Pressed-together reading

I keep wondering whether the shift from reading monthly comics to trade paperbacks and weekly TV to DVDs doesn’t affect how I react to them.
I watched the 2010-2011 season of Big Bang Theory on Netflix DVD. While I watch streaming series at about one show a week, with DVDs, I wind up rushing through episodes at a rapid pace. A season of relationships, shticks and stories that would have run eight or nine months is done in about a week and a half.
It’s the same number of episodes, but it feels different when nine months of relationships gets rushed through in a few days. And the impact of a bad episode or two is mitigated: Instead of having to wait a week for the next one, I move on almost immediately.
The same with reading a half-dozen issues of House of Mystery or Hellboy in one TPB, rather than over a half-dozen months.
Another factor is that plot problems I might not have noticed going month to month become glaringly obvious. The first few years of Marvel’s Hulk has the plot jerking him every which way, dropping plotlines and then forgetting them for good: Would I have noticed if I’d read Hulk back when it was a month between episodes?
Or consider the debut of the Inhumans in Fantastic Four #44. The Inhumans debut as refugees from what appears to be a slave caste in the lost city of Attilan, but by the climax of the plotline they’re reinterpreted as the royal family of Attilan (I wonder if Lee and Kirby had been writing it as a single graphic novel if it would have made more sense).
That’s over and above the fact that when I watch episodes/read issues in close proximity to each other, the recurring shticks, plot points and cliches become much more obvious.
Steven Grant (comics writer and columnist) once predicted (IIRC) that this would require major changes to the way comics are written, but it hasn’t happened yet. Will it ever? For all the talk that network TV and monthly comics are Dead, Dead, Dead, they could have a very long death-throes during which they could create a lot of good material (I’m unimpressed by the occasional obits I see that TV is Already Dead and Unimportant).
Time will tell.

1 Comment

Filed under Comics, Reading, TV

One response to “Pressed-together reading

  1. Pingback: Links for readers and writers | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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