Monday, April 29, 2013

What Would Marvel Do?

Anyone who read my 1st blog and since you are currently reading my 2nd blog I am going to assume you've read the 1st one (I mean what kind of maniac would skip 1 and go right for 2?). However, in the interest of fairness I will now pause so you Johnny-come-lately's can go and play catch up...

As I was saying, by now you all know I'm a DC guy. Comics, movies, cartoons, and live action series, I prefer DC to Marvel. This however, does not mean that DC always gets it right. Every once in a while Marvel does something that I believe DC misses the boat on. This particular blog entry is going to highlight where I think Marvel was way ahead of the game.

Page 1 recaps.

I'm not sure who the quote is attributed to but I remember reading once that a prolific comic book personality believes that a writer should, "treat every comic like it's someones first". In a business where most characters have been around 50+ years and the official canon of each character has been altered what seems like 50+ times this may seem like a daunting task. But it is exactly where the Marvel page 1 recap completely nails it!

What is the 1 page recap? Glad you asked. At the start of every issue of a Marvel comic the writer gives a 3 or so paragraph prose recap of the goings on of the characters who will be highlighted in the issue, main and supporting. DC however almost always just dives right into the story, dropping background hints throughout the issue.

I constantly find myself annoyed with the way DC approaches new readers. As a monthly stalwart I find it a bit distracting when characters give forced explanation of background info that reads, well out of character all for the benefit of a new customer. The old information is often jammed into the current issue and it always feels like less than organic dialogue tossed in an otherwise tightly told story.

The Marvel page 1 recap makes the practice of information overload painless for readers old and new. At the beginning of Superior Spider-Man for example, page 1 is a prose recap of the current happenings of the book in the guise of the front page of the digital copy of the Daily Bugle. I usually skip it, jump right into the issue and am in turn free of the nagging catch up dialogue that is force-fed to me mid-issue. This is a clever and unobtrusive delivery of the message by the House of Ideas.

I know the 52 News in the back of DC comics serves as a filler for the entire NEW52 and I enjoy it, but it does not serve as recap for any specific book. And this is where I believe DC is currently a little behind in the modern day comic book wars!

Come to think of it, I could have used a Marvel style page 1 recap at the beginning of this blog instead of making my readers go back, read my 1st entry and in turn hold up the rest of you. But like I said in the beginning, I'm a DC guy.

1 comment:

  1. It was Stan Lee who said "Every comic book is someone's first." I prefer to have backstory detailed throughout an issue, I feel that a talented and disciplined writer should be able to do this without making it seem forced or obtrusive. However, I agree that very often DC falls short in doing this. Considering how complex some of their stories and tie-ins get, it would probably behoove them to do a little recap now and again, as plot points get overwrought and dicey.