View Full Version : CBR: When Words Collide - Mar 28, 2011

CBR News
03-28-2011, 01:55 PM
In preparation for this season's Marvel and DC crossover events, Tim and special guest Graeme McMillan discuss the glory days of event books from years past: "Legends," "Millennium" and "Invasion!"

Full article here (http://comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=31553).

03-28-2011, 05:55 PM
Actually it was Marvel who started the trend of 'yearly crossovers' with Secret Wars the year before Crisis on Infinite Earths.

And why would The Dark Knight Returns make every other 'old fashioned' superhero comics instantly obsolete? If anything, it was the grimness of Crisis that was more influential on 'The New DC'. "Legends" in fact was an attempt to recapture the fun they had earlier.

As for the crossovers: Legends was mediocre, for the reasons Graeme mentioned (it also felt to me like such a weak plan for someone like Darkseid); Millennium was bad for the reasons Tim gave (and having EVERY comic's cast have a Manhunter spy in it was the dumbest idea ever until the 'Max Lord was evil all along' one) and 'Invasion"- was actually a pretty good crossover overall.

03-28-2011, 06:36 PM
Someone who has these "events" in their original comic book form (as opposed to trades), as well as DC comics of the period, should take a look at letters' pages to get a sense of reader opinion about crossovers. I admit I'm prone to complaining about the so-called "event culture" of comics today, yet I fondly remember the mega-crossovers of my childhood (KnightFall saga, X-Cutioner's Song, Fatal Attractions, etc), and even have generally high opinions of more recent events like DC One Million, No Man's Land, and even--to a certain extent--Heroes Reborn. However, I wonder if the contemporary readers of these nostalgically appreciated crossovers (esp those under discussion in this article) sound just like we do now about Fear Itself, FlashPoint, and anything with "Crisis" in the title.

03-29-2011, 02:27 AM
My understanding of the timing is that Secret Wars was created in response to news about DC's big event, which was not yet called "Crisis on Infinite Earths." So Secret Wars may have hit the stands first, but that doesn't mean it was the series that really kicked off this whole trend.

And I don't have collected editions of these event comics, so I have been rereading the single issues. The letters pages feature editorials about the history of the projects, rather than readers writing in with comments. Even if there were true letters pages, do you think DC would print the kind of stuff that fans whine about on message boards today? Doubtful.

03-29-2011, 06:05 AM
For me, those years were the true golden years of Comics, especially DC Comics. So many new things being tried, so many new concepts, such creative energy. Ah, if only DC could let go of the silver age and try new things again... As for the crossovers, Legends was good (it was Lein, Ostrander, Byrne and Kesel, how couldn't it be good?), however, throuhout the series, there really was that feeling that the real action was going elsewhere. As one of the few fans of JLDetroit, I can't possibly tell you how excited that last page of issue one left me, only to be thorougly disappointed by the resolution of the conflict in less the two pages of weak action. I still liked the series, though. Millenium really is one of the worst crossovers ever. Englehart never really did it for me, and the art was totally unfit for a companywide crossover. To go from Perez and Ordway and Byrne and Kesel to Stanton and Gibson was shocking. Don't get me started on the stereotypical "common man". Invasion probably was my favorite. Enjoyable with the tie-ins and without them. And those three 80 page issues of complete story, with art by McFarlane (so-so), Giffen (pretty good) and Sears (awsome) were a true delight for this fan. To bad they do't do them like this anymore.


03-29-2011, 06:19 AM
As with any market, it is relatively simple to see direct causal effect on sales to different marketing and product variations. Also similar though is understanding why the longer term marketing trends are related to.

The latter is obviously where the comic book industry is struggling.

Lt. Clutch
03-29-2011, 06:31 AM
The feeling I remember getting from Legends was that DC had embarked on a creative renaissance. Books like The Flash, Justice League International, and Suicide Squad really took off, with newly introduced, post-Crisis characters such as Amanda Waller and Maxwell Lord enduring successfully. I also loved seeing Byrne handle so many DCU heroes and villains over the span of one mini-series.

Millennium was an interesting concept, even though the resulting spin-off was a huge dud. I had been following Staton's art on Green Lantern so it didn't influence my opinion negatively. The idea of all those sleeper agents was wild, but it made for moments like Jim Gordon tossing Batman off a window or Max Lord being shot by his secretary pretty shocking at the time.

03-29-2011, 08:58 AM
I'll chime in with some love for Millennium.

Yeah, the cultural stereotypes were cheesy to the point of offensiveness. Yeah, some of the Manhunter sleeper agent stuff had the stink of overreach. (the whole town of Smallville? Really?)

But, all things considered, I enjoyed it. A crossover in which super-heroes were gathered together to ADVANCE humanity, rather than just keep Yet Another Villain From Blowing Everything Up, felt rather refreshing at the time. And giving lots of page time to a handful of (mostly) normal humans in the midst of a major crossover was pretty ballsy.

For me, Millennium's biggest fault is its finale. After spending six issues repeating the mantra that this "isn't a story about super-heroes," what happens to the Chosen? They're transformed into spandex-wearing, codename-bearing super-heroes! Meh.

Although I still say that Extrano is one heck of an untapped character,

PS And don't forget, the tie-in's gave us G'nort!

03-29-2011, 10:30 AM
I have also heard the claim that the "Crisis" staff had come up with the idea to do tie-ins before Marvel did; on the other hand I've also heard from Marvel people that this is BS and they came up with it first. It's even possible that both came up with the idea at the same, since Crisis was in production for years. The only thing that I know for certain is that the first Secret Wars' tie ins came out first, and thus influenced every other crossover to come afterwards (imagine if, for example, the SW tie-ins had been considered a failure; wouldn't DC then have decided to drop the idea?)

Another comment I forgot to make last time: I think the problem writers have with these crossovers is that they are not let in on the plans in advance and thus have to wait until the editors tell them "Sorry, but you'll have to put completing that plotline you've been working on for later, because we are going to insert a few tie-in stories now". It should be backwards, in my opinion: instead of saying "Ok, this summer we'll have zombies all over" they should look at the plotlines already going on and decide how (and if, and which ones) would tie together, and grow a story from that; eg if some superheroes start acting more radical in their own titles and others less so, then would be the time for a "Civil War".

03-29-2011, 10:49 AM
That gets my vote for Most Criminally Underappreciated Run of All Time. From the minute he took over from Len Wein, the book was just one roller-coaster ride of the imagination. The Predator turned out to be WHO? Guy Gardner's got WHAT new personality? The Oans and Zamarons are WHAT? There are HOW MANY Green Lanterns living on Earth now? An alien GL thinks he'd prefer living in the Soviet Union?

What a blast.

03-30-2011, 08:02 PM
The mix of faux spirituality and complete adoration and embrace of superhero cliche and tradition!

That sums up MY love for Steve Englehart as well! Millennium is probably my third favourite crossover (after Final Crisis and Crisis On Infinite Earths). I didn't enjoy when I first read it back in the 80s, but unlike Legends, Invasion and Secret Wars, it actually has substance.
Steve Englehart always believed in what he was writing; he always told a story. Secret Wars, Legends, Invasion, and all the rest were just published to fill time and launch spin off books.

rev sully
04-03-2011, 03:37 PM
I can't believe COSMIC ODYSSEY was not mentioned in this breadth?
I loved CO for it was compact at 4-issues, no crossovers & had great Mike Mignola art. It is really "hit or miss" with some people though.

Nonetheless, I recall Millennium as "putting it down". I was in until about week 5 or 6. I was 15 years old and a freshman in high school. Millennium was just goofy & flighty enough to completely miss the mark with me. I was on my way unto MARSHALL LAW, the Real TMNT and the Helfer/Baker SHADOW. I remember the Batman in the Bayou with Jim Gordon issue as stand-out goodness. And that FLASH where it was Wally's own father who was his Manhunter? The JLI Issues were in there too 'cuz that was (like you prob) my fave title ongoing at that time.

I didn't touch INVASION though. I barely remember the FLASH issues. I recall Manhunter Mark Shaw & Wally having Ye Goode Olde Team-Up but it's been a while since I've had that Volume in my longbox (::sniff, sniff::) .

kriya shakti,
Rev. Sully (http://www.thechannelocho.blogspot.com/)

04-05-2011, 07:31 AM
I can't believe COSMIC ODYSSEY was not mentioned in this breadth?
I loved CO for it was compact at 4-issues, no crossovers & had great Mike Mignola art. It is really "hit or miss" with some people though.

kriya shakti,
Rev. Sully (http://www.thechannelocho.blogspot.com/)

Seconded on the love for Cosmic Odyssey.


04-05-2011, 08:28 AM
Millennium was just insanely convoluted. A minor character in EVERY book was a Manhunter or agent, and then a bunch of minor characters from other books were "chosen"....if they had stuck with one, it would have been fine.

Loved Legends (mostly for the Suicide Squad) and liked that Darkseid doing a minor plan not involving violence, but how does any hero not immediately recognize Glorious Godfrey?