Friday, November 12, 2010

JMS Leaves The Floppies: World Yawns

Tom wonders, in his usual way, over at the Comics Reporter, whether J. Michael Straczynski leaving the monthly Wonder Woman and Superman is a vote of no-confidence in the monthly books. Other, of course, have picked up on this and will make it a small meme for about 5 minutes.

I mention this because, really, most of us have given up on the monthlies in a big way. Marvel and DC regularly put out story arcs designed to be collected into the trades which have a longer shelf life anyway. So, of course, the format is dictating the content. Which is always has done. All of us older comics readers got addicted to the monthly format of 22 page stories from an early age, and that's how we "see" comics. It pushes our buttons for what we're used to. People who came to alterna-comics via Groening or Carol Lay are going to look for the weekly comics fix in their local paper. Unlike the writer of books, who are going to write chapters solely on how long the chapter needs to be, the comic writer chapter is going to have to give you 22 page chapters for their story arc.

And you know what? There is a reason that more sophisticated work is being done long form in the Graphic Novel format. While I'm annoyed that Straczynski can't finish his damn work, but that he keeps getting work, I loved his Thor. Best version of Thor in 20 years, so yes, I put up with it to get a comic that i enjoyed the hell out of. But the pacing for the story that he was writing would have been better outside of the 22 page format. Each month we ended at a strange place in the rhythm of the story and had to pick it up 30 or 60 days later. I would much rather have read a great Thor Graphic Novel.

Yes, the floppies are dead, they just don't know it yet. No, Straczynski's leaving has to do with his inability to make deadlines. Yes, his parting bon mot is just about right. Leave your comments below.


Alex Sheikman said...

Monthly issues is one thing that I continue to struggle with...if all stories are now written to be collected in 4-5 issue collection and are meant to be read as one graphic novel, why buy the monthly issues? The collections are around $15 the individual issues are $3-4 (for 4-5 issues...$12-20)...might as well just wait for the trade. The hardest is breaking the habit of going to the comic shop every week :)

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

true, it is a hard habit, but the reading of the trades is so much more satisfying that i'm addicted to it now.