Marvel Day-And-Dates The Ultimate "Death of Spider-Man"

What does THAT mean? Just that Marvel Comics announced plans this morning for a further flirtation with simultaneous digital and paper release of a comic-book at the same paper cost ($3.99) and this time with all the issues in a short but high-profile crossover 'event': namely the "Death of Spider-Man" from their Ultimate Comics imprint.

Those easily alarmed take NOTE: The Peter Parker in "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" isn't the same Peter Parker in "the Amazing Spider-Man". "Twice the Spider-Man!" said the marketing people in the year 2ooo and we've had two separate ongoing universes ever since.

And in the words of those marketing people: "Marvel is proud to announce that every issue of the hotly-anticipated DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN will be available day & date on the Marvel Comics app, available via iTunes for the iPad, iPhone & iPod touch."

CBR.com's article by Kiel Phegley reprinted that press release with a few comments from the main writer of the upcoming story, Brian Michael Bendis, and the interesting comment: "the issues mark the first event comics – a driving force in comics retail for the past decade – to be offered day-and-date online, though Marvel has been experimenting with high profile releases in this format including the recent 'Invincible Iron Man' Annual and the 'Ultimate Thor' mini series."

The first issues in the "Death of Spider-Man" story are to release in comics retail stores and on the iPad, in February of 2o11.

[via ComicBookResources.com]

And what of those comics retailers? Should they be worried? The crossover 'event' has meant big bucks for them for a long time. I've written on this very site about how much better suited the crossover is to digital simply because it the eliminates the: "Damn! I won't know how this story ends without reading a DIFFERENT comic-book? What the HELL!?" Press a button, problem solved much faster. Or could this prove one of the failings of digital comics? No ACTUAL HUMAN BEING to point to a comic-book and say: "Oh, I've already flipped through that, if you want the whole story you'll have to read THIS first."

However, whether or not "Death of Spider-Man" is a crossover 'event' at all is questionable to me because one of their defining characteristics is the multiplicity of inter-locking comic-book series. Not just one or two. I think one character (or set of characters) appearing in another's book is a guest appearance, two sets of characters appearing in the other's books for one story is a crossover, but a crossover 'event' requires a wider net. Those definitions are far from all-encompassing, I know, but are worth mulling over if for no other reason than nobody else seems to! Why has Phegley specified that "Death of Spider-Man" is an "event" not a "crossover event"? What does he mean when referring to other comics as "high profile" as opposed to "events"?

Is the entire family of terms: crossover, event, and crossover 'event', just marketing hype pure and simple? Perhaps this is all best left to the comics historians of the next generation to worry about, because by just about any definitions you can't call it a crossover 'event' until it's over and done. We will all have to wait and see.

~@JonGorga

P.S. ~ Josh and I have a little plan in the works to probe the nature of digital day-and-date releases in a series of reviews in the coming year!

7 comments:

  1. I think it's going to be combined with the "Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates" story (doesn't that just roll off the tongue?). From what I understand, every character in the Ultimate universe, is either an Avenger, an Ultimate, or Spider-man, so it might qualify as an event. Maybe.

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