Marvel Comics announced a couple of months ago its next big crossover event would be Fear Itself, a brand-wide storyline/theme about which the publisher and its representatives have been rather tight-lipped. It’s been ramping up an in-house and online marketing campaign that’s all about fostering (a) a sense that even the most powerful of the Marvel heroes will be facing a deadly threat, and (b) that the threat in question is a dark, mysterious one.
Personally, I’m not all that enticed by the air of mystery. I find the vague qualities of Marvel’s promotional efforts to be off-putting rather than intriguing. Of course, the involvement of writer Matt Fraction and artist Stuart Immonen in the creation of the core crossover series might be enough to draw me in; time will tell.
As for those comics readers who are chomping at the bit to delve into Fear Itself, I’m here to tell them they needn’t wait until April, when the limited series is scheduled to get underway. There’s a Fear Itself comic book being released this very week.
Mind you, it’s not a comic book published by Marvel.
Reprinting the 1999 graphic novel of the same name, DC Comics Presents – Green Lantern: Fear Itself has a couple of things going for it so as to make it a sales success for DC Comics and comics retailers. First of all, it’s a story featuring three different heroes who’ve carried the name “Green Lantern,” and that’s a brand that’s hotter than just about anything else in super-hero comics today. Secondly, it’s being offered at the bargain-basement cover price of $7.99 US, much cheaper than the print runs of the original graphic novel.
The timing begs the question: did DC rush this as a bit of a friendly jab at its chief competitor, beating it to the Fear Itself punch? I think it’s highly unlikely, given the advance planning that goes into both companies publishing plans. I suppose word of Marvel’s crossover event plans could’ve leaked through an industry grapevine. That would certainly make for a juicy bit of pop-culture gossip, but I — ahem — fear that’s probably not the case.
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