Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Longtime comics The reader gets better at dealing with different versions of time. On any individual comic panel the image can instantly become an infinite piece, a picture of Planck’s time – but then how to calculate for the bubbles of dialogue that take a few minutes to deliver? Or a panel image may include ghosts from their own past to show motion or change. Sewers within the panel can encode moments, minutes, months or millennia. A cliff-hanger can take four painful weeks to solve a problem, but the time of the story is an instant. Some comics tell stories that began more than half a century ago; No one expects anyone to remember everything.

Anyway, you get used to it. Comics Stutter-walk through their own timeline. No one ever sees the whole picture. So far.

Douglas Olak, a prominent historian and commentator on comics theory and practice, has seen everything. For his new book All Marvels, This week, Ulk has read all of Marvel Comics from 1961 to the present. This is more than 27,000 personal issues. But since these comics “happen” in the same shared universe, like recent movies and TV shows, those stories are actually a series of stories. So Olak took them as a single, large, collaborative work of art, swallowed them up, and considered them a gigantic tale. Olak’s achievement is more than just a stunt. It tests the patience of literary critics.

Still, though, it’s a lot of comics. That’s why in my video call I ask him the first question: Are you okay?

“I’m going through it,” Olak said. “I’m hanging out there. Like a cat on a 1970s inspirational poster. His dive into Marvel became quite intense া a journey through a parallel universe straight from what you know. But his head did not explode. The journey turned out to be a real trip, man. Despite the ghostly state of comics in American cultural discourse, Olak has found subtext, symbols, and even iterative images and references. He has found patterns. This solo art has a worldview. It is Are assembled.

That may sound amazing. Of course, in the first decade of Marvel, the editorial team was known as the “Marvel Method”, in which a writer – often Stan Lee – vaguely hacked a scene with an artist who then left and did the pacing, paneling, and block-end of the story bit. Tackling. Then the writer would come back and fill in the dialogue. And Lee had some standard approaches to storytelling and ideals. As more and more writers begin to get involved, you’ll think it’s all going to be different. But no. “Those who are working in the same room are cooperating with each other; It’s about people in the world working far apart from each other who are in contact with each other, finding out what they’re doing and making sure that what they’re doing is consistent and based on each other’s ideas. “And it’s a long distance collaboration with the creators at the present time, who wrote and drew comics 40, 50, 60 years ago and had no idea that anyone would remember their work.”

Don’t get him wrong; Olk doesn’t argue that all Marvel comics Good. As he showed me, the great writer and artist Jack Kirby – the co-creator of Captain America, the creator of Eternals, among many – rarely read what he did in his early years at Marvel. “They were trying to do something cool and interesting and deeper than just crushing the pages,” he said. “They have not always been successful. Sometimes they fall on their noses, and sometimes they make something really special.

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