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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Absorbascon, a comics blog that I visit everyday, has a good article about decompression in comics. The author, Scipio, basically states that "Slow storytelling means fast reading; fast storytelling means slow reading. The first is boring; the second is exciting."

I agree. Most single issues of comic books nowadays have long, drawn out stories that run for six issues when in times past, it could fit into one or two issues. I guess we can blame the trade paperback market for that. But, isn't single issue stories also worth collecting into trades? Like what Scipio argues, those Showcase volumes from DC and Essentials from Marvel sell very well, even though they have mostly compressed stories.

I am mostly a DC fan. This is because when I first started reading and buying comics, most DC comics had done-in-one issue stories, as opposed to Marvel who's stories usually took two to three issues to be resolved. This was way back when National Bookstore had those reprints which usually sell for Php1.75 (an expensive purchase during those days, especially for a 5-year old kid like me). Comic shops were nonexistent, and it's hard to track down consecutive issues.

Even up until the mid-80s, DC comics were mostly self-contained stories, so I had no trouble following them, while Marvel still had multi-part stories. of course, I still bought some Marvel comics, especially those done by John Byrne (Yep, I'm a big Byrne fan), but those were few and far between. By then, I didn't mind if I got the whole story or not, because at this time of my life I was mostly collecting for the art and not the writing.

But now, I've become a reader again, much like my younger days, and I hate it when I don't read a story from beginning to end. That's why it's a turn-off to start collecting new titles, since I don't want to start reading in the middle. And, also, it's getting to be quite expensive.

Anyway, I've gotten quite a bit off track with the decompression topic, haven't I? I guess the point I'm making is decompression turns off new readers, and even some old readers like me. I dropped the new Moon Knight series after the first arc because it was excruciatingly slow. I had dropped JLofA, but picked it up again because of the crossover with JSA. But after that, I'm dropping it again. That's the effect decompression has on me. I want to get my money's worth, not pay for six comics when the story inside is only worth two.


Anonymous said...

A lot of the things he said stroked me the wrong way though, pero he does have a point. Though filmic devices do work, they woulden't keep doing it if it wasn't working. I think it's too biased to think that all readers would read like the way he reads. There are plenty of comics that use the film style to awesome results, Scud the disposable assasin is practically the perfect synthesis of comic and film and surrealism and action. haha. The problem isn't decompression, it's that people arent putting enough panels in each page. Though I do see his point on trade paperbacks, hell even Warren Ellis wants to take comics back to compression. Nakakatawa na kahit yung proponent ng decompression nasuya sa pauso nya. PEro trends always backfire in the end, better to stir things up always, rather than following formulas for the sake of immediate success, that's why underground comics appeal to me so much. _josel

dodo dayao said...

I sort of agree - - - if we're talking about the Big Two ,at least. Decompression really is nothing but padding because padding means revenue - - -just look at Mark Millar and that bestselling seven issue prologue he calls Civil War.

In both disciplines, what's crucial is what you do with your page count. Compare, say, the seven issues of Civil War, which felt like it should have ended after four, and the 52 issues of 52, which felt like it could have used another 25 issues for its sheer density of story and ideas. Or maybe the one-standalone-story per-issue-format of Warren Ellis's Fell. Or better yet, manga - - currently into 139 of the 249 issue run of 20th century Boys and I get the same satisfcation from every issue as I do fom every panel of Fell as in not a single one feels wasted and unnecessary. Naoki Urasawa uses his insane page count for effects the Michael Bays of the comic world might not have any use for - - -nuance, versimilitude, immersion, character development and pure, uncut story.

End of the day, though, it's all economics. Which is why I buy Fell , torrent manga and tradewait for the rest. :-)

Reno said...

Kadalasan kasi sumosobra na ang decompression. Tulad nung isang New Avengers issue na nakuha ko (buti libre lang). Almost half of the issue we're all splash pages of a meteor falling to Earth. Ano ba yun??!?!? Isang page lang tapos na ang sequence na iyon dapat. OA, kung baga.

Reno said...

Buwiset. Mali tuloy grammar ko. yung "were" naging "we're." :P

Anonymous said...

yung sinabi nya kaseng ibang devices na dont work daw? Yung wordless panels naman when done right offer a real passage of moment naman e. Ayos lang po yan ser, grammar is for teh boids. heheh


Randy P. Valiente said...

tingnan mo to...


Reno said...

Randy, gaya-gaya yun! COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!!! Ay... di pala puwede. Di naman naka-copyright itong blog ko. :P