A couple of weeks ago, the Lady and I were in our local comic shop and the manager was talking with me about something related to sorting through the stuff they order, putting it in everyone's pull list bins and he said something to the effect of "you order a shitload of comics every month." And as I picked up my bag of $80+ worth of comics and said goodbye, I thought... wow, I really do buy a lot, don't I?
It's not that I spend over $80 every week. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Usually when I go over, it's because of trade paperbacks that I either ordered or just want to buy. I am pretty liberal with what comics I buy, though. More so than I ever have been, I think. Part of that is because there are a lot of good comics coming out that I want to read and part of that is wanting to show support, both for certain titles and even for the comic store I buy from.
It seems like comics are in a strange place right now. The big two, Marvel and DC, are basically doing the same thing they've always done, but DC seems like a giant mess ever since they rebooted their entire continuity. They still put out some good books, like Scott Snyder's Batman which is fucking awesome every month, but the New 52 Universe is only, what, 14 months old and it already feels like they've fucked everything up. If you read comic news websites, you'll hear a lot of talk about editorial mandates for stories, changing things at the last minute and creative teams constantly shuffling.
I say they put out some good books, but, honestly other than Snyder's Batman, they're not doing much I really love right now. yet I keep buying them anyway. I'm going to go through their solicitations for November and list all the books I bought:
-Wonder Woman - I am enjoying this, but I feel like I'd probably like it better if I read it in trades. I've thought about dropping it and going with the trades, but just haven't yet. I do love the artwork.
-Action Comics - I'm really only still buying this because Grant Morrison's name is on the cover and every once in a while there's a nugget of great comic in it. Otherwise, I honestly don't give a shit about this book. Once his run is over in a couple of months I'm going to drop the book and sell the issues on eBay.
-Talon - Ok, this is only on issue #2 and I like it so far. Will be sticking with it.
-Batman Incorporated - Ok, I take it back. Here's another DC title I love. Grant Morrison writing like Grant Morrison.
-Batman - as previously stated, I LOVE this comic.
-Batwoman - I am absolutely buying this solely for the artwork, which is incredible. As long as JH Williams III is doing art, even if only doing it every other storyline, I will buy this. Plus, I really like the character and, honestly, I like supporting a title with a gay main character. Voting with my dollars in the hopes to encourage further representation, something I will write more about either on this entry or a later one.
-Animal Man - I do like this book, but I'm not overly loving it. I've considered trade-waiting it.
-Swamp Thing - Same as above. Both this and Animal Man are in the middle of a big crossover between the two that's good, but seems to be moving slowly, another reason why I'm considering trade-waiting them. Scott Snyder's run is ending soon and I'm actually looking forward to seeing someone else take over, even though I like what he's done so far. I want this book to be exciting again.
-Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. - This book has already been cancelled, so I'm just buying the rest to finish the run. Actually, no, that's not true. The book is a lot of fun and one of the ones I like best. The first storyline was especially good. Sad to see it go.
-Justice League Dark - Even though the book has improved somewhat since Jeff Lemire took over, I'm still not enjoying this as much as a lot of other people seem to. At this point, I'm really only buying it because Lemire is writing it and because John Constantine is in it.
-Demon Knights - This book is fun, but it's kind of... empty fun? I'll probably drop it once Paul Cornell leaves.
-Dial H - I LOVE this book. Almost as much as Batman. The only way I'd give this title up is if I was homeless.
-Legends Of The Dark Knight - This is an anthology type book, with self contained stories by different creative teams every month. I buy it if the team interests me.
-Lot 13 - The fact that this is not a Vertigo title seems like proof Vertigo is about done for, which makes me sad. It's got interior art by Glenn Fabry, though and so I will continue to buy it for as long as that lasts.
-Fairest - A Fables spin-off book with a different creative team every arc. I've decided I'm going to drop it once the storyline ends and trade-wait it because I'd like to have it in trades and see no reason to buy both formats.
-Hellblazer - I'm angry and sad that issue #300 will be the last of this book. It's so good and the John Constantine now appearing in the regular DCU is already a pale imitation of this one. A favorite since I discovered "adult" comics. Boo.
-Saucer Country - I would trade-wait this, but I'm afraid it's going to be cancelled, so I will keep buying it. It's a good story, but mostly I just want to help financially support the artist Ryan Kelly, whose work I really like and who needs the money.
There. 17 books total, AND I'M NOT EVEN A DC GUY. I grew up on Marvel, man.
... I don't know where I'm going with this anymore. I feel like I'm trying to talk myself into cutting down on the number of books I read. Maybe I am. I don't think that was my original intention, though. Hmmmm...
Ok, so even though DC is a mess, I'm still buying a lot of their books. Fewer in the coming months, but a healthy amount. I did recently drop Justice League because Jim Lee isn't doing the art anymore and because the story wasn't very good. I've also decided I will not be buying the new Man Of Steel book Scott Snyder and Jim Lee are doing (even though the idea of them working on a book together makes me a little wet). I will wait for the trade on that.
I guess up until recently I got a little carried away. I can afford to buy a lot of books, it's money to the comic shop and money to the creative people I like making the books, the Lady and I would sit on the couch reading comics together (I mean, separately but at the same time) and she would read some of them when I was done which was great... but, man, that's a lot of comics to be buying, especially when you aren't enjoying a lot of them all that much.
Looks like I have talked myself into cutting down.
Ok, let's look at the Marvel solicits. This is fun. Since their Marvel NOW! launch, I'm sure the number of books I'm buying has gone up quite bit. Lot of great creative teams.
-Uncanny Avengers - I'm mostly only buying this for John Cassaday's artwork, but so far the book has been a lot of fun.
-All New X-Men - I'm torn here. I actually did not order this book, but the first issue was in my pull list anyway and I decided to give it a try because it's Bendis and Larroca, but... I also really don't want to get back into X-Men right now. I figured I'd just trade-wait this book and that would be fine, but then I read the first issue and I liked it!!! Not sure what I'm going to do yet.
-Iron Man - Buying this because Kieron Gillen is writing it and no other reason. The recently ended Matt Fraction run was fantastic, but I have no other love for the character and I dislike the artist Greg Land. The first three issues have been good, but not great. So we'll see. I'm going to stick with it for now.
-FF - Ok, I will buy anything Mike Allred is doing artwork for. Forever and always. Teaming him up with Matt Fraction almost makes me want to buy two copies every month.
-Deadpool - Wanted to give this book a try because of the new creative team and because of the amazing Geof Darrow covers. So far, I like it fine, but not as much as I'd hoped and I'm thinking about dropping it. I'll give it a little bit longer.
-Avengers Assemble - The first issue by Kelly Sue DeConnick was great, so I'll be sticking with this.
-Avengers & New Avengers - These books are both coming to an end and I've already got every other issue in the series, so I will buy them to complete the runs. I've only been enjoying bits and pieces for a while now, but kept buying it because I already had the entire runs. Now, I can go on eBay and sell Every Issue Of Avengers Brian Michael Bendis Has Ever Written and hopefully make a couple (few?) hundred dollars from it. This will, of course, require me to go through my longboxes and put all of the issues together, which is a challenge...
-Avengers Academy - I started reading this when X-23's book got cancelled and she joined the team, and it's ended now, so I don't need to worry about it.
-Secret Avengers - Also coming to an end, so I continue to buy it only to complete the run.
-Captain Marvel - I bought this book mostly to support Kelly Sue DeConnick and because I thought it might be something the Lady and I could enjoy together, but so far it's been a little disappointing. I know she's a good writer, though, so I'm going to stick with it for a while and see if it improves.
-Daredevil: End Of Days - It's a mini-series, and it's got great artists working on it, so... why not? Plus, Bendis' Daredevil run is one of my favorite comics of all time.
-Red She-Hulk - Started buying this for the Lady, but she hasn't read the last couple of issues yet. I'm liking it ok and will stick with it for a little bit longer.
-Punisher: War Zone - Greg Rucka's run on Punisher has been fucking great and I'm sad and a little pissed that it's ending.
-Hawkeye - If this isn't the best comic being published right now... it's pretty fucking close.
-Road To Oz - Buying this for the Lady and because Skottie Young deserves all the money people can throw at him.
-Uncanny X-Force - Coming to an end soon. Very good book.
-Age Of Apocalypse - An enjoyable book that I would trade-wait if it wasn't being written by Dave Lapham, who I want to support as much as humanly possible. He's a favorite, but he's at his best when doing his own thing.
Ok. That's 18 books, so not a big difference. There are more coming out that I'll be buying, but I'm not sure if that number will be greater or equal to the number of books ending yet. I have been trade-waiting a lot of Marvel's books already, including all of the Ultimate books, Mark Waid's awesome Daredevil run, the various Ed Brubaker Captain America related comics, etc. Once the Marvel NOW! stuff has been going for a few months, we'll see how it goes.
By the way, at some point in the hopefully not too distant future, I plan to spotlight a couple of these books and write more about them. Just not right now.
In fact, I'm going to have to cut this short and end it now. Next time, I'll go on to the non-Big Two comics I read every month and maybe I'll even figure out what the hell I was hoping to say about all this originally.