Friday, January 1, 2010

Late Comic Books: Unspeakable Atrocity or Unforgivable Sin?

As you can probably tell from the title above, I am not a big fan of one of the more pervasive problems in the comic book industry. I am speaking of course about late comic books.
Now, I'm not talking about when a book misses a ship date by a couple of weeks. Quite frankly, at that point, it's often due to last minute editorial changes and/or problems at the printer/ distributor.
Wha I do loathe , however. is when the writer or artist of a series decides that it would be OK to take a long break. That often means months or years passing in between issues of the comic. This isn't a problem for comics like Fell or Global Frequency that tell a self-contained story each issue.
The problem occurs when comics tell long -form story arcs. A realtively recent example is the comic book, The End League. The comic tells the story of the last group of superheroes on Earth on a post-apoclayptic world where the villains won. With an extremmely large cast of characters, the story contained multiple plot threads that were all finally woven together for a satisfying conclusion.
Or at least, I think they were. You see, by the time, one plot thread became important I had all ready forgotten about it due to the moths long delay between issues. I often found myself digging through back issues in order to find out where a particular character came from.
Thats the problem with late books. Sure, some people say that it's worth the wait so that the writers and artists can produce the best product possible. The problem is with monthly 22 page comic books there's not really enough product to justify the wait. Most comics take no more then ten minutes to read. Ten minutes after a protracted wait is not satisfying. Instead, it leaves me feeling cheated. Like I just wasted my time. This means I am less likely to pick up work by the writer or artist in the future. That's not something the shrinking comic book market can afford.

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