Both fans and retailers seem to opine that Marvel Comics’ “summer crossovers” seem to last longer and longer as the years have gone by. With this year’s rehash of “Secret Wars”, that is actually true! Not only is “Secret Wars” by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic running behind schedule, Marvel released a press release today (August 26) announcing that the series would gain an additional issue which will stretch the series into December (as reported via Comic Book Resources and ICv2).
“Secret Wars” was originally intended to run eight issues and wrap up by October (in time for both Halloween and the annual New York Comic Con). The series has gone on to see delays, which have effected over fifty tie in issues (both of ongoing series and various mini series and one-shots) throughout the line over the summer. This will lead to a potentially awkward situation where launches to series that take place after the big event (such as “Invincible Iron Man #1”) will be released before the event that spawned them officially ends. However, despite the delays, “Secret Wars” has proven to be a good seller of a series for Marvel. As reported by “The Beat”, between variant covers and reprints, the first issue in May sold over 544,000 copies and even by July’s fourth issue, shops are still ordering almost a quarter million copies of it. Aside for 2012’s “Avengers vs. X-Men”, this has been one of Marvel’s best selling event mini series in some time – certain selling better than last year’s “Axis” and “Original Sin” or 2011’s “Fear Itself”. In addition to this, Marvel Comics is apparently carrying out an edict from its’ corporate masters to minimize promotion of the Fantastic Four due to Fox Studios’ recent (and unsuccessful) film efforts. Come fall, the team has been divided and their series will likely remain canceled through 2015. Considering that Hickman wrote two “Fantastic Four” comics for years, he likely has a lot of fondness for characters such as Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom, and possibly sees “Secret Wars” as giving them a last hurrah before a long rest. Thus, Marvel Comics found themselves in a position where they could not only extend the series for creative reasons, but for commercial ones as well.
David Gabriel, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Marvel Comics, stated that extending “Secret Wars” to a ninth issue in December, “will not affect any of the new launches as part of All-New, All-Different Marvel. But there might be a surprise or two left over from Battleworld you weren’t expecting. In fact, like the original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, some of those puzzle pieces will hit the Marvel Universe before the event concludes. But if you want to see how they all fit together, you don’t want to miss these last few issues”. Despite the tagline, “all new, all different” Marvel seems to mostly be the same albeit with some extra characters based from different dimensions or time lines hanging around and every single title gaining a fresh number one. In this way, it isn’t many shades removed from “Age of Apocalypse” from the 90’s, albeit on a grander scale. Many of the tie in mini series are selling well (although there are reports that some retailers were “misinformed” about them being ongoings or not) and the success of Marvel’s newly obtained “Star Wars” license has likely given the company a bit of a “buffer” to risk more changes to their comics. It will remain to be seen how well “Secret Wars” will sell by its’ end as well as how well the whopping fifty- plus new series coming in the fall will debut.