Hype Works

Could the book at least come out first?

Could the book at least come out first?

San Diego Comic-Con has reminded me once again that, in the end, I am weak like a child. They got me again, right in the heart.

I am being real with you by admitting this. I’d wager that a number of you came to the same realization this weekend but would never say so publicly. We comic book people have our reputations to uphold, after all; we are the jaded grumpybritches in the Muppet Show balcony, the world-weary know-it-alls who use air quotes around the word “event.” Even in the comments here at iFanboy, where people still remember how to smile, there will be a reliable contingent who respond to every press conference or convention announcement with “YAWN” or “here we go again” or their Eighties Dennis Miller impression.

Well, bad news, Cha Cha: no matter how bored you are by publisher hype, you are nowhere near as bored by hype as I am bored by your boredom. Talk about something I’ve seen a thousand times before. If you’re that tired of crossovers and dead heroes and the illusion of change, at this point, maybe show yourself out. It’s time to try model trains. Ships in bottles, perhaps.

That may sound unsympathetic, but I’m not unfamiliar with being hyped out. I’ve had to post an announcement or two in my day, and the scoop mentality can certainly wear on a man, rushing to breathlessly be the first person to tell everyone about a thing that they’re going to hear about fifty more times over the course of six additional months. Anyone who saw my pre-San Diego typewritten nervous breakdown last week has seen what a breakout of news-itis looks like.

(Although I must say, now that San Diego is behind us, nothing was announced that explicitly disproves any of my predictions from last week. In fact, I feel even more strongly now that the announced X-Force movie will be the Peter Milligan/Mike Allred version. When asked this weekend whether he would be including the nineties’ joke on the cosmos, Cable, the writer/maybe-director of the film would only say, “Part of my take was addressing this idea that X-Force can be many different things, and that’s what got the studio excited.” This oblique quote, combined with the fact that his work on X-Force may be delayed while he directs a “speedboat-action thriller” [that is a description of an actual thing, it is called Go Fast, yes it is too, go look it up if you don’t believe me] makes me all but certain that he is working on a movie about Doop, U-Go Girl, and Mr. Sensitive. Remember who called this when it happens.)

But never mind. Never mind the occasional burnout. Never mind how many announcements of new projects begin with the phrase, “We’re bringing back…” Never mind the fact that many people making announcements like these at cons have never even thought about why they’re doing it, which boils down to “it has just always been done this way.” I cannot sneer at these people for the unforgivable sin of– how dare they?– trying to excite me. A lot of times, they succeed. They keep doing this stuff again and again because it works.

Also true.

Also true.

Some nasty little germ got in me at the end of last week and made me feel like a mule had kicked me in the soul, so I wasn’t thinking about Comic-Con and slept through most of this weekend. When I came to, I opened up Twitter and was bombarded with all the news that was fit to print, and a lot of it intrigued or excited me. I have no idea who this person is writing a Longshot series, or why they would do that, but that’s what I like about it. I’ve been equally anticipating and dreading the work necessary to resurrect Nightcrawler since the day he died, but the prospect of that team (both the team in the book and the team making the book) sounds like something I’d enjoy.

“Hey,” they said like carnival barkers, “look forward to this!”

“Hey,” said I, “you know, I think I do!”

Maybe it’s just a question of being selective and not overdoing it. I get much more of a kick out of this stuff since I stopped reading comics “news” on every other site online every day, and things I’m not actively interested in don’t clog my filter the way they used to. (Does anyone know if DC was also at the convention this year?) Maybe I was so jaded that I got jaded to jadedness and came out the other side. Maybe I just decided that it was preferable to enjoy what I was doing with my free time. Or dammit, maybe it’s just time for Galactus to eat the Ultimate Universe, and every red-blooded American knows it.

I don’t care.

Call me a sucker. I might be one, but a couple of weekends a year publishers promise me they’ve got some exciting things planned for me, and I still opt to take them at their word. Cynicism is for the winter.


Jim Mroczkowski cackled like a madman when he saw a graphic for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. He’s hoping it’s about the little Paul Bettany inside Robert Downey Jr.’s helmet becoming sentient and taking over the world.


  1. *Slow clap*

  2. god i hope Jarvis turns into Ultron now. thank you for that.

    • It’s certainly a cool idea, but I like Jarvis.

      I don’t want to dislike Jarvis.

    • It would be weird.

      Where do you go, story-wise, beyond “Tony can’t trust his armor or his tech because it is actually his own enemy”?

      That would be like, “Thor’s hammer itself hates him, forever, end of story” or “Captain America’s shield hunts down all his friends and relatives and kills them”. You would break the brand.

      But really cool idea.

    • The armor doesn’t need Jarvis to work. Think about War Machine in the movie universe. He doesn’t use Jarvis and he seems to be able to use the armor just fine.

  3. I am extremely excited about Nightcrawler’s resurrection! People should “vote” with their dollars. If someone is pissed off about “yet another event” then they should not buy the event. That’s simple enough. I say, bring on the announcements and hype! I’ll let the comic book companies know which one’s I’m interested in when I buy or don’t buy the comics. I love this medium!

    • Agreed. And well said.

      A person can also filter the announcements and the hype to their taste.

      I think it’s OK to say, “That’s a book I might not buy, but would definitely read.”

  4. While I’d rather look forward to stuff I’m interested in than dump on the things I find boring or passé, I don’t really find the occasional “meh” response to be that out of line.

    It is just as boring and repetitive as the cycle of the hype machine with its endless announcements and events, but it serves as a healthy rejoinder to marketing boilerplate laced exclamation points.

    As long as the occasional “YAWN” doesn’t become the entire tone of every post and every poster, because that’s just a yawnfest in and of itself.

    Once in a while, once per thread at most, once its been done its been done, that’s about enough.

    I’d don’t consider it particularly useful except as a sort of knee-jerk personal-defense reflex. Primates and dogs both do it.

    It’s more fun without it, and it’s not entirely necessary, but sometimes it needs to be said.

  5. Well said, but let me offer a retort: A lot of us worry about these events because we know that they are in NO way helping the industry long-term. Sure, they get a months spike in sales and maybe a forgettable piece in the Huffington Post. Sure, they might resurrect a beloved character. But at the yearly rate that these things are going the industry may very well be dead by the time aspiring artists or writers (such as myself) are ready to take the reigns of our beloved heroes. If they keep slugging out crappy events that won’t mean squat in 6 weeks, then people WILL forget and stop buying them.

    I get it: I am jaded. And I too am jaded at the jadedness. I just kind of shrug off things that don’t interest me, now. But I worry for the comics industry as a whole. And I worry that these characters will only exist in movies or bad cartoons in the future. I just wish that the editorial teams should worry about having their writers and artists push out quality books without any gimmicks (3-D covers?) or unnecessary hype. Then maybe the general public will realize that this is a beautiful medium that can rival films and music! It worked with Watchmen, but I fear that it was a one time thing that DC never decided to capitalize on…

    So, again, I get it. But I just wish that we didn’t HAVE to “yawn” at the YEARLY EVENTS. With that said, this was a very well-written article, and I apologize for my mini-rant.

    • The fact that this is polite counterpoint seems like a “rant” on this site is what I love about working here.

    • It is a pleasant environment, I’ll give you that.

      Nightwing97, any medium will have its phases of mass-popularity, and its periods of adaptations.

      I thought the same thing forty years ago, and yet they still churn them out.

      The great ones stick and the rest are grist for the mill.

      Commercial product, decades-long market lifespan.

      And I kind of like the cartoons, myself. The movies often don’t fulfill the vision completely, but they’re beginning to overcome that. There are a lot of designers involved in a movie. Many of them do read comics, but there’s a chance a few of them have other influences.

    • “If they keep slugging out crappy events that won’t mean squat in 6 weeks, then people WILL forget and stop buying them.”

      In a weird way, I think that the very fact that the events are forgettable is what makes people keep falling for them so hard every time.

      And, yeah, I agree with Jim’s main point: Hype works. I often hear people complain about advertising and commercials on TV by saying things like “Commercials never convince me to buy anything. They’re just wasting their money paying for hype.” But I think that advertising and hype usually work on a more subtle level. The excitement of consumers rarely equals the excitement projected by the commercials or whatever, but the point is just to bring public awareness to what you’re trying to sell.

  6. my only “gripe” with announcements is that they spend all their hype and excitement months before the books are available, so usually i just forget about them when its time to buy. I think Image did a good job of recognizing that and getting ahead of the problem at their expo. Seems like they announce things closer to publication dates than before.

    I really like how Monkeybrain does things. Announcement drop and then availability now. love it.

    • For me I like the early announcements as I place my comic book monthly order 2 months in advance. That’s why I’m happy the solicits come out so far in advance too. Otherwise I would just have to guess as to what to get.

    • oh yeah i like to be surprised each week. i live dangerously. haha

      i was talking more about the stuff that gets announced almost a year before you can hold it in your hands

    • I have to agree that if it’s available within a month or three, or they adequately remind me of this thing they hyped a year ago, then I could still be interested, if hopefully, it appears regularly and/or it’s well worth the wait. Three months lead time works pretty well, considering the intricacies of the direct/discount market, maybe longer for independent projects.

      If they package the trade within a reasonable time frame and capitalize on their own investment is also up to the publisher and/or creators and/or luck/fate/karma/kismet.

      They have exclamations, but I have stipulations.

    • Yeah, the Harley Quinn announcement by DC was perfect timing. Being as that book will be out this fall already. Same with the Amazing X-men announcement.

  7. I guess now that my Day-and-Date filter went back to a “anybody know if anything good came out in the last decade?” filter, I’ve lost a lot of the sensitivity to events and announcements, and I’m much less immersed in them.

    By the way, anybody know if anything good came out in the last decade? I might get it from the public library.

    • Try “Asterios Polyp”. Its a creator-owned book written and illustrated by David Mazzuchelli. I read it recently and have been recommending it to EVERYONE.

    • Jim Henson’s “Tales of Sand”, “Civil War”, “Deadpool Max”, “The Unwritten”, Jeff Lemire’s “Essex County” and “The Nobody” (?), Johnathan Hickman’s FF run, DC’ “Wednesday Comics”. Hopefully you haven’t read any of that and your library has it.

    • Oh, and Mark Miller’s “Old Man Logan”. Probably one of his best books ever.

  8. Jim and I have this in common; we were both surprised by people who we thought “knew”. I feel like Jim could’ve been writing this article to himself. Weird.

    But yeah, DC was there at SDCC this year. They actually announced some cool shit. Superman/Batman movie, Harley Quinn comic, Superman 75th anniversary, that kind of stuff. No surprise none of it made it into your twitter feed 😉 .

    • the only exciting thing for me was the Superman/Batman movie. I don’t really think the anniversary qualifies as an announcement considering it’s been all over the web for months and months and in all the press releases for Superman Unchained. Did it seem like everyone but DC had more star power on display? Hell even FX had the entire cast of It’s Always Sunny

    • Kinda ironic that you refer to the cast of IASIP as star power. I mean I love the show but, come on. At the anniversary thing, DC had Jim Lee, Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, and Henry Cavill. I’d call that star power.

      And it wasn’t an announcement or anything, but that is something DC was doing SDCC.

    • Wow i knew Goyer was there but I didn’t hear about Cavill. Maybe he should’ve shown up in costume like Hiddleston

      Also on what planet is Danny DeVito not star power? That show is amazing and the whole cast was there. If you like the show that qualifies as star power the same way that if you didn’t like Man of Steel you might not give a rats ass about Snyder showing up. Plus the guys from It’s Always Sunny signed autographs all day which gives them extra points in my book.

    • Hey man I love IASIP , but when was the last time Danny Devito was a “star”? Maybe he and Charlie Day should count since both were in movies recently (That Dr.Suess movie and “Pacific Rim”) but… And it was SCOTT Snyder at the DC Panel, not ZACK Snyder (those two might need to get together and work out new monikers or something). Isn’t it possible that Morrison, SCOTT Snyder, and Jim Lee might have more fans combined than IASIP ?

      Either way, “both” had Star power, just in different mediums. That was cool of the cast of IASIP to sign authographs all day, classy movie!

  9. Neat article that cheered me up while at work. 🙂
    I like reading iFanboy and not much else with regard to comic book news. Movies and stuff I read other sites.


  10. There were comic-related announcements at SDCC?

  11. I’m like you Jim……I fall for it everytime. Even when I know I’m probably being duped….I still get excited anyway.

  12. “…I am bored by your boredom.”

    Love it. People love to complain in a repetitive fashion with their “mehs” and “yawns” about repetitive gimmicks and event announcements. I much prefer original thoughts/posts. At least try to be interesting when expressing your disinterest.

  13. YES!!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!! I applaud you! I am too, so fed up with all the negativity when it comes to our favorite hobby. I read all those megative articles on everything and am just saddened by it. We are living in the best time ever to be fans of comics and/or superheroes!
    Even if I don’t LOVE love the new 52, there are a lot of books I really love and that I didn’t read prior to the reboot, so thats cool!
    I am not a big Marvel fan, but now I read more Marvel books than ever, since they are doing so many quality books right now. For my taste, Marvel comics have never been better!
    Image is ON FIRE and brings me new non superhero stuff that is great and thought provoking!
    Superhero movies are coming out left and right! Everybody complains, but to be honest, we never had that many good to great movies about superheroes EVER! Even the most dissapointing ones (for me the Wolverine for example) are better than the best of the genre ten years ago! I love every new project that gets announced (Batman/Superman anyone?), we just had a first real Batman trilogy, by one of the best directors that are currently working and Marvel makes their own movies, which are pretty close to the comics! I mean… How can a fan of superheroes complain about that??? Its what I always dreamed about, back in the early 90s!

    Its the coolest time to be a fan of this stuff and I will never complain about that! I love it and will enjoy it as long as it lasts!