With Marvel already teasing December comics as part of its pre-SDCC strategy, I find myself feeling conflicted. On the one hand, the December date seems oddly comforting, as it suggests that Marvel will happily sit back and let DC’s relaunch take up retailers’ time, money and brainspace for a few months – X-Men relaunch aside, of course – which is… good? surprising? unlike Marvel’s traditional attitude towards industry dominance? (All of the above, most likely). There really is something wonderful about the idea that Marvel will back away from the big projects and massive hype until DC’s move has begun to be processed by the industry at large, even if it’s accidental (I suspect the timing of Fear Itself‘s finale may have more to do with the December launches than kindness on Marvel’s part). But on the other hand: We’re already talking about things that are coming out five months from now?
It’s been a taken for granted thing for awhile now that we talk about books coming out three months from now, ever since solicitations became such a big part of comic book culture, but when you stop to think about it, that’s such an odd thing to do: It’s normalizing spoilers so that they become accepted and, worse yet, expected – We make judgments on storylines based not on the stories themselves, but on our expectations based on promotional text written for stories three months from now that may, or may not, even be written yet. Or, even more randomly, on hints and teasers for projects even further out.
I understand that publishers and creators need to get fans energized for upcoming projects, and that that excitement has to be visible enough to retailers early enough to impact orders for said new projects, but… Teasing projects that are two months away from even the solicitation? At what point does the wishing-away-our-reading officially get out of control?