I find the concept of having a reader interact with the story in a comic book to be interesting. Have any of you read such stories? if so, what did you think of them?

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Comment by Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) on May 6, 2010 at 3:38pm
Surprised no one else has commented. I've always thought that the Silver Age instances of this were pretty gimmicky. But it's been done effectively in more recent comics. Grant Morrison is especially fond of this device. He used it very effectively in his final Animal Man issue, in which Animal Man meet his creator (Morrison). We were just discussing his use of it in his Seven Soldiers of Victory series over in the Grant Morrison thread.
Comment by Julian Gift on May 6, 2010 at 6:34pm
There was an old Flash (DC comics) issue whenh the fatstest man alive was asking the reader to not just pass the comic by but to give it consideration or there would be consequnces. Flex Mentallo (DC/ Vertigo comics) called out to the reader on one of the comic book covers of the limited series. 1985 (Marvel comics) had the comic book characters crossing over into our world. Heck Superboy-Prime wanted to kill his "creators" in what would have been our world because of all of the trial and tribulations that they had put him through. It is gimmicky approach to telling a story, but it also fires the imagination. How would one react if one did break through the 4th wall and interacted with the observer from afar or even the narrator of one's stories? Hmmmm
Comment by ClarkKent_DC on May 6, 2010 at 7:50pm
I was trying to think of examples where the characters in the story address the reader, like in the Doom Patrol example offered, and came up dry.

I can think of several examples of comics creators appearing in stories. The first that came to mind was that instant classic issue of The Brave and the Bold (#124, January 1976) featuring Batman and Sgt. Rock on the trail of terrorists who stole high-tech rifles -- terrorists who somehow came out of the pages artist Jim Aparo was drawing to make him draw the terrorists winning and Batman and Rock getting killed.

They really don't make 'em like that anymore!
Comment by Julian Gift on May 6, 2010 at 7:59pm
Clark. I think that I know of that one. I think that was an unusual way to tell a story. I would like to hear the opinions of all who read that issue
Comment by Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) on May 6, 2010 at 9:57pm
Flex Mentallo is Grant Morrison again, of course. Wish I could say I've read it, but I've only got one issue. They're $36 apiece at mycomicshop.com right now, where I just went to check that cover (#1).
Comment by Julian Gift on May 7, 2010 at 7:22am
I enjoyed reading the Flex Mentallo series. So much so that I had sought and bought some of the the Doom Patrol (Vertigoi comics) issues that had featured the character.
Comment by Eric L. Sofer on May 7, 2010 at 7:40am
Well, if you want the ultimate in fourth wall breakage, John Byrne's She-Hulk runs were pretty much the definition, I think. Absolutely fantastic work - I wish he were still doing it. Or really, any mainstream title for DC or Marvel. I love his writing, I love his art - and the rare Star Trek mini-series from IDW, while eminently satisfying, is far too few.

B&B #124 - I was still getting used to Jim Aparo's art at the time, so I didn't like this book as much as I could have. When I reread it, the idea of Bob Haney, Jim Aparo, and Murray Boltinoff being hunted by this terrorist group was a lot of fun! It still didn't make an awful lot of sense... but then, you didn't read Bob Haney's B&B (or World's Finest) for continuity, consistency, and logic.

For interactions of a fourth wall nature, I can think of quite a few occurrences (Adventure Comics... #352, maybe? Where Chameleon Boy turns into a spider, and then wryly comments to a certain spider-come-lately that he (Cham) had been changing into all kinds of shapes for years! That was the most daring panel in a DC comic EVER to that point, I think!)

Comment by ClarkKent_DC on May 7, 2010 at 12:08pm
Brave & Bold #124 is on my "If Your House Was On Fire and You Could Save Only 10 Comics" list. It is so bizarre, it's awesome!
Comment by Philip Portelli on May 7, 2010 at 6:27pm
If you read the JSA stories in "All-Star Archives", the heroes all seem to know that they are starring in a comic book and even plug their solo features in other books.
Comment by Julian Gift on May 7, 2010 at 7:52pm
Thanks for the information about the comic books. I enjoyed reading those She-hulk issues. Brave and Bold #124 was an interesting cncept and I winder if the colloborators of the story had encountered any difficulties to air the story. Having characters know that they are fictional makes for an interesting study of mental and emotional states. Does one become so accostumed to the fantastic? How would we react if we were to break the 4th wall only to discover that our lives were plays? Would anyone believe us? Our creators had better hope that we do not react like superboy-prime.


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