Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Golden Age Comics- What They Got Right

I've decided that there is one thing that is desperately lacking in today's world of comics.  Something that was prevalent in the Golden Age: comics with several, unrelated stories.

Action Comics

By having several stories within a single book, it allowed readers to get exposed to a variety of different stories and it also served as a way of testing which heroes would be popular and sell.  This could lead to a character getting their own book in addition to their short stories within the book.  (For example, Plastic Man continued to appear in Police Comics even after he received his own book.)

But you rarely even see a book with a backup feature, let alone five or six stories in a single book.  This is sad because today's comics writers have almost completely lost the ability to tell short, self-contained stories.  It is also a shame because it would be an excellent way for a comics company to test the water.  Have a lesser known hero who a writer wants to tell stories about?  Give them a short feature within the compilation book.  If the feature receives positive reactions from readers, launch a series for that character.  If not, replace the short feature with another.

If nothing else, the novelty of buying one comic with several stories would probably ensure that such a series would be successful.  Especially if fan favorite characters that don't have their own books currently were featured.  The fact that there would be several different stories each issue would likely increase the price of the comic, but it would also increase the number of people willing to give it a chance.  Don't like the Plastic Man story?  Then read the Red Tornado one instead.  Or the Huntress one.
and Adventure Comics (among others) would have six or more stories every week, each about a different hero.  The popular heroes continued to get their stories told, while the less popular ones were replaced by new heroes.

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