Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University. This week, Thorne talks about the uptick in the number of comic events and Kickstarter campaigns being launched in 2022. 

Sometimes I wonder if publishers in the comic industry ever look at each other’s schedules. Granted, they probably can't cooperate (as that is collusion), but geez, maybe try not step so hard on each other’s toes? Maybe a few less events?  Some of the comic publishers would be well advised to consider what an event actually is.

Marvel just wrapped up its Darkhold and Devil’s Reign series, and without a breather, has moved on into the Avengers/X-men/Eternals crossover, Judgement Day plus the Hellfire Gala storyline. There are probably some crossovers I have missed. Meanwhile over at DC, the Batman Shadow War storyline wraps up this month, only to push into Dark Crisis next month. It used to be that an event was just that, an event. It ran across several issues, typically during the summer months, and then wrapped up, with a new event starting up the following summer. Now, it appears comic publishers are hooked on the sales bump they get from multi-issue events. Combine that with the sales bump they see from introducing a new character, with the potential to become the next hot property, and I can see continued overload continuing for the next few years.

Meanwhile, in the games industry, while we do not see the same “hot property syndrome” as is prevalent in the comic industry, we have a “Kickstarter addiction”. This is something I am starting to see more in the comic industry, but it appears more common among game publishers. After all, what small game publisher in their right mind would turn down the flood of cash and accompanying publicity from a successful Kickstarter? I can think of several publishers that have successfully published products for a couple of decades that should have enough money to go ahead and publish product they think will prove successful instead of going the Kickstarter route.

I remember talking with a publisher at a GAMA Trade Show a few years ago, discussing their upcoming Kickstarter campaign. When I asked “Why run a Kickstarter?” given the company’s successful track record releasing games over the previous several years that should have given them a more than adequate pool of equity from which to draw, they agreed that it wasn't about the cash. The company did not need the money from the campaign to publish the game. They wanted the publicity that came with launching a successful Kickstarter. In fact, the company had even posted an absurdly low goal for the campaign, guaranteeing the project would fund and the company could announce that the campaign had blown past the goal by a sizable percentage, generating more publicity. 

From a marketing perspective, it is a good idea. The more attention you can attract to your product, the more copies you can expect to sell. However, it rather goes against the purpose of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and similar platforms, which is to give people with an idea a place to go to get funding to bring their idea to fruition. An already successful publisher does not need this funding and by using a crowdfunding platform, it sucks up a lot of the “oxygen in the room” and pulls attention away from the small creator. As it is, the small companies need all the attention they can get.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of