Over at The Beat, Todd Allen looks at how Marvel performs in Diamond’s end-of-year graphic novel chart and pulls out some interesting observations:
What are we not seeing? The collections supporting the Events. Where are Iron Man: Fear Itself and all those titles? Where are all the Avengers and X-Men titles that are so integral to the “universe” part of all the cross-overs? They’re not there.
It seems clear that readers will show up for the big events, but could care less about the supporting crossovers in book form. Can you really blame them? The supporting issues of Avengers, Spider-Man and so forth take place between the issues of the actual Event, so either you need to integrate them into the collected edition or the reading experience is going to be drastically different. (Here’s how convoluted the Secret Invasion experience is when you try and read the expanded universe in book form, for an example.)
Marvel might be taking a break from the approach with Marvel Now. We’ll have to see how that plays out the rest of the year. If they keep the new book editions as independent story units, things may improve.
It’s worth pointing out that Age of Ultron will have reasonably few crossover issues at first glance. Perhaps we’re headed towards an era of smaller events after all…?