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John Byrne

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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 25 April 2017 at 6:34pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Books are simply called books. If there is a distinction, it's whether or not they have hard covers.

Recent decades have seen the arrival of audio "books," but no one buying one expects paper pages.

In the case of comic books, we've seen the form expand into graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Those terms tell customers not to expect the traditional half-tab format.

Now we have digital comic books. Like those aforementioned audio books the name tells customers not to expect folded paper. No need to retro-fit a dismissive term for the original format.

Comic book, graphic novel, trade paperback, digital comic book. How tough is that?

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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 4:01am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Mr. Byrne, we might to need to add one more category; hardbound collections. To include omnibuses (omnibi?), collections of series a la trade paperback, et. al. Perhaps trade hardback?

But it certainly could be simplified. 'Course then, Marvel couldn't sell the same stories four or five different ways. I realized that when I thought that I must have three or four different formatted collections of the Dark Phoenix saga, between the original comics, a couple releases in TPB, and an Essentials version. I'm sure there's a hardbound version, a digital edition, maybe a digest version... their name is Legion. ALL OF THE SAME STORY.

It might be the most reprinted story in the modern era...
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Shawn Kane
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 6:02am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I've often found most people online who use the terms "floppy" and "pamphlet" are using them to discuss the demise of the monthly comic book so it's not necessarily a complimentary term. 
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John Byrne

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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 6:14am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Mr. Byrne, we might to need to add one more category; hardbound collections. To include omnibuses (omnibi?), collections of series a la trade paperback, et. al. Perhaps trade hardback?

How about applying some real logic and stripping it down to TWO categories: paper and digital. After all, "comic book" describes content -- words and pictures in combination telling stories -- and whether it's half-tab, graphic novel, trade paperback, omnibus or whatever form outside the digital realm, it's still a comic book. Point of fact, a trade or a hardcover edition is even more of a comic BOOK than the traditional form.

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John Byrne

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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 6:15am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I've often found most people online who use the terms "floppy" and "pamphlet" are using them to discuss the demise of the monthly comic book so it's not necessarily a complimentary term.

There has been no time at which I have considered either term in any way complimentary. When we consider the time frame, the period in which the terms were coined, we find both dripping with contempt for the form.

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David Miller
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 9:53am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I remember when Warren Ellis started to popularize the terms on his forum, he was explicitly trying to delegitimize monthly comics and traditional storytelling, and confer that legitimacy on decompressed stories and trade collections.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 5:38pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

You know, we should have seen this coming. ALL the signs of Steve being a bad guy were there. After all, he didn't use MySpace or watch NASCAR, so naturally he just had to be evil! O_o





(I refuse to name the moronic character that brought all that up, but if Marvel ever uses her again, I hope its only to give her a slow, agonizing death......)
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John Byrne

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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 6:52pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Somewhere along the line, Marvel decided Cap was one of the Beverly Hillbillies.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply


 QUOTE:
After all, he didn't use MySpace


That panel becomes more hilarious as we've reached a point where
many young adults have no idea what MySpace is.


 QUOTE:
I refuse to name the moronic character that brought all that
up


She's not family?
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 11:00pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Oh, I want to slap whoever created her for giving her my last name. Believe that.

I thought the whole spiel that I was mentioning was hilariously stupid to begin with, and still do. But I thought it made good material to launch some sarcasm from.

(And I never used MySpace, so I guess that makes me...half-evil.)
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 11:26pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
When did the "events" begin to take over? There are two instances that spring to mind immediately as likely first dominoes to fall. One was SUPERMAN vs THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, which was a planned (and genuine) event, and the other was the Death of Phoenix, which, while genuine, was not planned.

I'll posit a theory that hasn't gotten a ton of traction.  I think the beginning of the "event" series, one that drew characters from all sorts of books together, was MARVEL SUPER HEROES CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS (1982).  It was honestly the first time I'd ever seen all the characters that I loved together in one comic series. I'm not talking just two teams in the same universe (Avengers and Invaders or JLA/JSA) but nearly all of my favorites. I know it was a big hit that spawned a second mini-series, but that in and of itself couldn't be sustained.  So the Powers That Be found a way to make the event take place within a few titles at first and then, eventually, nearly all the titles at a company such that we eventually got SECRET WARS in 1984.  And even THAT couldn't be sustained because it was a mini-series.  So it evolved yet again into the Annual crossover where stories bridged from the monthly into the Annual and then all the Annuals were connected.  

It's been a malignant growth ever since.  That's my take anyway.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 26 April 2017 at 11:39pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 Brian Skelley wrote:
For the entire time I've ever heard the phrase 'floppies' to refer to individual issues of a comic, this thread is the only place I've ever heard it used in any way derogatory.

Not to discount your experience, but c'mon.  The term came about at a time when floppy disc drives were on their way out and digital media was on its way in.  It's as if to say that you asked a software engineer what was worse: digital or disc.  And the engineer said "floppies".  We all know what that that means (at least those of us who lived in the 80s and 90s).  Someone could casually say that they didn't mean anything derogatory about the phrase, but we all know "floppies" never meant the way comic books "flop" when you hold them in your hand.  It was a term of derision, a negative term associated with what was thought to be an outdated presentation of media.  Read it in context by the people who started using and propagating the term.  
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 12:46am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

 Matt Reed wrote:
...I'll posit a theory that hasn't gotten a ton of traction...


I pretty much agree with that theory. I think, though, while CONTEST of CHAMPIONS might be the start (the second mini-series would not come for some 15 years), it was SECRET WARS (1984) that really cemented the event thing and got the ball rolling.

SECRET WARS II became, I believe, if memory serves, when the idea of a cross-over for an event spilled over into many various titles that required you to buy all of them for a complete story. The first SECRET WARS really didn't do that, strictly-speaking. You saw the heroes go into the area in Central Park in their own respective titles, and the following month they emerged changed and you had to follow the SW mini-series to find out how it all happened. SWII, however, crossed over into several titles each month, with each issue.

This would be followed up with MUTANT MASSACRE, ACTS OF VENGEANCE, ATLANTIS ATTACKS, and so on at Marvel, and DC also got into the act with CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, MILLENNIUM, and so on.

Oh, and trivia time!:

CONTEST OF THE CHAMPIONS was originally intended to be a story for the 1980 Summer Olympics (which is why so many foreign heroes were introduced in the series), and that story was going to be a Marvel Treasury comic. There was the infamous 1980 boycott of that Summer's Olympics, which lead to the story being reworked and eventually published as one of Marvel's first mini-series (if not the first).



Edited by Matt Hawes on 27 April 2017 at 12:46am
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 12:50am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Outside of comic book message boards, I can't recall ever hearing anyone refer to comics as "floppies," and I am eternally grateful for that. Keep in mind, I have ran a shop for two decades and been a comic book dealer for longer than that, so if "floppies" was a common term by the average customer, I would have heard it used at some point.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 3:44am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

While I hate the event books/series because of their nature, I like the actual events themselves. I looked forward to the JLA/JSA crossovers every year; and I think that's because the JSA was so rare. I don't recall them appearing with any regularity at all besides that, with the possible exception of The Flash (and what seemed a failed attempt to try it with the Green Lanterns and the Atoms.)

Contest of Champions just seemed so heavy handed, and while I liked the art, the characters seemed mis-handled. The new characters also seemed kinda awkward, e.g., I'm Shamrock and my power is good luck! That's how I beat Captain America! N.B. I also disliked CoC because it was one of the five times in that general time frame that Daredevil met Iron Fist for the first time.

I believe the first de facto "event" can be tracked back to Fantastic Four #25 and 26. The FF and the Avengers against the Hulk. Good reason to get everyone together. Handled in the Mighty Marvel manner (heroes fight each other almost as much as they fight the antagonist.) Only three or four characters who weren't involved (Spider-Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, the X-Men... any heroes of the time I missed?) Of course, Stan and Jack must have known they were doing an event, but they also knew that it was part of the ongoing Marvel universe; no breaks afterwards, what aftermath occurred wasn't cited extensively and no modifications to Change the Marvel Universe Forever (tm).

It was kinda the era of telling good stories... and every issue was an event in its way. I miss that...
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 7:08am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

"Events" such as crossovers are not the problem so much as the later weight and complexity they engendered. Having the Hulk or Spider-Man meet the Fantastic Four is just plain fun. There is nothing wrong with fun.

There's not much wrong with having every single person in your universe show up for a party. Contest of Champions was a good time overall, despite its weaknesses. Secret Wars is when things became mercenary and the entire line of books were held hostage in service a single story whose value was arguably not worth the trouble it caused everyone, including the reader. Secret Wars II was a lousy story and, inversely, its effect upon the entire line was consciously engineered to be significantly greater. 

Sales rewarded the bad storytelling choices and we were off to the races, concocting bigger and bigger "events" across broader and broader platforms, dragging every comic and character, kicking and screaming, into lousy, awful melanges that either had no payoff or, worse, artificially manufactured its own "Importance" and indiscriminately sprayed it all over everyone and everything. Individual titles and storylines mean nothing in such an environment. Theme, tone, logic, timing, everything is meaninglessly sacrificed on the altar of Sales and the company dismantling your hard work and skillful craft applauds itself for its brilliance in successfully marketing a schlock book that cascaded across 37 other titles and tells you that you should be on your hands and knees thanking them for the uptick in Sales their move has brought you. By the way, if that number drops afterwards, that's on you, pal, and we're going to be looking at why you can't hold readers... 

Readers who only showed up in the first place to get part 26 of the Big Event and have no interest in these other books otherwise. Someone who buys this month's "Jem and the Holograms" because the Beyondo-Ghaur shows up in it for three panels doesn't care about Jem or her pals. Nonetheless, the book's sales go up and the book itself later gets killed because the Brilliant Editors and Sales Teams wonder why it can't sustain those peaks without the artificial life support of a Big Crossover. "We can't keep swooping in to save these losers all the time..."

Absent the magnifying glass of those Event-driven sales, the book might not have been seen as a problem. In any case, everyone moves on to the next sales cycle booster, creating a constant stream of drek events that become the voice and face of the company, while the accomplishments and stories of the individual titles vanish in relative importance unless they can feed the cycle somehow by giving the Editors and Sales Teams more grist for the mill. "I just turned the Hero's girlfriend of twenty years into a Cosmic Hexagon and had her sewn onto the Ulti-Mitten by the bad guy. You guys can have the Mitten stolen by the bigger bad guy in your 'Beyondo-Ghaur III: Atlantis Redacts' Event if you want..." 

And the people in charge smile because for the first time in twenty years the girlfriend character is going to put some money in their pocket... That she's been doing so all along and given the reader some genuine emotion or satisfaction in the regular title is meaningless by the new standards. 
"Y'know, we could pull her off the Mitten and spin her off now as her own book... 'Hexxx!'" 
"I dunno... Legal tells me we need to re-up our trademark on Herbie the Robot. Let's make her the new Herbie..." 
"You got it! It's not like any of this matters..."


Edited by Brian Hague on 27 April 2017 at 7:09am
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John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 11:36am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I think the beginning of the "event" series, one that drew characters from all sorts of books together, was MARVEL SUPER HEROES CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS (1982). It was honestly the first time I'd ever seen all the characters that I loved together in one comic series.

While SECRET WARS* was running, and Shooter was proudly proclaiming he was drawing in legions of new readers, I met a kid (about 10 years old) who was fascinated to learn I worked for Marvel comics, but who, tho he knew who the Fantastic Four were, had never heard of Sue Richards.

See, he ONLY bought SECRET WARS. Why waste money on those other books when all the characters were there.

Next time I was in the office, I mentioned this to Mike Higgins and he went off and got the ledgers reporting sales. We sat for a few minutes looking over them, and discovered that while SECRET WARS was running, virtually all the other books had dropped by numbers that -- surprise! -- added up to the sales of SECRET WARS.

New readers, or redistribution of the ones we had?

_______________________

I know SECRET WARS is not CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS.

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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Was that a part of the reasoning behind the Avengers' Kooky Quartet?
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 8:43pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Folks who like to see a lot of super-heroes in one place might want to check out the Defenders' "Membership Madness" story from 1978. It was reprinted in 2013 as a single issue entitled "Defenders: Tournament of Heroes." 

Not to oversell it, but I really liked that story way back when. It opens with the team playing frisbee... 

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 8:46pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Regarding the redistribution of readers mentioned above, I know that as a kid, there were only a certain number of comics I could buy, and whatever looked like the best "value" (i.e. had the most characters on the cover) usually got picked over other titles. "Superman" books were about the only ones immune from this. I usually picked up Superman and then whatever else looked good. 

But whatever I bought, the amount spent remained the same.

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Mike Norris
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Posted: 27 April 2017 at 9:14pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I think my child brain was in that mode too. I loved the Avengers, the Defenders,the JLA, World's Finest, the Brave and the Bold and Marvel Team-Up. My favorite "solo" book was Captain America and the Falcon! 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 28 April 2017 at 4:03am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Also, in a specific way, DC's Super Powers (anyone remember that?) mirrored Marvel's Secret Wars in that it served one main purpose... to sell toys.

Much as Saturday morning cartoons had turned into 30 minute commercials for a lot of properties, those two comic series seemed intended to push toys. I understood it, but I disliked it; but at the time, I was actually somewhat interested in that vague SW storyline, even though it was incoherent, inconsistent, and really pretty pointless except as a reason to change the Marvel status quo and to push some toys.

And at that, maybe I'm misremembering (crazy old man) but the only changes that took were that She-Hulk remained with the FF and Spider-Man's black costume. Oh, and maybe Lockheed the dragon... one of the crudest deus ex machinas I recall. Sigh...
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John Cole
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Posted: 28 April 2017 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I Thought most of this nonsense started with Mutant Massacre and became nothing more than The X-Men event of the year.
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 03 May 2017 at 4:48pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Marvel issues a statement concerning the Steve Rogers backlash.
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Trevor Smith
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Posted: 03 May 2017 at 6:13pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Not even clicking the link, but it occurs to me that if
Marvel doesn't want fans flipping out over stupid
announcements, then maybe they shouldn't make stupid
announcements. Just a thought.
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