Wednesday Comments – The Comics That I Don’t Read

Wow. Is it just me or do things look different around here? I don’t know how I feel about it. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

I have a confession to make. It’s a secret that I’ve been hiding. But, I’m going to share it with you.

Every week I head down to my local comic shop. I talk to the owner, I grab the comics in my box and I peruse the shelves for what else came out that I might be interested in picking up or giving a shot. Some weeks I find something some weeks I don’t.

And when I get home I figure out what order I’m going to be reading and in which order. I have the comics that I can’t wait read, then the comics I’m looking forward to reading and then the comics that I’ll get to when I get to (aka the comics on the chopping block.) And after the chopping block comics come the comics that I’m not going to read.

Yes, you read that right; I buy comics that I don’t plan on reading.

Ok, that’s not quite true. I do plan on reading them, at some point in the future. But that could be months down the line. Or possibly even years later, after the series has wrapped.

Allow me to explain.

Often times these comics that I don’t plan on reading are titles that are just mini series and I’m waiting for them to wrap. See, I’ve been burned in the past with books that take forever to wrap. Joe the Barbarian, Who is Jake Ellis, The Infinite Vacation, Turf and of course the infamous War Heroes all suffered from long enough delays where I’d often forget the status quo of the book between issues.

As such I tend to read minis as they wrap. That’s why Hellblazer: City of Demons, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest and Gates of Gotham are stacked and waiting to be read. I’ll probably do the same thing with the current Penguin mini.

There are also the books that I’m collecting that I’m just behind on. I collected the first year and a half of DMZ then fell behind and dropped it, only to pick it back up about a year ago. I decided that DMZ was going to be the next book that I collect. A few years back I completed a run of Sandman Mystery Theatre and I wanted to do the same with DMZ.

I collected all of the issues of DMZ that I’d been missing at a couple cons and some sales and I added the book to my weekly pull list. So, I’ve been buying DMZ knowing full well that I’m so far away from cracking those issues open. And I’m ok with that.

Criminal is another book that’s like that. I’m a relatively recent convert to the cult of Brubaker/Phillips having discovered Sleeper two years ago. I’ve been playing catch up ever since. When Criminal: The Last of the Innocent started coming out, I’d just picked up the trade for The Dead and the Dying. Right now I’m waiting for the perfect moment to sit down with The Sinners and then it’s on to The Last of the Innocent.

Lastly are the books that aren’t really tied to an overarching continuity. I read the first issue of Xombi and loved it, but it was a book that I a) wanted to savor reading and b) didn’t really tie into any other book, so I let the issues pile up. So, despite only having read one issue, I can not only lament the book getting the axe, but be guilt free knowing that I purchased every issue.

The G.I. Joe books from IDW are much the same thing. Cobra is the book that I really love and I get G.I. Joe so I can get the full story. But those are two titles that I’ll let pile up for months on end before I dig in and read in a marathon session. And believe me, Cobra works much better in a single setting.

I’m sure some of you might be wondering why I don’t just go the trade route. I certainly could go the trade route for miniseries. Gates of Gotham, and the Vertigo minis will certainly come out in trades so there’s no real danger of missing out on the story completely.

I think in those cases I don’t go the trade route because I’m not really into trades. I haven’t really invested in a bookshelf and most of the trades that I do have are from books that I didn’t have the opportunity to buy as single issues. Issues is just my preferred mode of comics.

Now Criminal offers up some great supplemental material in the single issues. There are essays and editorials plus the occasional interview. It’s certainly a huge selling point for the not waiting for the trade.

With DMZ it’s sort of the old school fun of tracking down issues trying to make a complete run. I’ve done it with Starman, Sandman Mystery Theatre and now DMZ. My current project is getting a complete run of the Milestone books. It’s the collector in me. I love the rush that comes from finding an elusive issue.

And there you have it, the reason why I don’t read every comic book that I buy. I’m not ashamed of it, but I felt you deserved an explanation.

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