Titles – Morning Glories Volume Two and We Bought a Zoo

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

When you think about the words, “morning glories,” what do you think of?  Off the top of my head, there’s the obvious flower, there’s the Oasis album, the movie starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford, and then finally there is the Morning Glory Academy, the school at the heart of the Morning Glories comic book.  Besides it being the name of the school, my first glimpse of any other hint of the name of the series came in Volume Two of the trade paperback when during one of Jade’s dream segments* a creeping vine of luminescent morning glories line the hallway lockers.  That hint and the “in popular culture” section of the Wikipedia page devoted to the flower that mentions “love in vain” as a meaning of the phrase, makes me think that the title has a deeper meaning.  It could also just mean young people getting ready to bloom into adulthood because of its focus on six kids at a prestigious high school.  I’m not sure, but the title gives me pause to think about it.

Morning Glories Academy

On the other hand, there’s We Bought a Zoo following in the long and unwieldy title footsteps of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!  Besides the book of the same name only even longer, there’s nothing else that comes to mind when I hear the phrase, We Bought a Zoo.  It isn’t enigmatic or symbolic, it is straightforward – this is a story about people that bought a zoo.  When I go to see it, I know I’m going to see people and animals interacting together in a zoo that someone just bought.

The question I ask myself is: which one is better?

Rachel McAdams, Woman in Black?

Looking at previous entries on the borg.com website, I see titles like Sherlock, Cyborg, The Woman in Black, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and from the titles, I know what I’m going to get.  I’m going to get a Sherlock Holmes story, a story about a half-man/half-robot, a horror movie with a woman in black and a story about a girl that has a dragon tattoo.  Easy, though the plots behind those titles are not as obvious as We Bought a Zoo.  Maybe if they made Sherlock Goes On Heroin Bender and Gets Married to a Gutter Waif or Cyborg Cooks a Five Course Meal To Win Reality Chef Event it might be a little closer in comparison.

Robot Cyborg Chefs from the album Virtual Kitchen

Then, there’s Brave and Total Recall which offer just subtle hints on the story in the movie, especially if you’re not familiar with the original piece that serves as the basis for the latter example.

To answer my earlier rhetorical question: I’m not sure, but I have an idea.  I do know for sure that if I have a predisposition to seeing a movie with James Bond, G.I. Joe, Transformers or Jason Bourne, then the title better let me know it and nothing will change my mind about it.  (Well, except if it is G.I. Joe Bought a Zoo I’d probably skip it, but I would totally see Optimus Prime Bought A Zoo.)  On the other hand, if I hate those four things, nothing you can tell me about the movie will make me go see it and a clever title won’t change my opinion.  (Jason Bourne and James Bond Get Married and Buy a Zoo in Pennsylvania to Lure Rick Santorum in Close excepted.)

A title with a little more mystery like Lost or Once Upon a Time will give me a hint (people that are lost, people that are in a fairy tale) and might get me to try it, as lost people and fairy tales can go in many different directions.  Then there are Morning Glories or The Tree of Life where you don’t really know what you’ll get until you dive in and check it out.

Maybe it just boils down to what kind of person you are.  I know I tend to like a little bit of a surprise.  Unless the awesomely titled, Once I Was Lost, But Now I’m Found by Space Aliens and They Funded My Dream of Buying a Zoo Filled with Investment Bankers comes to a theater near you, I’ll stick to a little more mystery in my titles.

Morning Glories Volume 2 Graphic Novel

*About Morning Glories, I have to say that the first TPB set it up so you could see the characters as a group while the second devotes a comic/chapter to each as an individual and you get to see their powers . Since I am a fan of time travel (and why I mention the magic Lost above) I think Jade could end up being my favorite character.  Then again, each one has such an intriguing story it could change by the time I finish the next TPB.

Editor’s Note:  Check out Jason’s take on the first Morning Glories TPB here.

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