After days (or has it been weeks?) of cryptic teasing by the creators involved, we now have the first concrete information about Image Comics’ Crossover by writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw: it’s about a giant superhero event spilling into our world, it’s called Crossover for a reason (in between the lines, other Image characters and maybe more show up), and the main character is a comics retailer.

Cates, who writes tons of events for Marvel Comics, did most of the explaining at an Image Comics panel about the book Thursday evening via San Diego Comic-Con at home. That panel also featured Shaw, as well as the rest of the book’s creative team, colorist Dee Cunniffe and letterer John J. Hill.

“The scariest goddamn book I’ve ever attempted to produce in my goddamn life, and that’s why it’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Cates said by way of introduction. “…the basics of it are imagine Avengers: Endgame but with Cloverfield.

He went on to say that Crossover was born of a discussion of the nature of event comics between him and Shaw, told from the point of view of an everyday person, first conceived back in 2017. Cates went on to say the book has evolved into something wholly new and unique. The premise is now what if an event comic story became so huge that a portal opened in the sky and collapsed into our real world. There are also elements of a quest story, with Cates drawing a comparison to Stephen King’s own media-trotting The Dark Tower, noting that the multi-world premise will enable them to depict a number of familiar faces.

He added, that they’re going to try “to be as loud as the loudest Marvel and DC book out there in a space at Image that allows us to do whatever the #*$& we want.”

Cates went on to say that “Issue six has one of the more epic and — I would argue historic — sequences in comic book history in it.” Big promises, indeed. And while the story is going big, Cates said he was also inspired by the HBO TV show, The Leftovers, because the story is more about how you live in a world after a big crisis than about the big crisis itself.

“In the world of Crossover, how does the idea that the notion of fiction has now died, when every fictitious character you could ever think of is here, in our world,” Cates said. “How does that effect society? How does that effect the notion of the comic book store?…When the notion of fiction gets shattered, so does the notion of reality.”

Phew. There’s a lot going on with this one. Oh, and another noteworthy bit is that Mark Waid will be editing this comic. That’s Mark Waid who currently writes for Marvel Comics and is newly friendly again with DC. I’m not saying anything for sure, but I am saying that if one wanted to do a giant industry-wide crossover thing, one could do a lot worse than involving Waid…

Anyway! Cates and Shaw are frequent collaborators, it should be noted, with a professional relationship going back about 10 years. In fact, Cates star turn in monthly comics came with the duo’s 2017 mini-series, God Country. They next went on to work together at Marvel Comics, doing what is to date still my favorite Big 2 work by Cates — Thanos Wins, which imagined the end of the Marvel Universe. The name lets readers know exactly what happens, and yet the story is still a whole lot of fun because of all the bombast brought to the table by Shaw and Cates.

Oh, and past that, you can watch the embedded panel about Image Comics’ Crossover…enjoy!

Image Comics' Crossover

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  1. Dear Mr. Cates:

    First off? I remember equally glowing things said by Dave Ryan concerning his brainchild, WAR OF THE INDEPENDENTS. And, yet, that is still unfinished…with issue number five still in creative limbo!

    Secondly? Bad idea to compare your brainchild with “Cloverfield.” I tried watching that mega-flop on TV, twice. And, both times, I fell asleep out of sheer boredom!

  2. Actually Marvel did something like this a few years ago which was set in the 1980s and people in the real world encountered Marvel super heroes from a parallel world where their exploits were written about in our real world comic books. It was a fun series. So much for a “new” idea.

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