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Recent reading, comics’ pricing, and personal loss


A number of weeks back, Borders had a 40%-off-one-item coupon. I went into the local Borders intending to purchase The Walking Dead vol. 11. However, on the shelf with about a half-dozen volumes ranging from 1-10, I was unable to locate 11.

So, I browsed. Some interesting books here and there–quite a few of them ones I wouldn’t mind owning…but I reflected even then about the “value” of many of these collected volumes. And how by and large, they just aren’t worth it–and it takes at LEAST a 30% discount off the collected editions’ SRP before I really give ’em a serious look for purchase.

I happened to notice this Iron Man volume. The Invincible Iron Man vol. 1, by Matt Fraction. Not a bad price, even at full price…and with that 40% discount on this solid, hard-covered tome? I decided the zombies could wait.

Of course, life went and got hectic again. I spent a weekend in Michigan visiting a friend–where I splurged and bought the softcover equivalent of the Iron Man volume, but this was Deadpool/Cable vol. 1. A week or so later, having realized I was actually interested in the unfolding X-Men: Second Coming event, I utilized my Amazon certificate (from that massive “glitch” earlier this year) and snagged the X-Force/Cable: Messiah War volume.

I read Messiah War last week, eager to be “caught up” for Second Coming. Also, after reading a couple reviews and one friend specifically recommending the issue, I picked up Invincible Iron Man #25 along with the rest of my regular New Comics Day purchases. I read that issue Thursday at work…and so thoroughly enjoyed it that I immediately dove into that hardcover (as of this typing, it occurs to me that I never finished reading last week’s new issues).

The best way to succinctly describe this book is that Fraction has done for Iron Man what Brubaker did for Captain America. And I no longer care much about what new comics are out tomorrow–I’m interested in tracking down Invincible Iron Man #s 20-24 to fill in the gap…and eager to continue on with Fraction‘s tale of the Iron Man.


It also occurs to me as I’m typing that last week’s single issues, at New Comics Day pricing (aka “full/standard/cover price”), were just about as expensive as this Iron Man collected volume. Yet, including the “padding” of 3-4 promotional $1 issues, that was only 9 or 10 comics. The collected volume has 19.

Though it would certainly lack the weekly variety and multi-publisher diversity of the usual, weekly purchases…some of these collected volumes–especially if (sorry, LCS!) ordered via amazon or other discount online retailer–provide a far better value for the buck. And I wonder if my attempts to “run with the other dogs” in reviewing comics weekly hasn’t caused me to turn a blind eye to this.

For the price of 5-10 comics on a Wednesday, I could score some great full-arc stories, in hardcover collected-edition format, each of the volumes having at LEAST 5-10 issues, many having at least 12-15 issues contained between their covers.

For the moment, at least, it’s highly tempting to try to make a ‘break’ from the weekly singles, and invest instead in collected volumes. If only it were REALLY that simple.


Last Sunday (May 9th), I lost one of my oldest friends and most constant companion in this life outside of family/flesh-and-blood: my cat, Kayla.

I can’t even begin to put words to the feelings and emotions of losing Kayla. For over 18 years she was a constant companion… to quote Justin Hartley’s Olliver/Green Arrow from the Smallville season finale: “When your oldest friend leaves forever, there’s really no way to say goodbye.”

I was behind on reviews anyway. For now, I’ll be inconsistent. Maybe a review or two here and there…but it’s gonna be awhile before I ramp back up.

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