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  1. #31

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    It might be harder for the writers to do 20 pages instead of 22 because it will force them to tell the story more efficiently. I'm tired of reading a 7 issue story that could have been told in 5 or 6. All of the extra character moments are kind of wasteful. Don't mean to sound like an old fart, but the basic characteristics of superheroes like Spider-Man, the Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Cyclops, etc. were established in the 1960s/1970s when many stories were told in one, two, or three issues. The characteristics came out in the midst of a tightly-plotted story, not in multiple pages set aside for talking heads...

  2. #32
    Junior Member obii's Avatar
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    I think most complaints about decrompressed writing comes from the superhero genre.

    For Veritgo, I am surprised that they did not charge $4 as they are still have the best stories for the money.

    And if you planned a 5 parter with 110 pages you can then decide to stay on 5 parts with 100 pages or write a 6 parter with 120 pages.

    The waiting time of 5 or 6 months is not that much a difference as long as you tell a good story.

  3. #33
    Indelible Tenacious_AA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obii View Post
    I think most complaints about decrompressed writing comes from the superhero genre.

    For Veritgo, I am surprised that they did not charge $4 as they are still have the best stories for the money.

    And if you planned a 5 parter with 110 pages you can then decide to stay on 5 parts with 100 pages or write a 6 parter with 120 pages.

    The waiting time of 5 or 6 months is not that much a difference as long as you tell a good story.
    I agree with Obii, you could always just expand instead of condense.
    The cut off point from one issue to the next is what would be tricky.

  4. #34
    Resident Fanboy Erik Larsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RunIago View Post
    I am a little, hmmm, perhaps "put off" is too strong, but maybe a little nervous by the comment "I can almost guarantee you it takes Warren Ellis and Matt Fraction a lot longer to write their 16 page issues of Fell and Casanova than it does any of their 22 page comics." Perhaps it was unintentional but to me the implication is that some creators put more effort and and story into certain efforts than into others (as in mainstream comics).
    It actually takes more discipline and effort to be succinct and concise than to ramble. Paring a story down to the effective essentials is lost on a lot of writers used to having more space to play with. It's like realizing just how big word balloons are and how few words can fit in them without them being these massive white blobs that blot out all the artwork beneath. I don't think he's saying that Warren Ellis and Matt Fraction put more effort into their creator-owned stuff but rather--dealing with limited space presents its own challenges and those challenges can make work more difficult. A 16-page story can take as long to write--or longer--than a 22-page story.
    Last edited by Erik Larsen; 12-09-2010 at 11:03 AM.
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  5. #35
    Sith Lord DarthCommenter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    Comics were 20-pages long for years. Most of the issues of Stan and Jack's FF and Thor were 20 pages as were Stan and Steve's Spider-Man (and Stan and John's for that matter). And there was a long while books were shorter still--at one point new comics had just 17-pages of story--most of those Claremont/Byrne/Austin X-Men comics were 17-pages long. Years earlier it was typical to have several stories in a comic book and 15 pages would be considered a long one. A 22-page story is a relatively recent development (it's been in place as long as I've been in comics but still, given the history of the medium, my 28-years is a tick of the clock) and generations have managed to make due with considerably fewer pages (and almost no continued stories).

    It may not be a big time saver for the writer to write 20 pages as opposed to 22 but for an artist--it sure is. 22 is an awkward number of pages to schedule--at 20 an artist can do a page a day and bang through an issue in a month--that extra two always makes things messy in one week or another--and if two pages means saving $1--well, that's not a hard pill to swallow at all. I think what we'll find is that artists will have an easier time making deadlines and that will result in fewer fill-in issues and more consistency and that's a big plus. All things considered--I think it's the right move to make.

    My 2Ę as a fellow funnybook creator.
    Does this mean you are thinking of going to 20 pages and dropping Savage Dragon back down to $2.99 Öhmmm???? PLEASE, PLEASE.

    SD is the only book Iím currently buying for more than $2.99. And Iíve made a personal pact not to buy any $3.99 books (Sorry Wheel of Time, Irredeemable, Incorruptible, Uncanny X-men, Spider-man, I really wanted to keep reading you.) I know you guys all run different studios at Image, but donít think I havenít noticed those $3.99 Top Cow books or Marineman launching at $3.99. What a disappointment. The $2.99 revolution has begun! Finally! I hope Image is not left behind.

    The bright side of dropping all those books is I am now able to add 8 new books by only dropping 5 (Spiderman counts as 2 books). Iíve started to read your book again (I have no idea whatís going on, BTW, but Iíll stick with it), Iím going to try Chew, Iíve added three new Bat-books, and Lady Mechanika just looks awesome.

  6. #36
    Resident Fanboy Erik Larsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthCommenter View Post
    Does this mean you are thinking of going to 20 pages and dropping Savage Dragon back down to $2.99 Öhmmm???? PLEASE, PLEASE.
    I can't. Sales do not permit that to happen. Unfortunately my choice is a $3.50 cover price or cancellation. I try to make it worth its cover price by jamming in more cool stuff--back up stories, letters pages and pinups--so there are generally MORE than 22-pages of stuff in the book--but I can't reduce the cover price. If the audience suddenly doubled--sure--gladly--but I can't afford to cut it at this point (and no--sales won't double if I cut the cover price--I know better than that).
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  7. #37
    RecessionBornSuperVillain deathcry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenacious_AA View Post
    I agree with Obii, you could always just expand instead of condense.
    The cut off point from one issue to the next is what would be tricky.
    What you guys are saying was my first thought too... just add 10 more pages to the story instead of subtracting. I am sure that is easier said than done in some cases.
    I am not a writer, but my thought is that ANY size monthly can be restricting for some of your stories. Also, I would think it's not an easy thing to write for both a monthly 20 or 22 pager and a trade thats 4 to 6 of those chapters, but have to hit the beats of the monthly mag. Some stories probably want to be told in shorter versions, some in longer. But thats the genre and all the things mentioned, particularly artists and price points, have to create some kind of limitation.
    I think, as a reader, I'd prefer more pages for that extra $1, with two teams doing stories, and they can negotiate maybe the page count split between them. (Yes this is similar to what DC was doing, but not exactly).
    To the part about stories that "matter". I think it's nice to be tied into a bigger picture, but I now tend to find that if the story itself is good, I care less about whether every little bit of continuity fits. I can think of some cases where this wasn't the case, but I wouldn't not buy a book because it didn't "matter" to the on-going continuity or whatever

  8. #38
    Ben L FunkyGreenJerusalem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    I don't think he's saying that Warren Ellis and Matt Fraction put more effort into their creator-owned stuff but rather--dealing with limited space presents its own challenges and those challenges can make work more difficult. A 16-page story can take as long to write--or longer--than a 22-page story.
    Both Cassanova and Fell actually feel longer than most books with a higher page count, so it shouldn't be a surprise they are harder to write.

    I'd love it if it became the industry norm to write like that - or going further, take it to the Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter style!
    Give me three plot beats per page, and make me feel like I've read an entire arc in the space of eight pages!
    It'd probably lead to many mental breakdowns and RSI's across the industry, as people tried to cram that all in month after month, but I don't care, I'm selfish!

    Quote Originally Posted by jediracer View Post
    I sincerely doubt that will happen. And if that's what DC's intention was, they are delusional.
    Sales have clearly gone down at the 'big two' since the prices went up, so why wouldn't they expect greater sales by bringing them back down?

    And even though DC hasn't made the changes line wide yet, their market percentage was very close to Marvel's in November*, even if Marvel made much more money from not that many more books sold.
    How long can Marvel keep slipping and still expect to be making more money?


    *I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that it's not just the price difference that helped - that was about the best month of Batman books the character has ever had!
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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    It actually takes more discipline and effort to be succinct and concise than to ramble. Paring a story down to the effective essentials is lost on a lot of writers used to having more space to play with. It's like realizing just how big word balloons are and how few words can fit in them without them being these massive white blobs that blot out all the artwork beneath. I don't think he's saying that Warren Ellis and Matt Fraction put more effort into their creator-owned stuff but rather--dealing with limited space presents its own challenges and those challenges can make work more difficult. A 16-page story can take as long to write--or longer--than a 22-page story.
    I'm a children's musician but I also write other songs and many of my friends are children's writers who write other stuff as well (articles/other books) and we all nearly think it's harder & more time consuming to write something short that's good (so a children's song or picture book) than something longer. The price point vs sales and perceived value thing really comes into picture books too, because often they cost more to produce/print than a novel, but have to be priced lower else they wont sell.

  10. #40
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    I get jason's point about storytelling but a dollar for 2 extra pages is too much of a price to pay. It's too much to ask of readers.

    It's bad enough readers are forced to buy books not based on quality because they are 'needed' to understand the overall story happening in the marvel u...which imo, is keeping sales on flagship books way below where they could be (were they more self contained) because a lot of us just aren't gonna commit to additional books irregardless of quality to read a "full" story.

    When you are asking readers to pay 4 dollars a comic, comics should really be more self contained. If only creator owned books got more retailer support, this could be a good time for them to make some strides.
    Last edited by prismablue; 12-09-2010 at 07:27 PM.

  11. #41
    Ex-Cheeks Reptisaurus!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyGreenJerusalem View Post
    Both Cassanova and Fell actually feel longer than most books with a higher page count, so it shouldn't be a surprise they are harder to write.
    Yeah, the density of the writing's gotta be a factor here too.

    It's got to be much more time consuming to write (and draw!) Watchmen's nine-panel-grid after nine-panel-grid rather than a book that's mostly splash pages.
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  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by prismablue View Post
    I get jason's point about storytelling but a dollar for 2 extra pages is too much of a price to pay. It's too much to ask of readers.

    It's bad enough readers are forced to buy books not based on quality because they are 'needed' to understand the overall story happening in the marvel u...
    I have to say, I disagree - nobody is forced to buy something they don't enjoy. If readers really felt it necessary to understand the larger story in the 616, then they should go read Wikipedia. All the stories published today, while certainly influenced by a larger storyarc, can easily be read without feeling forced to read something that the reader isn't enjoying. It's the collector mentality, the idea that "I don't want to miss out on the details and particulars of the overall story", that motivates readers to buy books they don't "want" to buy. But it's also a determinist mentality, that they don't have a real choice in the matter.


    And it's harder to write a 20 page comic because 22 is the norm and the form that writers are "trained" to write in; it's not primarily question of brevity or being concise.


    We need to stop measuring our entertainment in how long it takes to digest though. The question isn't "how long was I entertained?", it's "how MUCH was I entertained?"

  13. #43
    Member chrisgiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prismablue View Post
    I get jason's point about storytelling but a dollar for 2 extra pages is too much of a price to pay. It's too much to ask of readers.
    From a consumer point of view, it doesn't get much simpler than that. Given the nature of things, a lot of readers can no longer afford to buy as many comics as they used to. Being able to drop the cover price by $1 at the cost of only 2 story pages doesn't seem like big deal when you weigh it against said reader not purchasing the comic at all.

  14. #44
    Brian is ainm dom. :) Nova2814.1's Avatar
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    Apologies for resurrecting an old thread (zombies are still cool, right?), but with the majority of Marvel's output has now being cut down to 20 pages, I wonder if Jason should revisit this topic? His two Marvel ongoing series have now both been cut back to 20 pages, and it's probable that his new books will be as well. And all of those books are at the $4 price point.

    Just a suggestion, but I think it would be interesting to look at this again 9, 10 months on, now that it's become more widespread and commonplace.
    My comic collection. Go on, have a look. You know you want to .

  15. #45
    Senior Member Eumenides's Avatar
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    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Aaron
    Like I said, I've written two of these 20 pages issues so far, and I'm still struggling with it. The first one I wrote, issue #45, had a lot of problems and had to be re-written. The second one came out much easier, but looking over it now, it almost feels too brief to me. I don't know, I think it's gonna take me a while to get a handle on this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Moore
    And I think if you can learn how to write a five-page story, and if you can learn how to write a lot of different five-page stories until youíve really got the hang of the five- or six-page story, then whatever youíre asked to do in your later career, whether itís a 24-page comic book or a 12-issues series or a 600-page graphic novel, youíll have the basic craft and the basic notions of structure already in place. Itís the best way to learn - The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore, George Khoury.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Aaron
    Looks like the 'bitter old man' had something to teach you about compact comic book writing...

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