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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Spoiled Space

Some people like to know all the exciting stuff first. They can't wait for Christmas day to open their presents and they can't bear not to know the big twists coming in their favourite comics or TV shows months beforehand.

Me, I'm more the sort that will give the boxes a shake and try to guess what's inside, but the last thing I want is for someone to tell me. So I avoid spoilers whenever I can. Unfortunately they are sometimes shoved in my face without my choice, and that really annoys me.

It's bad enough when some outside agency feels obliged to reveal all the good stuff for their own purposes, like TV stations running trailers that give away the big twist - I may hate them for it and plot to burn them down, but I can understand that their priority is to get people to watch the show. Once they are actually watching it, the PR machine is too busy screaming at you to watch the next thing to care about how they have screwed over the current one. But what's worst is when the guys producing the original feel the need to give away the ending. Like putting it on the cover of the comic.

The all time worst spoiler cover for me was the X-Men annual (I forget which one) where the story involved mysterious happenings and the big reveal of who was responsible didn't ocur until well into the story. Unfortunately he was prominently displayed on the cover, so the dramatic tension was nonexistant.

The latest issue of Manhunter isn't quite in that league, but cover featuring the old Blue Beetle and then not having him appear until the final page feels like a cheat. It's misleading, and does a disservice to an excellent comic that is worth reading for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with the cover.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Vincent J. Murphy said...

Same thing with the last issue of Robin, touting Klarion on the cover, but revealing him on the final pages. Would have been much more effective as a mystery.

1:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, I think the Blue Beetle cover was hilarious. It's precisely the opposite of all those silhouette "wait 'til you see the last page reveal" covers. "Ssh! It's a secret!"...come on, that's funny stuff.

I don't know, I just figured he was on the cover as a tease, since he'd be important to the case against Max Lord and all, but then he actually shows up? In the best resurrection (if it actually is) ever? That's wonderful.

5:19 pm  
Blogger Elliot said...

This is a tricky area. I also dislike when a big reveal is spoiled ahead of time.

On the other hand, Ted Kord has a small but solid and vocal fan base, so a story featuring his return, whether for real or, as I suspect, a ruse, is a good opportunity to sell some comics, and maybe get the internet buzzing.

Also, I suspect a lot of Blue Beetle fans might not have even tried Manhunter. She is more of a realistic, mature hero, while Ted is best remembered for the humorous stuff.

I guess it is less of a spoiler thing than a misleading thing, as you point out. The real problem is for people picking up the title expecting to read about Ted and only seeing him on the last page.

5:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite example of this was in the first season of the new Doctor Who, when they set up a nice spooky horror-in-the-museum scenario with a captive monster not seen on camera till halfway through the episode...

Then titled the story "Dalek". And trailed it, with the big reveal, at the end of the previous week's show.

I swear this world is run by halfwits.

6:06 pm  
Blogger SallyP said...

I'm torn between being delighted that Ted's back, and terrified, that it is just a tease, and not really Ted at all. I'll tell you one thing though, I'm definitely getting the next issue of Manhunter. God, I'm easy.

6:14 pm  
Blogger Thomas L. Strickland said...

It's not Ted. But still, it is nice to see somebody in the right BB outfit, swinging down off of the right BB bug.

My guess? Somebody from Checkmate.

3:45 am  
Blogger Bully said...

Anonymous's comment about Doctor Who reminded me how, according to the DVD commentary, there was an attempt to keep the villain of "The Long Game" mysterious until the actual revelation. And then BBC America gives away the reveal...and the villainous plot...in their promos the entire week before the show airs.

I didn't mind as much the Booster is Supernova reveal...especially since it was obvious on reading that book that the real surprise was waiting at the end.

11:42 pm  

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