Culling Comics in the Digital Age

Now, it’s not often that I will admit to the general public that I watched a reality show on TV, and it is even less often that I can admit to actually relating to the apparent struggles and challenges outlined in such a program. However, because we are friends, I will just go and tell this indeed did happen, and it was just a few weeks ago.

You see, a friend of mine is a contestant on FaceOff, SyFy’s (I still hate typing that) makeup challenge show (I’ve known Rod for years), and, immediately after that show there’s this show about collectors-gone-bad, Collection Intervention.  And, of course, the episode had to feature a guy whose fiancé was struggling with his 30,000 issue comic book collection.

Now, I’m nothing like that guy (really!), but after watching him hem and haw and try to rationalize his collection, I found myself going through my various bookshelves around the house that were housing the last 10-12 months worth of comics and stacking them up on my dining room table, ready to sort the keepers and the doomed, er, ones to be given to Goodwill.  I had been meaning to do this for most of the summer, but it’s always been too hot, I didn’t have any boxes to transport them in…I had a whole litany of excuses. But this time, I just went for it and, again, I went through the “why did I keep [insert title here] the last time I did this and why am I okay with getting rid of it this time” tango. But this time, it was a little different.

We’ve all done this post-mortem catalog analysis, and, the longer I have been buying comics I’ve found it has become both easier and more difficult each time I go through this surprisingly personal process.  I think it gets easier for a few reasons, but the one that really stands out is that the longer you stick with modern comics, the less attached to the storylines you get.

Now, I know — that sounds bad, real bad. Indeed, is not the whole reason we love comics the fact that comics can tell the kinds of stories that no other medium can? I agree with that statement, totally, but then I point to the myriad of event books that seemed so insanely important and current and cool and significant at the time, which now I just roll my eyes at while I stick them in my giveaway bag.  Series like Siege, and anything to do with Secret Invasion and the like are just beyond useless to me now, as stories. As I went through my various shelves, I got more and more frustrated with my past-self that I bought into these series in the first place—when you see the books all at once and realize just how inconsequential and predictable they were, I just see them as books that were designed to take my money. Seriously, looking at all of the event books I was giving away just made me even more cynical about series like Avengers vs. X-Men and whatever that one with all the hammers was. For many (not all, obviously!) comics, at least in recent years, the stories have been depressingly stale and derivative, especially with the events.

But I didn’t throw them all out. This time around, I kept the ridiculous that “One More Day”, partly because I was just curious to see how it held up, and partly because I wanted to keep it is as a kind of time capsule of just how crazy things had gotten with Spider-Man. (I also kept that The Sentry: Fallen Sun just because it was so bad and reminded me of laughing at the various comments the iFanboys and Tom Katers would make about it way back when. Priceless.)

Once I got rid of Siege and Secret Invasion and other books, I found myself also making the hard decision of basically giving up on Northlanders, which used to be one of of my “go-to” titles, but, now that it’s all over, I realized that there were only a few story lines that I really wanted to keep around. I actually ended up getting rid of most of those issues, but kept all of the single-issue stories, which tended to bring in different artists and had stories that really crystallized what that book was when it was really good. I thought the last massive arc was tedious and confusing, and wonder if Wood lost control of that book in the end, especially when I compared those issues to the one and done’s. I ended up keeping the beginning of the series and the single issues as representing the “best” of Northlanders and will resign myself to basically forgetting the rest.

Indeed, as I went through my stacks and stacks of comics, I found myself being ruthless with what I was getting rid of once I started thinking in terms of making sure what I kept were representations of the best the title could be. Unlike the guy in the TV show, I pushed away the concept of being a completist for the first time ever, using a kind of “Desert Island” way of thinking when approaching titles. So, shorter arcs and single issue stories were way more likely to be kept than entire runs, even with Jonah Hex, a book I enjoyed a lot, and always expected to keep around, but, in the end, was happy with a few key issues and a general memory of the rest of the stories.

As I was thinking about this article (I am on jury duty this week, so I had some time), I realized that this was the first comic book culling that I have done in the age of fairly universal digital comics availability.  As ruthless as I was about getting rid of these titles, I knew in the back of my head that if I truly need a particular issue, there was going to be a good chance that it was available on my iPad in just a few seconds. I know, it’s not the same and that I would be paying twice for a book, but, honestly, having fewer comics hiding out in my shelves makes me sleep better, it really does. I hate having these books just taking up space, and my embracing of digital comics has made that irritation just even more intense. I am in this medium for the stories, for the characters, for the art. I am not in the medium for the media. I have been surrounded by books, comics and magazines all of my life — I know what paper smells like, I get it. And given that comics look better on my iPad than they do on paper…well, for me, culling my collection has become way easier.

Now, if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that just a few days ago I took pictures of two recently purchased trades: Incognito and the New X-Men Omnibus (which is awesome).  Yes, I bought Incognito in single issues and no, I did not love the series, but I really like how they are approaching these trades. (I am going to buy the second Criminal trade as well for the same reasons.) I like having these books around, I think they are special and I realize that I may sound like I am contradicting myself by writing this paragraph, but honestly, I think I am just realizing how much easier it is to craft a comic book collection that I will actually enjoy — or, at least, make it easier to get a chance to enjoy. Now I can go beyond feeling good about “boxes of comics” and feeling better about having specific stories I can find on my bookshelf instead of hunting for them in a fortress of long boxes because even if I don’t have a comic in trade form, the stories may very well be available in a digital format. No, maybe not today, I get it, but eventually, as the years go by, it will be easier to find those books.

And this, perhaps is most enduring difference digital comics will make: slowly making it easier for us to build libraries consisting of single issues, trades, and digital versions. No, it won’t satisfy the comic book collector — he or she, after all, is collecting comic books — but for people who treasure the stories and the characters, it makes life a helluva lot easier.

I still have a lot of my printed comics, and I doubt there will ever be a time when I stop loving these things. I have basically three short boxes of “must keeps” and I am fine with it. And as I went through my three or four paper bags full of comics before dropping them off at Goodwill, I won’t say I did not hesitate. I won’t say I went back in and dug out two or three books just because I couldn’t stand the thought of letting them go — I did. But when I looked at all of the comics I was giving away, I mostly hoped that someone else would find more enjoyment out of them, that perhaps some “real” collector would find an issue that he or she had been looking for, that would make their day somehow. I just feel better now because even as I say goodbye to these modern comics, I know it’s not farewell — I’ll be able to come back to them again whenever I feel like it, no matter where the actual books end up.

 


Mike Romo is an actor in Los Angeles. You can reach him through email, visit his Facebook page, and collect his tweets on Twitter.

 

Comments

  1. Grandturk says:

    I try to think of comics like I think of movies. Look – it costs me (with wife) at least $25 to go to the movies these days in Manhattan. So a weeks worth of comics is also about $25. I may go to the movies and completely enjoy the movie and NEVER THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE. So that’s $25 down the drain and gone for ever. I look at comics the same way. The vast majority will never inspire me to pick it up multiple times. So why keep it?

    Of recent stuff – Planet Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy (Abnet & Lanning) and Deadpool 90′s run, minis and current stuff – I WILL KEEP and I WILL REREAD. There’ s nothing else I read that will be KEPT FOREVER. I’m holding onto The Massive and Manhattan Projects because I think they will garner a reread.

    Everything else gets given away or trashed. I wish there was an easier way – but again – out of site out of mind. I’ve still got longboxes that need to go. Anyone want to drop by for free comics?

    Now trades are another story – those are easier to keep – but still… I may never read some of them again. THEIR DAYS ARE NUMBERED.

    • player1 player1 says:

      This is very true. I may never read all of the books and comics that I own now for the first time, let alone read any of the comics that I’m storing ever again. Besides the influx of new material that I’m buying, the public library is getting almost everything that I’m not buying, and publishers keep reprinting old material that either A) I didn’t buy when it came out, or B) I didn’t get the chance, because it came out before I was born. I’m inundated. Swamped. Drowning. Adrift. Deluged.

      There is simply no way to acquire, catalog, read and review every comic book that was ever printed anywhere and store a hard copy in my house. It was a hard lesson, but I finally learned it. Even “just the good stuff” is too big a pile to even contemplate.

      8)

    • in the past five years i can count the times that i’ve re-read something from my collection on one hand, and they were all trades/HC’s. I have so much stuff…i feel like my new comics get in the way of my bookshelf at times.

      My longboxes might wind up in that dumpster at some point.

    • stevenpirie stevenpirie says:

      I have trades I read again and again. My approach with single issues is to get the ones I want and then make my own hard binds, which again I re-read. I did a final collection of DCs flashpoint in single issue form, bound what I wanted and then switched to digital for DC. I still occasionally buy runs of single issues to follow a story arc from yesteryear, but again I buy these with the plan to bind. I buy trades if they aren’t in digital, but also look out for digital omnibus’s (omnibii?). Planetary came out as a decent digital omnibus recently, great for re visiting.
      I think the only physical issues I am collecting now, with an eye to binding, are Buffy and angel&faith season 9.
      I welcomed digital due to the savings in storage. I also welcomed digital music, digital books (kindle 2owner) and now do most movies/tv shows in digital format also. A 2Tb hard drive is smaller than a bookcase and an iPod/ kindle combo is a great way to read, listen and view.
      I do hunt down old trades, but these are for stories I have a vested interest in, that form part of a characters story. I went through a phase of collecting everything that ted kord appeared in, and also try to get a good sense of Ray Palmers Atom over the years, gathering trades, archives and single issues that fell into easy thematic binds.
      Digital comics may have saved my marriage ;)

    • jimbojones06 says:

      stevenpirie – how do you make your own “hard binds?” Sounds like something I’d like to do with a few series I wanted to read as singles but don’t want to rebuy as a trade.

    • stevenpirie stevenpirie says:

      Jimbojones06.
      I use a local book binding business. I gather upto four sets of arcs that I want bound (anything from 6-18 issues per “bind”), and have them do a hard bind for me.
      For me, this allows me to store my comics on a book shelf, not a box, allows me to pull and read when I want and keeps the pages pristine.

  2. Great article Mike.

  3. Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

    Nothing gets me cleaning my apartment and tossing the clutter faster than an episode of HOARDERS.

    • Grandturk says:

      Whenever this show is on, I glare at my wife and shake my head disapprovingly. She hasn’t gotten the message yet. The latest: I don’t know why we have a pile of old tupperware when she’s just gotten new tupperware to replace it….

    • Hoarders isn’t as scary cause most times its just garbage. The collectors show is actual stuff so it turns a lot scarier for me.

    • rafterman rafterman says:

      That’s why it’s good to watch. This Collection Intervention has really made me question whether I need my Taco Bell Jar Jar cups anymore.

  4. Bonidex Bonidex says:

    I loved the article!
    I decided to change my reading habits too. I live in Brazil, where all comics come 1 year later than original release date. Well, but only a few comics come anyway…
    I realized that in 2 years buying comics, I had a giant stash in my house and I said: This must not go on!!! I am a subscriber of Marvel digital, then I don’t need to buy single issues anymore (except on icon, which I love anyway so I buy them). But DC makes me buy individually, so I wait a little for the price drop and read only what I really like and has good ratings. Only what I really love I buy in TP or HC.
    It’s been two fun years, but I can’t stuff my house of comics like this and my wallet couldn’t keep up. Now my ipad… well… that’s full of comics!

  5. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    One of the problems with digital is the selection. I’ve often had the itch to read some old Silver or Bronze age stories and guess what, I can’t find them. Want to read the first appereance of Galactus in Fantastic Four? Well, good luck because the entire early original run of FF isn’t collected on Comixology. Want to read some old Batman’s from the 70′s? There might be like, 3 or 4 issues on there for you to enjoy. The selection sucks, hopefully it will get better.

    • JesseCuster says:

      What you’ve stated is more of a personal problem really. No one else seems to have issues with it. And I don’t mean to suggest that no one wants to read classic stories, of course we do. But you’re attempting to make some statement that digital comics can’t be successful because they haven’t archived 80 years of comic books yet, and that is a ridiculous opinion.
      The instances you use as examples are the PRIME examples of the times where one goes out and gets the trades or collections. As a matter of fact, the argument here is… by not amassing an ongoing collection of new comics, one can now have more money and more space to go out and own the occasional collection of older comics. I’d also argue that if you go back to the original opinion in the article above… what fool is going to toss out the first appearance of Galacticus because they were able to get a digital version instead? Yeah, when you do that.. .be sure to throw it away in my trash can then.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      The fact that digital has a horrible back catalogue of material is not a personal problem, but a problem with the service. It’s a problem that can be easily solved by making things available. There are barely any classic Neil Adams Batman stories available, that’s a problem with the service. You are telling me I should drive to my local comics store to buy things like that? The whole argument for digital is about convenience.
      For me, digital will never replace print, but I am coming around to seeing the convenience aspect of it. The terrible library and selection of material that predates the 00′s is a problem for consumers.

    • @jokersnuts–the vast majority of us who are reading digital comics are doing it for the weekly new stuff. I will grant you that there is a giant back catalog gap, but its pretty obvious that someone crunched the numbers and decided that serving a sub-group of a sub-group (digital readers) doesn’t make a whole ton of financial sense right now. It costs money and resources to bring those back issues to market for a very small group of customers like yourself.

      But i’d love to see a Jedi Library of everything ever made. =)

    • also, this whole digital comics thing as a legit Big 2 product…Only a year old. Give em some time to release a back catalog. Stuff doesn’t even come out in print that fast.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      @wally – I am primarily interested in digital comics for old material. I have searched in vain MANY times on the comics apps for something I am curious about reading and continually come up disappointed. I guess I am just the type of customer they could care less about, because apparently the majority of people currently reading digital just want the newest stuff. Eventually though, this is going to have to change.
      Digital comics just isn’t good for me yet, but maybe one day it will be better.

    • @jokersnuts-i hear you. i mean it would be amazing to have all that stuff available. I think the catalog will grow with time.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      @wally – i agree, i think it will too. as you said, it’s only about a year or so old.

  6. player1 player1 says:

    I’m not digital yet, but you’re right, it is easier.

    They’re reprinting more and more stuff all of the time.

    From what I’ve heard, the price of back issues can be quite cheap online, so maybe that market is softening as well.

    People seem to get books, read them and then donate or sell them on, now.

    Not as many people hoard (I mean collect) single back issues anymore.

    As you point out, it’s seen as a little crazy, and there’s less and less reason to do it all of the time.

    I’ll be selling off the bulk of the hoard (I mean collection) as it ripens. Forty-year rule in effect.

  7. Skruff Skruff says:

    I’m loving the switch to digital, because it means I’m no longer having to deal with the never ending pile of comics that I’ve collected over the past 25+ years. Now I can try out a new title without worrying about needing another long box to store a comic I didn’t care about and will never re-read again.

    What I really need to do is sit down and sort through all of my paper comics, decide what I want to keep and donate the rest. So based on your article, does this mean Goodwill will take my unwanted comics? That would be awesome if so!

    • alexhoward says:

      Why Goodwill and not offer to your LCS for store credit? You’ll get very little in trade but maybe the volume would be high enough for a trade or go towards a hardcover. My store will buy almost anything for store credit even if it’s just fodder for their dollar bin to unload at conventions.

    • Skruff Skruff says:

      Honestly, because I’m truly content being digital-only right now and not filling up more physical space in my home. Store credit wouldn’t be terribly useful for me in that case.

      Besides, if Goodwill can put them to better use selling them to someone and using that money to help others (and I get a small tax-write off in the process), then that seems like a much better deal for everyone.

    • @alexhoward–obviously every shop is different but i’m in a situation where i have 2 long boxes full of recent stuff that 10 different shops won’t even take a look at. Its my experience if its printed after 1980 they already have it and don’t want to look, save for some high dollar graded things here and there.

      I’m even having trouble selling trades and hardcovers. Every shop and bookstore keeps telling me they have so much stock in storage they only want highly sought after stuff they can move fast. tough times.

    • Grandturk says:

      @ Wally – I’m with you. Shops don’t want new stuff and even if they did its not enough $$$ for me to justify lugging a box several blocks to Jim Hanleys or Midtown – even if they did want them.

  8. gregbmarcus gregbmarcus says:

    Wish I knew about that Northlanders culling, I’ve been looking to buy a run o’ that.

    • befey says:

      I might be willing to part with mine.

    • Urthona Urthona says:

      Northlanders reads GREAT in trades. That is the part of the article that resonates with me. Why keep floppies when a trade is available. I’ve got a really old, fairly complete Dr. Strange collection and I can’t believe I’m considering sending it to the recycle bin…I’m sure at some point in the not too distant future I’ll be able to get trade or digital copies in better condition and don’t smell as bad.

  9. pppiquer pppiquer says:

    I have a pretty hefty single issue collection from around 5 years ago, but since my store closed up shop, I’ve been relying on trades and digital. I want to get rid of the issues, but I still haven’t been able to get my self to do it, they still hold a sentimental value

  10. I was channel surfing on the weekend and came upon that collection intervention show as well. It hit a little too close to home and got me to clean out my storage and divide things into Keep, throw away, sell l, and donate piles. I was able to do this with a lot of other hobbies, but applying that to comics is still a lite daunting.

  11. flakbait flakbait says:

    I switched to trade a couple years ago, but still have the previous *cough cough* number of years worth of long and short boxes filling the space beneath our bed. I’ve thought about getting good, stand-alone stuff bound, but it’s actually generally cheaper to just buy the trades. So they sit.

    There’s plenty in there I should get rid of – why do I need the complete run of Heroes Reborn? I’ll never look at them again, unless I’m looking for good fodder for a drinking game. But I can’t just give them away, because then I would be subjecting them to shitty comics. “Here, nephew, here’s some comics. You should read more! But, ah jeeze, not like these I just gave you.”

  12. stasisbal stasisbal says:

    Nice article and I share the same sentiment. I particularly like the “greatest hits” idea and will have that in mind the next time I sort through stuff. And it’s not just single issues. I have some trades I don’t really care about as well.

    The majority of the comics I’ve read from Marvel and DC over the last few years don’t hold up well. But that’s mostly OK because I enjoyed both reading them and being part of the community at the time. As you say, no sense in keeping a bunch of stuff you’re never going to read again.

  13. I’ve read this article and I find myself thinking how going digital is no longer a debate. It is the most practical and convenient way to go without question.

    But I will never give up my collection of printed comics. When I was a kid my dad built for me a shelf which was about 10′ length, 8′ height, and 10″ width. And in it I placed comics to be spotlighted for the week or month or whenever allotted time i deemed fit to replace with others. There was enough room to pose assorted G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys and a small t.v., but the main attraction were these stories. My friends would come over and be amazed by my displayed collection. I ( along with my dad) built a Temple of Comics. Most of these titles I reread. Just finished some of Sandman Mystery Theatre. Good Stuff! Its because of these cherished memories and wonderful time in my life that I hold on to my stuff. If that makes me hoarder or a freak or something else, then so be it.

    Interestingly enough, earlier today I read an article on Kirk Hammet (Metallica) who has an extensive monster/ horror memorabilia collection. He got a book deal out of it, but someone who collects comics gets a segment on some reality t.v. show about hoarders or the like. Hmmm…

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      It will always be a debate. Both formats have their positives and negatives, it’s all about personal preference. As long as both options are available, it’s all good.

    • @JokersNuts I hear you. Truly. What I should have stated was its not a debate for me. And I agree on the availability of options because it is a personal choice. So cheers, mate!

    • Skruff Skruff says:

      I used to think the same thing, but then over the course of twenty years with weekly trips to the store to buy comic after comic, I’m now the proud daddy of 50+ long boxes of comics. Considering I haven’t dug through them in several years since I moved and put them in storage (my new house has considerably less storage space), for me, it’s time to start culling the stash.

      I’m never going to read that issue of Youngblood #3 again from the 90s. The AzBats period of the Batman titles? Yeah, probably not so much. The recent run of Justice Society of America after Geoff Johns left the title… meh.

      It’s not going to be an easy task, but it’s got to be done. I’d love to keep them all, but it’s just more expensive than its worth. More power to you that you’re able to keep everything you’ve collected! That’s awesome that your dad built that Temple for you!

  14. ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

    Does anyone still collect CDs? Maybe it’s just me, but there was a time were I was very proud of my CD collection. It was displayed on my shelves, in neat rows, for all the world to admire. When I had made a bad purchase, the CD got culled from the collection, generally tossed under my bed to collect dust.

    When I went to college, the best of my collection got moved into Case Logic sleeves for easy transport back and forth to school. I remember flipping through those pages, being proud of every CD in my collection because I thought each one said something about me. (I also remember flipping through other people’s collections and making snap judgments about their taste as well.)

    Somewhere along the line, I made the switch to digital and never looked back. All my old CDs were ripped to my computer and tossed into storage “just in case”, though I will probably never need them again. I could display the cases in my house, but why? It seems juvenile to me now. And, even if I didn’t think it was childish, I have not bought a physical CD in years. My “collection” would not accurately display my tastes anymore, adding to sense that my CD collection is really just a relic of a bygone era, something that archaeologists will discover and ponder many ages from now.

    I wonder if this inevitably how I will come to think about comics. My transition to digital music probably took a good 5 years. We are still in the infancy of digital comics, barely 1 year on. 4 years from now, after years of not buying any new physical comics, the thought of holding on to my old physical collection may seem just a juvenile as displaying my CD collection.

  15. As much as digital seems to be growing, I don’t believe I will ever want to buy digital comics as long as I live. I know I absolutely won’t with regular books either. Why? I don’t know. I’ve put a comic or two and an ebook on my ipad and it just wasn’t the same as having the physical copy. I am no collector and am just as ruthless when it comes to keeping pretty much anything. Even so, digital just isn’t for me.

    • There will always be people that will “never switch” from one format to a newer one. People said this from LPs to tapes, from tapes to discs, and now to digital media. But I think most people value convenience and availability over dedication to a particular format.

  16. Doesn’t this come down to whether you value the comic as a story or as an object in and of itself? If it’s a story, I can download it or read it anytime. If it’s an item that reminds me of a particular experience or time then that’s kind of irreplaceable.

  17. angelicfey says:

    I’m becoming harder and harder-line on trade waiting. Unless I just have to have something NOW NOW NOW!, it can wait a little longer. Plus numerous titles that I missed out on from the 80′s and 90′s are now available in trade form.

    My collection of almost everything X-Teams related from roughly ’90 to 95′ (ie from Adjectiveless X-Men/X-Force/second X-Factor team/etc to shortly after Onslaught)? That I’d never part with.

  18. theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

    Am I the only one who views comics as history? The ads are time machines, the letter columns are like newspapers from the time…For space reasons I go through my boxes and even titles I am currently collecting and I get honest with myself. Am I going to reread this? Is this historically significant? If the answer is no it gets sold on eBay. Starting bid .99. I like to point to The Maxx and Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing as examples. They were both way ahead of their times, are deep and intellectual, and are worthy of rereads as I grow as a person. Granted they are available in trade, but to hold onto “history” in its original form is priceless. I sold mg Valiant runs but kept things like Rai 0 and Harbinger 1 for emotional reasons. They bring me back to when I was a kid. When I can own a digital comic I might make the switch.

  19. jpriester73 jpriester73 says:

    This article was interesting as someone rather new to comics. I started reading other books not titled Captain America 2 years ago. My comic budget for the 2 years previous was spent on buying Cap back issues. Honestly for some strange reason I thought thats what comic fans did. I thought it was taboo to buy more than one character and a sin to buy a DC book. I also believed what I was buying would be worth something one day.

    As I’ve “matured” as a comic reader I’ve explored all kinds of stories from even the evil DC as well as Image and Valiant books whose stories “don’t even count” to the “real” universes. After reading the article I’m realizing my reasoning behind purchases has changed and thus, so has the demand for an actual issue.

    Currently I only own 3 1/2 long boxes (2 just of Cap stuff) and about 20 trades. I hadn’t really thought what 20 years from now my collection will look like at the rate of about a long box a year. I think its time for me to be proactive in buying the ones I collect in issues, the stories I love in trades, and the rest as digital.

  20. LucasEwalt says:

    This article made me realize one ultimate, undeniable truth about comics: The Sentry will never NOT be hilarious. I really hope Marvel gets on board with the joke and puts out a “Sentry Omnibus” or some kind of massive “Best of the Sentry” collection. Who wouldn’t buy that? Every time you’re feeling sad or depressed, you just pull that baby off the shelf, crack it open to any random issue, and have yourself a hearty laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of that character and everything he embodies. He’s the “Kickpuncher” of the comic book world.

  21. rafterman rafterman says:

    I do digital because it’s the best way for me to access books when they are released. Plus, they take up no space. I still do buy trades, but that’s rare and only for things unavailable digitally or for stuff that has a really fantastic print version like Tale of Sand.

  22. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    Good article. For better or worse, I think that by and large comics have become disposable again. Just like they were 50-80 years ago, when they were selling millions of copies. Only now most titles struggle to hit 60,000 copies, and yet most of the stories seem just as forgettable and disposable.

    Technology has fueled this, as you note. If you can easily pull up a digital copy, then there’s little need for a physical one. And if the digital version is just “accessible”, then there’s no need to even possess the file.

    On the other hand, I think the streamlined storytelling has fueled this disposability even more. Aside from a handful of titles and storylines, I can’t think of many comics from recent years that I would care to own and enjoy rereading for years to come in an unplugged/non-backlit-screen version. And of course things like Secret Invasion were always disposable. This is why I’ve often been annoyed by people who give such comics 5-star reviews, but I just know — KNOW — that these same readers will forget these stories within a few months, if not much sooner.

    • Grandturk says:

      On digital “accessible” point – I will not switch to digital until I receive a device-independent, app-independent, subscription independent source file for my money. It may be out there, I may not know about it. The point is – I don’t want to be stuck with files that I have to access through someone’s service.

  23. Killraven says:

    Man, you guys are making me feel like an old fogey. I think I’m the only one that absolutely refuses to buy digital comics. I think it’s great for the people that like it, but I’m too old school and stuck in my ways. If I read something I want to hold it in my hands, turn the pages, smell the “old” smell on comics that are decades older than me. Maybe it’s because of how poor my eye sight is that I just won’t embrace digitial (I’m the same way with texting. I refuse to read them or write them. If it’s important enough to say to me, then pick up the phone and call me. Again, I’m definately not from this generation). I always seem to catch bad glares on screens if I try to read something, but reading physical books don’t bother me. Maybe I’ll say something to the eye doc and see if something can be done. If so, then maybe I will join this generation of digital media.

  24. Dig the article, especially the criticism on events and a lot of Marvel/DC stuff.

    One thing to note, it’s often mentioned how trades are convenient and look good on a shelf, and I agree and am more of a trade guy than an issues guy. But those pile up the same way, my bookshelves aren’t shown spine-facing out, they’re in big piles so I can fit more on there. And the piles are heavy, hoo boy.

  25. anyone try just culling by artist, just keeping the artists you like? what about value? if space is a premium why not just keep your books worth $10. I buy a lot of books $25- $35 weekly but will cancel a few with arti/writer changes also.I heard people can get free comics like when people first started getting free music. an entire month’s worth thru torrents. Although I do not reread comics, i like back issues and trades. I’ve read the free comics on comixology and that helps you try comics you would never have bought. one day i could become a cellphone zombie reading comics on my phone. i guess its just tough to give up getting a new weeks comics by actually going somewhere. there should be an episode where stuart from the big bang theory show, needs partners because he’s losing money to online comics.

  26. Great article! You’ve inspired me! I definitely have a collecting problem and need to weed out some stuff that really isn’t important to me! I am going to start going through my collection and donate what I don’t care about. There might be people out there who could enjoy these books!

    I’m not 100% sold on digital comics yet, although I absolutely recognize the benefits of them. I wish there were ways to donate digital books! To me, the biggest downside of going digital is not being able to share these stories with others. Loaning them to a friend, or giving a book to a child. With digital, these things are not as easy. Maybe one day!

  27. Jesse1125 Jesse1125 says:

    Really Mike? You got rid of Siege?Awesome Coipel art, solid story and its ONLY 4 issues!! you couldn’t find a spot for 4 issues?One of my favorite events of the past 4-5 years.

    oh the humanity

  28. DavidRose92 DavidRose92 says:

    My greatest fear is that I’ll die and nobody will know what to with all my crap.