I read comics differently than the traditional comics fan as I only read them after they have been collected into actual books, (or trade paper backs). This is known as ‘trade waiting’ in the industry. Generally comics are published first in the monthly, floppy pamphlet format that many would call a ‘comic book’. Only months later do the publishers gather up the finished storyline and print a collected edition.
I read trades because I don’t like the flow of the story to be broken up with advertising, I like to have a big chunk of story to read at once and I love having another great looking book to put on the shelf.
Waiting till the story is finished and collected keeps me out of the monthly trenches of comic book fandom with its crossover blockbuster storylines, variant covers and over hyped creative teams. With the benefit of a few months or years hindsight, keeping an eye on positive reviews and flicking through the racks each week I have a good idea what I will enjoy once it is collected.
I am also a book guy at heart. Before anything else I am a reader. I come from a family of readers, and one of my great joys in life is browsing through shelves of books. If I visit your house one of the first things I admire will be your books.
Now I love superheroes as much as the next guy, and you will see many of them on my shelves, but I do not buy the same comic each month just because Batman is in the title. But write a great Batman story, put a spine on the book and you can just about reach into my wallet yourself and take what you need.
But this is an interesting time in the comics industry. Comics itself is roaring along on the creative side with many amazing books being produced, the medium itself getting widespread recognition under the Hollywood spotlight and the advent of successful digital avenues opening up interesting possibilities (for more on those opportunities check out this great digital comics rant). But no-one seems to be making any money.
Next Week: I follow-up with another mini rant on where I would like to see the comics industry go in the future. Because I’m an expert obviously, because I write on the internet.
*I had started this post two months ago and had it sitting half-finished in my drafts folder. Then I read this at Proactive Continuity and it got me thinking. Thanks for stirring my sluggish brain Aaron.