Monday, March 12, 2007

Federal Daredevil #3: Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Splash Page!

Following on from recent discussions regarding the Federal Daredevil series I have been digging around in the junkyard and have turned up another Federal edition of Daredevil. This is issue #3 which reprints Daredevil #’s159-162.

It’s an interesting issue insofar as it reprints early Frank Miller stories scripted by Roger McKenzie before Miller took over the writing chores, and also includes a fill-in issue illustrated by Steve Ditko, who also provides the cover for the Federal edition. I guess the Miller issues are in demand and are afforded the reprint treatment but this Ditko issue easily slips under the radar, as does the Brennert issue following Miller’s last issue in this tenure.

I mentioned previously that it was a habit of Federal to drop the splash pages. I assume they did this for two reasons - to accommodate their page count, and to pass off consecutive installments as a single uninterrupted story or arc. Danny also said Federal were prone to more substantial tampering, so I thought it might be interesting to sample and compare one of these Federal pages to the US original.

The first panel in the Federal edit is actually the splash page of the US original, with the credits and title erased and the image flipped. The rest of the panels on the Federal page are from the following page of the US original. The panels have been cropped and rearranged, and the art has even been extended.

So I would readily concede these editions are hardly going to satisfy a purist, especially as the material is generally otherwise available in colour US reprint editions.

There was a time when cutting up the page and reformatting the panels to fit a new page size did not present a dilemma, or violate the original work to any substantial degree. I think of the Signet paperbacks of Batman comics - books I treasured as a child – or K.G. Murray’s Superman Super Library series in the mid-1960’s.

I understand even the first Superman comic was a cutup and rearrangement of newspaper strips! It’s interesting that at some point this practise became untenable for regular superhero comics.


Daniel Best said...

In DD #6 there's one splash page. However whoever edited the book down did an incredible job as you'd be hard pressed to find out where one issue finished an another started. That's an example of Federal doing something right at the same time as doing something wrong.

Another book like that is 'The End Of Ghost Rider', which reprints the last three issues (#79, 80 & 81) of the standard USA series and formats them into one seamless story. Makes good reading, but naturally the splash pages are gone. The Simonson Thors are the same. However the Byrne FFs often used the splash page as part of the story (as opposed to a recap) and as such they're usually left intact in those books. I don't have as many Federals as I'd like, but that's because I prefer the Newtons and the large and digest sized Page books. Those I've got literaly hundreds of.

When there was one artisitc team on board it worked well. However when artists changed from issue to issue it was jarring.

spiros xenos said...

“That's an example of Federal doing something right at the same time as doing something wrong.” I like that.

I think the KGM editors did something similar in the splash page example from Daredevil #3. In the original the splash page is on the odd-numbered right-hand page
(I’m assuming it is without pulling out the original comic to confirm). The characters face left from the right-hand side of the page, which the reader encounters as a subliminal pause in the trajectory, a slight halt and hesitation in turning the page as it points left towards the previous intro pages. In the KGM version the image is reversed so that it naturally leads towards the following panel on the same page. The excerpt I scanned is from the trade paperback which in context unwittingly produces the ‘problem’ which the KGM edition deftly sidestepped.