I’m not a huge comic book geek, but I do enjoy reading them when I can. Most of my comic purchase at comic shops center around the mighty quarter bins that contain some of the best (and best of the worst) comics ever. Because of the ridiculous average comic cover price of 2.99, I don’t get to read a lot of newer comics, unless I invest in an occasional splurge or a trade (which even then it’s a collection comics that are at least several months old).
One thing that I miss when going from the old books I read regularly to a book published in the last few years is the absence of notes from the editor. In today’s comics old style thought balloons and those little tidbits of info are gone in an effort to make them more gritty and movie like, I guess. I will admit that the editors notes often took you out of the story and their exclusion makes a lot of the sense most of the time, but I recently began to miss them when reading through DC’s massive event called Countdown to Final Crisis. There are many times throughout the series where I knew something had happened in between issues, but I had no idea what it was exactly. An example comes to mind when the rouge’s Trickster and the Pied Piper are on the lam and they mistakenly end up in Poison Ivy’s green house. Deathstroke the Terminator shows up and we’re all set up for some crazy ass pickle that the boys will have to get out of… but nope, a few issues later they’re in a new predicament and there’s nothing in the text to tell me where to go to find out what the hell happened.
We go from this:
To this a couple of issues later:
You can’t tell me that in that overly drawn out plot, there wasn’t any place to put what happened in there?
Another good example is that it’s brought up that Green Arrow and Black Canary are going to have a wedding and later you only get to see a bit of the aftermath when the villains attack said wedding. This is piss poor storytelling, but since it’s a comic book I’ll have to forgive them because they want you to buy every single stupid issue possible.
Back in the day when this sort of stuff happened the most simple way would have been to put in a note saying, “see Comic X #222”. Instead, I’d have to hit the web and track down where the missing events occurred. This wouldn’t be so bad, but in big crossover events stuff like this happens all the frigging time. As a casual comic fan, it’s extremely frustrating to try and get the whole story. I do know that in each issue they’ll usually have a list of what comics that tie in, but that doesn’t help when it comes to figuring out what part of each story ties into what issue. Sorry DC and Marvel, I’m not going to buy every tie-in and do it myself. This might be possible if I had unlimited funds and read the issues as they came out per month, but try reading a collected trade without any clue as to what of the dozens of tie-ins you need to find in order to complete the entire story.
If you want casual fans like me to enjoy these crossovers, then there needs to be a way for them to know where they can fill in the gaps easily. The little notes from the editor were perfect for this in the old days. Or maybe you can just tell the entire story in your main event books without setting up all of the side adventures without any of the pay off, but that would make way too much sense.