Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Draw up a chair

“From the Floor of 64” was the British Power Comics’ version of Marvel’s “Bullpen Bulletins” – a page of gossip, insider info and tantalizing glimpses of upcoming projects. I’ve no doubt that’s a big reason why I was such a staunch fan. Stan Lee (and, over here in the UK, his emulators Alf Wallace and co) knew how to create an inviting sense of community.

DC titles carried a letters page, but there was nothing to glue the whole slate together the way Marvel did. (Also, the coolest their characters got was Batman – and back then he was no Spidey, I’ll tell you that.)

If you look at
Bullpen Bulletins pages from the mid-‘60s now, your impression is likely to be, “This was Marvel’s website.” The theory of community was in their genes, even though the technology was still thirty years away.

They also had the letters pages, of course. Most of what got discussed went a little over my head at age 10, but I liked it that way. It made me feel that the comics I enjoyed weren’t just for kids (not that “just” for kids is any kind of a bad thing anyway). Listening in on that thoughtful, intensely enthusiastic dialogue between readers and creators taught me how to think about stories.

At some point we’re going to set up a letters page – I mean a forum – for discussing Mirabilis like that. Any and all suggestions welcome. Excelsior!

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