So, New York and most of the north east has been getting pounded with some pretty crappy weather. I’m sick as a dog as I write this and my current comic fix is Thor by J. Michael Straczynski, Olivier Copiel with Mark Morales and the amazing Laura Martin on colors. I had waited some time to get a hold of these, but I’m happy I did (I wouldn’t have been able to wait a month for the next issue!). So that combination of elements and last week’s Robot Dialog entry got me to thinking. What were some unpublicized gimmicks that worked.
The first comic that comes to mind was Alpha Flight #6 – snow blind. This comic isn’t a gimmick per se but the fact that they were ballsy enough to publish a comic book with six pages of just thought ballons and panel boarders was pretty revolutionary. Not only that, those 6 blank pages forced the readers imagination into double time by having you fill in the blanks. This was an experiment in comic storytelling that went incredibly right. I wonder if John Byrne got paid for those 6 pages of snow?
Next up is one of the coolest GI Joe comics ever! GI Joe #21 – The silent issue. To my knowledge it was the only comic book to be printed without any words in the story (at the time). The great part was, not only did it show how much of a badass Snake eyes was; it was drawn by Larry Hamma! This comic was pure storytelling and it’s been talked about years later. This is a shining example of excellent visual storytelling. (and the complete opposite of Alpha Flight#6 but yet the same).
Lastly, All hail our new King. Walt Simonson! Thor #380 – Mjolnir’s Song (Thor vs. The Midgard Serpent). This was the last issue of Thor Simonson drew and it was fucking awesome. Each page was a splash page of intense dialog and battle between Thor and Jormungand. The decision to make each page a splash helped convey the scale and magnitude of this epic battle. This book was an instant classic and remains one of my all time favorite comics. It was the first but certainly not the last time a book has been all splash pages, but no one has done it as well as Simonson.
Much respect to all those mentioned above for doing what they did for the sake of doing it and not to draw readers in or sell more books. And my hats off to all of the editors involved in these books and having the faith in their talent to deliver something that was unconventional and pushed the boundaries of the medium.