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Mid-February Stream-of-Consciousness

[Pardon the lack of usual nice formatting and such…I’ll never get this posted if I try to go through and do my usual formatting. Plus, this isn’t a fancy post…I just started typing, and this is the result. For now.]

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve found myself a BIT more active posting stuff over on the Facebook Page, though.

I feel like a lot of the “fun” in comics has disappeared for me. I’m less and less inclined to go to the comic shop…and I’ve actually skipped weeks here and there lately…as there’s nothing (even on my pull list) out in a given week that I’m planning to buy…or I’m behind on reading so not gonna read the issue immediately even if I buy it…so no particular rush to get to the shop.

I’m less and less interested in NEW comics…and increasingly frustrated with the likes of Marvel and DC both for their single issues, be it pricing, numbering, or whatever.

Marvel keeps renumbering every couple years such that numbers don’t mean squat anymore–they might as well just add a “subtitle” of the year to their books, and start fresh at #1 in January for any quasi-ongoing/recurring titles. Say, Deadpool 2016 1-12 for this year. Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth 2016 1-4 if they do a mini-series. Amazing X-Men 2016 1-12. All-New X-Men 2016 1-12. Etc. Then they can do Amazing X-Men 2017 #1 next January. New year, new “season.” If they squeeze out 18 issues in a year, just add to the count. If they run over the calendar year, keep the year of #1 on the book, so at least when one looks at back-issues, they can know which iteration of the title (with the same Marvel logo, same title logo, same creative team, and umpteen variant covers) any given issue belongs to.

DC hasn’t seemed to know what to do with Superman…and the only thing right now that REALLY interests me at all is Superman: Lois and Clark…but heaven knows if that’s even going to continue past “Rebirth” this summer. Though its concept is good, I’m not even entirely sure how much I’m enjoying it…versus clinging to it as the sole chip of bone thrown to me as far as continuing stories of a Superman resembling the one I grew up on.

Variant covers, “chase” covers, “chase” CONTENT, renumbering, high prices, lack of continuity (or sense of continuity)…it all just discourages me at this point and leaves me grumpy.

It’s hardly a wonder to me that the vast majority of my graphic novel purchases for ages are all volumes collecting older “classic” stuff…largely 1990s material, with some stuff back to the 1980s, and some into the early 2000s.

With Marvel, it’s ’90s stuff…primarily X-Men or randomish “thick volumes” that collect more than 4-6 issues and actually seem worth their price.

With DC, it’s the more recent, “thicker” and “complete” editions of stuff. Batman: Knightfall was collected finally into 3 phone-book/Showcase/Essentials-sized volumes. No Man’s Land was collected into 4 volumes with the full story, rather than 5 volumes of partial material. Batman – Bruce Wayne: Murderer? and Fugitive were collected in full. The early-2000s’ Superman/Batman by Jeph Loeb is getting larger collection, with material covering 2-ish volumes of the original editions. The Spectre, Suicide Squad, New Teen Titans, Deathstroke the Terminator, Batman Adventures, Nightwing, Robin, Cassandra Cain Batgirl, Loeb’s Supergirl, Peter David’s Supergirl, ’80s Supergirl, Birds of Prey, and so many other older, “pre-52” series are getting thick volumes reprinting 8-12ish issues each, with many of these presently having 2-4 volumes apiece available.

Both Marvel and DC have been huge turn-offs for collections of newer material. Marvel is disgustingly ridiculous and inconsistent with their pricing and format. $39.99 for a paperback, or a hardback edition of the same book might be $49.99. But they don’t keep anything “in print” all that long…or at least, they’re inconsistent enough with it that if I don’t get it immediately, then they’ve lost me for the entire series of collections. Why would I want to get vols 1 & 2 if 3 and 7 are out of print (and thus the prices jacked up by opportunistic “third party” sellers tacking $40+ onto cover price JUST because the book is technically “out of print” (“OOP”)? One example here–Deadpool Classic. There are 13-some volumes…and I’d be relatively interested in the series…but I’m afraid that as soon as I get the first 3-4 volumes. some of the later ones will go out of print. Or if I “assume” the early volumes (say, 1-3) will be kept in print for awhile and snag some of the later volumes…then I’ll get ‘stuck’ with later volumes when the earlier ones are out of print. Or Marvel decides to do a new trade dress or format (say, instead of 8-10 issues per volume, switching to the “Epic Collection” and putting 16-ish into a single volume).

DC’s worst example (that I’ve noted of late) is with Grayson. Last year, there was some sort of “Gotham Sampler Issue” that reprinted the first issue of Grayson along with a couple of the other then-new Bat-books. I read the Grayson content…and rather enjoyed it. And the first (at the time, ONLY) collected volume was freshly out…but it was in HARDCOVER…which turned me off to it, with my preference being for the paperback. I didn’t sense the enormity of the book or why it would be put into hardback first…it certainly was not on the level of say, Batman or some epic/event-level thing. So I figured MAYBE I’d get it in paperback “eventually.” My mistrust was born out…as when the second volume came out…THAT one went straight to paperback. Though I wasn’t personally “screwed over” by that (getting stuck with a hardback first volume and then not even an OPTION of a hardback for the second volume), just the knowledge of it rubbed me the wrong way.

While I can appreciate the notion of following the traditional book market–with an initial release in hardback, followed later by the cheaper paperback edition–I despise that with comics. Particularly given the constant blow-out of arbitrary but incomplete runs of the Marvel hardbacks.

I’d far prefer to see the more “immediate” collecting of a series go straight to paperback: every 4-6 issues or whatever, throw ’em in a paperback. Cheaper, has several issues, allows anyone new to the title to catch up in paperback and jump into the current story-arc/issue(s). Then, every 12 issues or so…THEN put out a hardback, perhaps the “deluxe/oversized” format, collecting the contents of 2-3 of the paperbacks. That way the paperbacks could somewhat sort of be “periodicals” themselves with a couple new volumes every year…and the hardbacks could server more as the archival/”library” editions. (This would also fit well with the constant renumbering, have one hardback for an entire iteration of a series).

And with that, my thoughts have trailed off, ending the stream-of-consciousness rant.

5 Responses

  1. Glad to see you back. I agree completely… I’ve seen my pull-list dwindle from most of DC and Marvel’s output to very little.
    Ever since the New 52, every big “event” has had that certain twinge of “is this a reboot?” to it… I simply cannot remain as invested in these companies as I used to be.
    I order my books at DCBS, who are fantastic… but, it is becoming such a pain to complete my orders of late… variants and second (third, fourth, yadda yadda) printings are hogging the entire screen.
    I use comiclist as well, and even that’s become a pain due to all of the reprints and variants.
    I guess I’m pretty discouraged myself. Thanks for the post.

    • I haven’t found a ‘replacement’ for the comixology pull-list app. Haven’t tried all that hard, though. I refuse to BUY anything from/through Comixology now (under Amazon) due to the in-app purchases issue on Apple stuff. But I’ll grudgingly use the pulllist.comixology.com interface to curate/update stuff I’m getting, so I get the weekly email of my list, to have a better idea of what’s out any given week that I wanted to at least look for.

      I miss the days when II print, III print, IV print was designated by DC by a different color logo and the Roman Numeral; and Marvel just changed some coloring (like a gold-ish or silver-ish tint to a cover instead of whatever it originally was…like, I think I have a “gold-ish” New Mutants 98…2nd or 3rd or 4th print, which I know simply because of the tinting).

      This week, I went to the shop basically just for an issue to try, so I can chat with friends about it this weekend…plus had figured I’d be able to share the digital code and save a friend some money. Wound up buying 4 X-Men tpbs for the price of 6 $3.99 books.

      • I too miss the days of the roman numeral on DC books, I remember friends of mine hunting down EVERY printing of Superman #75. Those were fun times.
        Marvel’s tinting was a very good way to go about an additional printing as well, I have the New Mutants #87 gold cover, and I think an early appearance of Carnage with the tint. Easily identifiable at first glance, and still maintains the iconic cover(s), no “blank cover” or a cover that is just a panel from inside the book blown up.
        These days there are so many variants you can get lost trying to find out if what you’re buying is a first, second, or whatever print.

      • Oops…NM 87 is the one I have the gold cover. Maybe I don’t have 98 at all.

        I grab Superman 75 whenever I see it in bargain bins…pretty sure I’ve found all 4 “newsstand edition@ printings in 25-cent bins at least once.

        I remember in 2001 or so, Devil’s Due would have a “virgin art” piece as the back cover for GI Joe…then on a second print they’d swap back/front.

  2. Haha, love it, there really is an unwritten rule that says you just can’t leave a copy of Superman #75 in the bins. I’m the same exact way!

    I even found an unbagged “Deluxe” 75 in the quarter bin that came with all of the goodies, which was my first time ever seeing those goodies in real-life. Even after 20+ years, I cannot bring myself to opening any of my “black bags”. Must be something in my 90’s comics reader DNA

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