Following through on their promise for less Avengers vs. X-Men tie-ins compared to previous events, there were no AvX-related books out this past week.
So we're shaking up the traditional Avengers vs. X-Men Post Game formula and presenting an extended chat with Marvel's senior vice president of publishing — and Avengers vs. X-Men main series editor — Tom Brevoort about the series thus far, and how its success has been gauged in-house at Marvel.
Check back for more on AvX in the coming days, as next Wednesday's Avengers vs. X-Men #11 has been billed as an eventful issue containing a "fatality."
Newsarama: Tom, though obviously there's still two more issues left to go, it seems that in terms of Marvel events, just based on sales numbers that have been released, that Avengers vs. X-Men might be the most successful one since Civil War. Does that match up with what you've observered?
Tom Brevoort: It certainly sounds correct. I like the sound of it. I haven't been tracking it that closely — I've been much more focused on just getting the issues done and together and out the door. The fact that we've done — I think it's seven printings on the first issue and the second issue and close to that on the #0 issue, and at least four on the third issue — shows that there's a big draw.
To be honest, it's not terribly unexpected. Literally, the title sells a lot of copies. "Avengers vs. X-Men" is something that every fan immediately gets excited about. Even people who just know these characters from the movies can hear that, and understand it, and be interested in it. It's a little easier to digest and understand and get across than Fear Itself or Siege or Secret Invasion — all of them had decent taglines, and good marketing platforms, and good messaging of what those stories were about — but Avengers vs. X-Men, it's all in the title. On the simplest, most kid-cool level, it's the crossover that every six-year-old wants. It's all the superheroes in one big story, fighting each other. So on that very basic level, it was primed to be successful before we even did anything. This was clearly a golden bullet.
By the same token, hopefully what we've crafted it a story that defied expectations a little bit; didn't go exactly where people thought it was going to go at every stage. Did some things, and took some risks that people didn't see coming at the outset. Certainly, we didn't opt to do 12 issues of the Avengers and the X-Men fighting each other as people were very worried about by issue #2. "My god, we're going to have 10 more issues of them running around the world, punching each other!" We didn't merely do that — it'll definitely have a lasting impact. The fact that it came out twice a month, I think, for one thing it allowed it to be twice as long, which I think benefitted it, and also just changed the rhythm of things. The fact that it was broken up more cleanly into three acts, and you can sort of see where the divisions are, and see the change in the story as we got to each particular point, and sort of veered in a slightly different direction. If I had 14 issues, I could have filled 14, and if we had 10, we could have done it in 10. It's not like it's an absolute. But 12 feels like it's about the right length; feels like it's substantive, it's weighty. It allowed most of the involved characters to get at least a moment to shine, even if it's just a panel or two here and there — because there are a lot of Avengers and there are a lot of X-Men. All of the people who are out there who are crying for Surge to have an Avengers vs. X-Men moment, they care about that just as much as the guys who are crying out for Iron Man to have a big moment. You can't service every single one of those characters to the same extent, but you try to do as much in as many places as you possibly can.
Obviously, couldn't be happier with the overall response, the sales, the fact that people are still this interested in talking about it, and still on the Avengers vs. X-Men train, five months in. That all speaks well. It's almost done. So we've gotten it all to come out despite the craziness of our round robin writer and multiple artist structure. The plan has actually more or less worked exactly as it was designed to, which is itself sort of a triumph, just of all these guys pulling together and telling this story that they all have a fingerprint on, and all have a stake in, but each one of them individually probably would have done a little bit differently.
Nrama: Right, and not only has it been 12 issues, but many of them have been oversized.
Brevoort: #11 is oversized. The shortest of these issues have been 22. And #12 is a big one as well. We packed a lot in.
Nrama: One of the things Marvel made clear at the onset of AvX was that tie-ins would be a little more limited than past events, and restricted to only in-name Avengers and X-Men titles. In fact, this week was the first since the start of the story where there weren't any AvX-related books out. At this point, from whatever feedback you've received from fans or retailers, do you think that was the right call?
Brevoort: I think it was the right move certainly at the time we made it, and all the way through the story. I don't know if that's the move that we'll hew to every single time, because, as tends to be the case, no matter what you do, you'll get feedback asking for something slightly different. So we have heard people saying, "I wish there were more tie-ins." And typically, that's people who are fans of some aspect, some development, some character in the mix, saying, "I wish there was more screen time for this thing that I like."
It feels that limiting things to just Avengers book and just X-Men books — and even then, not doing every single issue; like Secret Avengers, we did three and got out — I think that, too, may have helped this go down a little easier for people who didn't feel like they were being carpet-bombed for a solid six months straight. We probably could have done a few more here and there. I don't know that the next time we do one of these exactly what the ratio will be. Some of it will depend on the story. One of the things that I think helped in not feeling the need to do as many tie-ins, or even not being as able to, was the fact that AvX came out twice a month. Its progress was just accelerated to such a pace that trying to stay in lockstep with it, with a monthly book, was difficult. You would go two issues of AvX for every issue of whatever the title was, and unless you were going to double-ship all of those books — and that would not be advisable — you have to deal with the fact that you're going to be a little bit out of step at one point or another. It's just a unique set of challenges. It feels like we hit about the right ratio, we could have done maybe one or two more here or there, and hopefully as we always do, we'll learn from this, and the next one we go into will hopefully calibrate that even better.