Not signed in (Sign In)
  1.  (723.1)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Singles are just that - singles. Self-contained. Done-in-one. No before or after.

    Unfortunately, there's a scant few true singles on the market. Fell, Demo/Local, Marvel & DC's kids lines, the Disney books, the Spirit.

    On the other hand, there's a ton of serials out there - parts of finite stories. The individual parts don't stand alone - they're not like songs, they're like chapters of a book or scenes from a movie. This week alone, you've got Black Summer, Wormwood, Suburban Glamour and Narcopolis.

    I've found it's fairly easy to recommend singles because they present a complete experience, but it's very difficult to recommend serials. Most new to comics readers aren't going to want to come into a comics store to see whether the next part is out. It's not that hard, however, to recommend the paperbacks of the serials.

    Which brings up the question - why do people continue to support the serial format? They wouldn't support serial novels or serial movies. The sales don't usually support the serial model - maybe if a book has some star power or somehow becomes a buzz book, but most just languish on the shelves waiting for a second shot in the paperback format. Are they selling to anyone other than the readers already familiar with the direct market comics shops? At what point does the serial method become more trouble than it's worth?

    Carla McNeil and the Foglios have it right - if they have to serialize, do it for free, save the printing costs, and promote the collections like crazy. At what point do others catch on?
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.2)
    Which brings up the question - why do people continue to support the serial format? They wouldn't support serial novels or serial movies. The sales don't usually support the serial model - maybe if a book has some star power or somehow becomes a buzz book, but most just languish on the shelves waiting for a second shot in the paperback format.


    I think you're wrong about this, the numbers do support the serial format in books and movies. In books you have Anne Rice and her vampire chronicles, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings (depending on which format you buy it in), The Bourne series, most of Tom Clancy's work, and most of these seriels produce movies of the same model.

    Now granted you could watch any of the Tom Clancy movies or read any of his books as stand alone, but they also make sense in serial format. You could watch the Bourne Identity without watching the other two and have a complete story, but the later two movies only make sense if you saw the previous movie(s). Lord of the Rings only works if you watch all three movies, or read all three books.
  2.  (723.3)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I don't think we're on the same page. The works you mention largely stand alone and are delivered in complete packages. They're not published in individual scenes or chapters and then "collected." Also, they're largely the exception from the norm, not the norm.

    There's a difference in content and structure between Black Summer #4, a chapter in the single volume complete story Black Summer, and the fourth complete volume book in a series of complete volume books.
    • CommentAuthorjeffx
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.4)
    Serial movies....wouldn't Kill Bill be considered serial? Lot of people supported that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.5)
    There's a difference in content and structure between Black Summer #4, a chapter in the single volume complete story Black Summer, and the fourth complete volume book in a series of complete volume books.


    I'd still argue against your conclusion. Like I stated before, you can watch/read a Tom Clancy movie/book and it works as a stand alone. The Bourne series only works like that if you watch/read the first movie/book, but to read the sequels you have to have watched/read the previous material. The Star Wars prequels only work if you watch all three, the original series is like that of the Bourne series. The serial model is actually the fastest growing segment of the young adult books. Many series are now being written without final conclusions to the story. As that generation grows older they are going to want to see these same stories turned into movies.
    • CommentAuthorMaC
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008 edited
     (723.6)
    I have agree to with Scribe, the serial format has a lot of draw for people. Another example is television, there are, or used to be, done-in-one shows, but the hugely popular ones are the sprawling interconnected series. Buffy and Angel have a huge following because they inhabit the same universe, what happened in one was reflected in the other occasionally. Sure, it could be argued that each episode represents a "complete" package, in some shows. But things with deep mythology like Lost and multiple ongoing stories like Deadwood and the Sopranos rely on previous episodes to give what's happening a greater impact.

    People love continuity, as a friend of mine once said, they want things that lead into one another. If that's a good thing can be debated.
  3.  (723.7)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I think you're arguing for argument's sake, and deliberately missing the point.

    One, you're confusing serials and series (and possibly sequels). Two, there's a few movies out there that are just really, really long stories and are being broken down, but they're in the minority.

    Take a movie like No Country for Old Men - as a movie, it was released all at once. A single story with a beginning, middle and end. It was not released a scene or act at a time. If the story had been a Graphic Novel, there'd probably be at least some consideration whether to release it all as one go or as a "mini-series" serial. Which is unfortunate.

    Do you like the fact that in comics, a single-finite Graphic Novel story usually has to be published as a "mini-series" with each chapter of nearly equal length, possibly by artistic vision, but more probably by editorial/publishing demand?
  4.  (723.8)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    On MOST shows with "deep mythology" part of the point is to usually deliver a "complete package." Even shows like Lost largely adhere to that model.

    There's a world of difference between the structure of a usual episode of lost, which will usually have a beginning, middle and end, along with its mythology beats, and issue #3 of #4 of a finite comics "mini-series" Graphic Novel.
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.9)
    I think you're arguing for argument's sake, and deliberately missing the point.


    I'm not missing the point, I think your definition is to limited. I understand the difference between a series and a serial. You can read a single book of Harry Potter and have a complete story, but it makes more sense if you read all of them. Like I said before, the serial model is the fastest growing segment of books for young adults. Publishing companies saw an upsurge in copies of Lord of the Rings and many publishing companies decided to pick up writers who could write in the same format.

    Do you like the fact that in comics, a single-finite Graphic Novel story usually has to be published as a "mini-series" with each chapter of nearly equal length, possibly by artistic vision, but more probably by editorial/publishing demand?


    I love monthlies, and I love the serial format, there are only two books I have chosen to collect in GN form, and that is due to price and availability.

    I agree with MaC, every TV show my friends and I watch are almost exclusively told in serial format. I love stories like BSG, and Californication.
  5.  (723.10)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Nope, you're still confusing SERIES with SERIAL:

    This is a series:

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    This is a series:

    Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground
    Queen & Country: Operation Morningstar
    Queen & Country: Operation Crystal Ball
    Queen & Country: Operation Blackwall
    Queen & Country: Operation Stormfront
    Queen & Country: Operation Dandelion
    Queen & Country: Operation Saddlebags
    Queen & Country: Operation Red Panda

    On the other hand, publishing Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground as 4 pamphlets, #1-4, that's a serial. Get it?
  6.  (723.11)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    There is an interesting point to be taken from this derailment - there are some who enjoy the "monthly" comics experience.

    In the past the "monthly" comics experience created large tapestries. However, today, it's been co-opted by the Graphic Novel storyform. Some comics still use the serial form to tell large scope comics stories, such as the walking dead. However, the majority are just telling series of Graphic Novel stories while attempting to disguise themselves in true serial form.

    And of course, the "mini-series" are usually nothing more than finite Graphic Novels co-opting the serial form.
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.12)
    I understand that, but how would you define Lord of the Rings in the three volume format. To me that would be a serial, and this is the format that publishers are focusing on for young adults.

    In television, the West Wing, Studio 60, BSG, Californication, Lost, the Sopranos, and Heroes are all defined as serials. If you jump into any of the shows at, let's say, episode 3 you will be totally clueless to what is going on. All of those shows, except Studio 60, are highly successful. People are willing to pay to watch serial television which is evident by the success of such shows as The Wire, The Soprano's, and Californication.

    Personally I think you are focusing on the wrong reason why people do not read comics. For kids it's usually considered uncool and they don't want to be labeled with the "fanboy" tag. For adults it's different, when I tell most of my friends that I collect comics the first words out of their mouth is usually, "how old are you?" Comic books have come a long way since I was a kid, but there is still the stigma to overcome.

    I'm not trying to argue with, but you asked a subjective question. Like I stated earlier, I just think you're being to strict with your definition. The line between series and serial is becoming blurred. Lucas outright brags about his part in it, he has always said that Star Wars is a serial movie, and he is partially correct. Most sequels do not make sense unless you have seen the original.
  7.  (723.13)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Lucas didn't release his Star Wars movies by the scene or by the act.
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.14)
    Lucas didn't release his Star Wars movies by the scene or by the act.


    He didn't release them by the scene, but he did release them by the act, especially the prequel. Luke didn't make the Hero Journey in a single movie, it was told over a series of three acts, just as Anakin didn't fall to the dark side in a single movie. It was more evident in the prequel than it was in the OT, but that was because Lucas, when making the Star Wars, believed that Star Wars was going to be his only movie.
  8.  (723.15)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    And that's why it's a good idea to serialize Graphic Novels like Steven Grant's 2 Guns? Would it be preferable for Ellis' Crecy to have been serialized as a 2-part "mini" series to enjoy that "monthly" experience?
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.16)
    I never read Crecy.
  9.  (723.17)
    Speaking personally, we serialised and will continue to serialise Phonogram because Jamie likes to eat and if he works for six months without getting paid, he dies. People do that, even artists who draw hot punk girls too much.

    Serialisation is - in many cases - just people's response to financial necessities*. People will buy singles? They print singles and get that revenue stream, as well as the working towards the trade. If you don't want to buy it, don't buy it. Of course, it's in a creators interest to make you do so, so they can feed their equivalent of Jamie McKelvie. There are various tactics for this.

    (In our case, we try and make the singles interesting objects in and of themselves and lots of other stuff. And will do more so in 2. As well as structurally... oh, will talk more about that when it's heading towards coming out. Generally speaking, personally, I tend to buy collected editions unless there's a good reason why I shouldn't. This can be anything from it being such a cute adorable object I can't resist, something which I'm desperately hungry for and am prepared to be the early adoptor for or something which I know really needs my patronage. Which is my prerogative, of course. Oh - and also stuff by mates, because I'm soft like that.)

    Changing slant slightly into the more theoretical, there are things in favour of the single - one which hasn't been mentioned explicitly is Price. It is difficult to convince someone to throw down over ten quid for a trade they've taken a fancy too. It's a lot easier for a couple of quid.

    KG

    *Always worth remembering that most of the greatest novels of the 19th century were serialised novels. Doesn't matter how we got there, but we got Dickens and Dostoevsky at the end of it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.18)
    Changing slant slightly into the more theoretical, there are things in favour of the single - one which hasn't been mentioned explicitly is Price. It is difficult to convince someone to throw down over ten quid for a trade they've taken a fancy too. It's a lot easier for a couple of quid.


    This is a very good point. I don't feel bad throwing away three of four bucks on a book to try it out, but I will not spend 15 dollars on a graphic that I may or may not like. Even the two books I collect in GN form I first read for free on the Vertigo website.
    • CommentAuthormorganagrom
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008 edited
     (723.19)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    There's probably no way to get back to the original point that there's very few true singles (as compared to serials) available in comics, is there?

    I have a feeling that no minds will be changed on the rest, but it is worth exploring why there are so few done-in-one comics on the market.
  10.  (723.20)
    You could give it a shot, man. I agree it's a more profitable angle than the "Why do people support serial comics" angle you gave to the question which is a different and considerably more inflammatory one.

    (I'd write some on it, but I've gotta do something else. In the morning!)

    KG