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Do comics sell short stories short?

by  in Comic News Comment
Do comics sell short stories short?

In recent years there has been a resurgence of anthologies in comics, and with good reason. Anthologies offer a taste of numerous styles through varied creators telling a concise story. Even if one story is lackluster, there’s several other stories in the anthology that should outweigh that to offer an interesting package.

Anthologies are a common trend in the wider publishing medium, especially when it comes to fantasy and sci-fi — genres that are spiritual brethren to the comics medium by and large. But one thing that hasn’t crossed over is short-story collections. Short-story collections are — what else — collections of short story with one unifying point — the author. Just look at Joe Hill, prose author and comics writer of the IDW series Locke & Key. His first book was a collection of his short stories called 20th Century Ghosts.

The closest thing comics have done to that is the very-missed DC series Solo, which tapped one creator to do a series of stories in a 22-page comic. That project went away far too soon, and the idea of a comic book short-story collection has remained a mute subject for years. But what if publishers reached into the back-catalog of today’s top writers and collected short stories they’ve done for anthologies or online and combined them into a book?

Take Warren Ellis for example. He’s been working actively in comics since 1994, and has done a number of short comics for anthologies, back-ups as well as online one-off strips including the excellent “Superidol” with Colleen Doran. Here’s a list of a couple, with loads more out there:

  • “Candy Flower Napalm” with Terry Shoemaker (from Akira #38 from 1995)
  • “Judge Edwina’s Strange Cases: Feed Me!” with Sean Phillips (from Judge Dredd Magazine #7 in 1991)
  • “Dada 331” with Phil Winslade (from A1 #6 in 1992)
  • “Sugarvirus” with Martin Chaplin (oneshot from 1993)
  • “Superidol” with Colleen Doran (published at in 2001)
  • “The Operation: Friday I’m In Love” with Phil Hester (from Oni Press Color Special 2002)
  • “Poppy” with Lea Hernandez (published at in 2000)
  • “Better Living Through Chemistry” with Brian Michael Bendis (from Negative Burn #37 from 1996)

Ellis isn’t the only one with short stories floating out in back issue bins and the internet — Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Mark Millar and even some younger creators like Matt Fraction. Would you by a short story collection by your favorite comics writer OR artist? Who would you want to see a short story collection from?

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