iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #202 – Comic Book Events

Show Notes

“Comic book events” – dirty words or music to your ears? Like it or not, modern day superhero comic books are an event-driven enterprise. From “The Coming of Galactus” to Fear Itself and Flashpoint, comic book events drive sales, drive stories, and they define what’s “important” in the DC and Marvel Universes.

This week on iFanboy, Josh Flanagan, Conor Kilpatrick, and Ron Richards are talking comic book events. How do you define a comic book event? (They can’t agree on that.) Where did they come from? How have comic book events affected, and continue to affect, American comic books? And finally, each iFanboy picks their all-time favorite comic book event.

Oh, and then Josh dies saving the universe or something. You decide!


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  1. He’s gotta go.

  2. Man, Conor really got picked on in this episode. If it helps dude, you and I are in total agreement on the differences between an event, a crossover, and a “big story”.

    Despite all the negativity surrounding the GL books of late, Blackest Night remains my favorite event (unless you count Sinestro War). It was exciting, it was beautiful, and the meat of the story was only eight issues. I was invested the whole way through.

    Secondly, I’ll always have a soft spot for No Man’s Land. Like Josh, I groaned when I realized how many books were “required reading”. But looking back, that idea took serious sack. It could’ve failed miserably, but it didn’t. The last act (Vol. 5) is one of the greatest endings to an event that I can remember.

    And even though I can’t remember why, I’d have to include Onslaught. Couldn’t tell you a single thing that happened, but I can tell you that I was all about it at the time.

    I vote for Josh to live. The trifecta must remain intact. Besides, who would fill me in on all the Vertigo books?

  3. Darkseid thumbs down on Josh. 

    Reboot w/ a smart & hot looking female that enjoys indie comics.


  4. So, are the previous episodes of iFanboy still in continuity or what?

    I probably agree most with Conor’s views on Events. I’d say that they have to be in their own mini-series and involve a multitude of characters. They do not necessarily have to change everything or involve a death.

  5. It always astonishes me when you guys talk about liking Seige.  Maybe it’s because I was never a Thor fan, or maybe its because of the laughable battle with Sentry, but I really didn’t like that one.  Also, it really bugged me that they pulled another Stamford to kick it off — but Volstagg at a baseball game…with the U-Foes?  Sorry, no dramatic impact.  At most, the novelty of it all provided a few chuckles.  But, as devestating as the Stamford event was to the MU, the thousands dead as a result of the Volstagg thing was ignored and glossed over.  The only thing that could have saved it would be if they had Vostagg come out of it as a big fat Penance character.

  6. I vote for Josh to die.  Tom Katers will take his place which allows Ron and Conor to periodically show up in his own title.  And they all get new uniforms of course.  (Which no one likes.)  Then six months to a year later you have the Return of Flanagan: The Joshining, where Josh comes back as a rival podcaster except we don’t know it’s Josh.  He slowly regains his memory and the status quo returns back to how it was.

  7. I think events as you alluded to like the coming of the Galactus story were the first events.  Those proto event stories were what eventually gave way to what is going on today. I say that as it broke the mold of just having a one issue self-contained storyline and spread it out over more than one issue (which was the standard of the silver age).  That seems tame by todays events, high marketing age.  I don’t mind events so much if the companies would contain them to around fifteen or so issues, otherwise it gets too expensive for the pocketbook.  That said, I think the death of Gwen Stacy also was also a proto event.  Also I would include the first Kree/Skrull War in the Avengers as a proto event along with the Dark Phoenix saga.

    My favorite one though was Crisis on Infinite Earth.  I don’t think anything has rivaled that to me so far.  Great story and art.  I remember when the Superman vs. Doomsday (another event, I think) was going on. Boy did that cause a media stir.  A kid walked into the comic shop one weekend wearing one of those black armbands from one of those bagged Superman comics.  After he left, we had a pretty good laughing our ass off event.

  8. I love events, the more the merrier I say. Bring on Flash Point and Fear Itself

  9. Oh yeah, let Josh live. I even voted to let Jason Todd live.  I liked him as a Robin–yeah, he was a bit snotty and brash, but also street-wise, who better to aid Batman in crime? At any rate, I thought his character could have been used for some interesting Batman tales.

    I actually saw some finished art in one of those Lee Daniels books on comics of how;  had he been voted to live, how Batman would have reacted to it.  Rather interesting panel, with Batman coming out of a rubble, with him in his arms smiling and proclaiming, “He’s alive!”

  10. Is X-men Fatal Attractions an event??  Wasn’t my favorite, but kept me reading Wolverine religiously for 5 or 6 years afterward waiting for him to get his adamantium back.  I have to say that CrisisOIE is the granddaddy of them all.  I know it’s really recent, but I thought Infinite Crisis delivered on everything.  Perfect length and killed off all the right characters.  It all hinges on the big three and it was a great story.

  11. One of my favorite events is The Sinestro Corps War saga it was great because it had surprises, great drama, great fight scenes, and some what of a change in the status quo for the title character in regards to his home town. My first event I think was either Rock Of Ages or WWIII in the pages of JLA by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter and I remember being blown away. The world’s greatest Heroes against the biggest threats ever. @Conor Do you think I would be able to pick up the original trades of No Man’s Land at a Comic Convention because the trades you showed on the video program looked slimmer then the ones Ya’ll showed during your TOP 5 Batman stories that aren’t DKR,BYO, and Arkham Aslyum.

  12. I had a very similar experience to Ron, in that I was introduced to comics through an event and I’ve constantly been trying got re-live it.  Mine was the Age of Apocalypse.  I remember being in to comic characters, but mostly through cartoons, and then someone told me that they were going to kill professor X and erase the X-Men, and I was sold.  I bought every damn issue.  I’ve never been a more dedicated reader.

    I dunno, there was something nice about it.  I liked that, as  a new reader, i didn’t really have to worry about anything except for what was contained in the books.  I mean, I knew a lot of backstory, so certain things like Cyclops / Wolverine / Jean / Havock / Nate were not lost on me, but still there was a wonderful simplicity to it. 

    Also, in the “someone will die” story, i enjoyed that in this world, ANYONE could die.  Because the world was clearly going to be erased, there was no problem letting people die.  Want to stab Havock?  Do it!  Want Banshee to commit suicide?  Go nuts.  it sort of raised the stakes to a level that I loved.

    On another note, an interesting way to look at all this is through the lense of other mediums.  Take for example the WWE (WWF).  The only time things really happen/change is during paperviews.  Titles NEVER change hands or people don’t really change their characters during the regular shows, but they do help build to story and tension.  I think its an effective way to tell stories like this and I have no problem with it.  I just hope that as the events happen they make sure to respect the event after its over.  If something big happens (like killing Johny Storm) make it MATTER!  Don’t give me one funeral scene and then have the FF be created and just everyone move on. 

    Ok.  Now I’m ranting and this is getting too long.

    (This was my first ever ifanboy post, btw’s.  I’ve been reading for a while now, so I’m excited to finally join in the action).

  13. That was a nice poster of advertising the Josh live or die event. I’ll vote for him to die and comes back with the winter soilder story. I can’t really think of a favorite event right off the bat, but I can remember my first one was Age of Apocalypse. I didn’t really like it. Same goes with Onslaught, I didn’t like that one either.

  14. The No Man’s Land crossover actually kept me from buying Batman…I just felt like I couldnt get ‘into it,’ mid-event ya know? That said, I started reading X-Men half way through Onslaught…and that led me to reading comics regularly in general for ten years!

  15. “Broken Promises” would be a great name for an event. 

  16. @mikedwarner – Welcome!

    Man, trying to remember my first event. I definately wouldn’t define Live Kree or Die as an event. It was a crossover. My first was probably Onslaught, which I though was the coolest shit ever at the time, followed immediately by Heroes Reborn, which was garbage. Heroes return, on the other hand, was totally baller.

    Favorite of all time might have to be Sinestro Corp War (which I would call a Big Story that was forcefully mutated into an Event). Every hero on earth was involved, it crossed over between the two GL books and a few scattered others, and it even had oversized one-shots associated with it. That’s the event that really payed off in a storytelling context for me.

    Would Marvel vs. DC be considered an event? If so, that might actually be my all time fave. Loved those Amalgam books.

  17. @mguy77  I agree, kill off Josh and reboot with Joshesphine 😀

  18. An event is literally something unusual and important happening.
    Beyond just a big story- usually leaving behind an important change or status quo.

    If you can hype it- anticpate the arrival of it- and have something important altered after it happens=Event.

    Big story example might be Return of Bruce Wayne.

    But I do agree that in recent times it is almost always a crossover. 

  19. Thanks @CaseyJustice!

  20. @ericmci: But DC did hype ROBW. I anticipated the arrival of it. And the Batverse was changed as a result of it (Batman Inc.). So by your definition, ROBW was an event. Personally I’d call ROBW a big story, as it was pretty much limited to the batbooks, but did not technically crossover. I consider “events” to be company-wide.

  21. As I said – I believe it doesn’t have to be a crossover to be an event.

    Just my opinion.

    Why does it have to be? 

  22. Also how was the batverse really changed as a result of ROBW?

    B/c Bruce came back with a fresh perspective and a new idea how to do business as a batman/

    I tend to think of ROBW as almost a side road more than a radical altering impact.

    Meaning all these changes in the present batverse could have happened withought taking a trip through time.  In fact most of the status quo was originally Tim Drake’s idea before ROBW even happend.

    But that could just be me. 

  23. @ericmci: The term crossover typically refers to a story with a chapter in each of a family of titles, but it has to be confined to those titles. Like Knightfall for the Batbooks. It could be argued as an event (or, as Conor said, a sub-event), that’s just not how I think of it.

    In my mind, an event should involve characters from throughout the universe, and have ramifications (however temporary) for a variety of characters. Like the Crises, or Blackest Night.

    I have a feeling we agree on the term. We’re just splitting hairs.

  24. Josh must live.

    My favorite event has probably been Thanos Imperative. Least favorite Final Crisis by far.

  25. Conor, you handled that with class. 🙂

  26. @ericmci: Taking the idea of Batman and expanding it on a global scale, with Batchapters in major cities around the globe? Yyyyeah. Pretty big change to the status quo I’d say.

    You have a point with Tim skirting around the idea first, but that’s off topic. Bruce’s trip through time taught him that he doesn’t have to do this alone, and helped him realize the potential strength of his inner circle. It may have become more about pirate and cowboy Batmen in the process, but Bruce’s epiphany was always Morrison’s endgame, and did directly contribute to Batman’s plans for Incorporated.

  27. Now I have that song stuck in my head
    what is love baby dont hurt me, no more

  28. @JLA1  Those are the exact same trades that we used before.

  29. Events to me are just something that happens that changes the direction and motives of certain characters and/or their surroundings.  Could be something simple in a one-shot, a standard 6 to 8 issue story arc, self-contained in certain books (like Sinestro Corps), or a company-wide crossover.  The crossovers are what publishers look to as the money makers, at least in the last 5 years.  It’s a shame too that every year HAS to have something of the sort rather than balancing them out, but the reality is comics are a smaller market nowadays and publishers need to get as much sales as possible from the hardcore audience that has stayed around.  Until we see the audiences increase, continue to see more of these in the foreseeable future.

    X-Tinction Agenda is also the same event that got me into comics and into X-Men in particular.  The best event I’ve ever seen is Age of Apocalypse – not only was it great storytelling, but it was a great risk when you’re telling your loyal X-readers that we’re going to cancel your current X-Men books for the next 4 months to tell this alternate timeline story.

  30. Inifinity Gauntlet, Infinity Gauntlet, and also Infinity Gauntlet. It still holds up, and to me was much more exciting than Crisis (not that Crisis was bad at all).

  31. Hey, guys. Any idea why this isn’t showing up  in iTunes?

  32. Is that brick wall background made out of cardboard?

  33. @MadMartigan  No, it’s made of brick.

  34. To anyone able to answer. How big a difference is reading No Man’s Land in the trade format as opposed to all of the actual issues? Just curious. What was the stuff that they decided to leave out of the trades?

  35. And MacGruber was funny. How dare you, Conor.

  36. over in the uk we have this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_X-Men which was how i first got into comics when i was a kid and the first issue i got was the beginning of the phalanx covenant, which was followed by the age of apocalypse, which were both great! also, i was on holiday in america ans canada for a few weeks when the live kree or die storyline was coming out and i loosely followed that (i got the issue you used in the show, nostalgia shock!).

  37. I enjoyed the Infinity Gauntlet series and the Marvel-wide Infinity War books.

  38. fun & nostaglic episode, guys. my faves: mutant massacre, inferno, secret wars (the first one! NOT the second), house of m, & avengers disassembled.

  39. Somebody correct these lists.  They are breaking all of the rules the three of you were laying down.



    Also, somebody go back in time and tell my 13 year old self not to buy the HEROES REBORN relaunches.  They killed my interest in all Marvel titles not beginning with X for a decade.

  40. First of all, DO NOT tell somebody who bought every Siege tie-in and every Shadowland tie-in that Marvel did not do any events in 2010.
    Second of all, PREBOOT! PREBOOT! PREBOOT!

    Anyway, my favorite event is also my first, House of M. loved every issue, loved the Coipel art. I was so fascinated by the changes from the “real” world, and actually learned more about the 616 Marvel U from the altered reality.
    I agree with Josh and Ron’s definition of “event”. to play devil’s advocate for Conor’s definition, is every Avengers or JLA story and event? those series are perpetual crossovers by design. from a certain point of view (to play Ben Kenobi), I say those ARE events. there are many ways to do an event, but if you get that event feel from something, then it counts. so maybe it is all subjective.

    a final note, we got an interesting look at what it’s like for you guys to make these shows. Conor talks about “Joe Q. Comicbuyer” and Ron cracks a smile that we all can see. but the other two of you do not notice until he makes the joke about becoming Editor-in-Chief, and you suddenly get in on the joke that Ron and we the audience were in on right away. the information and perspectives in your shows are the meat, but those little things help bring me back time and again.

  41. if josh died, can we bring in tom katers as earth-2 josh?

    also, i agree that if we’re counting no man’s land, that is definitely my favorite event

  42. Your first love is the one you remember definitely applies for mine.   Secret Wars.
    You guys referenced it but it was truly the 1st company wide multiple crossover and mini-series event. It crossed through Amazing Spider-Man;[2] Avengers;[3] Captain America;[4] Hulk;[5] Iron Man;[6] The Thing;[7] Fantastic Four;[8] Marvel Team-Up;[9] Thor[10] and Uncanny X-MenThere are several significant developments in the series: villainesses Titania and Volcana are created;[13] the second Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter, is introduced;[14] Spider-Man finds and wears the black costume for the first time, initially unaware that it is actually an alien symbiote;[15] (the symbiote would subsequently bond with journalist Eddie Brock, giving birth to the villain known as Venom);[16] Doctor Doom temporarily steals a portion of the Beyonder’s power;[17] having fallen in love with the alien healer Zsaji (who sacrifices her life on Battleworld to save the heroes), mutant Colossus ends his romantic relationship with a heartbroken Kitty Pryde;[18]  Kitty herself meets a new companion in Lockheed who becomes a mainstay in the X-books for many years. The Thing chooses to remain behind on Battleworld and explores the galaxy for a year,[19] with the She-Hulk temporarily joining the Fantastic Four as his replacement.
    These are ramifications.
    Its spawned a toy line. Some truly great creators had a hand in its creation Mike Zeck and Jim Shooter.   I think that Secret Wars raised the Marvel awareness of a generation of young comic readers.
    Therefore I vote to have Marvel Superhero Secret Wars be granted Granddaddy of them all status!
    Who’s with me? (Crisis was overly dramatic and depressing….but really good too..)

  43. BTW.  I vote Josh lives but only if he does just one more Bill the Butcher “Woops a daisy”. That shit cracked me up.

  44. I’ve been following this Charlie Sheen nonsense too much, I fully expected Josh to add, “Winning!” after saying “Duh” in the credits bit.

  45. @Ilash  It should be there now.

  46. I havn’t been to a comic shop in ages, mostly because of all the hype around events, but now that Im out of of the regular habit the advertising around events has been getting me more excited.

    Those rediculous Fear Itself ads where people are slapfighting each over hammers, that is actually starting to look pretty fun where it wouldnt have before.
    That stuff that seems to be going on over at IDW with the Cobra Civil War thing, I havnt even seen the GI Joe cartoon and im keep my ears open for that.

    The problem is that I know that if I want to get into that stuff I’ll have to get back in the habit of going to a store every month. I’d much rather just go on a comic reading bender and wake up one morning covered in a mountain of tie-in books I have no memory of buying.

  47. I completly agree with Coner’s definition of an event.
    I also feel really old. I bought Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars and Crisis on Infinite Earths in monthly issues off the spinner racks. Those were my first and still favorite events.
    How did you do an events show and not have Ron bring up Atlantis Attacks? I thouhgt that was one of his favorites.
    And Josh lives. If you kill him off you’ll probably just replace him with Spider-Man anyway and he’s getting spread way to thin as is.

  48. Siege, civil war, second comming. are my top ones, with siege taking top billing. haven’t read blackest night yet but plan on it.  I am defnitly a huge fan of the big events in comic books, especially if they use the main books to drop hints and lead up to the big event.

  49. sorry for the line going through my comment hit the wrong button

  50. I wasn’t totally paying attention and then Josh looked at the screen and said “It’s your fault, Will” – I jumped out of my skin with fright. Being that my name is Wil, I thought I was being blamed for being distracted…

  51. You guys seemed like you had alot of fun with this topic. Good episode!

  52. In my humble opinon, Conor’s definition is correct.
    Also, did Josh just say he wanted a lot of us to commit hari kari?
  53. Ron’s story about X-Tinction Agenda is pretty much exactly what happened to me with X-Cutioner’s Song. Still love that story and it’s what really hooked me into the X-Men and comics in general

  54.  You never forget your first. Wait! You never forget your first — event, I mean! And my first event, was the Civil War. Maybe it was just because it was the first event I ever read — but I loved it!! Millar blew it out of the park with a great story that spanned the entire Marvel Universe. As an artist myself, McNiven became an inspiration for me. I loved it. 

     BTW: First post on iFanboy! Love the show! 

  55. My first events were Knightfall and Hands of the Mandarin.  Neither were that good but I liked them as a kid.  My favorite is probably Sinestro Corps War.

  56. The lack of DC One Million love here is saddening. One month, 50-odd books, an amazingly ambitious and successful project. I know there are a lot of fairly recent readers here, so let me school you:

    The core series was a 4 issue weekly miniseries (and one issue of JLA) that told the story of a Justice League from the far future coming to Earth to celebrate Superman’s coming out of the sun, a seed Morrison picked up on years later in All-Star Superman. It’s a fantastic story with so many twists and turns and honest to god superheroics and has pretty much the best ending of any superhero story I’ve ever read.

    But the real action was in the tie in issues. Every book that month was a #1,000,000 issue and I’m fairly sure every issue was co-plotted by Grant Morrison (I think I remember hearing rumblings at the time that this upstart writer was coming in and fucking with established writers books). What was cool was that there were several distinct stories flowing through these books. For instance, all the Bat-books had a single 8-issue story running through them, same over on Superman and with the Legion. A few issues dealt with overspill from the main story, picking on on character threads and having major events happen in the ancilliary titles. The Starman issue for instance is vitally important in the story.

    And then there were pure flavour issues, what was this world of the future like? The Chase issue from the legendary JH Williams series was a great piece exploring this crazy sci-fi future, there was a fun Hitman story, hell even Young Heroes in Love was a fantastic epilogue to the whole series. 90’s superhero Resurrection Man is made into the most awesome character in comics during the sidestory, the only man to still be alive in the 85th century from the present day.

    There was just so much in this event, I could write so much more about it.  It’s a crime that DC haven’t attempted to collect it properly, it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves in the slightest.

  57. @JedeyeSniv  I didn’t really like it that much at the time. Great idea. I was a little bored in the execution.

  58. @josh Yeah I had a similar reaction to it when I first read it as a kid. To me the beauty of the series is in the sheer scope of the tie ins, there’s not a single Red Sky book in the line, everything addad something to the tapestry. At the time I got a few of the tie-ins and enjoyed them but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I tracked down every single issue. When you recontextualise the series from a quick weekly mini event to this massive sprawling mega story it takes on a different, more rewarding tone.

    I think that also the series exists as this really fascinating snapshot of late 90’s comic books. The fact that if you get everything you have literally an entire month’s output of the DCU from that time is really interesting. It was a mini golden age for Batman at the time for instance back when Chuck Dixon was writing nearly everything and firing on all cylinders. The tone of the Superman books is so hokey and strange but charming at the same time. And then therea re the forgotten books from the era which are actually some of the highlights of the event – Resurrection Man, Chronos, Young Heroes in Love, even the Jerry Ordway Shazam issues are worthwhile as this look at a specific moment in comics history.

  59. Where is the love for Valiant’s Unity crossover?

  60. didn’t there used to be a painting on that wall?

  61. @adickhead  Yes, it’s been gone for a while now.

  62. Come on guys. Night of the Roxbury isn’t that bad.

  63. @Tup  Big UNITY fan here– even loved the proposal/bible for Unity 2000

    Valiant never really gets the love it deserves as its tied to the whole 90’s bubble.

  64. I don’t consider Curse of the Mutants to be an event, though I did enjoy it quite a bit.  

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