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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default CBR: Permanent Damage - Oct 8, 2008

    Dedicated followers of fashion, and how they impact the comics business creatively and commercially; more graphic story reviews; what's so funny about peace, love and presidential debates; plus Australia's gift to artists and tons more.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Master of All I Survey
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    Decompression is a main reason why I stopped buying new comics (Marvel and DC particularly). Not enough going on in any one issue to keep my attention. Makes titles very easy to drop from boredom.

    I tried to shift to just buying the trades, but they lag so far behind that they feel "old" the moment they arrive. Much of the weekly habit is keeping abreast, and being right on the edge of your seat with everybody else. With decompression, the only anticipation is "will anything happen this month?"; and with the trades, the story's already out and done with by the time the trade is out. Reading trades feels like you're just trying to keep up. Not everyone feels this way, but it has impacted my interest in them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Buzz Dixon's Avatar
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    Decompression doesn't bother me. Boring me bothers me. Tell me a fascinating tale about paint drying and I'll buy it. Give me pages of fast moving crap I've seen before and I'll move on.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz Dixon View Post
    Decompression doesn't bother me. Boring me bothers me. Tell me a fascinating tale about paint drying and I'll buy it. Give me pages of fast moving crap I've seen before and I'll move on.
    I 100% agree. It's not how much plot happens, but do I care about what is happening?

  5. #5
    Member Brother Zag's Avatar
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    But... but... listening to Paul Weller and the Jam makes you infinitely better (not JUST innately) than if you listen to Duffy!

    slightly related... (speaking of Duffy, who's channeling Ronnie) I hear Ronnie Spector is covering Amy Winehouse tunes on her new tour... guess it all comes around
    Free downloads and more about me and my books at
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  6. #6

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    While the country is unlikely to get resale payments for artists at the federal level in the near future, they exist at the state level in one state: California (which you gotta admit is the most vital state for such things.)

    If I was the Kirby estate, I'd've been watching original art sales at San Diego verrrry carefully.

  7. #7

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    I think it's worth noting that the concept of decompression primarily exists in relation to pamphlets. The writers employing it are mostly really just using the standard Hollywood narrative style and applying it to comics - though it's tough to draw a perfect 1:1 comparison; the size of the frame tends to remain static in film where there are no splash pages. But novels tend unfold at a similar pace as well.

    So if this isn't something we have a problem with in other media - and this style of comic is in fact frequently borrowing from them (how often do "decompressed" comics employ widescreen panels?) why is it an issue here?

    The most general answer given is that it comes down to value proposition - the reader's waited a month and wants a resolution and a fresh cliffhanger, and might feel cheated to only receive what feels like a story fragment.

    But if you take that artificial monthly division away, does decompression still matter? I would argue that in a longer format it becomes an asset, allowing the writer to explore the characters and events more fully.

    Moreover - doesn't a resistance to decompression suggest that monthly comics have somehow commodified plot points? Because if Bendis writes an issue of Daredevil where Matt Murdock just walks down the street then eats at his favourite diner without ever getting around to going after the Kingpin, but fills it with several pages of dense dialogue (and he has done this), does that somehow hold less perceived value than if a quarter as much was said, but a clear-cut ABAC pattern of villain appearance/conflict -> secret identity scene -> conflict -> resolution happens in a single issue (as it did in say, most golden & silver age books)? The implication seems to be that plot is "writing", while dialogue is merely discursive meandering.

    Some writers clearly do use it to pad out their stories, but that manifests as an abuse of decompression, and I don't feel it's endemic to the form itself. Decompressed comics have managed to tell a full narrative arc in a single issue (Planetary, for example).

    I don't think it's a fad; I think decompression rose in conjunction with the emergence of the graphic novel market as a concretized entity, and in fact plots may become even more dissipated as the omnibus form now looms over the trade paperback market as the collected trade does the monthly pamphlet. It's also based on a film style that if anything is expanding in length as theatres try to lure patrons with the promise of more entertainment hours for their dollar; this also may generate a sympathetic effect in comics.

  8. #8

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    Widescreen panels don't necessitate decompression. Alex Toth used them in CRIME AND PUNISHMENT 66 without any sort of decompression; if anything they amplified the tension by forcing information into a more concentrated mode. I used them in BADLANDS years before the whole decompression thing ever really came up here, and I don't think BADLANDS is especially decompressed. The element doesn't equal the effect, the effect is what you make it.

    I'm currently trying to work out how to do supercompressed stories.

    - Grant

  9. #9
    Junior Member Imaginos666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Grant View Post
    Widescreen panels don't necessitate decompression. Alex Toth used them in CRIME AND PUNISHMENT 66 without any sort of decompression; if anything they amplified the tension by forcing information into a more concentrated mode. I used them in BADLANDS years before the whole decompression thing ever really came up here, and I don't think BADLANDS is especially decompressed. The element doesn't equal the effect, the effect is what you make it.

    I'm currently trying to work out how to do supercompressed stories.

    - Grant
    Family Circus?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaginos666 View Post
    Family Circus?
    I said stories, not soporifics.

    - Grant

  11. #11
    Junior Member Imaginos666's Avatar
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    I was going to say The Far Side, but thought Family Circus was funnier.

    All this talk about compression/decompression reminds me of my problems with Dick Tracy as a kid. I liked the concept and the characters, but I could never muster the attention needed to follow a story by reading three panels a day.

    I think compression will soon fall by the wayside because they are uneconomical. With comics rising to $4 an issue, who can afford to spend $16-$24 to get a single story?

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