And now a word from Jim Starlin

Pic8You may recall a few weeks ago when people were talking about what got them into comics, and it turned out that in the 90s, INFINITY GAUNTLET, an “event” mini-series by Jim Starlin, was a pretty good gateway comic. We wondered what Starlin himself thought about this. He’s still very much in the comics game, with KID KOSMOS and MYSTERY IN SPACE coming out recently. We asked for his thoughts on the post and responses, and this is what he wrote:

Like Josh Whedon, I too miss the regular monthly doings of your main-stay heroes, off on their own, not connected to anything else going on in their respective universes. I believe this is a bit of short sighted policy that both Marvel and DC are guilty of. Good self-contained tales make for good graphic novel collections down the line. If things continue the way they’re currently going, a reader won’t be able to pick up a mainstream graphic novel without having to pick up a half dozen other books, in order to figure out what’s going on in the original book they bought.

Illo taken from the “Rare Art Gallery” at Starlin’s site, ©2007 Jim Starlin.


  1. M. Lusk says

    He’s right. These ridiculous crossover events that have to weave in so many regular titles are detrimental to the tpb market for regular series.
    Why is this so hard for the Big Two (especially Marvel) to understand? For the sake of the short term buck, they’re lessening the product’s appeal in its PERMANENT form, the tpb collection.

  2. says

    “Good self-contained tales make for good graphic novel collections down the line.”

    That is worth repeating!
    And good self-contained stories in periodical format are “seeds” for growing new readers.

    Joe Field
    Flying Colors Comics
    Concord CA

  3. says

    I’m glad somebody of note in the comics industry understands this.

    In thinking about this problem recently, a terrible thought occurred to me which unfortunately will sound like tinfoil helmet territory, and perhaps it is, but it’s worth considering:

    What if, after building back up goodwill amongst what readership was left and slowly winning over new converts, the big two, beginning, I think, with “Avengers Disassembled” and presently (hopefully) peaking, decided to declare war on their mutual competition, that being those upstarts who were “stealing” away their once near-monopoly of the racks, attracting more literate readers who cared nothing for the follies of the speculation boom? And what is more iconic of that trend of maturity than the graphic novel/collection? Think of it as a one-two punch: Marvel & DC glut the shelves with their assorted tie-ins and one-shots that the obsessives MUST have in triplicate, leaving less room for smaller outfits’ books, and said crossovers are less independently viable than they are together, making all but the most ginormous collections irrelevant, in the process beefing up the back issue business for completists (and who has the most copies of back issues to spare than the publishers themselves?).

    Paranoid, yes, and I can see the holes in the theory for myself, but not outside the realm of possibility, sadly and frighteningly.

  4. Torsten Adair says

    Well, consider this: I work at one of the largest Barnes & Noble stores. Currently, we have one large bay of DC and Marvel combined, four bays for manga, and one for comics literature/graphic novels. I have about eight feet of shelf for Marvel, and a big chunk of that is taken up by the Essentials line. Flooding the market won’t work in bookstores, as they have budgets and computer inventory to track sales. Also, bookstore trades are returnable, which can make a serious dent in the bottom line three to six months later.

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