It was kind of a slow news week, so you know what that means? More of me talking about comics I like! Huzzah! Let’s get to it in this edition of Comics Disassembled, in which I share ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics.
1. Hellfire Gala, Getting Planet-Sized
We knew the upcoming Hellfire Gala was going to be a big deal, as it was a clear point all the X-Titles were building towards and because it was where the new Krakoan X-Men team was destined to be revealed. I initially imagined it was going to be an issue or two of the main X-Men book and that would be that, but that is in fact not that. We learned officially that the Hellfire Gala will be 12 different stories about this single night, presumably taking place across the totality of the line. Beyond that, it’s going to feature a double-sized one-shot tying in, as Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz are putting together Planet-Size X-Men – not Giant-Size, mind you! – to tell the tale of what’s going on a world away during all of this.
This naturally fueled much speculation about the lasting Mars rumors related to the X-Men and how this has bad idea written all over it given what we saw from one of Moira’s timelines in Powers of X, but that’s not what we’re here for. What we are here for is the continued anointment of Pepe Larraz as the guy you call for the special issue, the glorious evolution of the (blank)-Size concept, and the delight of that 12 issue structure to the Hellfire Gala.
Given that we know the current line is largely designed to give different flavors of X-Book, I love that they’re playing that up here to give different flavors on the same fateful night in the history of the mutants. Some might consider it over the top, or perhaps stretching out an idea that is, in their minds, not that big. But I dig it, and it fits the vibe they’re going for here. Am I going to get all 12 issues? Almost certainly not. But I appreciate the angle.
More on all of this in June, as it promises to be at least some top notch comics and at moments a real fork in the road moment for this line. I’m excited to see which it will be, and thrilled to read it regardless.
2. WandaVision, Making an Impact
There’s often questions about whether adaptations have an impact on the source material in comics, at least in terms of sales. Does having a successful movie or show result in an increase in interest in the comics themselves? Sometimes that answer is yes, and sometimes that answer is no. For WandaVision, though, the answer is firmly in the former category, as interest in these characters was so great that Marvel is sold out at the distributor level on four related trades – The Vision Complete Collection, the collection of James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch series, House of M, and a Scarlet Witch/Vision greatest hits collection of a sort – at least until April.
Now, this is of course complicated by other factors. First, Marvel is terrible at trades at times, and so their conservative decision making resulted in limited losses but also limited gains. Second, as retailer Steve Anderson noted previously on Off Panel, there’s a bit of an industry-wide tightening of accessible depth of trades and graphic novels. But it’s clear that the show has had a real positive impact on the interest in the comics, which is a great thing. I genuinely am thrilled by it, both in the sense that it’s a good thing and that it means people are going down the insane rabbit hole that is the Maximoff Family History.
This did bring up a thought, though. I do wonder if TV shows have a stronger influence on comic sales than movies do, if only because a) we have solid evidence that shows do impact them more, b) viewers are more used to serialized storytelling, and c) they’ve indicated they want more depth with these characters, and that’s certainly something comics offer. This isn’t to say that comic publisher should aim to make more shows for their characters to increase sales of the comics because, you know, of course they want to do that. But it is interesting. I do wonder if there’s more of an impact there. I believe I have a project on my hands.