In the latest news coming out of Comic Book Twitter on Tuesday, a prominent comic book artist Patrick Zircher posted a Twitter thread advocating for the return of large character splash pages at the start of comic book stories. Zircher's thread prompted legendary comic book writer Fabian Nicieza to respond, "There is NO WAY old school not cool splash page work better than 'recap pages' have for the last 20 years! WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO OPEN UP A COMIC BOOK TO THE EXCITING VISUAL OF A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT? I wish I could be 10 years old now and thrill to the excitement of… text!" But while most comic book readers will likely see and agree with Nicieza's tweet, since it does make a lot of sense, what about the feelings of the people who design those recap pages? Bleeding Cool reached out to a top industry recap page designer for his EX-X-X-CLUSIVE response.
"They tell me, Vlad, create bland wall of text to introduce new reader to insular and prohibitively expensive comic book," said Vlad Kozinkerov, a prominent intern for both Marvel and DC for the last decade. "So that is what I do. It is tough work. But it is honest work."
According to Kozinkerov, recap page designer is a difficult job for which the designers rarely get credit. "Everyone who does anything on comic book gets credit these days," Kozinkerov explained. "God forbid someone not mention colorist when talking about comic book. Colorist mafia on Twitter will come for you."
Sadly, despite advocacy networks for every working group in comics, recap page designers like Vlad get the short end of the stick.
"If I said something about penciller, comic book writer would probably offer to punch my balls in parking lot and whole industry would cheer him on," said Kozinkerov. "But recap page designers have no #RecapCred hashtag. We are like scum on bottom of industry's shoe. Even worse than letterers."
"Oh well," said Kozinkerov, stoically moving on. " I just do this job to earn money to send to sister back in Russia. Her husband was taken by KGB and put in gulag, and she was forced to marry family bear to prevent home being taken by oligarchs. But bear goes through lots of honey, shreds all its clothes, and is always roaring at her all the time. I send her all the money I get from recap page design to feed family and clothe bear. Her life is tough life. But it is honest life. So people can say what they want."
But Vlad's story, like the stories of many other recap page designers in the industry, goes untold because all people see is an intimidating block of text that makes it even more difficult to jump into a modern ongoing comic book series than it already is. Hopefully, the industry can begin to recognize the people behind the boring recap pages and the necessity of their work, if not for catching up new readers, because, again, those don't exist, then at least for keeping a loving family bear in fresh, warm clothing and his stepchildren. Until then, unfortunately, hardworking recap page interns like Vlad will continue to get no respect.
"You know what starts with a literal giant wall of text and everybody loves anyway?" pointed out Kozinkerov. "Every Star Wars movie."