Stegsculpt§ CBR presents an archival interview with the late Dave Cockrum about his model kit designs:

DC: I did a set of science fiction characters and a time machine that would link them to the Prehistoric Scenes line. It never got off the paper, but they liked it. It might have been a little too ambitious for them at the time. I got involved with the Comic Scenes line and it turned out to be all re-issues, although I had concepted several new figures. I did a Phantom kit [this design has since been produced in resin by Action Hobbies of Louisville, Ky.], and Dick Giordano designed a Flash Gordon and Ming kit. It was really a beautiful sculpture; the two of them were dueling with swords and Ming was stepping back and off balance. It was wonderful. I did the box art for the Superboy model, and instructions for five or six of the kits.

§ Comics Fodder presents a long discussion of why six-issue story arcs are bad. Not sure we agree with all the conclusions, but don’t have time to rebut at the moment.

The rise of the writer as rockstar phenomenon and the six-issue story-arc has taken the former serial format of long-running comics and attempted to condense all series into an endless cycle of mini-series. As editors attempt to draw marquee talent for just a few issues to drive up sales, and writers refuse to stick any one place in hopes that the next paycheck will be bigger (or, perhaps that was their one idea), even flagship titles can’t seem to land writers who will publicly state that they will stay on a single book. Even if the checks keep clearing.

The effect has been chilling for readers. Writers, by necessity, do not write toward the long-term. Instead, readers can expect a story with as little impact as possible with respect to the tropes of a franchise. One could safely argue that it is the duty of the editor to ensure that the writer can bring whatever they would like to a title and assist them in working it into continuity, but, instead, readers often see stutter steps of half-completed thoughts and storylines. As mentioned before, the effect of multiple six-issue story arcs occuring one after another is that the stories often fail to ever reference one another, and one wonders if each arc couldn’t have been part of an independent mini-series.


  1. six-issue story arcs are not a problem, bad stories and nothing happening in them are the real villain [in mainstream superhero comics, at least].

    but when it comes to the holy grail of publishers who sell through the direct market comics [finding and keeping new readers], one can do with more oneshots.

    unless you count a six-issue collected in a nifty TPB as a oneshot. then it’s all the same and it’s all doing fine. in any case, the good story argument stands.

  2. As a long time reader of comics, I gotta say…I prefer the “decompressed” storytelling. It sure is nice not having to read panel after panel so crammed with word balloons you can’t see the art that goes with it.

  3. My problem with the discussion is the fact the author doesn’t provide clearcut examples (evidence?) of how the six issue arcs have hurt the particular comics in question.

    Perhaps editors do need to become more like the tv showrunners and link the arcs – fair enough – but I don’t particularly perceive 6 issue arcs as being “wrong.”

  4. Thanks for the link, Heidi.

    Bill is absolutely correct. I should have cited far more specific examples. I’ll do better next time.

    I also don’t particularly argue against decompression. I am far more concerned with a changing of creative teams every six to twelve issues and the potential for damage to long-running series.