This week sees the release of the first issue of ‘Fear Itself’, Marvel’s latest big crossover event. I hadn’t even heard of this event until last week, as Marvel publish so many bloody comics these days that I gave up even looking through their online solicitations about a year ago because it was becoming too much of an effort, but now that I have heard of it, I’m tempted to check it out. I haven’t bought a new Marvel comic for quite some time – I think the first issues of the Heroic Age versions of the Avengers and the New Avengers may have been the last new Marvel comics I bought, and I regretted buying those – and I don’t even really know what this is about, but I’m a glutton for punishment so I think I might give it a whirl – just the main series, not all the tie-ins – even though I spend about 90% of my time moaning about how crossover events have killed comics.
A couple of years ago, I got very excited about the prospect of Civil War, which eventually turned out to be a big letdown (nice art, weak script). Then, the following year, I got even more excited about the prospect of Secret Invasion, which also turned out to be a big letdown (great build-up but the actual series was very disappointing and I’m not sure that Leniel Yu was the right artist for the job). Then I kind of lost interest in Marvel comics altogether, because some genius thought that making Norman Osborn / the Green Goblin head of national security in the Marvel Universe was a good idea – this made about as much sense as making the Yorkshire Ripper head of MI5 – and I don’t particularly like Norman Obsborn, plus I was getting really sick of all those storylines that just never seemed to end, even in otherwise good comics like Captain America. I did read Siege, and remember it being okay, but I didn’t buy it, and like I said, the last new Marvel comics I actually bought were (I think) the first issues of the current Avengers and New Avengers titles, both of which I regretted buying. I kind of thought my relationship with Marvel Comics was over for good, and was pretty certain that my days of buying new periodical comics were over, too.
However, I have recently started to see a positive side to buying these big crossover events. I mean, if nearly every Marvel comic published since Siege has been leading up to Fear Itself, and if nearly every Marvel comic being published at the moment ties in to Fear Itself, then I should be able to catch up on everything that’s happened in the Marvel Universe since I last bought a new Marvel comic, and everything that is currently going on, just by buying Fear Itself, right?
Fear Itself has the benefit of not being written by Mark Millar – who is over-rated, in my opinion – or Brian Michael Bendis – who is a talented writer but out of his element writing stuff like this – and is instead written by Matt Fraction, who I understand is rather good, even though I have never read any of his comics. It is drawn by Stuart Immonen, who I know is rather good, so this should at least look nice. The biggest downside to buying this that I can see right now is that I will be breaking blog rules if I pay any more than £1.20 for it, but I’m beginning to think that blog rules are a bit stupid anyway, and may need to be re-thought, or even abandoned altogether.
I am a price-sensitive consumer and nearly always try and get my comics and graphic novels as cheaply as possible. Most of the books I get I buy from either Amazon, the Book Depository or eBay, as these tend to be the cheapest places to get stuff, but everyone online already knows this, and I am starting to feel a bit stupid telling everyone how much I paid for stuff at the end of every review. I have really enjoyed writing all the reviews I’ve written over the last six or seven months, and fully intend to continue writing about comics, but I’m starting to think that the ‘ration’ format is holding me back, and possibly even alienating readers who aren’t such stingy bastards and may want to support their local comic shop. I am happy to say when I think that something is good value for money, or even poor value for money, and I am even happy to boast about books I’ve managed to pick up really cheap in charity shops, but I have no great desire to promote Amazon (which everyone already knows about) over comic shops and think it may be time for a change of format - possibly even a whole new blog or website. Any thoughts?
Coming soon (probably): Fear Itself #1 reviewed by a 42-year-old man who hasn’t read a new Marvel comic in about a year.