Wanted: Comic Book Hiatus

Comics are a never-ending juggernaut. If you go in with monthly comic books you are “all in” for the foreseeable future. Every single month. Every single week.

I’ve been “all in” since junior high school in the early 1990s. In the last 15 years I have missed going to the store on the first day when the books come out (previously Friday, currently Wednesday) only a handful of times. Maybe ten. There’s never a reprieve; never a week or a month off. There’s no off-season; no summer schedule. It’s a lot of pressure. I’m not saying that I don’t want to be reading comics every week, I do, but sometimes the unrelenting nature of the medium is overwhelming.

I really love episodic television and nobody is more excited than I am when the new season rolls around every fall, but to tell you the truth I am just about equally as excited for the summertime when all of my favorite shows go on break. It gives me a chance to catch a breather from the weekly grind. I get to recharge my TV loving batteries and, in that, I appreciate the inevitable new season all the more. It gives me a chance to build up my excitement, as well as a chance to just relax and try a bunch of new shows and things I had missed the first time around, as well as do other things like watch more movies. I don’t get to do this with comics because they never stop. Perhaps this is why lately I am thinking more and more about switching from single issues to trades. I like the break I get between Invincible story arcs. I am so excited to have the next volume of The Walking Dead in my hands in a way that I just don’t tend to get with monthly issues.

I don’t know what comics can do. The economics of the current Marvel and DC dominated model pretty much necessitates that the books come out each week, each and every month. Any long break and the vast majority of the comic book stores would go out of business and Marvel would probably be in big financial trouble. I also suspect that if each title took, let’s say, a three month break each year a lot of the books that people buy simply out of inertia would suffer, which is good for readers but bad for the companies.

So what can I do as a reader who is not entirely satisfied with the way of the comic book world? Well, luckily the advent of the trade paperback movement means I have a lot more choice than ever before. I can choose to read books in trade form only and I do for many of my books. I am almost to the point now where if I am reading something that doesn’t come from DC or Marvel or doesn’t involve superheroes then I’m reading it in trade.

But it’s not enough. Most of the books I buy and love are still superhero books and Marvel’s trade program for their monthly superhero books far out paces DC’s, and three quarters of my monthly purchases are from DC Comics. So for the time being I’m stuck. I’m stuck with buying monthly books with no reprieve, no chance to step back and recharge. I don’t think it would be such a problem if so many of the books weren’t so mediocre.

An endless cycle of the weekly onslaught of mostly average books can really take a toll on a reader. Some weeks, I just feel like I want a break.


  1. Interesting.

    Why not simply cut back on the titles you’re not overly excited about? Give yourself a break from weekly comics. Just don’t go to the shop for a couple of weeks. It’s not like you won’t be able to find the previous Countdown or X-men issues next time you go to the LCS.

    Sure, old habits die hard and all that. But ya gotta step back sometimes, least it all become routine and stale.

  2. You’ve hinted at the stress more than once on the show, mostly joking, but it might be getting to you my man. I haven’t been in the game quite as long, but I have pondered the day when the process of picking up the books and bangin’ out a stack becomes tedious. It’s so much fun though; I don’t want to think about that day. But I can relate. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been on a schedule of finishing my stack by Sunday. Wonder Why?

    The Show has turned me onto so many books, as well as a few other Podcasts, which in turn, put me on to even more books. More books than publications like Previews, or Wizard ever could. It’s different for process every one, but anyone with a pull list has gotta see it, that list just seems to grow. And with it, the pressure to finish the books before next Wednesday rolls around.

    I am sure the task of a weekly Podcast based on the books only adds to the pressure, but you can’t give up the weeklies. Do what you have to, to relieve the pressure. Whittle the stack down. Meditate. But don’t give up the monthly books entirely. The stack is where you find the gems. There are great trades out there, but it’s funny how sometimes you can walk away from one issue, and that one issue can equal the feelings evoked from and entire trade or collection. That’s what keeps me at it.

  3. Yeah, I can sympathize with your situation pretty well. I jumped to trades a couple of years ago and it’s been weird. It was the same pressure that you’re describing that drove me to do it. Reading comics started feeling like a chore and I felt obligated to read things I wasn’t crazy about which is pretty retarded since comics are supposed to be a form of entertainment. It’s been a tough adjustment at times because I’m so out of the loop, which is a really big part of what reading comics is all about, but at the same time, I’ve read so many comics in the last 2 years that I never had the time or money for before that were just amazing.

  4. Sometimes I take a couple of weeks off. I buy around 20 books a week, so when i come back and have 60 books to read, it can be daunting, but getting a little behind with my books really doesn’t bother me overmuch, so long as I eventually catch back up.

    When I started dating my current girlfriend, I ended up with a 120 (ish) book backlog at one point, not because she disapproves, but simply because the time i normally read comics was taken up with other activities. once i reshuffled my schedule a bit to include comics time, i got back on top, and was glad of the break – it is nice every once in a while. Also, I managed to drop a few books during that break. A huge stack of comics is the best way to find out which books you really don’t look forward to reading.

  5. Hey Conor!

    First off, I really have enjoyed your blogging on the site. I have definitely read them very intently.

    Conor – I absolutely know where you are coming from. I am not even going to pretend that I’ve been reading comics as long as you have but I know where you are coming from. As for myself, I have definitely taken a route similar to yours. My single issue weeks have been reserved only for the super hero books. On top of that, I have even cut down that list to the essentials. Maybe I’ll get anywhere from 2-5 books in a week. And most of the time I wait 2-3 weeks to pick them all up. I have been reading most everything else in trade (Y, Ex Machina, Girls, etc, etc, etc). The single issues are a lot in week and I do want to enjoy it, not look at it as a burdening stack. As for TV, thank god for Tivo. Sometimes my wife and I will save up 4 or 5 eps of Lost and watch them all in a row, for instance. It makes for a very fun non-busy weekend.

    I do want to thank you for providing the iFanboy Nation with such a great service. It is so easy for the listeners and readers of the site to just download a podcast or read a review. Not so easy for Ron, Conor, Josh, and the crew. Having done some publications in my past, I know how much work really goes into it. And at times, it can be completely overwhelming. Especially in a medium like comics. You should know that your work is very much appreciated and I do look forward to your insight every week. However, I would also be the first to tell you to take a break if you need it. Burning out sucks. Sucks bad. If you need to take a break, we will miss you, but I totally understand why…it is good for the mind, body, and soul…

    Thanks again for everything Conor.

  6. Have you considered buying the books weekly and not reading them? At least not for a month or two until your batteries are recharged. Once you are re-energized you can speed read through the stacks like they are trades. However that does require you to go into the shop every week and make your picks, which isn’t completely a break from comics.

    I am at the point where most of the comics I buy monthly are Marvel and DC superhero books and anything else I pick up in trade. The downside to that (just like waiting to watch some television shows on DVD) is those other books don’t get my monthly support.

    Why do you plague us with these questions, Conor?

  7. Enjoy the posts on the “quandry of the month.” Here is my thing, and I think it relates – Why on earth does it take SO DARN LONG for trades to come out? Yes, Marvel does get them out a bit sooner, but that usually means in hardcover about 4 months after the last issue in the trade, rather than 5-7 months for the paperback. I am hoping the recent (somewhat) faster speed the CW trades are coming out will mean faster speeds for other titles… but here the deal —

    It seems to me a trade should come out one month after the last issue it contains, in paperback, and not just because this is fully possible logistically. It makes no sense to wait 5-7 months, when all that time only KILLS any buzz surrounding a title.

    Case in Point – Doctor Strange: The Oath came out in TPB on June 6, months and months after everyone was talking about it. I just had to look up online when the TPB came out, because by the time it did, I had stopped thinking about it. I quite liked Agents of Atlas, but that is now probably a very forgotten title, also coming out over 6 months after the last issue, long after the buzz is gone. I just FINALLY received Batman and the Mad Monk TPB after a 6 month wait, and I ask myself –why was I waiting 6 months for that?

    I get that the weekly model feeds desire for the trades, but if the trades come out long after the weekly issues are being talked about, and the buzz is gone, what’s the point? Also, if trades came out just one month after the last issue they include, then people would have more choice, and would probably feel more like picking up and jumping on a weekly title. But as it is now, once you finally get the trade for a story in 2006, it’s the end of 2007, and you’ve missed out on everything for almost one year in between. So, you end up being like Conor (every Wednesday, feeling the pressure), or me, constantly behind what’s going on, wondering when the Big Two are going to even allow me the option of buying into their product line at my own pace, which will ebb and flow over time, with them still making money, if they let me buy in.

    Trades and weekly releases can feed into each other, but not when separated by a year. This will make popular titles sell more, and give opportunities to titles that got recognized, as often happens, a half dozen or more issues into a run. Doesn’t that seem like a good, profitable way to sell more books? Hope this doesn’t see too off topic, but I do think the current model of selling comics needs tweaking. Even Ed Brubaker said, about the recent Cap #25 fiasco, it’s pretty idiotic to mandate that thousands of issues sit unsold in a warehouse for one week “just because” it’s not Wednesday…

  8. Why on earth does it take SO DARN LONG for trades to come out?

    They or the retailers (I’m not sure which, probably a bit of both) think it will dilute sales of the issues, and cut into overall revenue.

  9. see, the interesting thing with me is that I only switched over to weeklies after listening to your guys’ podcast… I never knew that comics always came out every Wednesday, so I was sort of missing out on that part of the culture. So far it hasn’t really consumed me yet. I only have 3-4 books that I regularly buy every month and then I’ll throw in the odd book if there’s a dead week.

    But I could totally see the problems that would arise from being a devout weekly reader. You mentioned in an earlier post your space constraints. I only started buying weeklies last fall and already I’m annoyed by my storage issues.

    It might be a good idea after all for you to take some time off from buying weeklies… maybe try two or three weeks and see what it’s like? I know when I come back after having missed a few weeks it always feels so much fresher (plus you get a lump sum of comics to read through) Maybe try buying 1 trade a week instead of your floppies for a bit? See how that goes…

  10. What about getting a box at your lcs and then letting them build up. They’ll pull your titles and you can go in once a month for a couple of months and read them then. Of course, the show would suffer, but that is one idea of how to get a break.

    Of course, if the show suffers, an angry mob may form in Brooklyn to make you go weeklly…

  11. Like the mail, it never stops. For a while before we were doing the podcast, I had actually only gone to the store every third week, when I had to write a review. I really enjoyed that actually. But I was also buying less books then.

    I think that’s a big part of it. Honestly, because of our show, we don’t really have much choice, and then on top of that, we end up reading (or having to read) more titles than we might normally, just to make sure we cover most of the bases, or give everything a fair shake. But, then at the same time, if not for the show, I don’t think I would be enjoying things as much as I am. That communal shared nature adds to the enjoyment of a lot of books I might not otherwise buy (World War Hulk excepted). And that works just the same for the listeners as it does for those of us doing the show.

    But there is no rest. There is no break for Conor. Also, he’s now got the record of being the guy who’s never missed a podcast. And if he were to do that, he’d cease to be able to hold that over us.

  12. “They or the retailers (I’m not sure which, probably a bit of both) think it will dilute sales of the issues, and cut into overall revenue.”

    This indeed does sound like retailer/distributor logic. But is it actual tested fact, and if so, according to this logic, do trades now on sale dilute sales and cut into overall revenue?

    I can understand that retailers don’t want a ton of titles to have to choose from, with a losing choice ending up being a pile of dead stock sitting unsold or sent back to the distributor, and the distributor/publishing side probably wants to minimize the number of titles they have out at a given time thereby minimizing risk, but still…

    I would think trades could easily be divided into two categories — “classics” and “currents.” “Classics” would be things that always sell well, like Batman Year One, Watchman, or old Bendis/Maleev Daredevils, Preacher, etc. “Currents” would be things like CW, 52, or any major title that will probably sell well very soon after it came out in issues (one month after, not six months). These trades will sell well for maybe 6 months to a year? Then things like Checkmate or X-Factor, where a quick trade release will help a weekly increase sales because it can and must.

    Of course this all assumes companies will have the stones to make the hard choices about what to release, what to take out of circulation, and keep a closer eye on a dynamic market and adapt on a monthly basis according to sales. I think they will benefit. It may dilute the sales of issues, but I think it will actually GROW overall sales because it makes this possible — easier entry into the stories by new consumers. They don’t want to pick up the issue because it’s mid-story, so they pick up the trade, and then they come back for the issues.

    So, what we have now is are stores and companies (and consumers) stuck on an old model, feeling adverse to the risk of trying something new. And we have a stagnating market where the numbers of books being sold is fairly constant.

    This keeps coming up so often, so I somehow feel that in the next two years there may actually be some change. It could be more 40 page bimonthly titles at a somewhat higher price, or more trades coming out faster… In retrospect, I will say the amount of trades in comic stores now does blow me away, as I can remember a time when very few things came out in trade, much less the number of titles that come out in TPB now, even if 6-8 months so late… (which is still TOO darn long).

  13. See, I think comics people especially are too obsessed with “now.”

    Unless a story is particularly timely, it doesn’t really matter when trades come out. If they’re sequential, and they come out regularly, like how Invincible comes out every 6-8 months. If there’s a delay between trades, then that’s one thing, but if you want things right away, that’s why they have issues I guess.

    But most of the great books I’ve ever read were years, or decades after they were published. Why people have to have them right away, I don’t know. They’re not going anywhere.

  14. A someone who’s had an on again, off again relationship with comics, I can find this totally relatable. I dropped comics when I was 11 because I was buying too much and not really enjoying a lot of it. I dropped comics in college because I didn’t have the money. And now, I’m back and buying more than ever.

    The thing is that I LOVE going to the comic shop every week. Even if I’m only buying 2 issues, I go every Wednesday. I call it my mid-week vacation. I get the opportunity to just relax and poke around. I flip through things mentioned on the podcast, and I scour the store for any trades I can’t find online. It’s just…fun.

    It’s disappointing to hear that you feel this way, but at the same time, you have been doing it for 15 years. I wonder how I’ll feel about it in 5 years. Who knows?

    I do love reading things in trade, but I also hate waiting for certain trades. Any series that is entertaining me, I buy weekly. Everything else goes straight to trade. I’ve also used trades as a way to catch up to a lot of things.

    The one thing I’ve found with my trade reading is that it is crazy expensive to try and catch up with everything I read (thank you public libraries!). Although many could argue that it’s cheaper to get the trade sometimes (in terms of overall money spent in issues vs. trades), but in my warped head, that cost is more spread out and I don’t have to wait for the entertainment satisfaction. (Also, many times, you can make a nice amount of bucks on the issues on eBay.)

    But alas, you quandry may have no answer, as the show makes it hard for you to get rid of your weeklies. I would just reccommend dropping what isn’t interesting to you. It’s guaranteed that one of the other guys will pick it up, and you could always borrow it.

  15. Break the addiction. Throw some comics in the trash. Pick up another hobby so this one isn’t so overwhelming. Spend more time at the gym, chase women. What ever… Unfortunately this is almost like your job now.

    Very fortunately we have such luxurious lives in this country (and the rest of the developed world) that these are the kind of problems we have. We don’t have to worry about things like not getting enough food or ridding ourselves of parasites and more basic quality of life things.

  16. It is a unique situation that you, as comic book podcasters, have. You’re kind of stuck in the routine that is established by the organization that you have chosen to report about.

    My suggestion is not to be so hard on yourself. No one is forcing you to buy more books than you’d like. If you feel like you’ve given something a fair shot and you find yourself dreading the read, then drop it. It’s ok. Your podcast is about what you like the best. The pick of the week from the books that you bought. It’s not the pick of the week from all the books coming out that week, it’s from what you bought.

    Personally I’m just getting back into comics. After college I was floundering around and found myself at a comicbook shop. I’d always wanted to go, but never had the guts or the dough. I think I’m just your basic DC chick who got caught in the Knightfall. Anyway, when I moved out and got a place to share I dropped the comics out of embarassment. Years later now as I have a place of my own I’ve gotten back in, but I can get them online. This process brings the books to me once a month.

    I actually let you spoil stuff for me because I like your show so much. The podcast is actually inspiring me find a local store again and to go weekly so that I can keep up with you.

    Hopefully you’re not as discouraged as you sound in the post. Cut back and keep going. Perhaps there really isn’t as much pressure as you think there is…..it’s just comics. 🙂

  17. Conor I understand your dilemma. I really suggest you look into what someone already suggested. Cut back on what you are not enjoying. I know it’s hard to cut back on some titles especialley if they involve your favorite characters but if there is no enjoyment in reading them then don’t. I still think you can cover all the bases by what you choose to read.

    Part of what makes this podcast so amazing and always my favorite is how different the three of you are. You all have very distinct tastes and interest and it is so amazing to hear yall talk about the books you love. I mean it is the greatest discussion between Marvel books(which Ron really relates too) DC(which is conors department) and Indie/other(Which I look to Josh to). And Conor being a DC guy myself(not that I dislike Marvel or others I love that stuff but I just can’t help but be devoted to the DC camp) I really look forward to your opinions on the show even when you hate stuff it is still very interesting to me. That being said I love your opinions on the show and I would hate to see them go becuase you switch to trades but I also don’t want to see you get burned on comics either.

    Anyways that’s all. I am going to be in Chicago this weekend so hopefully I will get to run into Ron and Gordon. Later guys.

  18. I took a brake from comics for years 1997-2003, because I was spending a LOT, feeling burned out because I everything was the same (with the exception of Preacher, It was the only title I kept buying), besides I entered college and I was into other things. When I came back I appreciated the hobbie much more, it was nice to take a break; I came back with better insight in the medium and not jaded and snobbish towards it. There were many great stories that I missed and that were collected. It has been 3-4 awesome years to be a comic book fan again.

    Even though I’m more into films I keep going every week to the LCS and pick up my average of 4 titles and I’m enjoying it much more than 15 years ago when I started collecting comic books, and was buying 10-15 floppies a week, I don’t know the reason for liking it more, maybe it’s because I’m buying exactly what I personally want and not what Wizard think it’s hot (I made that mistake years ago, the image years?).

    Here’s something that can help you out, I’m doing this plan: I have a limit: only 16 books per month the ones that I feel the overwhelming need to read asap (for me is Buffy, Countdown, Batman, Criminal, Fell, Walking Dead, JSA, amongst others). Then every 6 months I order online or if my LCS has a sale, the HC’s and TPB’s I’m interested in or that reads better in collected form (Fables, New Avengers, Y, and newly added to this list are Scurvy Dogs and Be a Man thanks to your recommendations) my limit is $250. Maybe it’s the same quantity that you’re buying every week but the time-frame it’s different and you’ll be able to do other things that otherwise you couldn’t and your mind will be fresher.

    Then again you seem to feel stressed for ifanboy to cover everything, I understand that the show has become a monster, but don’t be, no one is expecting this site or you to be the church of comics, the premier place to go or whatever. I like the site because of the interaction and because it’s friendly and funny. It’s like hanging out at the LCS only bigger.

    Anyway, a big thank you to Gordon, Ron, Josh and Connor for creating this site. I wanted to say this on person, and meet you at San Diego but unfortunately I couldn’t find you guys.

  19. “Unless a story is particularly timely, it doesn’t really matter when trades come out.”

    That is a very good point. Since my latest purchases are the Bendis and Maleev Daredevil run, I really can’t argue with that at all. Goodness gracious that stuff is great. I did buy a ton of trades at first to catch up after more than a decade of being “out of comics,” but I now I order less, mostly older stuff recommended on the podcast and by people posting here.

    Even with better access these days to newer stuff, there really are only 5 to 6 titles I feel like I really want to have as soon as they come out each month (5-6 titles per month! Wow – compare that to what you guys buy per week!). Can’t always keeep up with what everyone is enjoying and talking about, but I do save money.

    Still, that’s really possible because you guys are separating the wheat from the chaff for me– you guys really are performing a public service by being more reader centric (and reading a ton every week) and not just promoting the flavor of the week. And, I think it fair to say you guys have no problem (and full license) to ignore whatever the masses are screaming at you to buy and lavish praise on — all the more power to you, I think that gains you guys respect.

    Feel free to drop something, we will support you… and if you drop something good? Just wait another 6-8 months and maybe the trade will come out… eventually…My point about current buzz being beneficial if a trade is released much earlier is just that I think it would get more attention (and sales) for fine titles that deserve it, that’s all…

  20. Reading this I remebered an episode of seinfeld where Jerry asks Newman: Why do mailmen go crazy? – and Newman responds dramatically: BECAUSE THE MAIL NEVER STOPS!!!!

    Is there anything like a comic book induced dementia?.

    Great Blog Connor.

  21. “But most of the great books I’ve ever read were years, or decades after they were published. Why people have to have them right away, I don’t know. They’re not going anywhere.”

    I tend to agree, but that said, if Scott Pilgrim doesn’t come out soon, I’m driving to that dude’s house to just ask him what happens. It really depends on the books. I’m extremely relieved to have half a year off from “Lost,” but if I could of course I would watch the next episode (or the next ten) as soon as possible. “Lost” is working.

    Conor, as I mentioned in a call several weeks back, I think your fatigue may be due to the fact that your trade/single issue policy is exactly backwards. You’re waiting for the books you can’t wait to read and buying the mediocre ones every unrelenting week. Over time, that sort of thing erodes a man’s soul. “I won’t see Walking Dead again until February, but I have plenty to keep me busy; I have until midnight tonight to read this latest issue of X-Men and Heroes for Hire.” This is not good for you.

  22. My behavior towards comics is spilling into my tv viewing manners. I’m starting to skip seasons in favor of waiting for the dvd release (like waiting for the trade). This fall, I plan on following Heroes, the spinoff Origins, and the Office. Everything else on tv is going to be dvd renting, borrowing, and buying. At some point, I just might be cable free, with exception to televised sports. I need my Stanley Cup fever.

    With Vertigo, I am strictly a tpb/hc guy.
    With mini-series (all publishers), I also wait for the tpb/hc.
    Bat-verse books, I get monthly.
    Brubaker books, I get monthly.
    The only other rule I have is getting the monthly of a non top 100, non-Vertigo book. These books need my support! Books like Manhunter and Checkmate (Gotham Central when it was on) need the readers to keep it going.
    A few of my favorite books, like Queen & Country, I get the monthly then sell them to friends when the arc is complete and the hc is solicited. This way I can hook new readers to the title and put the funds towards the nicer hc package.


  23. Here is an insane crazy plan of mine.

    I used to buy Walking Dead by the trade. Shortly after vol.4 was solicited (the following month I think), there was an omnibus solicitation for the first 24 issues collected. I was able to cancell my trade order for vol.4 and get the omnibus. When I finally got this, I enjoyed the last 6 issues (what would of been vol.4) so much in this oversized beautiful collection that I decided that I’ll wait for the 2nd omnibus instead of the trades. Forget waiting every six months or so. Try 3 years! (Whenever they decide to get issue #48 out plus a few months) I’m keeping myself from enjoying this title so I can go nuts reading 24 issues for the first time in the best format possible.

    Yeah, I’m nuts.


  24. I actually like going to the store every week, not because I feel I have to (I have a very thorough pull list), but because it relaxes me. It’s meditative, knowing that no matter what happens, no matter how weird or bad or unpredictable life is, Wednesday means comics. I find it to be grounding.

    When I was in college, and had less money (and collected fewer titles), my FLCS sent me a box every few weeks with my favorites (plus one or two they knew I’d love) inside. At that point, getting packages was a highlight of my week and getting to a store was hard.

    Me, I always look for the greatest reward. Is it getting a box in the mail? (The woman who did the mail order stuff used to put lipstick kisses on the invoices. Talk about a bonus…) Is it the reassurance of repetitive action? What does my life need most, right now? What are *you* getting out of the weekly trips? You could even have the books you really need to read every month shipped to you from ComicHole.com. I hear they’re good.

  25. I’m with Jimski. Read the good stuff now and never get the crap in trades.

  26. It may be time to simply flat-out drop the mediocre books or (if you’re feeling merciful) switch to trade. There’s a ton of stuff on all of you guys’ pull lists that you never talk about on the show, maybe some of that stuff could get switched to trade?

    Personally, I’ve really enjoyed going to the store every week, but I haven’t been doing it as long as you. Maybe you just need a new tactic; like only reading comics after sex? 🙂

  27. I’ve been reading comics off and on since probably ’86 – almost two-thirds of my life. This current jag I’m on has been the longest – I’ve been weekly since early 2000, and it does become a grind somtimes.
    I go every week, but not every Wednesday – usually depends on work schedule. If my shop sells out of something I’m looking for, then I’ll either skip it or (in the case of the must-have books) I’ll go to another shop. I’m lucky enough to live in easy driving distance (20 minutes or less) of about 5 other shops aside from my regular stop, with a dozen or so more outside that distance but still under an hour away.
    Funny thing is, I started out in 2000 just buying trades and an occassional single issue of Liberty Meadows or Clerks – mostly stuff I missed in the time I was gone, like Kingdom Come, Sandman and the like. When I read Seasons of Mists (that’s a Sandman arc, Ron), Lucifer had just started from Vertigo. Picked that up, tried Preacher in trades, picked up more Vertigo titles, read about Powers and liked the concept, bought that, Bendis moved to Marvel, picked up Ult. Spider-man & Daredevil, JMS started on Spidey and picked that up, read some Morrison Animal Man and got on the Morrison train, read Transmet, Bruce Jones started on Hulk (it was really good in the beginning), JSA started, Waid on JLA and the Tower of Babel arc – that’s just the first year of my reading, and you can see how the damn thing does just snowball. Your favorite writer adds a new book and you want to try it, it’s good, and you’re hooked. It really is like a drug – you try a little taste and just keep wanting more. My wife keeps joking that at least I’m not doing drugs, but it’s really not a joke.
    I’ve been trying to limit the list a little bit, but it’s more from just not adding new things than it is from stopping titles. No matter how much I want to, I don’t need to read every Civil War tie-in issue or every 52 spin-off. I don’t need to read every Image one-shot and mini that comes out. I don’t need to read every Bat family book – if it’s good, it will be traded and if I’m still interested, I’ll pick it up then.
    I love my comics, I love the act of going to the store, I love going to cons, I love little back issue road trips around the area hitting a whole bunch of shops in a day, I love bagging and boarding (for my own “keep-em-nice” purposes, not for resale – in 20 years, I’ve never sold one book), I love cataloging, I love,love,love reading and disecting and discussing.
    But don’t look to the industry to give you a break. It’s just doing its job – every week, there’s a new movie out in theaters or on DVD – do you feel the need to do those every week? I have taken a self-imposed break or two, but that stack when I come back is daunting and frankly throws off my reading habits, so I don’t do it willingly that often. If your pile is too much to read in one sitting, take your time. You’ve got at least a week before the next batch comes out.
    Rambled too much – to sum up, love comics, but it does feel overwhelming at times; take a breather, but don’t expect anyone to do it for you; bags and boards aren’t the devil’s tools; Sandman is beer, Lucifer is pot, Preacher is f’n heroin.

  28. I feel you, sir. Though I’ve been active with comics lately (went to SDCC and all that jazz), I haven’t gone to pick up my books in a few weeks. And though I keep meaning to run down to my store to pick up my subscription box, I have to admit that it’s been a nice little break. There’s a lot of trades in my backlog I’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t because the weekly assault of monthlies usually takes up all my reading time. Within the past few weeks, I’ve been able to re-read Watchmen, New Frontier and the Hellboy trades along with discovering a bunch of other trades like Fear Agent and Phonogram. It’s been really refreshing to live without the floppies for a little while.

    But, I still love going down to my comic shop and perusing the isles in search of books. Like someone else mentioned, it’s one of the fun little things I can absolutely count on each and every week. It is a grind, though. If you need a break from the monthlies, take a break. Don’t kill your enjoyment of comics because of the grind.

    It’s funny, but I think a big reason why I still do the monthly books is because I really enjoy the other side of comics. I love talking about it with my friends, of course, but I also love listening to the podcasts about the weekly books. Between iFanboy and Around Comics, I feel like I pretty much have to read my monthly titles to keep up with the podcasts. So as much as you might feel chained to what you do here, I feel a bit chained to you guys — and I, of course, don’t mean this in a bad way at all. It enhances my reading experience all the more and I really do appreciate it.

  29. I can completly see where your coming from conor. Having worked at a lcs back in my hometown I too found myself wondering the same thing. Just a breather, just one, but it never stopped. I have since moved to another city and continue to buy my comics from the shop back home. I get them shipped out every other week or so providing me with the breather should it be required. Although my wallet dishes out the same amount of dough (minus my employee discount I still get), it provides me the opportunity to do other things that I couldn’t do back home. I also wanna mention that for those of you that have worked in an lcs before, you know that the urge to buy comics and other memorabilia that you wouldn’t normally buy is multiplied.

  30. I have jumped on the TPB bandwagon 100%. It is really rare that I buy single issues anymore. I had been doing so for years and my buying really picked up when I started to listening to iFanboy back in 2005 (has it really been that long??). I got in pretty good with my LCS guy and he created a slot for me in the weekly pull box…which I would swing in on my way home from work every Wednesday. But after awhile this became to daunting for me. In addition…way to costly. And it got to the point where I got behind and it was starting to make my LCS have these issues sitting in my slot for many weeks. Which is just not fair to them. So I finally went in and made good with them and took myself off the weekly pull list. And I could not have made a better decision in my mind.

    Now I can sit back and just buy TPBs of the things I want to read based on recommendations I read or hear. Most of the time I might even get a trade through interlibrary loan systems to see if I like a series. In the end this means I don’t spend as much on something I might not like and can get complete stories to read all at once.

    And for the record, I don’t have to be reading the books weekly to enjoy your podcast. In a way it is a preview of what I need to look at. While true that sometimes there are spoilers…by the time I actually get the TPB’s I have mostly forgotten the specifics of all you said and just remember it came highly recommended.

  31. I think a non-comics related trip is in order for Conor. I don’t know anything about the ifanboy guys’ personal lives, but I have have to assume most of you guys’ vacation time is spent at the various cons every year.

    I just spent the last couple of weeks on a mission in Africa, and it was great to get away from life in the U.S. and to get grounded in reality seeing how the rest of the world lives. No comics. No TV (I don’t have cable anyways. 99% of television is pretty much garbage). No internet connection save a few spots here and there where I was able to only sparingly check my e-mail and hit a few of my favorite websites.

    But the great thing is is that when I came back last week, there was nearly a month worth of accumilation in my pull box at my LCS. It was great because not only did I finally get the guts to drop a Superman book (Busiek sucks…hard), I had a new found appreciation for my weeklies.

    I think the one thing that us fanboys forget is that we don’t have to buy every little thing that DC and Marvel puts out. We do have a voice in this industry, and that voice is our wallet. So if it gets too much, or the quality of the work goes down, drop the book and stop reading. As much as I wanted to be in the loop in regards to Countdown, I dropped the book because ultimately I realized that 156 dollars was way too much money to spend on a story that I pretty much think is god awful. Comics is a business, a service industry, and if you’re burning out on them or you just don’t enjoy the monthlies you’re getting or just want to switch to trades, do it. Afterall, it is about YOUR enjoyment. People worry about the state of the comics industry all the time, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the nature of capitalism, it’s this: someone will always be able to find some new way of taking your money.