Friday, July 17, 2009

Would You Rather "Events" Be Monthly Or Weekly?

Here's a quick question that just came up in conversation:

Would you rather have comic book "events" that stretch out over months or weeks? Longer duration vs. shorter duration?

For example, a six-month event or an event done in a month?

Among the factors to consider are the attention-span of the readers & the total cost to purchase the entire event.

I lean towards weekly events with shorter timeframes. In an age of on-demand digital entertainment, weekly/daily updated webcomics, and "waiting for the trade," the content of a comic has to be pretty damn good to make me wait 30 days.


  1. Shorter timeframes, definitely. Considering that the back third to half of most events is generally one big battle, it's hard to keep on the edge of one's seat for a couple months. I'd also prefer for them to be less regularly scheduled. I can always expect the world to change forever around April.

  2. First of all, there shouldn't be more than one "Event" per year, and even that's pushing in, in my opinion.

    But, I think when they occur, "Events" should be weekly. Four to six issues, tops, and then let's get back to business as usual.

  3. I'm torn on this. Part of me really likes the immediate gratification of a new chapter every week and having the whole thing done in couple of months.

    But when it comes to down to the wallet, I can more easily afford a $3.99 monthly series over 8 months than I can a $3.99 or $2.99 weekly series over 8 weeks. So I'd be more likely to trade-wait a weekly event series that I would be a monthly event series.

  4. How about just less 'events' period?

    I remember the days when only one major earthshaking crossover event would happen every 5 years or so...

    ..does this make me old?

  5. I am not a big "event" guy as a rule. They tend to be all the same. A few characters die, a few come back and there is the occasional costume change. The worst gimmick is taking a legacy character and put a person of a different race, gender and/or sexual orientation into the suit. The non-white, non-male and/or non-hetero version naturally winds up being perceived as lesser, which is the opposite of the supposed intent.

    That said ...

    They seem to work best when they are contained and moving at a fast pace. That says "weekly" to me. I think the consensus "best DC event" is Invasion!, which had three monthly issues and new "chapters" in the form of cross-overs every week. In contrast, Marvel's Secret Wars was too slow for the mid-80s because it existed in its own monthly bubble.

  6. Well, if it's done in a month, then why read the comics, if the trade will be available soon?

    What works best is either:

    mini events confined to one series or series family, such as "Blackest Night" or "Batman RIP". Since they can include different titles, the effect is a weekly story. (Superman was one of the first to utilize this, by placing the triangles on the cover to denote the chapter order.)

    maxi events which are weekly, self-contained, but which can effect other series afterwards, such as 52.

    With Superman and Legion, you get mini-series within a series of titles. These aren't "events" per se, but story arcs which do provide conflict without changing the character drastically. With the Levitz ABC paradigm, stories can continue forever.

    An event, if planned correctly, shouldn't last longer than three months. Longer, and production delays cause problems (Civil War, Final Crisis). Also, by limiting the time, you reduce risk. What if a great event becomes a failure, like the Spider-Man Clone Saga? A brief time-frame allows the story to be finished painlessly. If successful, the event can feed into the next event. It's also much easier to schedule and plan.

    Also, with a monthly comic, especially an event in an ongoing series, reader reaction can build, increasing circulation to a series, and generating buzz.

  7. One time this girl I dated in college read the first issue of NYX because I had just come over her house from the comic book store. She enjoyed it and asked when the next one would be out. I told her in a month. She was surprised (and disappointed) that she would have to wait 30 days (granted it ships on time) to read the next installment.

    I think the monthly publication schedule of comics is outdated. When comics were new, the issues (for the most part) were self-contained stories and/or anthologies. I think they should be more live a TV series where the stories continue from week to week, where a storyline might be 8 issues spanning two months. Thirty days is definitely a long time to wait to read the next chapter.

  8. Several months, but FAR FAR less often.

    Fall of the Mutants for example was what, 3 months long? But was IT until Inferno I think. And that was well over a year later at least.

  9. "I remember the days when only one major earthshaking crossover event would happen every 5 years or so...

    ..does this make me old?


    But don't fret -- anyone reading comics for more than five years hits a point where they wish things were more like they were back in the day.

    I'd prefer the event series come out bi-weekly. It's hard to keep that momentum going with month long waits (to say nothing of unexpected delays, which really did a number on Civil War and Final Crisis. Besides, if the events come and go more quickly it'll give them a little more breathing room and time to explore the in-between status quo (and, if nothing else, stop people from griping about 'event fatigue'. I'd say I'm close to having 'event fatigue-fatigue', but I'm not that lame yet.)

    Have a good day.
    George Morrow

  10. Anonymous6:32 PM

    I lean toward events that are actually events and not just circle jerks for the fans.

  11. Shorter timeframes. Nothing kills momentum like reading the conclusion eight months later.

  12. Never at all! Unless they can keep them self contained and not spill over in to the regular titles.

  13. I remember in the late 80s when Marvel went fortnightly with some of their titles - Captain America, Avengers, Spider-Man - and it was awesome because they'd do stories like THE BLOODSTONE HUNT and STREETS OF POISON - and I knew after two months it'd be finished! It was brilliant!

  14. I agree with the "over with as quickly as possible" people

  15. Well since my "fun money" pile has become smaller (and buys less) I can't say I get all that excited as a comic reader and collector about events in general...

    I find that I get a little anxious when they announce events that cross over to many different titles and I can't afford to get all the floppies.

    So I will say, "lets have "less events" period!"

    Errr... ummm... Was that an option? ;)


  16. How about NO MORE EVENTS! I'd like that. Keep away from them for 10 years. DC has done more in 5 years to last me another 10.

    Have your normal books survive on their own accord based upon whomever is doing them and then if you want to do some even like Contest of Champions, you have a separate short series of three issues that is still entertaining but doesn't disrupt the normal monthly books. Now that was an event!

  17. I'd rather them be few and far between.

  18. weekly, Everyone talks about 'summer events' that don't actually end until the end of autumn/start of winter!

  19. First of all, I'm not really into the big crossover events.
    it forces me to bye a lot of comics I normally would even give a thought.
    So if that's what's meant with "event",
    then no events for me, monthly or weekly.

    But if "event" is meant to be, like Spider-man getting into space for a year or so before he comes back, and it only influences he's own magazine, then im in for the monthly schedule.
    I'm growing a little tired of the short stories, i would much rather have a 12-24 issues with one long storyline, so that if you remove the front and back cover, you would't realize it isn't one giant book.

    I would alse like it more coming out in the normal schedule, or as a mini series. Fasten it up and i would be likely to think of it as being rubbish.

    Also i would be really really pleased with more miniseries comic out from Marvel, DC is sogreat at spitting out one Batman miniseries after the other, which i think is great because with the monthly series i kinda get the feeling that they're repetetive: Opening, badguy, slam, hero wins, ending. And all of it within a page span of 24 or so, that's just nok enough room to tell a good story.

    (In my opinion:)

  20. I'd like to see "Events" that last for one week, and are resolved in a single issue.

  21. Anonymous11:34 AM

    While I understand where you are coming from, the very name, event, describes a story that is too big to be one issue. I want quality events, yes, but I also don't want compressed-as-all-creation stories.

  22. 2-3 months with a main series and weekly or fortnightly tie-ins from other series, able to be packaged in 1 or 2 volumes.

    Recently re-read "Fall of the Mutants" in one of the Essentials volumes, and one thing that made it great was the inclusion of Power Pack and Thor, stuff you didn't really expect in an X-Men crossover.

    But minimize the event spin-off mini. Civil War: X-Men was such a piece of crud that I didn't even look at most of the Skrull invasion spins.

    (And then there's Dark Reign. Superb jumping-off point for an entire line of comics, by replacing all your heroes with villains. I think I'm down to three Marvels these days.)

  23. I'm a bit surprised when I see such negative reactions to CW: X-Men. I thought that the mini was one of the few bright spots in CW, in that the two arguments are articulated more effectively than they are elsewhere, and in that the heroes actually act heroically. Why did you hate it so much, Jim?

    As for the larger question, I definitely prefer weekly events over a shorter time frame. The longer schedules kill any sense of momentum or climax.

  24. It really depends on the event. I think a weekly even is good for a storyline that will support one crossover issue for each title -- something like Final Night, where the sun-eater is going to, well, eat the sun (duh!). We get to see one issue of how everyone spends that night, and four issues of the main storyline.

    But I think for longer, wider-ranging stories, monthly might be best.

    I think my cutoff for weekly would be four issues.