A Wednesday State of Mind

I’ve heard tech types proclaim that our new levels of digital connectivity will destroy geography. What they mean is that as our ability to communicate instantaneously across the globe increases, our need to be physically present will decrease. I don’t buy that argument, but I think it may have a temporal corollary to the comic’s community, i.e. I’m not sure Wednesday matters anymore.

Like many revelations, this came as a slow smolder and not a lightning bolt epiphany. I know I’ve mentioned before that since leaving California I never quite found a local comics community, thus precipitating my transition to digital. (A transition I’ve been reconsidering as of late, but that’s another column.) The dawning of my realization came in fits and spurts after holiday weekends which caused a delay in the US delivery of comics. The only reason I noticed this delay was because I would check to see which book made the pick only to realize it had yet to be posted. No joke, there were a number of times I almost e-mailed the trinity to check and make sure they hadn’t forgotten, only to remember that comics weren’t shipping until Thursday on that particular week. I didn’t realize it then, but in hindsight, this was my first indication that maybe Wednesday wasn’t the day it used to be.

At my cafe, they came with home fries too. Just saying.

By way of full disclosure, I was never a full on “Wednesday guy.” I don’t mean that as a derogatory term, but while I worked in a comic shop I learned that there was a special breed of fan that would appear first thing on Wednesday morning. When working on Wednesdays I would usually get a quick breakfast at the café a few blocks from the shop, and then I would walk my bike, coffee in hand, down to the shop where a group would usually be waiting. There were two distinct clades within the group, those who waited directly outside the shop that I had to weave my way through to get in the back door, and those who waited across the street in another café (their breakfast options weren’t as good) who would sip coffee and wait for me to unlock the door before getting up. Once the doors were open they all poured in.

Wednesday mornings are a pretty hectic time to work in a comic shop. Some guys (and where I worked, all the Wednesday morning regulars were guys) were busy flicking through the new issues trying to find the best copy, while others sauntered up to the front to pick up their pull lists. The phone was usually ringing off the hook, I remember one guy who called who always modified his pull list each Wednesday, forcing me to run around the shop grabbing issues without any imperfections (about this he was very serious). Imagine trying to do all this while still juggling the need for nerds to discuss their books as we are all wont to do.

Maybe not an exact recreation, but this is what it felt like from behind the counter.

This scenario may sound miserable, I’m sure to many it would be, but I somewhat reveled in it. From my description, these guys may not sound like the kind of fan you’d want to be around, but they were cool as hell. Seriously, I wish I could have forced them to space out their visitations such that I could spend more time talking with each of them. But at the same time, their excitement each Wednesday wound up creating a symphony of geek joy, rather than the expected cacophony.

The greatest irony of all is that it was probably working in this shop that broke my weekly habit. The books I was desperate for I read while stocking the shelves. Everything else I could save money by buying in trade. After leaving the shop because my science job was demanding more of my time, I never got back into the habit of going in on Wednesday. For a while I was a Thursday guy, the sort of customer who saunters in late on a Thursday afternoon looking to pick up a few trades instead of a stack of singles. To me, this guy is just as much an icon as the rabid Wednesday morning regular, but definitely of a different sub-clan of the culture. But eventually, I lost track of that regularity and wound up just going when I felt like going, which often didn’t even amount to once a week. And then I moved and lost the weekly itch for good.

Eventually this all led to me being a digital reader, which has its pros and cons (again, another column) but what it really did was diminish the sanctity of the Wednesday. I think when I was working in the shop, I would have dismissed all the hubbub of Wednesday morning as so much silly ritual, but I’m not sure I was right. I think there’s something to that minor pilgrimage; in the same way going to a convention often serves as a major invigoration of comic passion, so too did the Wednesday crowd drive a smaller but more regular excitement in me that I fear I may have lost. This also says nothing about the joy of “the browse.” I ache to think how many books I may have missed out on by not being physically present in the store and just letting my eyes wander.

All this being said, I don’t think I can go back to having Wednesdays be my big comic day. My schedule is too stochastic, life just generally too hectic, and ultimately I think I may be becoming a more casual reader (if such a thing in comics exists). What started with the thought that the POW had skipped a beat has blossomed into the realization that I can get comics any damn day of the week that I chose, but that freedom may come at the cost of camaraderie I once held dear.


Ryan Haupt has barely started unpacking his boxes, so it’s still too soon to ask him which organizational system he chose. However, you can hear him explain many other things when you listen to the podcast Science… sort of.


  1. Have to disagree. I get my comics digitally and I still look forward to Wednesdays. I may read them over a day or two but it’s a cool break in my week and I like catching up on the continuing stories. I also enjoy the chance to catch up on podcasts and online commentary that follows the Wednesday releases. If I got my comics on Thursday or Friday, I’d feel somehow behind. I also think the digital community can be much more immersive and varied than the shop experience, but this is totally subjective.

    Also, bonus points for getting stochastic into an article. I haven’t seen that term since Research Methods in grad school.

  2. Books being delayed to Thursday because of a holiday doesn’t happen anymore. Anyway, I am and will always be a “Wednesday Warrior”. I’m guess I am lucky that I live and work pretty close to Midtown Comics, a great shop.

    And as a staunch believer in the supperiority of the physical copy, I would love to read you column about regretting the decision to go digital.

    • Is that Midtown Comics in NY? I get all of my comics from them in a monthly shipment. I refuse to go to my local comic book store.

      I live in Augusta, GA and my local comic book shop (Augusta Book Exchange) SUCKS. It is horrible. I walk into the store and my nostrils are instantly assaulted by body odor. The smell is so bad that I seriously get a headache every time. Their ethics are in poor taste. They pull variant covers and sell them at a higher price. They require a $1 deposit per title to start a subscription. Their store is unorganized and dirty. This is the only comic book store in Augusta, GA and it has killed my need to go to a comic book store.

      Secret Headquarters in Tallahassee, FL has spoiled me. I miss that store!! The owner has the store well organized, clean, and brightly lit. For any variant covers, he randomly chooses a subscriber and puts it in their box for cover price. If I ever have the chance to open a comic book store, I’d model it after Secret Headquarters. That store has shown me what a good comic book store can be.

    • Wow, that place sounds horrible. It’s true there is good ones and bad ones. I have 2 really awesome ones about an hour from me. My shop in town is below average. But they do a free pull list and it’s only about 1 mile from where I work so I can’t justify getting my comics anywhere else. It works for me.

    • @daningotham – It really is that horrible. All of the hired help (or “hired doesn’t help”) act like jerks. The only nice person out of the group is the owner Paul. Also, they don’t keep their store stocked very well. I went in there once every few weeks asking for Boltgun Metal paint and they never ordered it when requested. That poor paint rack was bare and dusty. It took them months to finally get around to ordering it.

  3. Well, I’ve broken out of the Wednesday cycle by going to ordering monthly from DCBS. I will go to digital only when the format is device/app-independent. I don’t want to subscribe, or log in, or anything like that – I want files on my hard drive that I own and can do with what I please.

    Until such time I’ll read my floppies and every 6-7 months dump a whole stack in the garbage.

    • Instead of throwing them away, sell them on ebay or trade them into your shop for store credit. There is a healthy secondary market for a lot of stuff and, despite what has been touted on podcasts, they are collectibles.

    • I give mine away to people at work! Freecycle!!

    • @pmallory – not worth the time and effort it would take to sell.

    • I sell and buy back issues on EBay all the time and people are really happy to get them at a discount especially if they can get a small run of them. Sometimes I get lucky and actually make money on the books. I’ve also had people overseas who seem to have a lot of trouble getting their hands on issues. Once you get the hang of it, its really easy. Helps to keep my Wednesdays funded.

    • So do I. For example, I just sold the Jason Aaron Hulk arc #1-7 for $45, and I paid $21 for the books. Sometimes I lose money, but that is fine. If I have single issues that I can’t sell as part of a run or set, I simply trade it in for store credit

    • In the past month alone I made £350 selling comics from the past two years on eBay. It IS worth the time and minimal effort.

  4. i’ve never understood why Wednesday became the day. Those with disposable income usually have full time jobs, and kids have school….seems like a stacked deck especially for a casual, new reader or even a hardcore fan with a busy job.

    My biggest problem with buying comics was that i have a salaried job with responsibilities, and trying to push meetings and deadlines to make a comic shop during the week became tougher and tougher.

    i’ve always thought a Saturday would be ideal time to release comics. Would be a great thing for kids and adults to look towards the weekend for.

    • When I started high school the shop I went to put new books out on Friday. In the middle of high school it changed to Marvel books (I think) on Wednesday and DC (I think) on Friday. And then they both went to Wednesday.

    • I don’t understand how many stores can be open Monday through Saturday and the close on Sunday. Most people are off on Sunday. You’re eliminating a potential shopping day in order to be open on a Tuesday. Who shops on Tuesdays? Ridiculous.

    • When I was kid it was always Saturday mornings were when we went ot the comic shop. Wednesday is a problem. Websites are always spoiling stuff even though its barely been out. I get home from work on Wednesday, play with the kids, have dinner and finally relax around 8pm. Its a tough time to start in on a stack of books.

    • I’ve only been a Wednesday weekly guy for the last couple years, since I’m lucky enough to have a store in walking distance from my home. I like my weekly stop at the shop on my way home from work (on my bike too — ahh, nostalgia!), but I’d be totally cool with New Comics Day moving to the weekend.

    • @grandturk–i know that in the art gallery world, they traditionally stay open on weekends for foot traffic and close on mondays and sometimes tuesdays. There is something to be said for being open when people with money have free time.

    • @wally – There was an art supply store near me that I would get my Winsor & Newton brushes… they were open 12pm – 5pm M-F. WTF? Guess what – not there anymore.

  5. I’m a Wednesday Warrior, and always will be. I’m in a rut myself too, though, but I love Wednesdays.

  6. I’m a Friday guy now, and only every other week on payday. I have a pull list at my local comic shop so what is the rush anyway? Unless I am eager to hop on the boards and forums and discuss the issues asap. I recently cut my pull list in half also and have decided to get the half I cut in trade paperback when they come out. It will save me a ton of money. I figure what is the difference if I read it now or later? It will still be new to me whenever I read them.

  7. I broke the Wednesday mold because of a lack of time, and became a Saturday customer. Once I had a pull list, my need to get to the store Wednesday decreased 10 fold. I do enjoy listening to the different conversations going on about comics and stuff, in my case there were many positive conversations which put a voice and face to the fans. It’s been my geek comrades that have gotten me excited. There have been numerous occasions where I have learned about how great a series is or was by some talk in the shop. It’s always great to spot another fan.

  8. I’m in Europe. The mail order I use makes buying physical comics convenient and easy (they are almost always able to start a subscription at least 2 issues before the current one – no need to order 3 months in advance – and you can drop a title any time without notice). I get my comics in monthly deliveries to save on shipments so no Wednesday rite.

    I visit my LCS for local and translated comics and manga when I have some time.

    I have 250+ comics on ComiXology but I still prefer floppies (even Marvel’s, with their crappy stock).

  9. I think Wednesdays were maybe chosen to stand out from other ‘new days’ like theatrical movies on Fridays and DVDs/CDs are on Tuesdays. I still enjoy the Wednesday ritual! Although I get the majority of my books via DCBS and Midtown, I do have a small pull list set up through the old LCS. I like the owner and have been going there since I was a kid. He doesn’t stock a lot of stuff but he’ll order whatever I want! I’m looking forward to heading there after work tonight!

  10. I buy both digital and physical depending on the title. If it’s a series that I want to be able to pass down to a future enthusiast one day, I buy the physical . These are books that I feel will be remembered as classics. Daredevil by Waid, Snyder’s Batman, X Force by Remender, and BKV and Staples Saga. These are a few books that make my biweekly to monthly visits worthwhile.

    If I am just looking to itch my monthly habit of reading an ass-load of comics, I go digital. I had to hold off on buying a lot of new DC stuff for a month so I could get the dollar discount. That is why I really love digital. Comics are just too expensive. Like expensive to the point of being ridiculous. If it means I have to wait a while to read something because I can save a third or even a half of the cost by waiting, I am going to patiently wait until Wolverine and the X Men has been around long enough to reach that $1.99 mark. I am still going to spend the same amount of dough buying comics each month. Now I just am able to buy more stuff I normally wouldn’t read due to low funds.

    Basically, what I am trying to say is, I have a cake, and I eat it, too. You should try a piece.