Marvel shipping schedule set to pound the crap out of reader, pocketbook

Today’s shipping list is a little light for me – DC’s Justice League of America alongside Marvel’s Ultimate X-Men and X-Factor. A pretty calm week and looking at next week, I found I will need the rest up.

DC remains calm – only Teen Titans will be coming out. Marvel, on the other hand, has Fantastic Four, Immortal Iron Fist, Mighty Avengers, New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimates 3, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine: First Class, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Legacy, and Young Avengers Presents. That’s 11 Marvel books (and I’m still deciding whether I want to get Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers – I’ll probably wait and see if they do something like they did for Civil War).

Perhaps you think I simply had an unlucky week, but look at it like this: both Avengers books are coming out on the same week. One would assume that you would have them coming out two weeks aside from each other so you get an Avengers book every other week, but apparently that is not in the cards.

Also, there are five X-Men books coming out this week (I don’t read Wolverine: Origins). By my count, the whole X-Men line consists of 13 titles (if you include Astonishing X-Men which rarely comes out and New Exiles which really isn’t an X-Men book). Both of the main X-Men titles (Uncanny and Legacy) are coming out on the same day, as are two of the three Wolverine titles. Keep in mind that three are coming out today, and you have eight titles – three short of the consistent titles in the line – are out in two weeks. There’s no reason to bunch up so many titles at once.

I don’t often defend DC, but I’ll give them this: with some exceptions here and there, they get their books out consistently on schedule. Certain titles are first week, second week and so on and they usually remain there month after month. Marvel has more of a “put them out whenever” schedule, so it’s always a crap shoot whether a title you’re looking for shows up on the schedule or not.

But once again I feel the need to move past bitching and defend my point. How would I fix the X-Men scheduling system? Let’s take a look:

There are 13 titles on the X-Men line: Uncanny X-Men, X-Men Legacy, Young X-Men, and X-Factor make up the main storyline titles. X-Force and New Exiles are in their own little worlds which don’t get mentioned too often in the main titles. Wolverine, Wolverine: Origins, and Cable are solo books based on X-Men characters. X-Men: First Class, Wolverine: First Class, and Ultimate X-Men are not in main continuity, and Astonishing X-Men is kind of an addendum title that is the award-winner when it feels like coming out. And in case you were wondering, I do not consider Captain Britain & MI-13 to be an X-Men book. It’s almost a Marvel Knights title.

Considering these books to all be monthly in a four-week standard month, I’d place the four main books in separate weeks, with Uncanny and Legacy two weeks apart from one another. This schedule was followed during Endangered Species and Messiah CompleX and I greatly enjoyed the line’s consistency. So you have the following:

Week 1: Uncanny X-Men
Week 2: Young X-Men
Week 3: X-Men: Legacy
Week 4: X-Factor

Since weeks 2 and 4 are a little lighter, more for the dedicated X-Men reader, I’d toss the spin-off team books there to thicken them up a bit:

Week 1: Uncanny X-Men
Week 2: Young X-Men, New Exiles
Week 3: X-Men: Legacy
Week 4: X-Factor, X-Force

Tossing in the side solo books, I would want to keep the two Wolverine titles separate from one another, as to keep the density of the character down, yet I still run into the problem of putting two out in one week, as Wolverine is also in both Uncanny and X-Force. But alas, such cannot be helped. Cable I toss onto week 3, as I think weeks two and four have enough blood and angst with Young X-Men and X-Force:

Week 1: Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine: Origins
Week 2: Young X-Men, New Exiles
Week 3: X-Men: Legacy, Wolverine, Cable
Week 4: X-Factor, X-Force

Three more titles to go to even out the weeks at three X-Books a piece, we’ll try to balance the titles. X-Men: First Class and Ultimate can go into weeks 2 and 4 to give each week an X-Men team book, and Wolverine: First Class will finish the stack:

Week 1: Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine: Origins, Wolverine: First Class
Week 2: Young X-Men, New Exiles, Ultimate X-Men
Week 3: X-Men: Legacy, Wolverine, Cable
Week 4: X-Factor, X-Force, X-Men: First Class

But I’ve made a mistake. On week 1, I’ve put two Wolverine books. This is an easy fix, as First Class is an out-of-continuity book, I’ll simply switch it with the almost non-X-book, New Exiles for my final shipping pile:

Week 1: Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine: Origins, New Exiles
Week 2: Young X-Men, Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine: First Class
Week 3: X-Men: Legacy, Wolverine, Cable
Week 4: X-Factor, X-Force, X-Men: First Class

So where do you put Astonishing on the event that it actually does come out? I left week 3 as the only week that does not have two team-books for just that purpose, and it is two weeks away from the other main X-Men team book, Uncanny.

So there you have it – a balanced X-Men schedule. On months with a fifth week, you can fill the gap with annuals or the dreaded needless one-shot issues. How would you balance your favorite comic-family schedule?

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One comment

  1. Mine would be very easy to balance…Week 1: Amazing Spider-ManWeek 2: Amazing Spider-ManWeek 3: Amazing Spider-ManWeek 4: Ultimate Spider-ManIt doesn’t always work out that way, but even when it doesn’t it’s still only two books a week. And considering the number of one shots they’ve got lined up, I might as well have weekly Wolverine titles on my list as well.

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