REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #52 - April 2008 [spoilers]

Tarq mitchell_crouch at
Thu May 8 02:14:44 PDT 2008

On May 8, 10:42 am, EDMLite <robroger... at> wrote:
> I'm not sensing a lot of love for Big Event stories
> lately.
> And I'm wondering why that is.  Is it because of
> the overwhelming number of them spilling out of the
> Big Two recently?  Is it because of the nature of the
> Big Event story itself (some major change has to
> happen for it to mean anything, but comic book
> universes and big, irreversible changes mix about
> as well as water and potassium)?

That may have something to do with it. The days of walking into your
local comic book store, picking up a book that looks interesting, and
reading an interesting story from start to finish seem to be
completely gone. Nowadays you have to follow a series for months to
get that same fulfillment; I personally suspect that this has more to
do with money-grabbing by the Big Two than any true attempt to write
'better' stories, or (in my opinion) stories would alternate more
between one-shots and proper arcs. But then your favourite series is
suddenly jacked into something like Marvel's 'Civil War'.

'Civil War' was exactly the sort of story that a comic book company
should never, ever write. It branched across dozens of titles,
consuming hundreds of issues (137, if my count is correct). The result
of this? In order to get the entire story, readers had to pay roughly
US$400, or AU$800 (not because the US dollar was that strong against
the Australian dollar during the 'Civil War' storyline, but simply
because it cost that much to import comics. Since the US dollar has
hit its decline, the price of comcis has improved considerably).

This is, I feel, a major reason why people don't like Big Event
stories. They cost US$400 to enjoy, and at the end of the day, they
only succeed in mangling the readers favourite characters. ('One More
Day', anyone? What??) This is, of course, not the only reason not to
like Big Events, but it trains the consumer's mindset to grow uneasy
when confronted by them.

> Is it because Big Event stories tend to be large,
> with lots of flitting about from scene to scene?
> (My LNH Comics Presents #501 is probably the most
> egregious example of this). And is there a way
> around that?  Lalo's 58.5 is essentially the story
> of one big event, but he's telling it in chapters,
> with each chapter focusing on a small group of
> characters.

In my personal opinion, I *prefer* large stories with lots of flitting
about from scene to scene, assuming, of course, that each scene is
executed well, and that the conclusion ties it all together nicely.
However, climactic moments need to have room to be focused on. Darting
over to Palpatine and Yoda having a chinwag whilst Anakin and Obi-Wan
duel on Mustafar isn't going to grab my attention, merely raise my

Big Events give the smaller characters an opportunity to shine
through; the main players can always handle a smaller situation, but
in a larger scale problem, they need -- or should need, if the story
is worth making such a fuss over -- help. It's important to develop as
many characters in a way that's meaningful to the narrative, and adds
to the overall experience of the story. Pierre Gringoire, from Victor
Hugo's 'Notre-Dame de Paris', is my favourite example of a background
character who's been explored thoroughly and transformed into a
complex, dynamic human being about whom it's incredibly enjoyable to
read. Yet, if you were to look up a plot synopsis, you would likely
just have Gringoire mentioned as a 'struggling poet', if he were
mentioned at all; the Lord himself knows that Disney didn't bother to
include him in their adaptation.

So these little scenes (generally) add to the enjoyment of the story;
they flesh it out, they turn "There was a massive thing and it was
awesome" into detailed, beautiful prose. The 'problem' with LNHCP #501
was that you had several characters who, because of the way the story
went, simply *couldn't be fleshed out in the course of that issue*. To
truly care for these characters and the predicament that they were in
would require one to go back and read a month's worth of LNH stories
first, and maybe not even that would do it. Considering the restraints
that the storyline placed on that particular issue, it was executed
brilliantly, and I remember it fondly as one of my favourite LNH

The 'problem' with 'Beige Midnight' (and, by extension, 'Beige
Countdown'), however, is that it suffers from Excessive Issue
Syndrome, much like 'Civil War'. It essentially began on April 1st
last year, and it's still going; the carefree, easy-to-access LNH has
been restricted, tightened, and left a few authors unsure of where
they fit into the grand scheme. This is not, of course, a dig at you
or Arthur or anyone else; the story has progressed, and progressed
well, at that. I'm quite certain that it can't be easy to hold your
attention on the one story for so long, and I'm equally as sure that
the end result will be worth the wait.

For now, however, this particular Big Event has gotten the feeling of
just being *too big*. Please, please, PLEASE don't try to change this
now; everything has been crafted towards one final moment, and I'm
looking forward to it very anxiously indeed. But to answer your
question of how to avoid flitting around too many scenes, I reply
(with humble subjectivity), "Don't." I then hasten to add, "But maybe
try to keep the story to a manageable length. A month would have
worked well; after a year, it's a miracle that it hasn't gotten more

> I'd like to know what people think about this.
> I think Arthur has set the bar high for Beige
> Countdown stories so far, and I'd like the ones
> I create to be both fun to read and presented in
> a format that won't seem as...well, bloated as
> some of my stories have been in the past...

If by 'bloated past stories' you refer to LNHCP #501, don't worry
about it too much; I've full confidence in you to write an
entertaining and narrative narrative. However, when I begin using
'narrative' in both its noun and ajective forms in the one sentence, I
fear I've begun rambling and fret over what I've said already. This
now concludes everything that I have to say on the matter, unless I
have something else to say. It occurs to me that I probably haven't
the question that you wanted to know the answer to!

What are LNH author buddies for?  =)

> --Easily-Discovered Man Lite
> --Wondering if this typeface makes him look fat- Hide quoted text -


(also, if LNHCP #501 isn't the issue that I'm thinking of, feel free
to disregard large portions of that text.)

More information about the racc mailing list