In a world where San Diego Comic-Con is being held remotely due to a global pandemic, and comics publishers are fighting to hold onto the mental real estate they have in fans’ minds, Image’s new series Crossover, from writer Donny Cates, artist, Geoff Shaw, colourist Dee Cunniffe, and letterer John J. Hill, imagines what it might be like if our reality were to suddenly crash into an amalgam of genre fictional realities.
With so many of the major events from the Big Two publishers focusing on the lives and motivations of prominent characters whose brand recognition plays a big part in how the books are marketed and how the story is crafted, Crossover instead tells the story of a meta-crossover from the perspective of an average person.
Crossover, Cates continued, is an "anti-event event series," something he insisted wasn't meant to make the book sound like a dig at other event series, but rather a celebration of comics as an art form.
"Because at its core, you know, [Crossover] has a lot of things to say and it has a lot of layers to it, meaning that if you want to come for a fun story and just something for escapism, that's absolutely there for you," Cates said. "If you want to start peeling back the layers of this book and see what we're really talking about, and see that the metaphors that are in the book are about things that are going on today, that's there for you, too."
While Crossover's obviously going to feature a number of recognisable character archetypes (though not necessarily the exact characters one knows from other comics), the series is set to focus on a Ellie, a comic bookshop employee whose life is upended when Crossover's inciting event pulls fictional realities into hers. By making its central character a member of the comics industry, Crossover hammers home an important message about the series that Cates emphasised. Crossover's as much about its characters making their way through a strange world as it is the book's creative team navigating the real world of comics.
"I mean, the idea that we're essentially following a bunch of creator-owned characters trying to survive in a world where everything around them is dominated by superheroes speaks volumes about our need as independent artists to make a stake and and try and be as loud as the loudest Marvel and DC book out there," Cates said.
Crossover #1 hits stores this November.