When a story is written with the intention of reading well as a trade paperback, with the consequence of it being less coherent when first released as monthly or weekly installments.

Once upon a time, ComicBooks were just floppy pamphlets that were easily forgotten and thrown away. But in the 1990s, when American comic books achieved a level of popularity that they had not managed for fifty years, the viability of collected editions of comics--known as trade paperbacks ([=TPBs=]) or trade hardbacks--increased dramatically.

By the early-to-mid 00s, virtually every halfway-popular comic book published by Creator/DCComics or Creator/MarvelComics--the "big two" companies in the industry--would get a shot at getting collected in a TPB. At around the same time, a fad for {{Decompressed Comic}}s had developed that saw writers experimenting with the idea of taking more time than had been used previously to tell a story in order to give it a more cinematic structure.

Similar to DecompressedComic, this can be a good or a bad thing. Stretching a thin story even thinner over five or six issues isn't good by any standards. But writing for the trades can also allow the author to tell a more complex story and go deeper into characterization, dialogue, pacing and framing, things often glossed over in old-style short-format comics.

Among comics fans and critics, Writing for the Trades can mean either the good or the bad version of it, depending on the context.

{{Webcomics}} can fit this trope too, when written for either the print collection or simply for the archive on their website (making an ArchiveBinge the recommended way of reading them).

See also BetterOnDVD and WebcomicPrintCollection.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis'' was incomprehensible when it was monthly issues and separate tie-ins but is absolutely spectacular in its collected form, especially when a copy of Morrison's run on ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' and (to a lesser extent) ''Seven Soldiers'' is available as well.
* Creator/WarrenEllis [[http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=13272 explicitly declared]] that he considered that "The graphic novel or album (or other more suitable nomenclature yet to be coined) is the optimised form of 'comics.'" Fortunately, he's pretty good at it.
** Note that while Ellis prefers to write for the trade, he's flexible enough that he doesn't have to. ''ComicBook/GlobalFrequency'', ''ComicBook/SecretAvengers'', and ''ComicBook/{{Fell}}'' are all Done In One, and are generally considered solid reads.
* This is an accusation frequently aimed at the Marvel [[ComicBook/UltimateMarvel Ultimate Universe]]. Many of the series (including the ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'', ''[[ComicBook/UltimateFantasticFour Fantastic Four]]'' and ''[[ComicBook/UltimateXMen X-Men]]'' series) are mostly comprised of six-part stories.
** This is a bit of a JustifiedTrope in the case of the Ultimate books though, since they were specifically created as newbie-friendly alternatives to the [[ContinuityLockOut continuity-laden]] mainstream books. They were specifically designed so that casual readers could pick up a trade paperback at a book store and then get into the series.
** ''ComicBook/TheUltimates'', on the other hand, came in 13-part arcs, and so was Writing For The Hardcover. Read in that format, it was arguably among Creator/MarkMillar's finest work.
** Despite this, several ComicBook/UltimateMarvel titles fell victim to the bad side of this trope. Warren Eliis' ''Ultimate Nightmare'' is essentially a single-issue story padded out into a full-length TPB with entire issues that can be summed up as "the X-Men and the Ultimates move further into the ElaborateUndergroundBase." The second and third series in the "ComicBook/UltimateGalactusTrilogy" fare better.
** Back when Marvel was soliciting scripts for their Epic imprint, the submission guidelines required a story outline that would run for five or six issues. It was explained this made it easier for TPB packaging later on.
* Creator/GeoffJohns eventually stopped working for Marvel because he was tired of writing Avengers storylines in six-issue format, however some of his work for DC slid in this direction, notably ''ComicBook/{{Flashpoint}}'' and the ''[[Franchise/GreenLantern War of the Green Lanterns]]'' storyline.
* Creator/NeilGaiman has admitted doing this with 'The Kindly Ones' arc in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''.
* Oddly enough, ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' and follow-ups ''aren't'' accused of this practice, although many of their storylines fall into the pattern. This is because multi-issue stories are clearly identified as "miniseries".
** The ''{{ComicBook/BPRD}}'' series kinda fell into this starting with the Plague of Frogs miniseries, though. They recently put the massive story arc it spawned on hold for the ''1946'' story, which makes up a single volume of the trade.
* The rebooted ''Amazing Fantasy'' series of the mid-zeros were often guilty of this. Their aim was to capture the style of the original ''Amazing Fantasy'' series, which introduced ''Comicbook/SpiderMan'' and the concept of mutants to the MarvelUniverse. But where the original managed to introduce its characters in self-contained one-issue stories, the new version introduced them in six-issue arcs. Only the backup stories came close to the style they aimed for (and most of them were arc-based too).
* JamesRobinson's ''Comicbook/{{Starman}}'' subverted this for maximum headache: With the initial run of [=TPBs=] for the series, Robinson was given free rein over how the series would be collected, resulting in the various one-off issues (flashback stories mainly) being omitted from the core [=TPBs=] and collected instead in what would be called "Times Past" [=TPBs=]. This would be well and good, except that the flashback issues established major plot points for the series and indeed, most of the narrative for the book collapses when those stories are omitted as far as said issues setting up key plot points and other essential information that is outright required for a lot of the main storylines to make sense. Even worse, for reasons unrevealed, many of the later series one-off stories were never collected as DC opted not to release any future "Times Past" volumes for the series. They've since made up for it however, as DC has recently begun collecting the series in hardcover format, with the issues (and tie-in comics) being collected in the order in which they were published, meaning that fans can read the series in the fan-preferred reading order.
* Pretty much the entire point of ''ComicBook/{{Cerebus}}'', you could say. However, at the time that creator Creator/DaveSim [[note]]after tripping out on LSD early in its run[[/note]] had the idea of turning the comic into a 300-issue epic storyline covering the eponymous character's entire life, only rare examples of the GraphicNovel format existed. In fact, he did the "comic books followed by collected volume" before just about anyone. In part because the GraphicNovel did not even have a name at the time, he nicknamed them "phonebooks".
** Coincidentally "phonebook" is the name of trades in Japan where this is somewhat rarer.
* Most of IDW's run of ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW Transformers]]'' comics have been neatly arranged into 4-6 issue story arcs. Exceptions include the stand-alone Spotlight issues, and the 16-issue "All Hail Megatron" series.
** Excluding the supplemental "Coda" issues, ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformersAllHailMegatron All Hail Megatron]]'' qualifies, albeit much more in a "Writing to be read in one shot from issues 1 to 12" than "Writing For The Trade(s)". To say the story's pace is slow would be an understatement.
** And the new Ongoing also suffers heavily from this. While there are some moments (and one great issue focused on [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Thundercracker]]), it happens to be slow and uneventful for the most part.
** Even ''Regeneration One'', which is a continuation of the original Marvel G1 series, is being broken up into five-issue arcs, to the point where the issues don't even have individual titles. (The two named arcs in the Marvel series, "The Underbase Saga" and "Matrix Quest", still had individual issue titles.)
** ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformersRobotsinDisguise Robots in Disguise]]'' and ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye More than Meets the Eye]]'' seem to be an exception to this tendency, with [[WordofGod James Roberts]] even declaring he preferred to write self contained issues or 2-3 part arcs.
* Since Dark Horse's solicitation model seems based on the miniseries format, its not surprising that their other titles seem to follow the ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' model. Other series include ''The Unbrella Academy'', ''ComicBook/BuffyTheVampireSlayer: Season Eight'', and ''Grendel''.
** ComicBook/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Season 8 is an example that must be pointed out: It is a single story broken up in smaller arcs that all follow each other. Every single arc is done by a different author and consist of 4 or 5 issue. One TPB = 5 issue. In case of an arc with 4 issue, the first (or fifth) one is a one-shot done by Creator/JossWhedon himself. Due to pacing issues, the series is a lot better in trade, as its goal of emulating the show's format is easier to obtain if you don't have to wait a month (or sometimes more) between issues.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Dark Horse's entire ''Star Wars'' line for the year 2011 consisted entirely of 5-issue and 6-issue arcs. By the contrast, arcs from the 2000s had no such constraint and varied all the way between 2-issue and 6-issue pretty evenly, with a healthy mix of odd standalones.
** Marvel's new ''Star Wars'' [[ComicBook/MarvelStarWars2015 comic]] follows suit. Each five- or six-issue story arc begins with an opening crawl just like the ones in the films but with "Book [X]" rather than "Episode [X]," essentially dividing them into trades before the trades even get published.
* Pretty much the only way ''ComicBook/BatmanRIP'' is going to make any sense is if you read the previous two trade paperbacks in the MythArc. And that one issue where Bruce gets high on weapons-grade heroin and runs around in a red-and-purple Batsuit makes a whole lot more sense as a chapter of a graphic novel than as a standalone issue.
* Pat Mills is criticised [[http://www.2000adreview.co.uk/site/index.php/2000AD-2008-2010/2000AD-1677.html here]] for ending the Volgan War mega-arc of ''ComicBook/ABCWarriors'' in a way which shows he was clearly thinking more about the inevitable collection than about a sensible weekly series. The strip is written in six-page instalments; the final one ends the war in two pages, followed by a four-page epilogue.
* While ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'' isn't that bad, RobertKirkman tends to write ''ComicBook/TheWalkingDead'' with the trade in mind. The issues tend to continue right after one another, so new readers don't get much of a catch up, and there's one point in the fourth volume where if you count the pages, the last page of chapter four and the first page of chapter five are a two-page spread.
* David Herbert's ''[[http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=1534 Warriors of the Night]]'' makes a lot more sense in one reading than going by individual chapters. Thankfully, ''[[http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=3429 Gemini Storm]]'' seems to avert this.
* Then there's the arguable king of this trope -- Creator/BrianMichaelBendis. The story arcs in ''The Mighty Avengers'' are so obviously padded that you could skip every third issue and not miss a single {{narrative beat|s}}. And this isn't even [[ComicBook/{{Powers}} the most egregious example in Bendis' bibliography]].
* ''Sonic Universe'' flat-out tells you in its subscription pages that it intentionally makes four-issue story arcs for purposes of bundling into trades. The mainline ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' comic series also started breaking up arcs in trade sized pieces once CerebusSyndrome kicked in and it stopped being a self-contained-per-issue gag comic.
* Hardly anyone remembers reading ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'' in its original 12-part format. Although instantly acclaimed even before the story had reached its conclusion, it was only after the collected edition was issued that it came to be regarded as a true novel.
* Averted with DC's Showcase and Archive lines, and Marvel's parallel Essentials and Masterworks lines. While all four of these lines consist of compiling entire runs of classic comics into either deluxe color hardcover editions (Archives and Masterworks) or less-expensive Cerebus phone book-style black-and-white omnibuses (Showcases and Essentials), very few of the reprinted stories are anything other than done on ones.
* Jonathan Hickman has been said to not just write for the trade, but for the ''omnibus''. His most prominent works (''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' and ''[[ComicBook/JonathanHickmansAvengers Avengers]]'') tend to have individual arcs... but always end up forming some huge story arc across multiple ''years''. The individual arcs are always at least four issues long, and those arcs themselves tend to be parts of "acts" in his huge stories. So you have ''Fantastic Four'' #570-574 being the "Solve Everything" arc, which is ''actually'' just part of the first act of his ''Fantastic Four'' saga. The acts themselves tend to have about five "arcs" in them. The entire ''saga'' had three "acts". The result is a story that very much feels epic and carefully planned out, and constantly builds on itself, but is also is very self-referential (and not even explicitly, at that) and reliant on the reader having started from the beginning.

* It's quite obvious that Creator/MasashiKishimoto, creator of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' is writing his storylines for collection in volume form later on, most noticeably in the Fourth Great Shinobi War Arc. Volumes are 10 chapters. So the first part of the war? 20 chapters for two volumes. Then the main character finds out about the war, and spends 10 chapters running towards it so that it can be collected in Volume 57. Then he spends 11 chapters finding random guys, which is collected in Volume 58. Then, after some major revelations, he spends 10 chapters fighting Tobi, the masked [[TheDragon dragon]] to [[BigBad Madara Uchiha]]. But due to Kishimoto not padding out the previous story segment enough, two chapters of this fight are at the end of Volume 59 and the next eight are in Volume 60. Then after Kishi writing too much, we get the inconsistent Volumes 61 and 62. But then Volume 63 is a ten chapter long story segment about Naruto learning the incredibly obvious identity of Tobi. And then Naruto fighting Tobi and [[spoiler:the Ten Tails]] after the reveal takes ten chapters, even though Naruto clearly can't win until the story progresses. And then the story cuts to [[spoiler:Naruto's rival Sasuke talking with a zombie wood guy]], which manages to be stretched out to ten chapters so it can be in another volume. After that, Volume 66 is another ten chapter long fight which is basically padding because [[spoiler:the story can't progress until Tobi or Madara absorbs the Ten Tails, but they wait ten chapters so Kishi can have a volume of it.]] And then, after countless chapters of waiting, [[spoiler:Tobi finally gets the Ten Tails, and now he just needs to cast a spell and the freaking plot will finally progress. Because this is, you know, the final battle. But how long does it take him to cast the spell? You guessed it, ten chapters. The rest of the volume is about him angsting about how a girl he barely knew died seventeen years ago.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'' features this trope InUniverse, given that it's a story about the manga industry. The protagonists' long-term story arc in their final manga is both a blessing and a curse, since there's no real way to swap out elements that the audience doesn't like.
* Most {{manga}} are clearly intended to be finite stories that will be collected in a series of several books, even {{Long Runner}}s such as ''Manga/OnePiece''. However, since most publishing houses in Japan make most of their money from weekly magazine anthology publications, authors are forced to break up their stories into 10 to 15 page long chapters first.
** Depending on the title, manga can also suffer from the inverse of this: sometimes authors don't know or don't care where a certain volume will end, so an arc might end and another one start halfway through the book, and the end of a volume can make a WhatCliffhanger.

* Some of the less popular arcs in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' (such as "Oceans Unmoving") are much more enjoyable when read during an ArchiveBinge instead of one-strip-per-day.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', while [[ArchivePanic intimidatingly]] {{Long Runn|er}}ing, is very rewarding to read in archives, especially when most of the plots involve a GambitPileup or two with LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. Since the 1000th strip the author has written with shorter series arcs for ease of publication later, to the point where the first 1000 were not even meant for inclusion because they were not, though thankfully they were compiled into larger collections later.
* Dan Shive, the author of ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', has said that he writes for the archives.
* Seeing as only one page comes out at a time, it can be easier to read the ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' archives and check back again every few months once you've finished them. It was allegedly going to be pitched as a regular print comic before the Foglios realized that the plot was going to be horribly confusing in that format and took it online.
** It originally ''was'' a regular print comic. The first issue came out in 2001; it didn't go online until 2005.
* Have only one page come out every week & a half at best, and you can say the same thing for ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo''. the [=TPBs=] are a lot easier to follow than it is online.
* ''Webcomic/{{Misfile}}'': With the sky shots and low number of panels per page, the later pages work better when you can read the whole book, or are at least more fulfilling when you don't have to wait two days to find out what happened to so and so because the page in between is made up of establishing shots.
* ''Webcomic/OwMySanity'' seems to have been written for the print collection, occasionally spending an entire update on a single page-sized illustration.
* Whether ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is better experienced as an ArchiveBinge or as incremental daily updates has been debated by the fandom. When people started to question the direction the story was going in based on the latest pages, author Creator/AndrewHussie brought this trope up, stating that reading the story serially may be causing people to judge plot developments out of context since they can't quickly see what comes after. He's also indicated that he keeps in mind that at the end of the day, once it's all finished, it'll be sitting on a server for years to come and will be exclusively read as an ArchiveBinge.
** The biggest answer from [[http://mspandrew.tumblr.com/post/18106704483/ok-i-answered-some-more-questions this Tumblr post]] is a rant on it. It also appears on [[http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/10/02/homestuck-interview-andrew-hussie-bryan-lee-omalley-ms-paint-adventures/ this interview]], just search for "pacing".
* ''Webcomic/FreakAngels'', with its very detailed panels and extremely slow storyline fits this trope, all the more so since every so many chapters it's actually made into an album.
** Given that it's by Creator/WarrenEllis, whose beliefs are outlined above, this is hardly surprising.
* ''Webcomic/TheZombieHunters'': Great art, but very little story per page, and it updates once a week.
* The creator of ''Webcomic/ParadigmShift'' actually switched the schedule from one page a week to one chapter a month partly because of this trope, but also because the update schedule combined with his love of [[SceneryPorn superbly detailed Chicago cityscapes]] was taking a considerable physical toll; he had to take a quite lengthy break from drawing it on the advice of his doctor because he'd quite seriously injured his hand.
* ''Webcomic/The10Doctors'' makes a lot more sense when you read it all at once instead of one strip at a time.
* Just like his approach to writing Ravine, Sejic views his work ''Webcomic/{{Sunstone}}'' as full sized graphic novels allowing him to have naturalistic narratives. (''Sunstone One'' is a massive 160 page graphic novel about to go into trade.) What makes this interesting is that as the entire work is viewable on deviantart as strips, a lot of readers are people who simply spotted the strips when browsing; leading to a lot of confusion in the comments met with suggestions to start from the beginning.
* ''Webcomic/GastroPhobia'' flows much better when read in batches. The author has stated in interviews that it was always meant to be read in print books.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' is very plot and mood heavy. Though you can stay on top of new plot developments by checking every other day, you'd better go back and reread them later in batches to get the proper pacing and coherency.

* This occurs, oddly enough, with ''judicial decisions''. In countries using UsefulNotes/TheCommonLaw, some appellate cases have precedential value--that is to say, they are followed and considered law by the court issuing it and by courts below in the hierarchy. Not ''every'' case is precedent, since the general run of cases can be decided on principles of settled law; appeals judges generally dispose of these in short, terse opinions, only a paragraph or even a sentence long (e.g. "This case is purely settled law; see ''So-and-so v. Such-and-such'', etc. Decision of lower court affirmed."). These decisions are not formally published; copies are filed with the parties' lawyers and the record office of the jurisdiction, but they are not intended to be general information. Cases which bring up new points of law, however, are precedent, and so are published in "reporters"; furthermore, if the point at hand is particularly important, the case may be gathered by a law professor for use in a "casebook", which is the usual sort of textbook for law students (particularly in the US but also elsewhere in the common-law world). Thus you get every now and then a judge who appears to be "writing for publication" or "writing for the casebooks": taking what would ordinarily be an unpublished decision, or a very run of the mill published one, and jazzing it up a bit so that it might be considered worthy of publication. If you want to get particularly extreme, you can include a relatively complete survey of the area of law the case at hand falls under, which is usually completely useless--and very annoying to the parties to the dispute, as it has little impact on them--but is very attractive to law professors writing casebooks, since it relieves them of the burden of writing such a survey themselves. The upshot of this is that this trope may well be OlderThanRadio: the famous New York case of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierson_v._Post Pierson v. Post]]'', decided in 1805, creates an elaborate philosophical argument out of two hunters' dispute about a dead fox, possibly with the intention of displaying the judges' erudition and to get it published in something other than a law reporter. (It worked; ''Pierson'' is usually one of the first cases American law students read in Property.)
** [[UsefulNotes/AmericanCourts U.S. Immigration courts]] sometimes just write up a decision for a non-controversial case ''for the purpose of establishing a rule''. For example, in ''[[http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol20/3241.pdf In the Matter of Price]]'', nobody really doubted whether a Zimbabwean golfer [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Price Nick Price]] can move to the US as an "extraordinary athlete." The reason a whole decision was written for this case and declared a precedent was just to clarify evidential standards for "extraordinary athlete." In another situation, in 1998, the court allowed Chinese asylum cases based on one-child policy, due to a change in law. In 2002, the same court [[http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol23/3470.pdf issued another decision]] on reopening an asylum case this way, approved it, then said, "90 days after this decision, we will not entertain asylum cases to be reopened like this."