Gail Simone, best-selling comic book writer and undisputed champion of getting things to trend on Twitter, has an idea for getting some enthusiastic customers back into comic book stores when the U.S. resumes normal commercial operations following the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Birds of Prey and Deadpool writer says she thinks a Marvel/DC crossover could goose sales and throw the doors open for new, casual, and lapsed readers in a way few other projects could. She acknowledges that there have been legal and financial barriers to making Marvel/DC crossovers in recent years, but stressed that it would be great for fans and retailers.
Comic book retailers were already struggling amid coronavirus slowdowns, since so many of them are small businesses with little in the way of cash reserves. Yesterday's news that Diamond would no longer accept incoming shipments from content producers means that, at least for the time being, shops will not even be able to provide mail-order services of new content to subscribers. And while many fans are using this opportunity to order some back issues and trades from their LCS, not everyone has the money to do so.
You can see Simone's tweet below.
When comics shops open back up as we all hope they will, I would love it if DC and Marvel could ask the lawyer to step outside, and have another big Marvel/DC crossover.
A lot of people would love it and it would lay the welcome mat back out in a big way.— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) March 24, 2020
"I know it's been said it will never happen," Simone added in a follow-up tweet. "But it could make a HUGE difference to shops."
Marvel and DC had periodic crossover events from 1976, when Superman first met the Amazing Spider-Man, until the 2003/2004 series JLA/Avengers. Since then, the companies have not crossed paths again, and Marvel has done vanishingly few crossovers at all. DC has been more aggressive in the space, creating wild team-ups with Hanna-Barbera characters, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even a story where Green Lantern crossed over with the Planet of the Apes franchise.
When pressed about it on social media (which happens reasonably often), Marvel's Tom Brevoort has admitted in the past that there simply isn't enough money in the crossovers to make it worthwhile for publishers. The idea seems to be that a book selling 200,000 copies, but where you have to share the revenue with another company, is less attractive than just creating your own book that sells 120,000 (all of these numbers being imaginary and not attributed to Brevoort, but you get the idea).
There have been recent suggestions that a secret Marvel/DC crossover might be in the works, especially after the final issue of Geoff Johns's Doomsday Clock included fairly overt references to Thor and the Incredible Hulk.