's just leave it at that."
Since 2oo8's "Secret Invasion" was the end-point of Brian Michael Bendis' crazy-huge Marvel Universe-wide meta-story 'event' series that he had been building since 2oo4's "Avengers: Dissasembled" they are going to follow it with several smaller scale "family" events. Whether this is set in stone, I couldn't tell ya, but:

Considered the Avengers event for 2010, (which essentially makes it the next Earth-wide Marvel U event) will tell the story of Norman Osborn's attempt at taking out the last item on "The List": the removal of Asgard from its spot floating above American soil. Yeah, good luck with that Normie...

The Fantastic Four event, will tell the story of an attempt on the parts of the FF, the Black Panther, and the X-Men to finally depose Dr. Doom from his perch as ruler of the small Eastern European country of Latveria.

"Fall of the Hulks" and/or "World War Hulks"
The Hulk event, will be... all those damn Hulk clones and sons and whatever wailing on each other for a long time... or something.

"Second Coming"
The X-Men event. There's always an X-Men event. Ever since, like, 1986 there's almost always an annual X-Men event. This one will tell of the return from the future of the young girl named Hope, so named because she was the first mutant born since the "House of M" event storyline in the present.

I think this new model is pretty exciting because, if nothing else, we're finally going to get a change from the status quo.

Superhero comic-book publishing history lesson: Big publishing companies produce big-scale stories they call 'events' that affect wide swaths of their characters simultaneously. And they've been doing this since the Eighties.

But before 2oo3 things were way more organic, although things started out strictly annual...

First, DC published many stories that specifically dealt with their Golden Age 1930s characters in the Justice SOCIETY of America interacting with their Silver Age 1960s characters in the Justice LEAGUE of America. The first was told in two parts: "Crisis on Earth-One!" and "Crisis on Earth-Two!" in Justice League of America v1 #21-22. This went on annually from 1963 till 1971 then a bit less regularly from 1973 until 1984.

In 1985 DC shook things up in a big way with "Crisis on Infinite Earths", the third story to be referred to as an 'event'. The sequel "Zero Hour: Crisis in Time", which came out in 1994, put a lot of the chaos of the original "Crisis" back in its place. Then there was "The Final Night"in 1996, "Day of Judgment" in 1999 and "Our Worlds at War" in 2oo1.
(All Universe-wide stories.)

So what exactly is an 'event' story-line, you may be wondering? What makes the difference between a normal everyday story and a crossover 'event'? WELL... that's hard to answer. Wikipedia.org is as helpful as ever. The page for "Crisis on Infinite Earths" defines a "summer crossover" as a:
"series designed to tie many of their [any given publisher's] comic book titles together under a single storyline (and thus sell more comic books)"

In 1982, Marvel picked up on the idea of a story with all the major characters interacting and produced the first 'event' limited series: "Marvel Super-Hero Contest of Champions" in 1982. Then a toy line tie-in prompted the creation of "Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars" in 1984, followed by "Secret Wars II" in 1986, "The Evolutionary War" in 1988, "Acts of Vengeance" and "Atlantis Attacks" in 1989, "Infinity Gauntlet" in 1991, followed by "Infinity War" in 1992, and "Infinity Crusade" in 1993, "Onslaught" in 1996, the sequel to which was "Heroes Reborn" in 1997, "Maximum Security" in 2ooo, and finally "Infinity Abyss" in 2oo2.
(That's just Earth-wide stuff. Not the bajillion X-Men events that came out in the meantime...)

Then Marvel Comics hired Brian Michael Bendis and things changed. The pattern of about one Earth-wide story occurring like clockwork every calendar year has been happening for about six years now (usually in the Summer):

"Avengers: Disassembled" - 2oo4
"Secret War" - 2oo4
"House of M" - 2oo5
"Civil War" - 2oo6
"World War Hulk" - 2oo7
"Secret Invasion" - 2oo8

Most of these stories were either written or orchestrated by the quite brilliant Mr. Bendis.

To counter this DC produced more regularly as well, eventually creating a 'Summer blockbuster'-type competition between the two companies:

"Identity Crisis" - 2oo4
"Infinite Crisis" - 2oo5
"52" - 2oo6
"Countdown" - 2oo7
"Final Crisis" - 2oo8
and currently
"Blackest Night" - 2oo9

Marvel's stories invariably end up named "______ War" and DC's stories are always "______ Crisis". Other than the names the stories can vary widely as they more or less are always written by different people, drawn by different people, and produced under different corporate administrations. Generally, in the past six years Marvel has been working on making their events more interconnected and character-driven, while DC has been making strides in adapting the format of the event itself.

See: "52".

"52" was a weekly comic-book published, #1 to #52 from May 2oo6 to May 2oo7, but it encompassed so much of the DC Universe that it worked on the scope of an 'event' and was indeed a limited series. Limited to 52 issues, but still limited. It was immediately followed by "Countdown" another year-long weekly series this time published starting from #52 down to #1. All major threads of the DC Universe were involved. It was definitely a crossover event.

How this new wrinkle of mini-family-events will affect the crossover event format in the future is difficult to see. I'm guessing this new format will be more profitable for Marvel as they will have by the end of the year put even more comics featuring multiple characters on the racks without alienating as many readers who feel 'forced' to buy the 'event' books to continue following their favorite character. However, if readers still buy all the series anyway (which they might, comic-book readers do tend to be strange. duh.) then they may complain even more of suffering from quote-unquote 'event burnout'. At any rate, Marvel's gunna make more money this way for sure. If successful, why wouldn't they do it this way for a few years?

I think this will end up feeling a bit more organic from a storytelling point of view. And that is only good. My only question is: Where's the Spider-Man event!?

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