After all my railing against corporate comic books, it would seem strange for me to say anything positive about CrossGen, a company that was, perhaps, the epitome of corporately owned comic books. It was also seem strange for me to say anything positive about the return of some of their properties, this time from Marvel, one of the Big Two I so frequently attack.
I was looking for bang for my buck back then, and CrossGen was offering exactly that with their compendium series. Up until that point, I had never read a single issue of a comic book that CrossGen had put out. It's not that I didn't appreciate a new publisher making their mark on the industry or the fact that they were doing something other than superheroes, I just wasn't a fan of the core concept of that universe, and none of the creative teams particularly moved me (not back then, at least). But something like 200 pages of full color comics on glossy paper for what, after my pre-order discount, was like $6? How could I pass that up?
When CrossGen eventually went under, I wasn't surprised. I had read enough about the CrossGen system to know that it was destined to fail, regardless of the egos as play. Yes, comic books are a business, but comic books are a business, but they're also an art form, and you can only monetize art so far. Both Marvel and DC have been smart enough to realize this; CrossGen was not.
And that's exactly what is happening now, at least on a small scale. Marvel now owns the CrossGen concepts and they have decided to start publishing some of those titles, initially as four issue limited series' (a smart move, I will admit). So far, they're publishing Sigil and Ruse, but rumor has it that more are to come.
I love that Marvel are doing this for the very obvious reason why I would love it: diversity. And, as a man who tries to put his money where his mouth is, I'm buying both of them.
I have no idea if the CrossGen titles coming out from Marvel are going to bring in any new readers. I have no idea if they'll even do well with people who already shop in comic book stores. I hope they do. But at the very least it's something different than everything else we see on the Marvel shelf, and at this point that's all I can ask for.