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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
A peeling label

As well as having a snazzy title for the series, each individual issue usually has a title of its own. This title is decided by the creative talent working on the book or according to the dictates of publishing convention.

An issue on the stand often appears to have two titles: one on the cover, which is like a headline, attention-grabbing and hyperbolic, while the true title is inside on the splash page.

The title does in some ways resemble that of a newspaper or magazine article though, being fictitious, its sensational thrust tends to be of a different kind. It could be likened to the chapters of a book if we think back to when novels were serialised but really it is more like a short story or full length saga with common characters, such as the Sherlock Holmes or Encyclopedia Brown stories.

I said in my last splosh of vino that the title of a play or movie has more in common with that of a single pamphlet  -  sharing the same characteristics as your average issue of the Silver Surfer (Lee - Buscema fans would have my guts for garters for saying that. They'd insist on grandiose) rather than summing up what a complete series entails. Nothing could play out in such close comparison, though, as episodes of a television series. The title only needs to encapsulate what that one episode is about, letting the series title do the rest.

While film alternates freely between specific and general and between dynamic and restrained,  the function of an episode (or issue) is to advance some overall development of the character. Even if that development is slow and slippery at times. Thus the title will want to capture that in some way. One way is to namecheck the protagonist or title character or refer to their powers. Less common subjects for titles are landscape or terrain and obscure allusions to unrelated events and objects the least common.


Often its enough to name the villain of the piece or the predicament the hero is in.  


Posted by berko_wills at 11:15 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2007 12:00 AM EADT
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