Jun 10, 2019

Season-Ticket Concepts

There are generally three elements that will entice a potential reader into buying a comic; the concept, the creative team, or the character. For me, if two out of the three are satisfied, than I’m definitely going to check it out. Three out of three is when it seems like it was made specifically for you as a reader. However, for every fan there are those creators, characters, or concepts that are appealing enough on their own to make you buy a comic. Today, I’m going to list my top “season ticket” concepts.

Back Issue Ben's Top 10 Season Ticket Concepts
Ben Smith

Sportswriter Bill Simmons came up with the idea of a “season ticket actor” to describe an actor that was an automatic purchase for you any time they were in a new movie. (For the non-sports fans, season tickets are when a fan purchases an entire seasons worth of tickets in-advance, so they’re sure to have at least the option of attending every home game of their favorite team.) For example, if you’re such a big Denzel Washington fan that you will automatically see any movie he’s in, he’s a “season ticket” actor for you.

If we apply this to comic books, there are probably certain story ideas you like so much, you’ll buy any new comic with that concept, regardless of character or creative team. You may not keep buying it, depending on the quality, but you’ll give it that one automatic chance or even stick with it longer than you would have in any other situation.

Here’s my list of 5.


The pinnacle of crossovers were the early DC and Marvel crossovers, but there have been many fun ones over the years. It’s always fun when the Ninja Turtles meet Usagi Yojimbo, or The Punisher Meets Archie, or Transformers and G.I. Joe. Universewide crossovers that I’ve loved are Secret Wars, Acts of Vengeance, and Civil War. There’s inter-title crossovers like Maximum Carnage and Spider-Island. I won’t deny that the big event crossovers have been overdone in recent years, but there have been plenty of fun stories that have come out of crossovers.


I wasn’t always the biggest fan of multiverse stories because my first thought when it comes to alternate universes is DC’s, and I find theirs boring. Yet, in recent years, stories like Spider-Verse and Turtles Forever have shown the possibilities of several established versions of a character meeting each other.


The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon may not have done much well, but they did master the art of the globe-spanning multi-team adventure. Usually there was some device or rare elements scattered across the globe, forcing the Joe and Cobra teams to split up and fight each other in extreme environments, like the ocean, arctic, or jungle. It was perfectly suited to the strengths of the toy line, which had specialist characters for any climate. In comics, this was the staple of Bronze Age Justice League comics under Len Wein. The Avengers/Defenders War did this, along with JLA/Avengers and many more.


I love when a hero suddenly finds themself head-to-head against a villain they didn’t plan for, a villain they probably shouldn’t be able to beat alone. It’s a staple of Spider-Man comics, with the best example probably being Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut. Other examples that come to mind are Katara alone against Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender (or Aang vs the Fire Lord for that matter) or Nova against Annihilus in Annihilation. This can also be the last hero standing story, like when Batman was the only Justice Leaguer left against the Hyperclan.


Death has certainly become an overused story device in comics over the years, but I have to say, it still works for me a lot of the time. The deaths of Gwen Stacy and Barry Allen remain my two favorite stories, but even recent deaths like Captain America, Spider-Man, or Johnny Storm have made for some great stories, or at least a great moment. Iron Fist was a pretty dumb death, but it affected me all the same. Phoenix, Vindicator, Harry Osborn, Jason Todd; there have been many classic comics based on the death of a major character, and I’m there for it every time.

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