Did you read Strange Adventures when it came out a month and a half ago? I enjoyed it quite a bit, but there was one big problem with it: it was only a one shot! In my opinion, there’s no reason DC should not have a Vertigo anthology running on a monthly basis, and I have a list of reasons why. Yeah, a list. What is this, A Crisis of Chronology? Follow the cut for more.
- Anthologies are awesome. Alright, this is more of a personal opinion than anything else, but it’s an opinion that I wish other people would share. Granted, that’s what caused the Crusades, but that’s besides the point. When it comes to something that I haven’t read before, though, I’m willing to spend more money on something that is more likely to have at least a couple of stories that I am going to get some enjoyment from than a cheaper comic that I’m much more likely to end up disliking in its entirety.
- Covers. When you pick up an issue of Batman, odds are Batman is going to be on the cover. And if he isn’t, it’s most likely going to be someone involved with the issue at hand. Of course, that’s to be expected. With an anthology, though, there’s no reason for the cover to have anything but thematically related to the contents. As such, artists would be able to draw… well, whatever they felt like. With the variety of godly artists Vertigo would be able to get their hands on, you can only imagine that this would be one of the best covered books on the shelves (especially if they convinced Paul Pope to do even more).
- Spinoffs. In the past, Dark Horse has used Dark Horse Presents to publish stories that exist within existing continuities, such as the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comics. Why, then, couldn’t Strange Adventures do the same thing? Let’s say that Scott Snyder comes up with an excellent ten-page short story for American Vampire, and it’s the most awesome thing ever. Hell, that’s probably already happened. Currently, he has only a few options that aren’t particularly savory: extending the story, coming up with another one to take up the remaining space of an issue, or – worst of all – forgetting about it entirely. Sure, there may be other options, but the easiest method would be to throw it in an anthology, like Strange Adventures.
- A springboard. Let’s go with the Dark Horse Presents comparison again. Back when Dark Horse was publishing more creator-owned work, Presents was used to test out creator-owned material that might not have survived as an independent miniseries/ongoing series. Can you imagine the amount of series that were pitched to Vertigo and, while containing promise, were ultimately passed on because editorial wasn’t 100% sure the series was going to be awesome? I’m sure more than a handful could have been the next Y: The Last Man but were passed on just as a precaution. Now, how many might have been saved if editorial went “well, we’re not sure about this, but let’s see how it does if we serialize it in our anthology series?”
- Short stories. Okay, this one’s a bit obvious, as we’re talking about an anthology series, but the short story is just as much a part of the comics medium as it is a part of prose. Not every self-contained story fits the standard comic issue size. Can a ten-page comic be just as great as a two-issue one? Definitely. Can a one-pager? Why not? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to publish a story that doesn’t conform to industry standards in terms of length. Vertigo, though, is a brand name that’s well known for quality and respect for the medium; if they won’t publish comics that don’t fit standards, who will?
Five reasons. Yeah, that’s not much quantitatively, but I think that they’re pretty good reasons. Maybe I’m the only one who loves anthologies, but there are plenty of ways to win others over. Debut with a bit of an upcoming story by big names in the industry, like the one-shot did with “Space Man.” Have a few rising stars begin serialized stories in the first issue. Hopefully a good amount of readers will come with the promise of “New Work from the Great ______!,” and hopefully one of the many ongoing stories will keep the reader thinking “well, that story seemed cool, so I’d like to see where it goes.” By the time that story ends, they’re hooked on another. Eventually they’re buying just because they’ve always been reading Strange Adventures. Every twelve issues or so, thrown in another big name sneak peek with a few other stories starting out fresh. Rinse and repeat. That’s not so difficult, is it?