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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Default The death of the self contained one shot.

    Is it me or does it seem that a lot of comic book creators are incapable of telling a story in less then four or six issues? It seems to be a trend across media that the solo self-contained story is going away, and everyone is trying to write a massive epic. In comics it seems everything is written for trades. But I feel this is hurting comics in some regards.

    1. Writing for trades means that fewer stories are being made per year (usually 2-3).

    2. It also means that their are fewer opportunities for new characters to be introduced. Just put yourself in the shoes of a creator. You know you have only 2 or 3 stories to tell that year. Are you more likely to use that limited opportunity to create a new villain or use it to finally put that one Joker story that you’ve had in your head since childhood onto paper? It’s part of the reason why older characters like Batman and Superman have larger rogue’s galleries then newer characters.

    3. It also makes it harder for new creators to break in. Most creators get their shot at the big to via writing one shots .

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    Is it me or does it seem that a lot of comic book creators are incapable of telling a story in less then four or six issues?
    I wouldn't say they are incapable because that implies a personal deficiency on their part, rather than them catering to an industry trend or editorial demand.

    It seems to be a trend across media that the solo self-contained story is going away, and everyone is trying to write a massive epic.
    It's the current editorial trend. Just as previously you had other editorial trends.

    When solo self-contained stories were the norm, writers/artists pushed for greater serialization and long-form story arcs.

    In comics it seems everything is written for trades. But I feel this is hurting comics in some regards.
    That might be the case or simply that it's just an editorial trend and style that's gone on too long and is becoming stales.

    2. It also means that their are fewer opportunities for new characters to be introduced. Just put yourself in the shoes of a creator.
    Well creators for the Big Two companies these days try as much as possible to avoid creating new creators because of the fact they lose ownership and rights to their creations.

    So it's possible that event storylines and focusing on that is simply their way of making best of a bad situation.

    You know you have only 2 or 3 stories to tell that year. Are you more likely to use that limited opportunity to create a new villain or use it to finally put that one Joker story that you’ve had in your head since childhood onto paper? It’s part of the reason why older characters like Batman and Superman have larger rogue’s galleries then newer characters.
    It's also the nature of the abuse and exploitation of licensed stories and creations, no?

    It also makes it harder for new creators to break in. Most creators get their shot at the big to via writing one shots .
    Well a lot of creators do break in by doing smaller titles, building network and then working their way to do a main book. You look at Chip Zdarsky, Donny Cates and that's how they broke in recently. And that's not different from how it was in the past. Creators these days also break in by doing creator-owned publications and getting their creations out there and noticed.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    This is a bit complicated.

    Writing for the trade has been the norm for almost the last twenty years.

    Even during this time, there are frequent opportunities for one-shots, or two part stories, including various line-wide events like DC's villains month.

    Writers often have the ability to tell shorter stories. It is a good way for someone making an independent comic, so that people know that their four dollars buys something with a beginning, middle and end. A standard customer might trust Jason Aaron, John Ridley, or Scott Snyder with a TPB length story, but not someone they've never heard of.

    TPB-length stories do have some big advantages. It's a story that can be close to the complexity of a movie rather than something that would be too short to be an episode of an anthology.

    Writers have flexibility. They can choose to use familiar rogues, or they can choose to go with new villains. Familiar rogues may get some editorial pushback. DC is not going to let everyone writing Batman tell a Joker story, as that dilutes the character, and may interfere with the plans of bigger writers.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    I wonder if the death of one shots could be money related. Make a person by the next issue to finish the story. Hmmm? Maybe?
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  5. #5
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    I don't think they've totally disappeared. What I have seen are a lot of one shots tied to a larger "event". The Original Sin "event" had some one shots and even more recently so did the King in Black event. Christopher Cantwell did a very funny one shot for King in Black with Iron Man and Doctor Doom facing a Knullified Santa Claus. In fact, Cantwell got his try out by contributing a short story in a one shot issue War of the Realms tie in. This would lead to Tom Brevoort offering the Doctor Doom solo series. Cantwell did a few other projects before that helped him get Marvel's attention.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member JackDaw's Avatar
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    Surely DC and Marvel super hero comics have become an exercise in using established brand characters to sell an increasingly expensive product to an existing fan base for last couple of decades (at least)...

    Typically that existing fan base has a series of likes...with long story lines being one feature, all characters being impossibly good looking, etc, etc.

    The writers cater for those likes in their DC and Marvel gigs, and will save good short story ideas for their works in other genres.

    Most (all??) threads like this suggesting that comics fail to deliver a wide variety of styles ignore all the different approaches taken elsewhere in other styles of comics. It’s as if some one who read only Mills and Boons romances asked why all novels were sugary romances.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackDaw View Post
    Surely DC and Marvel super hero comics have become an exercise in using established brand characters to sell an increasingly expensive product to an existing fan base for last couple of decades (at least)...

    Typically that existing fan base has a series of likes...with long story lines being one feature, all characters being impossibly good looking, etc, etc.

    The writers cater for those likes in their DC and Marvel gigs, and will save good short story ideas for their works in other genres.

    Most (all??) threads like this suggesting that comics fail to deliver a wide variety of styles ignore all the different approaches taken elsewhere in other styles of comics. It’s as if some one who read only Mills and Boons romances asked why all novels were sugary romances.
    This is very true. There is some amazing stuff being done with the Indys and smaller companies. Dont like the same ol same ol from the big two? Go look trhough the many good offerings from the indys.
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    There are still some.
    There is an occasional Hellboy one shot
    Brubaker and Phillpps have done one shot Criminal books
    Busiek has done one shots in Marvels. And there were Astro City one shots.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    I wonder if the death of one shots could be money related. Make a person by the next issue to finish the story. Hmmm? Maybe?
    While the death of the one shot is exaggerated, money definitely plays a role.

    A TPB length story can be repackaged in multiple forms.

    If someone likes Part 1, they'll probably buy Part 2. And so on.

    It can be more work for everyone involved to come up with a story for one issue (the advantage is that it's easier to get an artist to do 20 pages than 120.)

    And if the one-shot sells, there is the question of what to do next. Granted, a successful one-shot can be a proof of concept for something bigger.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  10. #10
    Golux Kurt Busiek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby101 View Post
    Busiek has done one shots in Marvels. And there were Astro City one shots.
    In fact, the original MARVELS is four single-issue stories. As is SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY.

    But when it comes to self-contained stories, Marvel and DC are both doing more anthologies or multi-feature books these days, DC probably more than Marvel, though I haven't counted. And almost all of those are self-contained stories.

    I wrote an 8-page Prankster story for NEW YEAR'S EVIL, a 10 or 12-page Conan story for KING-SIZE CONAN, an 8-page Spider-Man story for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 850 and a 12-page Red Sonja story for RED SONJA: BLACK WHITE & RED. And I have a couple of others in the works -- and all of those books have other complete stories as well.
    Visit www.busiek.com—for all your Busiek needs!

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    We really need a like button here.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    In fact, the original MARVELS is four single-issue stories. As is SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY.

    But when it comes to self-contained stories, Marvel and DC are both doing more anthologies or multi-feature books these days, DC probably more than Marvel, though I haven't counted. And almost all of those are self-contained stories.

    I wrote an 8-page Prankster story for NEW YEAR'S EVIL, a 10 or 12-page Conan story for KING-SIZE CONAN, an 8-page Spider-Man story for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 850 and a 12-page Red Sonja story for RED SONJA: BLACK WHITE & RED. And I have a couple of others in the works -- and all of those books have other complete stories as well.
    Ok how have I been here so long and missed that you are part of this forum? I read the comics but dont pay much attention to the user names at times.

    Can I just nerd out for a second and say I really loved jsa/Avengers and Untold Tales of Spiderman! Issue 13 Without Warning where he fought the Black Knight. Well duh of course you know that. It was one of my first Spiderman Stories and it blew me away
    Last edited by babyblob; 06-05-2021 at 06:37 PM.
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  13. #13
    Golux Kurt Busiek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    I really loved jsa/Avengers and Untold Tales of Spiderman! Issue 13 Without Warning where he fought the Black Knight. Well duh of course you know that. It was one of my first Spiderman Stories and it blew me away
    Thanks!

    kdb
    Visit www.busiek.com—for all your Busiek needs!

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    Thanks!

    kdb
    You are welcome! I cant go to cons or anything because of my mental health and how i deal with crowds so I would never get to meet you. But I wanted to tell you that I loved you work

    Im done gushing now promise
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  15. #15
    BANNED Killerbee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    Is it me or does it seem that a lot of comic book creators are incapable of telling a story in less then four or six issues? It seems to be a trend across media that the solo self-contained story is going away, and everyone is trying to write a massive epic. In comics it seems everything is written for trades. But I feel this is hurting comics in some regards. .
    So let exam if the negatives are actually negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    1. Writing for trades means that fewer stories are being made per year (usually 2-3)..
    And? Few stories doesn't matter it is the same amount of content I mean 20 pages is 20 pages, What matters is if the story is good or bad.

    Also it is positive for casual and newer readers to collect one or two stories compared to picking up say 3 books with 36 different stories a big reason Manga is putting their foot in big comics butt is that one overarching story that once a reader is hook in they commit to the concept no matter what small stories get told.

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    2. It also means that their are fewer opportunities for new characters to be introduced. Just put yourself in the shoes of a creator. You know you have only 2 or 3 stories to tell that year. Are you more likely to use that limited opportunity to create a new villain or use it to finally put that one Joker story that you’ve had in your head since childhood onto paper? It’s part of the reason why older characters like Batman and Superman have larger rogue’s galleries then newer characters.
    Once again it is some amount of actual content, But that said If in the middle of a Joker story you can't write in another villain story you are not a very good writer, You can tell smaller stories in the middle of a big story. If you need a good example of this Invincible show they did a great job of overall arc while telling several small stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    3. It also makes it harder for new creators to break in. Most creators get their shot at the big to via writing one shots .
    This doesn't make any sense to me they are so many books on the market may be too many, there is no problem with new creators breaking in. If you are talking about a new creator breaking with get a chance on the biggest books again they are so many books if it is a big character will be chances it is not like Superman,Spider, Batman,etc have one book. It is not a negative that only the best-proven writers get to write a big character and smaller writers have to wait until crossover, one-shot, special event or anthology to get to write the character.

    I don't think comics should be just one thing and one style but I view one-shots and mini-arcs in comics as the bigger problem in terms of growth. Imo the reason new characters and books (that are not top books) struggle is because they don't have a strong central arc, Let say if Aquaman was about his journey to become the King of Atlantis and uniting the Kingdoms in the Oceans then readers have a hook to follow and it would do better. Too many comics don't have a strong overall hook and just small stories don't tell you who characters are in a world everyone just fighting crime. An overall arc that always around is a mission statement for a book.

    I just thought of why a lot one-shot tend to feel meh. Using Manga terminology they feel a lot of times like filler arcs
    Last edited by Killerbee911; 06-05-2021 at 08:28 PM.

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