So, let’s look at Planetary and talk about my own bête noire: trade paperback/graphic novel design.
I recently purchased all four volumes of the series. I had the first two trades from a previous printing, but I gave them to a friend, and besides, they didn’t match as a set like these do. I mean, look at these covers:
They’re simple, iconic, actually relate to the interior stories (a theme I’m sure I’ll be hammering here), and more importantly, are consistent across the board. This is a closed series, so it’s pretty easy to make sure they all match up. And they do. Wonderfully.
Until you put them on your bookshelf. Look at this mess:
I think the most annoying thing is how close they are to matching up. I could overlook that the second volume doesn’t treat the title as a subhead. It’s shorter than the others and might have looked goofy. Who knows? I’ll let that one slide. It’s annoying, but I’ll let it slide.
But why aren’t the author credits even close to lining up? Or the volume numbers? It’s not a matter of production issues (inconsistent trimming, etc.), as they all match up at the top of the spine just fine, they just fall apart as you travel downtown. It’s just a matter of sloppy layout.
And then there’s the fourth and final volume, which, honestly, I think works best proportion-wise, but it’s the most problematic when placed next to the other three. Part of the problem is that Wildstorm went away sometime between the printing of the first three and the last one, so we have a different publisher credit area that doesn’t even get close to matching the other three volumes. It would not have been difficult to switch the volume number and publisher info, but I’m assuming future printings will use the publishing info in a way similar to the fourth volume. One would hope. But I don’t have those future editions. I have these. And so when I look at these books on my shelf — where they’ll be viewed most often — rather than a cohesive while, I have a scattershot (no, not Shattershot) mess staring back at me.
C’mon comics. You’re a big industry full of talented professionals. Let’s act like one.
Another Planetary Post