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Incomplete Stories


#1

So, whether it’s TV, books or comics, how do you deal with this? Do you wait hoping it’ll be finished one day or do you eventually bite the bullet and bail?

I’m curious as to what people do and what cases they are.

For me some examples are:

  • American Vampire - Starting to conclude it might be time to bail on this.

  • Sword of Shadows - Notorious gaps between books, but been news it might get concluded so let’s hope so.

  • A Distant Soil - Ambivalent on this, on the one hand it’s nearly done, but lacking those final pieces irks.

  • Age of Bronze - Hard to say if this will complete, but as it’s a retelling of the Iliad, we know how the story ends so it doesn’t matter too much.

  • Abarat - You know, the three books I have of this are lovely work but doing a children’s series and then taking so long that the kids that started on it are now adults is more than a little odd.

Of course this does bring up the age old notion of what an author, knowingly doing a serial, is obliged to do in that respect? Some say an artist owes noting to their audience, but a counter to this is without the audience what is the artist? And a serial works by supplying further pieces of the story, stop that and the appeal falls apart. I’d add by not supplying further pieces the artist is working against people recommending their work, so it’s their interest too.

I’m not looking for agreement here, I doubt we’ll get that because this’ll look different to everyone, but I do want explore thinking around this area, as it might help me on how to deal with several incomplete tales.


#2

I’m still trying to figure out why the Hardy boys never grew up.


#3

If it’s something the creator is still working on then I usually stick around until the fat lady sings.

If it’s just an incomplete story that the writer has actually definitely given up on, then I deal with it by trying to see how the final finished installment harkens to the overall work.


#4

Any of Jay Faerber’s superhero properties. Many of them ended on cliffhangers.


#5

It depends how much you’re interested in the creators and the story, I guess.

I bought Big Numbers #1 & #2 well after they came out, despite knowing they were the opening chapters of a never-to-be-completed project, because I figured one-sixth of an Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz story was still worth checking out. The craft outweighed the need for a complete story there.

Similarly, I’ve stuck with many books that have had scheduling issues because the work is so good.

If a series that I enjoy stops coming out, it’s a shame, but I’ll move on to other things and won’t feel too entitled to a conclusion, even if the lack of an ending harms the work as a whole.

On the other hand, if the scheduling of a series starts to affect my enjoyment of it, I’ll drop it and either follow it in a different format (tradewaiting at least allows you to be certain you’re getting a decent chunk of story in one go) or stop following it altogether.

Either way, it’s not something I get too hung up on. If a story stops being made, there are going to be reasons for it (whether those are creative, personal, economic or whatever) that are well out of my control. Getting worked up about it probably isn’t going to help much. There are always plenty more stories to try.


#7

I think sometimes it just becomes impossible or improbable to finish some things due to finance, schedules, people or maybe the zeitgeist for the story has just passed. Lapse in publishing certainly doesn’t help that momentum if a work was already struggling. I know this stuff probably has to be crushing for creators who would honestly like to continue but the way is really blocked.

Some I would still like to see finished with varying degrees of hope that they will.:

  • Miracleman: The Silver Age - I assume this is still in the works but have no idea where it is. I assumed finishing the story was one of Marvel’s primary reasons for purchasing the property.

  • Real Heroes - This was Hitch’s last Image book before coming over to DC. Would still love to see this finish as the concept was so good. If I’m not mistaken, there was only an issue or two left to go.

  • Youngblood: Bloodsport - A collaboration between two of my favorite creators, Mark Millar and Rob Liefeld? What’s not to like? This one only had one issue ship and a con exclusive ashcan of the second issue. It’s probably low on the probability of finishing list but was so good.

  • War Heroes - Another great concept that I would love to see finish.

  • Roundeye - I backed this Tony Harris project on Kickstarter ages ago. I assume it’s dead in the water at this point. Is Tony Harris currently working in comics?

I know this stuff probably has to be crushing for creators who would honestly like to continue but the way is really blocked. I don’t want to come off as entitled that I’m owed something except in the one where I had already paid for it but that’s another story. Even in that situation, it has affected the creator involved a lot more than it has me.


#8

I think if it’s within their power, creators are obliged to finish a story they’ve started. That’s often less likely and practical in comics than elsewhere though, especially when you factor in the power of publishers, creative partnerships etc. Stephen King said something interesting about this in regards to the Dark Tower series and I wish I could find it again.


#9

Oh, that’s a shame about Real Heroes.

I thought the plan for Miracleman was to reissue it all, make mad money and then issue the finale of that story.


#10

I got the itch from Real Heroes scratched by Green Valley.
The second Max Landis penned thing I have ever liked.


#11

Non-player - I’m not sure what the story is here but the two issues that exist are gorgeous and hint at something really amazing but, currently, they are all that exist.

https://imagecomics.com/comics/series/nonplayer

Undergrads - This was an animated series that used to be on MTV, it followed the lives of four friends (Nitz, the everyman, Rocko, the jock, Cal, the Casanova, and Gimpy, the geek) as they embarked on university life but mainly centred around Nitz. The end of the series the four have abandoned their plans to live together as they move into second year and Nitz finds himself in the middle of a messy love triangle. The show was never recommissioned and despite calls from the fans and the creator there is no interest commercially.


#12

Nonplayer was great. I would buy a third issue if it ever came out.


#13

Gaiman was pretty definitive in saying he was going to finish it. He’s a busy man though and Marvel haven’t really given any indication of when.


#14

Nonplayer is still happening, it just takes him ages to do.

There were four years between #1 and #2, and it’s only been two years since then.


#15

He has a series for Aftershock, Blood Blister, written by Phil Hester:

The schedule seems fairly irregular: the first issue came out on Feb 1st, the next one was in May, and #3’s scheduled for October.


#16

In terms of incompleteness I have to say if Stray Bullets never concludes it would be one of the biggest misses. Setting itself on an actual timeline, and having the first issue be, in essence, the first chapter of the final arc - and the fact that the current (seemingly endless) arc creates a narrative beat which is capitalized by that very first issue.
If they ever find their way back to that point in the timeline.

If it ever completes it will go from a great comic…to something really special I think.


#17

I haven’t read much of the story post-reboot, but it looks like they’ve actually gone back to the early 80s again for the last few years rather than move forward past where the original series ended in 1986?

I do hope Lapham finishes it someday; it’s a great book.


#18

Yeah, Lapham had one arc that continued the 1986 storyline with Virginia…it is rather good.
And the second arc after that has gone back to tell the story, or rather the Ballad, of Orson and Beth.
In full.

That current arc is at 24 issues right now with no end in sight.
But it does put in a really cool narrative trick that leads all the way back to Stray Bullets #1


#19

Yeah, he’s got a day job, and a young child - I don’t know how he’s even put out two issues, at that level of detail.


#20

Does the Ballad of Halo Jones count as unfinished?


#21

Yeah, it was planned to run for 9 parts.