The Dawn of an All-New New Comic Book Day

New Comic Day 05-20-2020

This week’s fix.

In a week that’s been marred by weird illness symptoms (no, not THAT one), severe illness elsewhere in our family (no, thankfully still not that one), news of one distant relative’s recent death (it, um…it was that one), complicated cases at work, the monotony of internet outrage, and daily-routine malaise…it’s heartening whenever I spot signs of the Old Normal popping up, like a stray flower sprouting in a scorched field.

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Comics in My Future, Ever So Slightly

Hawkeye Freefall set!

Those of us who’ve been patiently waiting to complete our sets of Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt’s five-issue miniseries Hawkeye: Freefall now have a conundrum on our hands. (All cover art by Kim Jacinto and Tamra Bonvillain, presumably including the itty-bitty one for #5.)

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as a direct result of the ongoing and measurably non-resolved Coronavirus epidemic, Diamond Comics Distributors effectively shut down the comic book industry at the tail end of March, a temporary but unprecedented cessation that has vexed comic book shops worldwide and deprived habitual comics collectors such as myself of their weekly fixes of printed, single-issue graphic storytelling. We understood the decrees and the crisis at hand, but we lamented seeing a large portion of the medium paused in unison.

America’s 2200 remaining retailers, many of whom were already surviving on razor-thin profit margins, were justifiably nervous about their long-term financial stability through this era, whenever they weren’t too busy grappling with pervasive COVID-19 anxiety. Or with literal COVID-19, for all we know. Those shop owners thinking ahead wondered aloud: what happens if our customers’ habits are suspended for too long? What if deprivation begins to feel to them more like liberation? What do we do if the audience that had already been shrinking for years gets even tinier? Especially if too many of them are unemployed and can’t afford comics anymore?

Fantastic questions, those. I’m still mulling over my parts in some of those equations.

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Why I Hate Comic Book Crossovers

DC Comics Presents 85!

When I was 13, DC Comics Presents #85 was one of many issues I bought that crossed over with DC’s epic event Crisis on Infinite Earths, back when buying tie-in issues was a new concept and I was easily persuaded to spend extra money on comics. For longtime MCC followers who don’t know comics, now you know the origin of the phrase “Crisis Crossover”, which was a thing for a long time.

Today an online chum was curious why I turn vitriolic whenever a comic book discussion turns to the subject of crossover events. Thousands and thousands of readers love it when Marvel or DC Comics plan a major story that’s told partly through a miniseries whose storylines and subplots branch out to affect between ten and fifty other comic books during a three- to six-month publishing span. They’re such a proven sales-driving phenomenon that by the time you’re deep in the middle of occasions such as Marvel’s current Axis or DC’s upcoming Convergence, the executives and editorial staff are already looking forward to the next crossover after that one.

Reprinted below is an edited version of the 1200-word answer I cranked out earlier this evening in half an hour off the top of my head. My response didn’t require much research, soul-searching, or structural fussiness. It’s rare that anyone asks me a question that spurs such an immediate, entry-length response, so I’m archiving it here for future reference the next time someone asks.

(The full-length, more carefully crafted version would be three times as long and take more hours to fine-tune than I have at my disposal tonight. Another time, perhaps)

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