Missing Comics

As everyone is by now no doubt aware, I was on vacation two weeks ago.  It was the first non-working vacation I’ve had in over a year and that meant no computers (sort of) and, as it turned out, no comics.

My flight was on Thursday and I had so much to do before my trip that I only got to read half my comic stack and I had to leave the rest for when I got back.  While I was gone on my trip I missed another Wednesday and another stack of comics.  That doesn’t happen all that often.  It’s hard to even think of the last time I went without reading comics for so long.

This is the part in my little story where people are probably expecting me to say “and I didn’t miss comics one bit.


  1. I came to the same realization about a year ago. I started grad school and one of my classess fell on a Wednesday night. There was no time to go get books between work and class so I would miss heading to the shop that day. On top of that, the workload was so intense that I actually found myself going a full month without heading to my LCS. Once I got used to my new schedule, and was able to budget my time better, I went back to the shop and picked up my month’s worth of titles. I found that when I went back I was rereshed and realized that the month off was just what I needed. Just before the break I told my wife that the constant batch of new books was becoming daunting and I was reading them so fast just to finish them and get to the next one that I was actually missing a lot of the little details and the whole enjoyment of it. The break was just what I needed. Glad to see I’m not the only one. Welcome back!

  2. @Conor – <i>If you’re a monthly reader you never really have a chance to catch your breath before it’s on to the next week’s books.  And if you’re like me and you are reading 15+ books every week it sometimes gets hard to appreciate them when you’re caught in that unforgiving loop.</i>

     I could not agree more – it usually takes me a week to read all my books (really is time to drop something because I do realize it’s an undauntingly unwieldly list), and if there’s more than 4 or 5 left on a Tuesday, it becomes almost a chore (Tuesday’s the long day at work). The good thing is that being a save-the-best-for-last reader, they’re usually the better books of the week. But it does become daunting sometimes.

    That said, skipping a week is almost twice as bad because then there’s twice that many books to get through in 7 days. Even if I skip the shop one week, I usually end up reading trades or back issues from the to-read pile anyway – not do anything that’ll better me as a person like read the bible or play video games. It’s a truly tangled web, this comics thing.

  3. @Conor.  I hope you had a great time wherever you went.  Where was that by the way?  I assume it was probably England or one of the english speaking european countries, what with your comment about exchange rates.

  4. @Dan and Conor:  I agree with what Dan said, it’s even worse when you have double the stack.  I had a feeling like this a couple of times in the last decade.  What I found out is that I ended up picking up titles out of habit (I went through so many crap-pilicious issues of Uncanny X-Men… Austen.. and… well.. austen).  So, everytime I feel weary, I just re-evaluate my pick-up list and maybe add a couple Vertigo or Image or indie titles out there.

     Hope you had a good trip though, Conor.

  5. @Dan @gat0rl1vebeatz – My reenergized view towards comics meant that double the stack was double the fun!

  6. I found myself dutifully going to the store early every Wednesday morning (conditioned by years of going to a store that sold out of stuff I wanted) and then leaving half my purchases unread on the coffee table for weeks at a time. Last year, many were the times when I would glance over at that table and think, "Am I quitting comics again? Is this how it happened in high school?"

    I found the sure-fire cure for this malaise, though:  take a bunch of your regular purchases and subscribe to them via mailordercomics.com instead of going to the store. Set up the shipments to come every two weeks or every four weeks. In theory, I never have to think about my comics at all and can relax until they show up, but in practice not being able to buy them on Wednesday makes me think about my comics all the time. I am beside myself with anticipation by the time they show up. I get a month of books in a box and devour them in one sitting because I have forced myself to live without them. There is another side benefit: having to order your comics in advance, and seeing them in advance on a receipt every four weeks, makes you drop the living s### out of the ones you don’t care about. Picking up the Astounding Wolf-Man whenever it happens to come out, reading it, and going "meh" can carry on for years; knowing you said "meh" last time but are obligated to accept delivery of at least two more issues actually makes you mad at the book before it costs you too much more.

  7. I like the comparison of comics to a realtionship.

    Conor: "It’s not you, Hal Jordan. It’s me. We, I, need a break."
    Hal: "But you’ll be back for Blackest Night, right?"
    Conor: "Of course, I will."

  8. @Conor: great article– I totally agree with you.  At the first of the year, as a sort of New Years Resolution type thing, I assessed all my books and dropped several that I realized I just wasn’t enjoying.  Some of these a lot of people on this website really love, and that you guys always talk about on the podcast when they come out– so I guess I was just running with the herd, and buying them out of habit.  But I brought myself to drop them, and I’m very happy I did.  I did just as you describe– I wound up choosing other books that took their place, and discovered some new books I really loved– and my overall experience each Wednesday is now much better.

    Now that I think about it, I suppose this should not just be a "first of the year" process for me– this should be an ongoing process, evaluating books, dropping the ones bought simply out of habit, and finding new gems.

  9. Yeah, buddy.
     I’m right here with ya.

    Sometimes I do let out a sigh when I go to pick up my books. It sucks but it happens when it’s week after week.

    Though there are times… and there are more than a few, when I show up to pick up my comics and sigh with joy because sofar my week has sucked and that one moment when i can finally escape to the 616, ultimate or DC universe just makes my day. 

  10. @Jimski – Good suggestion about getting your books online.  I’ve been doing it this way for about a year now.  Recently I’ve decided to give my LCS a try, so this week I’ll be heading to the store.  It’s just healthy to switch things up now and then.  Get a different perspective and try a different pace…especially if you’re feeling worn out and find yourself not enjoying the experience.  You’re spending too much money for it to feel like a chore in any way.

  11. I had this same sort of experience last summer when I took a two month vacation.  It was hard to be away from comics for so long, but I was so hyped to go to the store, even though I was going to be dropping some serious dough.  I had only recently gotten back into them when I left for vacation, and when I got back, it reaffirmed that it was the right choice.

    I hate to sound like a douche about my engagement (I feel like I keep bringing it up), but it really has changed the comics life style for me.  Getting married is one of those sort adult things that’s so adult, it changes your outlook on stuff.  Like, for example, when I look at a comic now, I think, "This could mean one more day on our honeymoon" or "This could be what’s needed to get just the right colors, patterns, etc. that maybe we couldn’t get before."  Therefore, a weekly limit has been set, so my list has been drastically cut (by like 20 books a month).  I’ve actually been pretty ok with this because it ensures that every week when I buy my stuff I’m getting the things that I really, really enjoy.  It sort of doubles my pleasure about the whole thing.

  12. @Neb – Where are you going on your honeymoon that $3 will get you one more day there?  😛

  13. @ Conor-  Mars!

  14. I heard the Martian exchange rate is UNBELIEVABLE!

    I’ve really only been buying comics in single issue for about a year and a half, and I have a relatively small pull list.  Even so, I’ve gone through a period where it seemed like a drag.  I’ve been on an upswing lately, and I think it’s partly because I’ve given myself permission to get what I think I’ll like, not what other people say is good, or what’s going to be ‘important to the storyline.’  

    Except Green Arrow/Black Canary, which I got because Conor said so.  (But it’s good).  

    And then there’s Ultimate X-men, which I continue to buy for absolutely no justifiable reason.  But everybody has one of those, right?

    Also, I’m sad by the lack of video footage of Conor skipping to the store.  Couldn’t that be a mini?

  15. That was a great post, conor. 

    Personally I hate missing a week, when I do I head to my shop and end up buying as many as 40 comic books which is stupid.  Then I have a tough time catching up.  But I hear what you are saying the break can help renew your enthusiasm for comic books.  I always wondered about that with you ifanboys, if you all ever felt like it was a chore to read all of your comics in one night.  15+ in a sitting is rough, but over a week its perfect.  I dont envy your ifanboy job but I sure as hell do appreciate it!  THANKS

    I love me some comic books even when I read terrible ones I still enjoy that time

  16. @malakilii – I’ve never not read all of my comics the day they’ve come out, going all the way back to when I started going weekly in the early 1990s.  The burnout I’m talking about isn’t related to doing iFanboy, it’s something I’ve always felt and something I can see in a lot of other people’s posts and in their e-mails they send us.

  17. @NEB Mars Pennsylvania?

     Anyone?  Anyone.  Rick Spears?  Rob G?

    I missed you Conor.  You and your bizarre love of the BND Spidey 😉

  18. @ohcaroline-  The Martian exchange rate is at it’s best right now, but the pennies are being pinched for the good old oxygen.  Unsurprisingly, air is at a premium right now.

  19. Hi Conor,

    First it was great meeting and the rest of the team at WonderCon, you guys were all really cool, and even thoough we didn’t get a chance to connect for you to be on camera fro the documentary, it was still great to chat with you guys for a bit.

    Depending on the books pulled in any given week sometimes I will wait a few days when my schedule and head are into the vibe of the story, sometimes I have forgotten the previous issue of a book and go and refresh, but if the week includes Invincible, or any Brubaker stuff I race home and read those first and after that I let the mood dictate, some nights I finish the stack, othetrs I wait a couple of days to recharge the batteries.  Any hobbyist will experience those types of peaks and valleys.  


  20. At the risk of sounding like everyone else who posted:  I toatally get this one.

    I just switched jobs rescentaly and the transition has forced me to take about 3 weeks off from my regular comic book patronage.  Where it is nice to take a breather now and again, I found myself missing my books.  Good news is that I’ll be able to hit them up this week and see my old friends again as they regale me with the stories I have missed while I was away. 

    Its also true that you revaluate the pull list after a little time off.  "Do I really need to keep reading Shadowpact?"  More often than not you are able to trim the fat a little and allow room for the books coming up that you really want that you will no doubt cut from your pull list in 6 months time.

    Great post.

  21. Even though I have comics in hand.  I’m going to wait a couple days.  All this talk about breaks sound like a good idea.  I think I’ll read a graphic novel instead.  Well at least flip through one.