Being Busy = Break From Comics

I haven’t been able to buy comics in four weeks. I haven’t even read a comic in nearly two months. I wish I could say that I was boycotting the industry for some ridiculous reason. It’d even be nice to say that I wasn’t buying comics so I could save money as I watched the economy crumble around me – laughing with an extra $15 in my pocket each week. Alas – even as my retirement fund retires – I would have happily been spending the money on comics!

The simple fact is – I was busy. Really busy. I’ve been “busy” before – but never to a point where I had to put everything except work on hold. This week I finally managed to get time back to myself. After catching up on various work things I thought it might be interesting to see what I was missing in comics.

Then I had second thoughts. After all, I have been saving this money for a few weeks. It does start to add up after a while. Besides – so many of the books that I buy end up sitting on a pile for weeks… or months – it’s hard to think I am getting my money’s worth or (gasp) enjoying the books.

I decided it was time to reevaluate the books that I’m reading. I am only going to buy books that I want to read right away – things that I am excited for. This is sort of like when I stopped reading all the Secret Invasion crap – but on a slightly larger scale.

Armed with my new mentality I ventured off to the comic shop today. By going on a Thursday I could not only avoid the crowds, but I could also avoid any pressures to buy extra books that people in the shop might be talking about. Additionally, if I book happened to be sold out – I wouldn’t buy it. I was going to leisurely browse and be highly selective. This exercise is tough – especially when you think that you are trying to catch-up after four weeks. But, at the same time, four weeks off can help break you of bad habits/bad books.

Walking into the shop the first thing that I noticed was my LCS owner was looking slim. I knew that he had been losing weight – but I hadn’t seen him in four weeks. He practically looked emaciated.

“You’re wasting away,” I said.

“I love you,” he replied.

“I’m serious, you’ve really lost a lot, huh?”

“Yeah, a few more pounds and then I’ll be at my goal. I might even be able to wean off the crappy ‘diet’ drinks. Diet Mountain Dew tastes terrible.”

“I’ll have to take your word for it.”

I started idly looking at the shelves. My new beginning was off with a bang. It was like hundreds of fresh faces staring at me – not a single one saying “you have to buy me.” Awesome.

“Hey, Gordon. I pulled this for you. I figured you wanted it – if you ever showed up again.”

“First of all – I emailed and said that I wouldn’t be in. You just never responded. Second, what’d you pull?”

Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Volume 3.

“Yes, you’re right, I do want that.”

And I wasn’t kidding. Based on the first two, this is a series that I devour. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for this article, I’d be reading it right now.

I continued walking the shelves. I picked up Echo – but I was reminded that I have that. Wow – I really am way behind on my reading.  This was getting difficult – but still very VERY healthy.

I came across The Lone Ranger #14. That’s a must buy. It’s good, the cover is beautiful and it only seems to come out once in a blue moon – so I can keep up.

The next must have was Northlanders. I struggled briefly when I saw it. I knew that a new series had started – and I was pretty sure that I had already bought the first issue. If not  — I guess I can remedy that tomorrow.

I briefly looked behind me and saw a new Kick-Ass.

“Do I already have this?”

“Yeah, that’s a variant cover.”

I dropped it like it was infected. Variant covers are dangerous. It crosses the line from “reader” to “collector.” That’s not part of my plan.

I plowed ahead and stopped at Rasl #3. I vaguely recalled a Twitter I had read earlier this week from Josh… something about the next issue coming out in March of 2009. So that’s approximately 4 months between issues? Sadly, that can work with my plan – as ridiculous as that schedule is. It’s not even in color?!?! WTF is taking so long?

I glided past the rest of the books and stopped at Zorro. There was no question that I was buying this. I’d happily give all the rest back just to make sure that I got Zorro. I’m biased to the character – but I do think it’s a good book.

So – that’s my reading list. Four weeks of not buying books and 8 weeks of not reading – and all I have is 5 books to show for it. I think that’s a good thing. At least I have a shot of getting them all read in a timely manner.

If there’s anything else that is a MUST READ – tell me now and I’ll at least consider it.


  1. I know it has been going on for years and it can seem daunting to catch up but in my opinion Fables is the best book being published right now and has been for some time. If you haven’t read it and do want to get into it I recommend picking up the trades and starting from issue 1. That’s what I did. It took me the better part of six months to finally get caught up but I enjoyed every second. I can honestly say that Fables gets better with every trade and every issue.

  2. Good to have you back, Gordon!

    If you haven’t picked it up yet, or been told to by Ron (since #1 was his POW) then I think you’d like The Roberts. Only 2 issues, and it’s really good!

  3. @USPUNX – Fables is something that I keep debating – but I am so scared because I am SO far behind.  Maybe I just need to take the plunge. Argh – that book is right up my alley…

    @Eyun – The Roberts, two issues – check.  I’ll grab it this weekend.

  4. Forgot to mention, The Roberts are maxi-issues, 40-odd pages at $5.99 an issue. Which won’t help money wise, but it’s only 2 issues and REALLY good!

  5. Why not listen to the ifanboy POTW podcasts a year behind the actual date, then instead of buying the overpriced ‘hot’ floppies, you can buy 2nd hand trades on ebay of anything that’s recommended.

    Of course you have to sit out of the game for a year, but it sounds like you have plenty to do with your time.


  6. I know what you mean, it seemed daunting to me too when I first started reading Fables. The monthly issues were somewhere in the high 60’s when I picked up the first trade but if your experience is anything like mine you will be hooked from pretty much issue 1. Also, in this month’s issue Willingham wrote a page long article about the series and in it he said he has the next 75 or so issues plotted out so at least you know if you catch up there will be plenty of new ones still to come!

  7. Fables having been said, I’d highly recommend Scalped in trades.  The issues are great too, so if you’re an issues guy, that’s cool too.  And as an added bonus, as compared to Fables, I think there are only 3 trades of Scalped out right now.

  8. I second picking up The Roberts.

  9. Gordon,

    Your article speaks to exactly what I’ve been struggling with lately!!  I recently came back into comics after a long absence (many years) and was buying everything, sucked in by beautiful glossy covers and ifanboy recommendations (which have almost all been worthwhile).  The next thing I knew I was buying 50+ titles. I would read each issue once and then shove into storage.

    Trying to scale back was difficult because I kept talking myself into continuing with a title if it was only a limited 5 or 7 issue run.  I invested in the first few issues, so I felt I needed to stick with it to the end, even if I it wasn’t high on my priority list of comic reads.

    I finally went cold turkey and stopped buying for a few weeks.  It definitely helped in getting perspective on what I was buying and why I was buying it.

    So now I ask myself, if the story ark or title came out in hardcover, would I spend the money on it.  That has scaled my buying back a lot and even shifted a lot of my reading to hardcover.  Needless to say the 50+ titles dropped down to around ten.

  10. Sounds precisely like the way I buy comics.

  11. for me, I meticulously plan which books I’m gonna buy…but when I get to my LCS (which conviniently – or inconviniently – is about 1.5 blocks from my office on campus), I always get filled with the evil spirit of some sort of crazed buying fiend…and end up buying a lot more books that I intended….and always regret it.

  12.  Last week, I jokingly told one of my grad students that I was going to send him to go pick up my books because my impulse buying had gotten out of hand….he was not amused. 

  13. I’ve missed you Gordon, esp. on the video shows. Hellboy Lirary edition Volume 2 is out.Ome word: Pancakes.

  14. Start catching up on some of the old stuff you’ve had socked away……Go back a few years and reread some stuff…