Marvel is producing a HUGE 1000 page omnibus featuring 75 of the top Marvel stories as voted by fans. Keep that last part in mind: “as voted by fans”.
By doing the selection based on an online poll on Marvel.com this project has turned what could have been a cataloging of the best of the best into a popularity contest amongst fans who tend to hang around on their web-site. A side-benefit is that they’re able to shrug off any questions about why something placed at a certain location on the list or even why some selections were on the list at all by pointing at the fans and saying “That’s how the vote turned out.”
I’m not trying to say that this is bad stuff, there are some truly great comics here, just that the specific rank order looks a bit off of what I’d expect (and I’m sure everyone has their own unique order). The full list is on Marvel’s web-site, let’s look at the Top 10:
1. SPIDER-MAN: THE DEATH OF GWEN STACY
2. CIVIL WAR
3. SPIDER-MAN: KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT
4. DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN
5. X-MEN: THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA
6. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
7. THE INFINITY GAUNTLET
8. MARVELS #1
9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
10. AMAZING FANTASY #15
This is pretty balanced: 3 Spider-Man stories, 3 event-type stories with a plethora of characters from the Marvel Universe, 2 X-Men, Daredevil, and Captain America. I’m a bit surprised there was not more X-Men or an Avengers story in the top 10. Spidey for the win!
Looking at the specifics, I was kind of astonished that Civil War came in as #2 from the entirety of Marvel’s 75 year history. In my opinion this is more due to a lack of awareness of the fans voting than anything to do with how awesome Civil War is as a story. In general, we see a lot of things on the list that have either been made into movies or that are reprinted with regularity and so are in the front of people’s minds. In the case of Civil War, it’s probably that it’s the fan favorite Marvel “event” of the past 10 years, which could be the entire time most voting fans have been reading Marvel.
Many recent Marvel events are on the list; Annihilation, House of M, Planet Hulk, Secret Invasion, World War Hulk. That they all paced in the Top 75 of 75 year history of Marvel is a tribute to Marvel’s marketing machine, and good evidence why they keep doing several events every year. Fans love them and they sell a lot of comics. Selling comic is, after all, why Marvel is in business. If events make this happen, then events they shall publish. It’s also a re-assertion that the “window of awareness” for fans is likely about 10 years with selected classics kept available as reprints also scratching on their awareness. That Amazing Spider-Man #700 charted at #46 is probably as far as one needs to look to confirm a really narrow window of awareness for fans voting on this list.
This Omnibus will ship in November (and will be on next month’s September Previews order form). At a list price of $99.99 for 1000 pages, it’s a pretty decent price for that many pages of comics, as long as you don’t already have most of the stuff being included. Amazon has it for $76.88 as of this writing and I suspect other on-line sites (like DCBS) will have it for an even more attractive price.
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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