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The Little Mermaid (Marvel Comics)
American Literature 90 2 : Abstract This essay presents in dialogue two renditions of the Nancy comics by original creator Ernie Bushmiller and the later poet and visual artist Joe Brainard. You do not currently have access to this content. Sign in. You could not be signed in. Client Account.
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The New Avengers series that began in lasted 64 issues through to , but I think that is the longest example I can find of a Marvel book that started in the 00s. Advertising beginnings demonstrates a particular notion of how best to read a serial narrative. It nevertheless causes some confusion, because the new reader is expected to know that Power Man and Iron Fist volume 3!
For decades, American soap operas broke up multiple arcs of stories for a wide cast of characters 30 minutes or an hour at a time everyday. People got hooked somehow and then stuck with it, and figured out how to make sense of returning long lost characters or the appearance of an evil twin. Heck, some soaps even crossed over. Perhaps a more concise way to put this is that serials that prosper have to trust readers to make sense of what is going on, and make opportunities for them to drop off and return. Dedicated soap fan could supplement their knowledge, make up for gaps in watching and speculate about future events through engagement with related periodicals.
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Of course, this is also the reason why I do claim that comics are a superior medium to television and film. It resonates with the tactile pleasure of reading through stacks of comics.
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So, after all of this, what is the question I want to ask about engagement with long-term serials? I am still not sure, but it certainly involves reading practices as a form of reading affect. The broad question would be: what role does the way we experience the feelings of reading emerge from a reading practice? Only more thinking, reading, and writing will tell, I guess. All I know is that even if the pleasure of that kind of reading is legible it has become increasingly inaccessible at least for me.
In some senses, my collection of back issues has become an effort to re-imagine that space. Nevertheless, the latter Gilbert stories like those in Luba in America for example, are decidedly different from the early Palomar stories, while maintaining a rewarding and recognizable through line of themes and characters. Everything remains possible and yet belongs to a thread of action strung together over sometimes purposeful omissions and gaps in its narratives. So for now all that I can try to do is to historicize comic serial reading practices, something that falls out of the usual purview of my literary studies approach, but that makes perfect sense in considering comics as cultural objects through which readers re-imagine worlds.
In any case, this was a great read. Thanks for another great entry, Osvaldo! Like Like. In many ways I am still that Marvel kid that only checks out DC when there is something of note in that way I have kind of a soft spot for DC meta-textual events with a generosity I withhold from Marvel. But of course they are trying to wring the most out of the diehards. These days there is only one answer: cancel the book and re-boot it down the line if at all. I watched Days of Our Lives with my mother on sick days and during summer vacation.
Soap operas also remind me of pro wrestling fandom, particularly the fans who are more interested in following storylines in real time there are also factions more concerned with wrestling matches and the cumulative body of work produced by individual wrestlers.
Comic serial creators - The School Magazine
As someone who has purchased a metric shit ton of old wrestling shows on DVD and discussed them on message boards, I wonder what the soap opera equivalent is like. Like Liked by 1 person.
I came to comics by visiting the boy down stairs who is 4 years older than me. I would visit and was calm enough to be allowed to open up the back issues and read them carefully. So I binged through storylines with some guidance. But not always in order. It is one timeline, and the fan slowly gets more glimpses of the past like I am a historian casting for clues. Instead a serial, it is kind of Rashoman in seeing the same time line from different view points, and Pulp Fiction because as a fan you bounce between different eras and have to piece the story together.
You can be reading about the lead up to a event in Episode VI and find clues about life during the Clone Wars. The Star Wars characters themselves tend to lack knowledge they need about the past, so they are searching along with the fan. You got me thinking.
This was really a fantastic read. But the ongoing nature, the participation however incomplete in the world they inhabit is important.
Farewell to the Serial
And why it confounds me that they keep restarting things every year or less now. If soap opera viewers could jump in, certainly in an age where every title has its own wiki, and all of the back issues can be grabbed digitally — anyone can do it. The rewrite of history rather than in story changes seems far more confusing — what history am i supposed to remember, which one counts — than letting people feel their way into the lives of these characters. Kind of like real life — your knowledge of it is impossibly incomplete when you get here, and only marginally better as you go.
Thanks for this — will revisit more slowly going forward. I think my issue is that editorial mandate of temporarily canonizing certain versions of the narrative history, thus marketing books in ways that actually diminish rather than encourage deeper readerly engagement. Some of this energy, however, I can see taking new form in the cosplay community, however, wherein just by virtue of perhaps limited resources, race-bending, remixes and mash-ups, cosplayers are creating their own stories around established characters.
Starting over all the time implies someone can and should have complete knowledge in order to enjoy it, and that seems false to me. I find that economics inform a lot of my reading choices. I rarely buy longer books new. I think your essay offers a lot to think about in response.
Really nicely done. Hi Jake! Thanks for commenting. That was certainly the case when I was a kid and had to make choices between comic based on very limited economic resources, and frequently saved my money for use at yard sales and flea markets where I could buy lots of old issues for cheap before general people got an inflated and unrealistic idea about what most comics are worth. Pingback: Pingback: Mind the Gaps ! You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.