Guess I don't wave to wash the car now right?
Comics as a medium has a lot of options in storytelling. One of the biggest decisions to make as a writer is the scale of your story. This is a tricky situation because if you go to small your story gets cramped. You go too long and it can get slow. You don't want to leave cool, important stuff out, but at the same time you don't want to beat your reader's head in with every last detail.
Quick overview of what we have to play with.
*One shot. This is a story that takes one issue to tell. Very accessible to readers. (ex: GLOBAL FREQUENCY, EMIKO SUPERSTAR)
*Short arc. Story that takes about two to four issues to tell. Either inside an existing ongoing title or as a stand along mini-series. (ex: THE SKYROCKET, "Days of Future's Past" for UNCANNY X-MEN)
*Longer arc. Takes about six issues. Often done in the Geoff Johns write-to-the-trade model. (ex: BLACKEST NIGHT, "Terminal Velocity" from THE FLASH)
*Mega-arc. Number of issues approaches or hits double digits. (ex: CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS)
*Long form. This story takes place over years of issues, typically a 'run' by a particular writer. Often contains arcs of various lengths. (ex: Grant Morrison's BATMAN storyline, TRANSMETROPOLITAN)
Problems arise when forces aside from the writer attempt to monkey with things. This brings us to editing. Editing, done properly, means identifying areas of the story that need a bit of reworking. Sometimes that means cutting a scene that's kind filler and not important. Sometimes it means having the writer go back to add something to the story. A good editor streamlines things to make sure that the story is the best it can be and told well.
And then there's the bad editing. This is things like butchering a story because of their personal vision, or making demands of the a writer to do something that's just wrong for the story. Let's take the aforementioned Morrison Batman story. Morrison is busy telling this grand story and a major chapter in the story catches the eye of a particular editor. The chapter is R.I.P. which gets the editor all excited because he wants to know how Batman dies. After repeated explanations that Batman does not die in the story the editor tells Morrison to end the story with a helicopter crash creating the illusion that Batman dies.
Why do this?
To turn this into an 'event'. The type of event that means the editor can go to writers of other books and tell them to include stories reflecting the events of the event. The results are a bunch of books about the apparent death of Batman reflected from the story in which nothing of the like happened. It becomes stupid in that you have all these different books which don't add to the narrative they're being forcibly tied to, AND what they are referencing is false. The tie-ins gave the impression that Batman was gone for a significant amount of time when in fact he got home the next morning.
There's also storylines that get stretched out to try to sell books, but really need to just run their course. A writer gets an idea for something that would be cool for a couple of issues, but that gets stretched into much longer arcs in an attempt to cash in. This forces the writer to try to make his idea interesting to the point that is can sustain running longer. Unfortunately this typically leads to just jumping the shark and turning off readers.
Editing is not a simple job. You've got to stay objective and in touch with both the storytellers and the readership. Most important, you've got to put aside a lot of your personal biases and do what's right for the project. Let the story come out properly instead of making demands for crap that just won't work. That's how we got COUNTDOWN.
I would like to personally thank Paul Cornell for making my week in comic book reading awesome.
COMBAT SPOON!!! GIANT COMBAT SPOON WIELDED BY A GIANT MONKEY!!!
THIS IS BY FAR MY BESTEST NERDY WEEK EVER!!
Yes, ACTION COMICS #893 hit the shelves this week, and Paul Cornell rules this book so hard that I never want Superman to star in it ever again, I just want Lex Luthor and his sidekick Robo-Lois to stomp around all over the DCU and awesome forever and ever. This time Lex is up against Super Gorilla Grodd... and his Combat Spoon. The Missus is curious if Luthor expected this as he expected the Cowboy Caterpillar Crisis.
I want a Combat Spoon so freaking bad I might explode.
And yes I know gorillas are not monkeys and are an entirely different species, but I don't really care because monkeys are inherently funny.
Lex continues his quest for a Power Ring, and gets some results, as well as gets shot.
On a side note: I'm pretty sure I prefer Robo-Lois to real Lois at this point.
Yes, this has been my most disjointed review of anything to date, but I'm having trouble forming coherent sentences in the face of the awesome.
Pulling it together for a moment this issue is getting a bit of extra notice from folks due to the new back up feature starring Jimmy Olson. Its not Jimmy drawing folks in so much as its the official induction of SMALLVILLE character Chloe Sullivan in the DCU continuity. Fortunately, the story isn't just a fluff piece hoping to get by on the Chloe inclusion, its a pretty cool bit. What does Superman's pal do when Superman is off being lame? He gets up off the couch and starts being interesting. I'm very interested to see where this is going.
On over to DETECTIVE COMICS #869 and the fake Joker story continues. Honestly, this story his pretty much run its course. There's another issue to go after this and if the Fake Joker and the Fake Batman are not the same person I don't know anymore. That's the only way this story can not be a random mess. Sure, Fake Batman might be one of the cops, but that just makes the whole thing too random. This story is full of continuity holes to the point of I've shoved it off to the Hine-verse where it can't touch anything else to confuse me. I like Scott McDaniel's art. I know there's a lot of people who don't, but I loved his NIGHTWING run and I like his Bat-stuff. Its definitely not for everyone, but I was the best thing about the book for me.
Last up is FIRST WAVE #4 and I don't know why I'm not into this book more. Brian Azzarello is a great writer, and is doing this book well. I love Rags Morales's art. I dig the characters. I'm looking past batman using guns as best I can. For some reason this series isn't coming together for me, which sucks because it's not a bad book at all. I think this book will read beter once I have all the issues and can read them in one sitting. Some stories are just better read that way. Still, The Spirit is fun, Doc Savage is pretty damned tough, there's plenty of action, and a good mystery going. I'm still on board.
Privacy is an important thing. Its something that is to be protected. People routinely give up their privacy online in the popularity contest that is social media. Still, its their choice and they bear the brunt of the responsibility for what they put online. So when two assholes used a webcam to out a student online its serious. Its even more serious in that the outed student jumped off a bridge.
What the two students did was illegal. They videoed the guy without consent having sex. That charge carries jail time and I hope the judge throws the book at them. There's a lot being made of this by the gay community saying its bullying and making a big out cry over it. They're justified. This deserves attention.
I don't care about this guy getting outed so much as I care about his privacy being violated. If he wanted to be discrete with his sexuality, that's his prerogative. But we live in a world where cameras are everywhere. Its not even security cameras anymore. Cameras are on computers. The cheapest cell phones have cameras. Anything you say and do can be recorded. You can see my front yard on Google maps complete with my car. Discretion in these times is important. I'm not saying the poor guy who was the victim of this incident is at fault in any way, but there's an important lesson to be learned here.
Keep your eyes open for the eyes that may be on you.
I see stories like this pop up every few years. Exo-skeleton, often created by military R&D, which get compared to the Ironman armor despite not being as shiny. Still, its pretty neat.
In a world where "artists" can have so much style that it can be mistaken for actual substance its good to have some artists that can recognize important things. Like three words being the watermark for the human experience.
That's all for today. Have a good weekend. I'm going to make my Christmas list, and ask Santa for a Combat Spoon.