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Author Topic: How Important Is A Letters Page?  (Read 4821 times)

Stephen Parry

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How Important Is A Letters Page?
« on: 02 April, 2016, 10:20:44 PM »
Although the above question can apply to any publication, fictional or non-fictional, as it's here, I guess we'll talk more about 2000 AD.

Whether it's the magazines I buy, or the comics I purchase, letters pages are important to me. Despite the era of great forums like this, where you can instantly see what people like, I think there are two great reasons for letters pages.

Firstly, there is something cool about seeing a snapshot of opinion on a letters page. Letters selected for publication are usually the "cream of the crop" and provide a wide variety of views.

Secondly, and most importantly, it's great that you can buy back issues and get a feel for how people felt at the time. I wasn't around in, say, the late 50s, but pick up a publication from that era and it's nice to get a feel for how people living back then felt. Some modern comics that lack letters pages won't be the same for future generations.

Any thoughts?

maryanddavid

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #1 on: 03 April, 2016, 01:12:13 AM »
Yeah, letter pages are important for me( more important for others!)

It gives a feel of community and love for the material. If someone takes the time to pen and consider a letter to the comic, whether positive or negative, it adds to the experience of reading the comic, it may point the reader to look at a story in a different perspective. I think it's different to the keyboard diarrhea of a lot of comment of on-line reviews.

The letter pages to Warrior, Daredevils, etc were an essential part of reading them.

Colin YNWA

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #2 on: 03 April, 2016, 08:00:52 AM »
Its funny when comics are new I'm not overly fussed about the letters page. However when it comes to back issues and older comics I love them. Add a real scene of time and place to the comic. There were also some great regular writers to US comics in particular who offered some fascinating insight into stuff.

Its also fun for future star spotting. Normally comics creators but always remember spotting a letter from Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) in an old issue of Machine Man!

judda fett

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #3 on: 03 April, 2016, 08:59:15 AM »
Its funny when comics are new I'm not overly fussed about the letters page. However when it comes to back issues and older comics I love them. Add a real scene of time and place to the comic.

^^This^^
Aside from the content in the comic the letters (and fan's pictures) in old comics can really take you back. A friend of mine got a picture published in an old ROTJ Weekly (Yagton Fett, brother of Boba Fett). Any time I take a look at it I'm ten again, I can remember the Saturday we bought the comic and saw his drawing.

Magnetica

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #4 on: 03 April, 2016, 09:03:18 AM »
I always love to see a letters page in the Prog and the Meg and think they are distinctly different to the forum, in as much as not everyone who writes in is on the forum (I am guessing).

Sadly the Prog more often than not doesn't have a letters page these days. In years gone by there was always one. I suspect it is because they aren't receiving that many anymore.

One of the great things about the Prog and Meg letters over the years has been that they have featured some fairly insightful comments and weren't just rose tinted praise.

Compare that with the letters page in IDW's Judge Dredd Mega City Zero issue 3 which was all huge praise and which given my view of the quality of that particular comic left me thinking "are you quite sure about that?"

Dandontdare

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #5 on: 03 April, 2016, 12:09:21 PM »
Letters are always welcome in a comic as long as they, as Magnetica points out, give an honest view and aren't just filtered to show the positive comments.

Though of course anyone who went so far as to start counting or indexing letters would clearly have a screw loose  ;)

Stephen Parry

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #6 on: 03 April, 2016, 01:45:15 PM »
I think it shows effort, too.

This forum is great - it's why I joined - but some, well...

I was on a comic forum years ago devoted to British reprints of Marvel US titles. One guy put no effort in and was told to put more effort in when reviewing comics. His posts were a sentence long and usually:

"I really liked that issue."
"I didn't think that was a good issue."

And then on another forum, one guy's 'critique' of a Doctor Who episode was:

"Absolute, stinking drivel!"

I guess being able to hit the "Enter" key on your laptop/Chromebook/Mac is all the effort some want to do. No publication would print letters with comments like those above. Writing a letter requires effort and thought, whether being positive or negative. I like to think they'll always have a place.

ZenArcade

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #7 on: 03 April, 2016, 01:50:28 PM »
All of the above, and if there weren't one: Buttonman would gravitationally collapse in upon himself in such a manner that it would create a portal to another Universe. We would then have the reality of Glimmer Rats played out in front of us. Z
Ed is dead, baby Ed is...Ed is dead

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #8 on: 03 April, 2016, 09:40:48 PM »
i love the letters page and am always pleased to see it.  I kind of miss the old style, short and quirky letters from the past ('Dear Tharg, You know that episode of the Flintstones where Fred becomes a rock star?  Well, that's my favourite episode, that is.'), but still, I'm all for a letters page in every prog.

It's also a bit of a treat to be reading a back prog and come across a letter from a future creator; Kek W is one letter-writer I remember.  Also it's interesting to see one of you chaps in the back progs; I recently came across our boy the Shark in an old Megazine.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

AlexF

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #9 on: 07 April, 2016, 08:58:21 AM »
I do love the thrill of writing a letter and then wondering if it'll get printed in the Prog/Meg. Also getting the free gifts is great, too! I still can't quite believe people used to get £10 for sending in a letter/drawing sometimes. That's real money today, never mind 35 years ago. I definitely think very differently about what I might want to say in a letter to Tharg vs what I'd write on a forum such as this one.

Magnetica

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #10 on: 07 April, 2016, 01:20:22 PM »
For letters in the Meg you get a Rebellion graphic novel, usually worth a tenner or more, where as for 2000ad you get a little plastic figure. So if that is a concern you want to be targeting the Meg :D

I usually feel letters to the Meg need to be more meaty and contain a level
of analysis, where as Prog letters can be more throw away (there's scope for analysis as well.)

AlexF

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #11 on: 18 April, 2016, 01:03:46 PM »
I had a friend who was at boarding school in the late 80s / early 90s who was obliged to write a letter home every week. He didn't fancy writing to his aprents all the time so he wrote to Tharg each week instead. In the end he only got published once (so he tells me), for one of those throwaway 1-line insults. The kind of letters that don't seem to appear much anymore. I get the very strong impression that there used to be hundreds of letters sent in once upon a time, and now it's a trickle of maybe 10 emails a week. Is that because the times have changed or the readership has grown up?

Proudhuff

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #12 on: 18 April, 2016, 01:13:20 PM »
Its very important for keeping the deranged from annoying real people.
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Buttonman

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #13 on: 18 April, 2016, 06:52:54 PM »
I can take them or leave them.




Actually not. It's the lifeblood of the Prog or Meg, the beating heart, the vox populai, the fevered debate or immature name calling -  and I write in most weeks too.

If you are seriously interested in the letter page Stephen (Good name BTW) and I think you are, these articles may be of interest as they cover the thoughts of two letter writing greats and Tom Proudfoot. Full disclosure demands that I state that I now have had 91 letters published.

If you need anything more dial B-E-A-S-T into your phone and stand well back.

If you dream of a career in letters - and who doesn't? - here is the current list of everyone who has had 10 or more letters printed. These are the people to beat. Apart from Tom, he likes that too much.

« Last Edit: 18 April, 2016, 06:56:43 PM by Buttonman »

COMMANDO FORCES

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Re: How Important Is A Letters Page?
« Reply #14 on: 18 April, 2016, 07:28:54 PM »
If proof was need that care in the community had failed, then there it is :lol: