Grotesque Anatomy
Monday, November 24, 2003
  Topics That Will Not Die:  #2 - The Floppy Format
This topic will probably persist until the single-issue format fades away.  Laura Gjovaag has blogged quite a bit about this topic recently.  According to her, David Fiore has the last word on the issue, although I'm not sure why.  David argues that the "seriality" of comics makes them unique:
I would submit that the very things that intelligent fans seem to deplore these days (characters that don't change, zero opportunity for "closure", endless permutations that grow out of minute variations in the approach to a very limited number of existential situations, etc.--the super-hero comic, in its "open-ended", monthly form is a bonanza for structuralist analysis!!) are the things that make this genre unique and fascinating.
A bit further down, David claims that the monthly format of floppies contributes to this "open-endedness":
I'm not saying that self-contained "sequential art" is devoid of interest, but I am saying that the "traditional" model for the presentation of these narratives is actually far more compelling (formally!) than the types of works that mature fans seem to be clamoring for. My message to the proponents of the monthly, "single" super-hero format? Do not equivocate, and do not apologize!
I'm not sure I see the connection between David's two points.  As far as I can tell, a story's "open-endedness" is entirely independent from the format the story is told in.  Even if comics were all published as big, thick OGNs the story could still remain unresolved from book to book.  And big, thick anthologies can be monthly as well (Shonen Jump, anyone?), so even if "open-endedness" is somehow tied to publishing frequency, this doesn't resolve the matter in favor of the floppy format.  Heck, if how often a comic comes out determines its resistance to closure then fans such as Fiore must have been crushed when Raijin Comics switched from weekly to monthly publication.  Perhaps this is an argument for the return of the weekly anthology à la Action Comics Weekly?  That way you could split many monthly comics into shorter serials that come out weekly.

I think other factors are more critical in determining most comics' "open-endedness":  Lack of creative ownership/control and publishers' desire to maintain properties in a recognizable state so as to maximize their licensing potential.  But I've already rambled on long enough (especially considering Sunday's entry), so I'll leave that argument as an exercise for the reader.
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