Hey folks.  I have four re-reading projects that I currently do.  If you don't know, I'm re-reading Amazing Spider-Man #1-50, Thor (Journey Into Mystery 83 onward), Iron Man (Tales of Suspense 39-99), and Avengers 15-100 (Cap did the 1-14 and asked me to take over with #15).

I want to thank everyone that posts in those threads.  I would love to see more of you weigh in and I'm wondering if I make a few changes that would lead to more participation.

Currently my initial post for each issue is several paragraphs long.  There's so much going on these stories that I don't want to leave things out, but I'm wondering if brevity would be better.  I'm assuming people are also reading along for the issue in question - certainly I do for Randy's Captain America thread and his other threads, and Richard Mantle's ASM and Avengers threads - and perhaps I don't have to be quite so detailed.  The other thing, which ties in with my posts for the individual issues being long, is that I find them time consuming to write.  I'll procrastinate and put them off, and then before I know it, there's a big time gap between each issue.

So here are my questions.  I'm certainly open to changing things up and I welcome any input or constructive criticism from you guys.

 - Which style of summary do you prefer for re-reading each issue, a detailed recap or a brief one hitting the main points?

- Are you more inclined to participate in a re-reading thread if the OP (me, natch) posts frequently or at least semi regularly, for instance, weekly, or every other week?

- Do you have any other suggestions for me to improve the re-reading threads?

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I'm reading all of the threads you list. There is/was one for the early Fantastic Four. When that returns I'll participate in that one too. If I have access to the comics in some form I'll comment. If I don't have access I'll still follow the thread but will only comment on something general rather than the story. I can read along with both Spider-Man threads and (through the Epic collections) the first twenty issues of Avengers and Iron Man through TOS #72.

Selfishly, the details in the Thor thread help me enjoy it because I don't have the issues past the first Epic collection. Usually, the hitting-the-highlights method used by Richard Mantle works OK for me. If I am actually reading along and see something else I think is worth mentioning I will bring it up in my reply.

As for the frequency of new posts in the reading projects, sometimes there is a big gap but I always appreciate them when they appear. I know they aren't easy to produce.

With almost 600 members it seems like we only get a small number of new or returning members posting replies beyond the regulars. Did everybody else forget their passwords?

 photo welcomeani-1.gif

Seriously, don't be shy out there. I've been posting on the Round Table for four years and I was welcomed immediately. 

I'm reading a lot of these threads, and I enjoy them. To answer your specific questions:

- Which style of summary do you prefer for re-reading each issue, a detailed recap or a brief one hitting the main points?

If I'm familiar with the issue at hand, I'll gloss over the summary and go straight to the reaction. I'm assuming that everyone else does the same thing. Otherwise, a detailed summary is useful.

- Are you more inclined to participate in a re-reading thread if the OP (me, natch) posts frequently or at least semi regularly, for instance, weekly, or every other week?

It's got much more to do with the subject matter, but yes, it's nice if the reviewer posts on a regular schedule (hint, hint Randy).

- Do you have any other suggestions for me to improve the re-reading threads?

Free beer.

I'd love to see more participation, and I'd love to hear what other people have to say about the matter.

It certainly does seem that sometimes readers have more to say about some issues than others and I really like that. Occasionally an issue will pass by virtually without comment and I wonder if it's because no one is reading anymore or that no one disagreed much with my take on the points I mention.

The 'important issue to me'  info from everyone I find fascinating too.

Randy Jackson said:

I'm reading a lot of these threads, and I enjoy them

If I'm familiar with the issue at hand, I'll gloss over the summary and go straight to the reaction. I'm assuming that everyone else does the same thing. Otherwise, a detailed summary is useful.

I'd love to see more participation, and I'd love to hear what other people have to say about the matter.

Let me first say that I read everyone's re-reading projects.  I only post when I have something relevant to add, so my name doesn't pop up too much.  But I enjoy and appreciate everyone's efforts to re-visit the past.

To address your specific concern, John:  re-reading projects are essentially reviews, and good reviews require a balance; certainly, the salient points of the story should be gone over, but more important, I think, is the reviewer's thoughts, opinions, and observations on the issue.  That's what makes a review interactive with its readers. That feeling, after reading the reviewer's words, of "Hey, I never realised that before!" or "Hey, he noticed that, too!"  So, your commentary on a given issue is more interesting to me than the rote description of the story.

At the same time, I realise how difficult it is to boil down a twenty-to-twenty-five-page tale to a few paragraphs.  On another site, I do regular reviews of whatever issue of JLA came out on that month fifty years ago, and it's impossible to keep it brief.  Like you do, I separate the story synopses from my commentary; however, in order to keep the synopses interesting, I'll add some minor editorialising.  And sometimes, I'll switch around the order of minor events as they're presented in the story to an order that makes for an easier flow when they're read in prose.  In other words, I try to avoid just a page-by-page accounting.

The commentary is the important thing to me, though.  If the synopsis is long, or it's an issue with which I am well acquainted, I'll only skim it before going to the commentary. But the length of the synopsis never keeps me from reading a new entry.  

I follow all of the re-read threads, paying more attention to those covering Silver Age issues since I am most familiar with that era and have read many of the stories discussed. Short summary with emphasis on commentary would be my preference. I also like to know original cover dates, creative team and any behind the scenes info that you may know pertaining to a particular story or time period.

Generally speaking, I participate only in the discussions I am actually reading along with, and that depends simply on whether or not I’m in the mood to read that particular run at that particular time. I think the best discussions occur when at least two people are actually reading (one offering “play-by-play” and one “color commentary”). Beyond that, the more people who read along and comment from memory only the better.

When I run a discussion, I expect (unrealistically, perhaps) everyone who participates to either read along, or else be so familiar with the run under discussion that reading along is unnecessary. Therefore I do only the barest minimum of recap, if any at all. If I am co-hosting a discussion, I always let my partner do the “play-by-play” (summary) and I do the “color commentary” (comments).

I prefer a fast-paced discussion myself, at least when I have time, say an issue per day, with as many people as possible committed to reading along.

I think the re-reading projects add great value to the site.

I will occasionally check in on the Silver Age threads but am generally more interested in the Bronze Age or newer. 

If the thread deals with a title I have intimate knowledge of, I am apt to pay closer attention. I generally don't like to comment on a specific story detail unless I have time to re-read the story first, so most of my thoughts are of a more general nature but I do enjoy reading everyone's posts.

Also, my interest generally lies more with the creative process and background than with the summary of the story.

Btw, I would love to see more DC threads.

It's been awhile since I participated in a re-reading thread I wasn't leading (not surprising given my reading habits). But I've always preferred to read along; I get a lot more out of the discussion that way. Threads need enough summary to remind everyone about some details of the story being discussed, but the commentary is the most interesting thing. I think I've been guilty of writing too much summary in threads I've led. The summaries get pretty tiring to write after awhile, as they always take longer to write than I expect.

doc photo said:

I also like to know original cover dates, creative team and any behind the scenes info that you may know pertaining to a particular story or time period.

I enjoy it when the original credits are quoted verbatim, such as John does in his ASM thread. The clever wording takes me back to when I first read the comics. If pseudonyms are used they should be quoted and translated, IMO. Background as to why the pseudonym was used would be nice at least on the first instance in a run. If a story title is an homage to a then-current book or movie that would add value.

It may just be no one has strong feeling one way or the other about a particular issue. What's important is if they return for later issues.
 
Richard Mantle said:

It certainly does seem that sometimes readers have more to say about some issues than others and I really like that. Occasionally an issue will pass by virtually without comment and I wonder if it's because no one is reading anymore or that no one disagreed much with my take on the points I mention.

The 'important issue to me'  info from everyone I find fascinating too.

Randy Jackson said:

I'm reading a lot of these threads, and I enjoy them

If I'm familiar with the issue at hand, I'll gloss over the summary and go straight to the reaction. I'm assuming that everyone else does the same thing. Otherwise, a detailed summary is useful.

I'd love to see more participation, and I'd love to hear what other people have to say about the matter.

There was a Fantastic Four re-read?

I think in most large groups most people just join then don't really become active members. Some people have hundreds of friends on facebook, but how many of them could really be considered "friends?"
 
Richard Willis said:

I'm reading all of the threads you list. There is/was one for the early Fantastic Four. When that returns I'll participate in that one too. If I have access to the comics in some form I'll comment. If I don't have access I'll still follow the thread but will only comment on something general rather than the story. I can read along with both Spider-Man threads and (through the Epic collections) the first twenty issues of Avengers and Iron Man through TOS #72.

Selfishly, the details in the Thor thread help me enjoy it because I don't have the issues past the first Epic collection. Usually, the hitting-the-highlights method used by Richard Mantle works OK for me. If I am actually reading along and see something else I think is worth mentioning I will bring it up in my reply.

As for the frequency of new posts in the reading projects, sometimes there is a big gap but I always appreciate them when they appear. I know they aren't easy to produce.

With almost 600 members it seems like we only get a small number of new or returning members posting replies beyond the regulars. Did everybody else forget their passwords?

 photo welcomeani-1.gif

Seriously, don't be shy out there. I've been posting on the Round Table for four years and I was welcomed immediately. 

Hi, John! Very thoughtful questions you pose!

For my part, I skim over the re-reading projects threads because almost all of them cover comics I haven't read because they were published before I got into comics. The main exception was "Randy Jackson Re-Reads Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck", a series I have in its entirety and a thread I did participate in. Also, it seems most of them are about Marvel titles, as we see from this handy-dandy list: "Links for Reviews ... Re-Read Threads ... Other Round Table Links"

Your instinct that "brevity would be better" is spot-on. Brevity is always better (except when it isn't.)

 

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