By blaming low sales on “diverse” characters, Marvel executive David Gabriel created an industry-wide furore. But in the midst of all this controversy, we missed another interesting statement from Gabriel. At the same Marvel retailer summit, he promised that Marvel Comics would take break from “event” storylines.
Crossover events usually involve launching a new title (i.e., Civil War) that ties into multiple ongoing comics. They’re easier to advertise than, say, issue #117 of the latest Avengers comic, encouraging readers to follow an impactful new storyline. However, these crossovers can disrupt ongoing story arcs, and confuse new readers with unexpected reboots.
There’s a growing belief that readers are losing interest due to “event fatigue,” caused by an overabundance of crossovers. Right now, Marvel is gearing up to start Secret Empire, an event about Hydra Captain America.
At Marvel’s retailer summit, David Gabriel said, “At the end of Secret Empire, we do not have any big crossover event scheduled. We haven’t even talked about one for 18 months, at the very least.”
Marvel already has a couple of smaller events planned for later in the year, but this is still reassuring news. The Marvel universe just went through a massive reboot with Secret Wars in 2015, quickly followed by Civil War II last year. Then during the five month gap between Civil War II and Secret Empire, they launched Inhumans vs. X-Men.
So, while Gabriel’s “diversity” comments (rightfully) grabbed people’s attention, Marvel is also taking practical measures to engage with audiences again. Unless, of course, we have very different definitions of what constitutes a “big” crossover event.