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mygif

Although I owned the trades that had been released at the time, I specifically hunted down The Invisibles backissues because I wanted the letters pages.

I always enjoyed reading other people’s guesses about where a particular story was going along with some of the cryptic hints left by writers/editors writing the short answers.

Beyond that, the Marvel No-Prize was a thing to be coveted.

Now, though, I have no desire to visit comic book forums. Well-crafted letters were worth reading while the average forum comment is not (Possibly including this one).

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mygif

Marvel does publish a few titles that still have letter pages – from my own purchases X-Factor, Daredevil and (the soon to be cancelled) Avengers Academy all have them.

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mygif

“In a world with blogs and vlogs and LiveJournal and ScansDaily…well, blogs and vlogs and LiveJournal, at least…”

Actually, scans_daily is still active, just on Dreamwidth.

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mygif

Of the Marvel comics that use letter pages, they seem to serve different functions–not necessary functions, but appreciated ones. Jason Aaron is (or at least was) writing the ones in Wolverine & the X-Men in differing characters’ voices, and it’s amusing, if not essential. But Gage’s comments in Avengers Academy letter column actually raised the whole series in my esteem. He’s talked about everything from the copyright issue surrounding ROM to responding to the people “concerned” about the homosexual characters, and he does it with a lot of class. He even commented on how they redesigned X-23′s costume after fan complaints that it was too revealing for her personality.

A lot of the old letter columns were written by the editors, and could sometimes feel a little condescending. With Avengers Academy, it’s nice to see someone on the “creating” sides of things respond seriously to fans.

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mygif

To add to what you’ve said, there are still plenty of comics fans out there who don’t have internet access and/or can’t get out to cons. Parental limits and poverty are two big reasons I can think of for that, although there’s plenty of others. So taking away the letters column seems like a disservice to people who may not have access to other means of feeling that connection.

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mygif

Stephen Wacker seems to like having letter columns in his books. ASM, Venom, Scarlet Spider all have them. Also, FF recently started one.

I tend to view them as a positive. One thing I’ve noticed is that there have been a lot of letters from young teens, which makes me think that comics may be expanding their audience demographic.

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mygif

Funnily enough the only place I still read the letter columns are in the Dark Horse books I read, as opposed to the comics-conglomerates of DC and Marvel, Dark Horse just has a closer and nicer attitude to its fans.

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Evil Midnight Lurker said on October 21st, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I miss T.M. Maple… :(

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mygif

In addition to the aforementioned Avengers Academy letters page, I love Kieron Gillen’s in Journey Into Mystery, which are consistently entertaining.

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mygif

I miss T.M. Maple too, Evil Midnight Lurker. Those were some truly fun letters to read.

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easybutton said on October 22nd, 2012 at 11:53 am

The letter page in Saga is honestly one of my favourite parts of the book. And that’s saying a lot considering how good Saga is!

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Reed Beebe said on November 21st, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Great post! Letter columns have always been a forum for fan expression and participation, and it’s regrettable that they seem to be in decline. Dark Horse Comics deserves great credit for keeping its letter pages going; I believe that Dark Horse currently has the most letter pages of any comics publisher. Writing fan letters to comics is my hobby, and I recently started submitting fan letters using acrostics and other constrained writing techniques to make them as unique as possible. http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2012/10/2000ad-super-fan-plants-coded-messages-in-letters-pages/

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