Comics Creators

The Perfect Length (tee hee)


Also it is very ‘honest’ in the way it sets things up from the start and pays them off as the story plays out. To borrow the old speechwriting adage, it tells you what it’s going to tell you; it tells you; and then it tells you what it told you.

There are no cheap twists or unnecessary diversions, and everything in the series revolves pretty tightly around the core that’s there from the beginning. But it also manages to throw up some surprises that are perfectly logical but that you don’t necessarily see coming. It never cheats for the sake of a surprise reversal, everything makes sense given what has gone before.


I think I’d have to agree with a cap of 50 issues for most comics if they want to tell a coherent story. That’s four years of publishing if on a tight schedule, which should be plenty of time for making something really special anyhow.

I’ll never understand you guys pining for 90 minute movies all the time… I can’t really find it in myself to care about the runtime of a movie, only how well the time is used.


The 90 minute thing I think is more useful for blockbusters.

I mean, don’t waste my time i just want a fun diversion.


I could maybe see that for an action film like John Wick or the F&F series, but I personally rather enjoy spending as much time as possible with characters I like, like the whole GOTG crew, and would generally prefer another half hour in order to have more great character moments. Then again, my favorite thing in narratives is character, so that might explain my preference for longer runtimes when strong characters are to be found.


It was Robert and I that started it I think and the strict 90 minute rule was always tongue in cheek, plenty of caveats for long epics we liked.

It just mainly came from (and I actually think they’ve got a bit better in the last couple of years) the amount of films where I was doing what Chris mentioned, checking the watch as it got to a flat bit in the middle. A lot of them could be improved by some editing or tighter scripts.


I agree. Some movies are bit self indulgent.

By the same token, I have a deep and abiding love for movies like Ben Hur or Spartacus or The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, which run for 3 hours but don’t flag.

I don’t really have a view about a perfect length for a comic. A lot of my favourite comics ran for 60ish issues. I guess it depends on the story. I often think that the Ed Brubaker/Sean Philips model (or what Mike Mignola used to do with Hellboy) of having a series of mini-series works pretty well. You come in, tell your story and get off the stage. You can join up the next story if you want or start afresh.

…Just remembered that Brubaker and Philips are doing an ongoing now with Kill or Be Killed (and very good it is too).


But will we ever get that second Coward story?


Yep, I’ve no issues with a long film that is well enough written or edited so that there’s no fat in the movie.

I struggle to think of good examples where that is the case, and whether it be TV, Film, novels or comics - the character stuff is what I’m interested in.

Wolf of Wall Street and The Godfather spring to mind as long movies that are either entertaining enough or intelligent enough throughout (the former more so in terms of entertainment and plot).

When it comes to action I’ve no interested in watching superheroes knocking fuck out of each other for three quarters of an hour, in shots that are so close up and jump from one angle to another that you can’t see the action anyway - this is where my problem lies with this type of movie.

I also think, for example, LoTR trilogy could cut about 4 hours of pish out and make for a far more interesting experience. Most of the run time is spent talking about potatoes.


Are you certain of this fact Chris? :smile:


Again with the Andy Serkis obsession. :roll_eyes:

This is getting out of hand.


Coward’s Way Out…God I hope so.

I may have been dropping subtle hints (or not so subtle hints) for years with Sean Philips every time I have come across him on the boards.


I’m 1% sure


I made tater tots for my kids last night and told them “what’s…taters…precious!”

What can I say? I’m obsessed!

(The story, sadly, is not a joke)


I would say that for comedy movies, 90 minutes should be the max.


There are some ongoing books that work great letting it go wherever it may. Claremont’s X-Men run was too short imo. He still had a lot of room to mine new twists and new subject matter, and was still on his A-game when he left.


The Warren Ellis/Bryan Hitch run on the first 12 issues of THE AUTHORITY are damn near perfect, as the threat level increased with each 4-issue arc.

WILDCATS 3.0 by Joe Casey/Dustin Nguyen was a great 24-issue run that set itself apart from the standard superpower slugfests of the time.


The 90 mins thing…

It comes down to the structure they use in making movies…

The longer your film, the more difficult it becomes to get from act 1 to act 3 in a constantly entertaining way, as we, the viewer, is primed for the third act and constantly anticipating it from the moment act 2 begins. You’ll find alot of sucessful ‘longer’ films have ways in which this structure is played with to give more of a feel of ‘chapters,’ mainly throughout the second act. Narrative ‘time’ is also a factor. The longer the space in the narratives ‘real’ time, the easlier we accept a longer film, hence biopics suiting 2-3 hours and a film set over a shorter period of time suiting closer to 10 mins.

All this, of course, doesn’t matter if you just make a great film from a great script. Look how long Die Hard is. It seems a lot less than the running time as we get completely sucked in.




Interestingly, JMS used that same structure to plot Babylon 5. Series 1 is the introduction, 2 the rising action, 3 the conflict, 4 the conclusion and 5 the denouement


I would say back on his A-game. People give the resetting of the pieces in Mutant Genesis a lot of crap but it allowed (possibly forced) Claremont to jettison/fix a lot of junk.