Variant Covers: Thor And the Quest For Oversaturation
It’s Tuesday, somewhere along the second half of the day here on the East Coast, mainland Empire. That can only mean one thing. I’m staring at a clock watching as it whittles away the time I have to write Variant Covers.
Instead of glazing over the release lists this week, I’m more interested in sounding off on what I fear is the forthcoming over-saturation of my boy Thor. I love me some Thor. Always have. Giant guy, swings a hammer, is a god. Of lightning. And It seems that Marvel is intent on getting everyone into the love fest. By the end of the year there’s going to be so many god damn Thor titles that you’re not going to know what to do with yourself.
There’s Thor proper, which is going to be taken over by Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry.
Then there’s Ultimate Thor, which is going to be helmed by Jonathan Hickman and Carlos Pacheco.
But wait, true believers! There’s more!
Thor: The Mighty Avenger is currently out, and it’s absolutely excellent.
The list doesn’t stop there! There’s also Astonishing Thor, and Thor: For Asgard, and on and on and on.
Are you getting fatigued yet?
This is all being done, I assume, to ramp up public knowledge regarding our boy Thor prior to his movie dropping next year. I don’t really know how popular Thor is/has been, since I am out of touch and I sit in my dungeon all day. Rough guessing based on my own ignorance puts Thor at significantly less beloved than Iron Man, and even below Captain America. Which means, again, using my own ignorance, that they need to get his gorgeous Viking frame firmly injected into the collective nerd consciousness. It’s understandable while they’re ramping up his exposure, I just wonder how much he can take before there’s a breaking point.
I’ve always loved Thor for a couple of reasons. Namely because I play World of Warcraft and listening to thrash metal in a basement. Couple that with the fact that he suffers on occasion the same existential angst as Superman that I relate to; a strange man in a stranger, alien land, and he’s my boy. Of thunder. But again, I need therapy for my fatal case of Emo Angst and I’m a dork. So there’s that.
But for other people? I have no idea.
But I’m fearing Thor may suffer the same over-exposure that seems to bury every franchise eventually. I mean, who doesn’t fucking yawn when they seen Wolverine now? And Jesus Christ, at his core, that Canadian Feral Ball is awesome.
The good news is that Marvel seems to be stacking all of Thor’s titles with beyond talented teams. I mean, I don’t have to go into detail, if you read any of my slop regularly you know I go absolutely Viagra Priapism for Fraction and Hickman. I’m going to read those titles based purely on their names alone. I mean, if you want to get his name out there, you might as well have true genuine talent backing up the titles. But as you continue to release more and more titles with his name on it, when does it stop being wise, and start burning people out?
And does Marvel even care?
I mean, how can people go and buy nineteen Deadpool titles a month, and now want to rip their hair out?
I’m a different breed of reader, though. I don’t generally align myself with characters, but rather with creators. So as I said, I’m stoked for some of the Thor titles. And while I enjoy the guy, my excitement is just as much for the people working on the title than it is for another Thor title. I can imagine that for some people, they simply have to buy the Thor titles because they’re well, Thor. They have a place in their comic book boxes sequestered under “Thor”, and they have to fill it with every title.
Complete every run.
My fear, in other words, is that Marvel goes beyond accomplishing getting Thor out into the minds of comic book readers. And furthermore, having titles for would-be new comic book readers to check out after they’re all tots excited after seeing the movie. My fear, to be precise, is that they’re going to take a character who was previously under appreciated and till him for every fucking penny he is worth, to the point where people like myself who used to dig the dude just sort of “Meh” and keep scanning the rack for something else to purchase.
What do you guys think? Is there a tipping point? Where exposure becomes over-exposure? Where saturating the market to gain recognition actually ends up hurting the franchise? I’m interested to hear what you think.