The GeeksverseThe Perils Of Event-Launched Series

The Perils Of Event-Launched Series
Published on Thursday, November 20, 2014 by

Marvel is launching a couple of new ongoing series out of it’s current events, the major event Axis and the line event Spider-Verse. Is this a good way to launch new books for long term success?

An event is a good way to generate interest and sales, which is why publishers will tie their ongoing books into those events or launch a lot of tie-in mini-series. It allows the story of the event to be expanded on and at the same time uses the event to draw new readers into those other titles. It’s a win-win.

But what about using that event to launch a new ongoing series? Is there any benefit to that?

Marvel is launching two new titles directly out of their current events. From the line event, Spider-Verse, is coming an ongoing Spider-Woman title. Also launching is the new Superior Ironman ongoing, launching from the events in Axis.

Both these titles will have their opening arcs revolve around the event. For Iron Man, that isn’t as bad, because the event is dictating the new direction the character is taking and that direction will remain. But for Spider-Woman, it is a bad thing, as the event is only the first storyline.

The opening arc of an ongoing series is meant to be what hooks the reader, draws them in and makes them want to read the rest of the story. That is hard to do with the actual start of the character’s ongoing story is in the 5th issue or later, after the event has died down.

The solicitation for Spider-Woman #4, out in February after the Spider-Verse event ends, reads:
“• Jessica comes out of Spider-Verse changed, but what can she do now? Don’t miss this character-defining chapter!”

Shouldn’t that be what occurs in the first issue?

4217569-swoman2014001_dc11-0It essentially makes the first three issues of Spider-Woman into a Spider-Verse tie-in mini-series. So what is the point of making it the start of an ongoing series? And the first arc is really Spider-Woman, Silk and Noir Spider-Man on a mission. Silk is getting her own ongoing series, so why take up three issues of Jessica Drew’s with a Spider-Verse team-up?

I would be interested in the adventures of Jessica Drew as long as it played off her long history and associations: S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., Hydra, Avengers and others. There is plenty of material to build a Spider-Woman series off without touching Spider-Verse.

I have absolutely no interest in Spider-Verse. That means I won’t be trying out the Spider-Woman series until issue #4. How many others will be doing that? Will the Spider-Verse tie-in sales make up for those that will pick the book up after those issues?

Marvel’s B and C tier characters have had a very hard time lasting in ongoing series lately, and I doubt Spider-Woman will be different. The company doesn’t seem to want to give series the time they need to develop and grow, to find their voice and fans. I can see the reasoning of using an event as a draw to get fans to pick up a title, but without a non-event hook in those beginning issues, why would those readers stay after the event?

An ongoing series NEEDS to be able to stand on it’s own. It shouldn’t use an event to attract sales, that’s admitting from the beginning that they don’t believe the series is strong enough to stand by itself. It’s saying that they hope readers pick it up for the event and figure they might as well stay for the rest. Chances of that happening? Probably pretty slim.

Spider-Woman is a character that should and can stand on her own. The right writer, artist and direction and she could be a top tier character. Starting off in an event is not the right direction.

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