“All the miracles” depicts a huge story in the comics world

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Long-lost manga Readers are good at dealing with different versions of the time. The images in any single comic panel may capture infinitely small moments, pictures in Planck time-but how to explain the speech bubbles that take a few minutes to deliver? Or the image in the panel may contain ghosts from their own past to show movement or change. The gutter between the panels can encode time, minute, month or millennium. Unresolved issues may take four painful weeks to resolve, but the story time is an instant. Some comics tell stories that began more than half a century ago; no one expects anyone to remember everything.

You are used to it anyway. comics Stuttering across their own timeline. No one can see the whole picture. so far.

Douglas Wolk is an outstanding historian and interpreter of comic theory and practice, and he has seen everything.For his new book All miracles, This week, Volcker read all Marvel comics from 1961 to today. This is more than 27,000 individual questions. But because those comics “happen” in the same shared universe, just like recent movies and TV series, all these stories are actually one continuous story. Therefore, Wolk regards them as a single, huge, collaboratively created artwork that is consumed and considered in a huge swallow. Volcker’s achievement is more than just a gimmick. This is literary criticism as a test of endurance.

Nevertheless, it was a lot of comics. That’s why the first question I asked him during the video call was: Are you okay?

“I’m overcoming it,” Volcker said. “I hang it there. It’s like the kitten on the inspirational poster in the 1970s.” It turns out that his infiltration of Marvel is very intense-a journey into the parallel universe directly from what you know. But his head did not explode. It turns out that this trip was a real trip, buddy. Despite the shaky status of comics in American cultural discourse, Volcker discovered subtext, symbolic meaning, and even recurring images and reference materials. He found the pattern. This artwork has a world view.it Cohesion.

This seems surprising. Of course, in the early decades of Marvel, the editorial team adopted what came to be known as the “Marvel Method” in which a writer—usually Stan Lee—and an artist Vaguely sketched out a scene together, then he left and finished blocking and resolving rhythms, paneling and story beats. Then the author will come back to fill out the dialogue. Li has some standard methods of storytelling and ideology. As more and more writers begin to participate, you will think that all of this will split. but not. “It’s people who work in the same room that cooperate with each other; it’s people who work far away in the world keep in touch with each other, understand what they are doing and make sure that what they are doing is compatible and based on each other’s ideas. Come on,” Volcker said. “It is the creator of today who has collaborated with people who wrote and drew comics in the past 40, 50, 60 years, and doesn’t know anyone will remember their work.”

Don’t get him wrong; Wolk doesn’t argue that all Marvel comics are OKAs he pointed out to me, the great writer and artist Jack Kirby-the co-creator of Captain America, the creator of the Eternal Race, etc.-rarely read what he did in Marvel’s early years. “They try to do something cooler, more interesting, and more in-depth, not just polish the page,” he said. “They are not always successful. Sometimes they feel very uncomfortable, sometimes they do something very special.”

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