Summer is a great time for a lot of things.
For me, it’s a great time to catch up on video games I didn’t get to play during the semester and TV shows that I have been forced to drop because of me needing to allocate that focus to writing papers.
Most importantly, it’s an excuse for me to eat seafood on a consistent basis again with my family – that’s always my favorite part of summer break.
Some people note entertainment reaches its peak during the summer. For instance, look at all the amazing music that got released – some of it is even written about in the “Best of Summer 2019” spread, a few pages back!
As for movies, they tend to reach a peak … at least in the opposite direction. Movies tend not to be as interesting or high quality as those released in, say, January or November.
Comics, too, encounter that same problem.
When it comes down to comics, it’s not a matter of quality, but, rather, a matter of quantity and waning interest. In a way, one can consider the comic book industry to be one that thrives on beginning-of-the-year and end-of-the-year offerings, especially when it comes down to the Big Two – which, as a reminder, is the umbrella term for DC and Marvel Comics.
“Robbie, why are you giving us all this exposition? Why did you set us up for another fourth-wall breaking gag?”
Well, dear reader, that’s a good question.
Comics, just like movies, reach a point where once the summer solstice hits, the necessity to release new stuff is not as pressing on companies and distributors. During that three-month period, companies, especially the Big Two, love to promote and make greater emphasis of their large-scale, multiverse-bending “events.”
This past summer in particular, Marvel put out the “House of X”/”Powers of X” event, which focused on re-launching the “X-Men” timeline with six-issue limited series for both titles, one that will culminate in this fall’s “Dawn of X,” with its own stack of titles available for “X-Men” fans to buy and read.
DC, on the other hand, fired back with their own titles, putting a great deal of focus on their “Year of the Villain” campaign, with Lex Luthor and his shiny, bald head leading the cause. Aside from Luthor and his beautiful dome, DC also put out “Event Leviathan,” which is pretty on the nose, in terms of name, and “City of Bane,” which, also in name, sounds glorious.
All of these events are great, especially what I’ve read of “House of X,” so far, but as a certain Photos Editor said to me on Wednesday night, “All these events are happening, and people are going to forget about them in the span of a few months.”
Now, of course, Marvel and DC are not the only ones making content – we need to think about the independent creators during this “troubling” time.
Creators who rely on services like Kickstarter and Patreon to promote their work tend to thrive during the summer months, thanks to the interest of fans. On top of this rapport, independent creators also do a lot of traveling to conventions, given how the convention circuit, much like the weather, heats up, allowing for greater means of self-promotion.
As the people behind this newspaper know, this is a positive.
No matter your views on how the comic book industry operates during the summer, let’s just be glad it still finds a way to be relevant, even when the production cycle temporarily slows down.