Whether we’re talking Boom Tubes or retcons, there’s plenty of jargon in our geekcentric little world. The PoP! Stars are here to ensure you’re not left scratching your head, saying “It’s All Geek to Me.“
- Event fatigue – n. The feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted by numerous comic book events happening within a short span of time. “Are you guys feeling the same event fatigue I am right now?”
With so many different narratives running parallel in shared comic book universes, it’s inevitable that some will overlap. But when several supposed important events happen so soon after one another, it’s easy for readers to have event fatigue set in. In the last few years, both DC and Marvel had big, line-wide events happening seemingly one after another. When readers said they were getting tired of being bombarded by event minis and tie-ins, they both said they’d cut back on events, but both have continued to produce them. In fact, Marvel took another approach entirely, labeling smaller storylines as “mini-events.” But this really just compounded the problem, as they often have several of these “smaller” events running concurrently. Recently they had both Shadowland and Chaos War happening at the same time. Soon we’ll be subjected to three at once, with the line-wide Fear Itself running alongside the Spider-Man-centric Spider-Island and the X-Men based Schism. It’s hard not to exhibit some event fatigue with all this happening at once.
Big comic events used to occur annually, so when did event fatigue start to happen? I think it was around the time of the build-up to DC’s Infinite Crisis in 2005. They put out four miniseries, and readers were told that one of them would have major importance to Infinite Crisis. Surprise, they all did! And while it wasn’t necessary to read all four of them, if you didn’t you’d be dropped into the middle of the action without knowing exactly what was going on. Even more egregiously, each mini later had a follow-up one-shot that took place during and expanded on events of the main miniseries, so to fully understand what happened, you’d have to get those, too.
While event fatigue is most closely associated with comics, it can happen in other mediums too. How about the summer movie season? It seems every week Hollywood releases another must-see blockbuster (or two), and they quickly clop up multiplexes. I’m currently behind on my movie-going. As I write this, there are four movies playing that I’d like to see, but just can’t because I don’t have the time. I’m sure I’ll see them all eventually, but in the meantime I have to endure people talking about them while not being able to join in the conversation. It’s quite frustrating, especially when there are certain times of the year when there are only one or two movies out I’d like to see, and occasionally none at all.
It seems event fatigue in comics is something publishers and fans alike will be dealing with for years to come.