Outside of a small handful of creator-owned, independent, titles that I simply want to support from month to month as best I can to best enjoy and help promote their work (including Madman Atomic Comics, Usagi Yojimbo, Nexus and a couple of others) I’ve officially gone the ‘way of the trade’ for the foreseeable future where Marvel, DC, and other Independents are concerned. I had talked about doing so for months, and have slowly been weaning myself off of the monthly books as story-lines ended as a way of doing so. The advantages simply outweigh the disadvantages for me at this point, and I thought I’d discuss those briefly below:
Time: I’m busier than I’ve been in years and I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up with what’s going on in individual books from month to month. These 12-part stories are often good, but broken down over the course of the year even the best stuff can lose steam. Likewise, the wait between issues isn’t the exciting prospect that it used to be (with some exceptions) and I find myself having to catch myself up far too often as I crack the pages of the newest issue. “Now, where are we again?.” The TPB collection will help in that I can devote a good hour or two to reading an entire storyline, or at least a huge chunk at a time, and I think I much prefer that option as things are now.
Money: These things are getting dang expensive. And while I know that’s not news to most of you, I often wonder just how many of us actually add up the cost-to-product ratio from time to time? The stands are literally chock full of 32-page books with $3.99 price tags and 23-pages of story and these days (with very few exceptions) that just doesn’t fly with me. Checking this month’s previews and solicitations there are literally TPB collections that I can buy for nearly half the cover price, thanks to local discounts, which is significantly down from an already discounted price when compared to the individual issues. This move will potentially save me loads of money where the hobby is concerned.
Format: I love the floppy, I’ve got a closet full of them, and I’m very proud of my collection but at this age I have to say that more and more I prefer the collected format. It offers durable covers, often features greater production values, includes extras more often than not, and simply displays that much better in a much more convenient, accessible, way. I’ve had a lot of fun re-arranging my bookshelves to feature the best stuff and it’s constantly changing.
Interest: Don’t get me wrong, I’m having some of the best experiences reading comics than I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my head in the funny-books for over 20 years – so that’s saying something – but Marvel and DC have dropped the ball so far and so often in the past 5+ years that I’m out there on the outskirts, only collecting a few titles at most from either company at any given time these days, and for the most part I’m just not as involved in the “big picture” as I used to be. Certainly there are still “event storylines” that excite me, but those are usually the more natural ones that are born from books that I’m already enjoying, like the recent Sinestro War, or that address something I’ve been clamoring for for years, such as the return of Earth-2 or Barry Allen as the Flash! The big picture can change with time, and I’m hoping that it does (for the better) where both companies are concerned, but for now I’m happy with the handful of books I’m enjoying and I look forward to sitting down with a hefty collection and having the time to immerse myself in these worlds.
Now, I will still buy some individual issues, so as to try out new stuff, etc. but I think this is going to be very beneficial to me, in a number of ways, so for the foreseeable future I’m going to give this the good ‘ol college try!