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I was reading Huck #1 this week and something strange happened. As the story just got itself started the issue ended. A real “that’s it?!” moment. There really wasn’t a lot of meat to the issue; it established all the good things Huck does then teased the very beginning of a conflict. Is this weird for anyone else? Guys… are comics getting shorter?
I’ve been noticing more and more comics are shorting us on the length of pages per issue. I took a look at page counts, but what do you compare it to? What should be the ideal length? 20 – 30 pages? Does it change depending on the story?
I first noticed it in the first push of All-New, All-Different Marvel. Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man #1 was really short. Tony builds a new suit, goes on a short date, and meets Doctor Doom. It feels, at least to me, that an honest meaty issue should have combined the first and second issue, with it ending on Tony and Doom’s shaky alliance. So, at first, I thought it was a marketing ploy trying to cash in on new readers. Fine.
Now, I’m seeing it all over the place. Take Huck, as previously mentioned, and Millar’s title Chrononauts. I think it’s because these are partly franchise pitches and there isn’t a ton of story planned. So instead of two or three full issues, you can do six or so short ones.
IDW is doing it. Godzilla in Hell is one, maybe two issues stretched into five. Vertigo is doing it. The second issue of Clean Room feels very short. I’m seeing it more and more as time goes on. Is it purely marketing? N0thing more than a weird cash grab?
As someone who buys week-to-week, it’s super frustrating. If this becomes some kind of industry standard, I think I may just switch to waiting for trades. Four dollars for a 10 or 15 page comic seems crazy. Not to mention if they decide to shorten it still.
As I mentioned before, this brings up the question of how many pages are enough? Snyder’s Batman comic, for instance, has a lot going on per issue. Usually multiple plotlines, multiple set pieces, sometimes multiple fights. I’m always satisfied with the comic.
So perhaps it’s what happens in the comic? Providence, from Avatar, seems to consistently put in a compelling story with multiple twists and multiple pages of letters. Or letter. It again feels like you’re getting your comic bang for your comic buck.
I don’t think there’s one cause for the shortening of books. I would suppose it’s either marketing, the schedule of the creator or, yes, even laziness. It’s hard not to see this as a malignant new trend, though. It ruins the experience for me, it’s kind a betrayal. Bummer.
What do you think? Have you noticed a shortening of comics recently? Am I just crazy? Let me know in the comments below.