When I am 50 will I have a pull list?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about comics and at one point the concept of us being fifty years old came up, and he quipped something to the effect of “I hope I’m not still reading comics when I am fifty!” I chuckled in agreement, but the moment stuck with me–will I still be reading comics when I am fifty?

I don’t know.

End of article. But please click on the image to the left, it’s awesome.

Okay, not really the end of article, though that’s kind of tempting. Yes, I don’t know. No, I don’t know.  I mean, as I got up this morning, I literally pushed a bunch of comics that were sitting on the floor under my bed, thereby regulating them to the status of old socks, and even typing that makes me feel kind of sad.  Comics are not socks! Comics are portals to adventure! Insights into experience! Expressions of action! Oftentimes $3.99 and read in less than 8 minutes! But clearly not socks!

Now, I admit it: I’ve been unusually stressed out and some comics have felt like a chore to read (I know, poor me). I wonder, honestly, if one is not careful, if all comics become chores to read? Let’s be honest–the typical superhero comic, even when it’s getting all funky and crazy, still tends to deal with the same kind of issues that superhero comics always deal with: responsibility, secret identity, major defeat, personal crisis, occasional teamup, etc. There are only so many ways of telling those kinds of stories. I once met a guy who told me he that he doesn’t need to watch comedy shows on TV because he saw I Love Lucy when it came out and all TV comedies basically copy that Lucy and Ricardo were doing years ago. I personally don’t agree but I do concede that with many shows there is a formula–a formula that the audience enjoys and expects–that can make things dull and predictable. And, when that happens you stop watching.

Not always so with comics. We read them because we love the characters and if the books are kind doing the same thing over and over again for awhile, that’s fine, it’s part of the deal.  And if you do stop reading the book, like, that’s okay, since there will be plenty of kids who will read the books and enjoy them and…

…wait.  Kids? Comics? Do kids even read comics? I don’t know.  Honestly, I really don’t know and I haven’t looked but I will tell you that when I go to a comic book shop, 90% of the time I go–no kids.  Even on a weekend. But I digress–this comes in later.

The thing is, when I think about quitting comics, I think we can all kind of agree that quitting single issues is not out of the question. Unless you have a lot of space and are willing to give up said space for hundreds of comics that you will most likely never read again, the comic book thing is a whole calamity of diminishing returns. Like, seriously, I have laid in bed, sweating, trying to figure out how I am going to deal with my comics. Yes, it was a hot night and yes I had coffee too late in the day, but still–that was how I was spending my stress out time. And, like, I am working to be a full time actor in LA–I have a whole slew of things to stress out about other than comics, you know?  So, right, we offer up the trade argument (and have done so hundreds of times: let’s just do the trade thing!)–but I just…it’s not…like, who is really going to buy the Final Crisis trade? Like…not some random person. In order to even give a crap about Final Crisis you would have to be kind of clued into the comic book scene. 

This reminds me of “Free Comic Book Day” which just happened. Yes, good idea, but honestly–did you see it marketed anywhere else but comic book stores and in comics?  Wouldn’t it be better if they marketed it to people who really were not already going to comic book stores? I talked to my LCS owner and he was aggressively not into it–it didn’t help his sales at all, because he was losing money getting all those free issues. Good idea? Yes, I think so. Done well? Not really in my book, I don’t see it driving sales in my experience, limited as it may be, though somewhat valid considering I live in a big ass city.

And am I going to buy the trades of the books I am reading now? I am not sure. Like, for specific titles like Criminal, sure–they tend to be nice, full arcs with specific characters dealing with a specific experience. Books by Alex Robinson and Matt Kindt? Brian Wood? Sure. But buying trades for Amazing Spider-Man? I don’t think so. I honestly don’t know why I even keep those issues around. Yes, they are good–they are very, very good–but are these timeless tales? Books like (glancing at shelf to my right) Local? Batman: The Long Halloween? New Frontier? No, not really, because they don’t have a specific beginning, middle and end.  So the trades that I might buy would put me more in the…novels…the graphic novel mind frame as opposed to a trade paperback of an ongoing series.

That’s just me. But seriously, as much as I have liked it, would I really go and buy the Brubaker run of Daredevil?  I am a huge fan of Brubaker and Michael Lark but honestly–I don’t think so.

Habits change and this is fine.  Tastes mature and grow and this is good…but sad, in a way. Because there will be a time–I really think there will be a time–when I will have to go to my comic book store guy and say, “Dude, I don’t need you to pull any books for me. I may still come in, but the pulling? I don’t..I don’t need you to do that for me anymore.”

And that makes me sad, it really does. I don’t want to pull out of the scene. I like reading these books and then listening to the podcast and I like going to this site to see what is going on. But when my buddy made the quip, it was like something inside of me…clicked.  Like, it wasn’t death knocking on my door because of my Jughead-like cheeseburger intake, but it was still kinda chilling, in a way. But eventually, I will just not care of Kingpin is coming back for a 12th time, or there’s yet another Green Goblin terrorizing Manhattan. Been there. Done that. Have the issues to prove it.

Yes, I am melodramatic. (I was a theater major.) But, like, we live in this strange time where (and here’s the callback) that, after we kind of get done with them, comics as single issue floppy things that have been around for so many years…they may go the way of the 45rpm single, the audio tape, the LP…the CD.  As we have talked about before, comics will go digital and all that but where’s the joy of being able to give your comic book to your friend or take them to a cafe and spend the afternoon reading them?  We’ve talked about the death of the floppy before, but not, as far as I know, in terms of our getting older and no longer buying them being the final nails in the coffin, because that is, I think how it’s going to be. Many of us will stop reading them, then, not unlike the record stores that have disappeared in LA, drive my our old comic book store only to see it replaced with a freaking nail salon. I really–really–hope this doesn’t happen, of course, and I think the really good comic book stores will be able to adjust their inventory and survive, but still…we are part of it. (The record store analogy is particularly apt; even online records stores are rapidly only selling digital files of records (these are the kinds of records a DJ might buy) instead of shipping, you know, actual records.)

Hmm. Maybe it’s a good thing we are keeping all those boxes in our closets. If we can’t share them with the next generation of comic book/screen kids, we can put on our glasses and enjoy our past, one bagged and boarded issue at a time.

How about you? Do you think about a time when you just won’t be into comics? What books would you still be buying with your (nonexistent) social security money?

Mike Romo is an actor in LA and is usually really positive and cheery about most things. He can be emailed here and twitter there and facebooked hither.


  1. I didn’t used to think I would still be reading comics when I was 36… but here I am.

    Unless comics start to really suck in the next 15 years I don’t see any reason that I would stop reading them when I am 50.

  2. As long as the stories still intrest me I see no reason to stop reading. I have recently cut back my pull list to about 15 books and the majority of the books I dropped where ongoing super hero comics. So even at my young age of 19 (I’m still young, right? =) ) I am getting less interested in super hero genre. But I just don’t see a reason why I wouldn’t be reading the newest issue of (hopefully they last that long) Criminal, Walking Dead, or going through my favorite Preacher trade for the 10th time at the age of 50.

  3. I just started reading again last year at the age of 35, after a 20-year hiatus. I imagine I have at least a good 30 comic-reading years left in me.

  4. Maybe my tastes will change or maybe the format will change, but I will still have comics.

    My tastes may change. Perhaps I won’t care what’s going on with the current Wonder Woman, but I will still have ‘New Frontier’ on my shelf—cause it’s a freaking great story. I haven’t read ‘Mathilda’ or ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ in ages, but they still sit on my shelves because they are great stories and mean something to me.

    And maybe the format will change and we will all be reading books on our Kindle7.0 or have them beamed directly into our eyeballs. But one of my prized possessions is my Dad’s album collection. Because I have Dylan! On vinyl! From the year it came out!! And maybe, just maybe, our kids who are raised on non-paper books will be really excited to open our old longboxes and think “I have Amazing Spiderman! Printed on paper! From when it came out!”

  5. Very cool & interesting article Mike. I started 2 years ago @ 29 and have been reading at a manic pace.  I don’t see trades/HC going out of style. If anything, they will be more popular as this may be the era of the Super Hero Movies. I do see the actual issue  thing being phased out as the cost is too high, which is a shame as I really enjoy collecting issues and buying the trades. 

  6. Nice article Mike.  I don’t think the format will ever change.  Digital media is just another option.  In fact I read my first issue of Proof on my Ipod.  Then I went to the comic shop (on free comic book day) and bought the trade.  We took the kids too and they left with a bag full of comics.  Thankfully, the kids of nerds, will become nerds too (if all goes according to plan), thus the need for comic shops continues.

  7. For me, asking a question of whether or not I’ll be reading comics when I’m 50 is like asking if I’m going to be reading books or watching movies when I’m 50. Of course I will.


    My reading habits have changed over time. As you mentioned, I have lots of issues, and I seriously don’t know why I keep them. When we hit a viable digital format, I will likely buy certain books ONLY in digital to read as disposable pulp entertainment. And the best books I will buy in TPBs and hardcovers as I do now. 

    One thing I’ve noticed: I will often drop a perfectly good comics because I’ve simply had "enough" of it. I’ve seen that particular formula before, I’ve seen what they’re doing with the concept. It’s good. I’m perfectly content with what I’ve read. But I don’t need more. So, I stop. I don’t need collections. I don’t need a complete run. I’m just done.

    A part of this particular occurence stems from exactly what you mention above. Super-hero comics are a special genre that comes with certain tropes, and those can often best be examined with a specific type of story formula. And if you’ve been reading that formula for years and years? It takes more and more to get you excited. Sometimes publishers try to fake it with artificial events: "Nothing will ever be the same!" And we get a little excited. But that’s the short term spike, and then when we realize that the new status quo is the same as the old, we settle back into our easy chairs and doze off. 

    Now, the other thing that happens is that writers change the game. Alan Moore and Frank Miller are great examples of this, injecting new life into old comics back in the 80’s. Changing expectations of the genre. One of the reasons that I particularly liked Bendis as he transitioned from indies to Marvel books is that he seemed (and still seems) to actively eschew the super-hero formula. He doesn’t particularly care for many of the traditional plot points of classic super-hero comics. For some folks this doesn’t work; I get that. But his super-hero work often appeals to me because I see him trying to do something different.

    Another element at play is the sheer glut of super-hero comics. Here is a specialized little sub-genre, and if you’ve been reading, oh say, 5 super-hero books a week for 20 years… well, you can imagine that it must get harder and harder to find something different there.

    For me, I read plenty of super-hero books, but I tend to bounce around and drop books once I feel they’ve given me what I came for. And I try to balance it with non-super-hero books. It’s not so bad to read a Superman book when you have a Conan, a Local, a 100 Bullets, and a Fables in the stack directly under that Superman.

    I’ll definitely be reading comics when I’m 50. Will I have a pull list? Debatable. Will I read super-heroes? Depends. But I’ll definitely be sticking with the medium in some form or another.

  8. (damn… that was way wordier than I thought it would be.)

  9. I love how Superhero Comics are often considered to be mindless fun, yet every day I come here to iFanboy and end up doing some deep thinking. I’m not sure when I’ll stop reading comics. As far as I can see, I will be buying and reading them for a long time. I second Megnolia in that I hope my children or grandchildren discover my long boxes and read them with the same sense of joy and wonder that I get now.

    As far as the record store analogy, I think (and hope) that comics are a little different than music. Music sounds (arguably) the same coming out of a stereo from an iPod as it does a cd. Comic books on a computer screen at this point just doesn’t feel the same. Perhaps when they make a full color comic reading Kindle it will change, but who knows? Similarly, vinyl sales are climbing, as us digital children long for a material product. As long as single issues give us something that trades or compu-comics don’t, the medium itself should be fine.

  10. This is something I think about, as well, and I’ve only been reading single issues for about 3 years now (I’m 35). I *only* have six short boxes at the moment, but even that seems like a lot of space living in the Bay Area. I keep telling myself that I’ll eventually cut back on my pull list/single issues due to budget and space, but thanks to all the online and podcast discussion I have a really hard time doing so (not to mention that I love my weekly fix). Hell, I just decided to jump back on Amazing Spider-Man at #595 b/c I want to know what’s going on in the Spidey-verse, but every fiber of my budget- and space-conscious being is telling me I shouldn’t do it. I hope that I’m buying less single issues when I’m 50, not because I’ll outgrow them but because I’d rather save the $$$ and space. I’ll always be reading comics in some form or other, however.

  11. I just turned 40 and I still have one, we’ll see.  I think I may not have a ‘pull list’ because it may all be trades or digital by then …

  12. You article got me thinking…

     So we were all kids when we started reading comics, and we all populated the comic stores with our parents back in the day. Does anyone remember people our age back then buying the same issues of X-Men that we did? Now that we’re adults and we rarely see kids who were our age in the comic nowadays, I wonder if reading comics will die out once our generation is over? Comic reading could just be something exclusive to our generation, and thinking that once we’re all gone, comics could go the way of the dodo is kinda scary.

  13. Great piece, Mike! Talk about food for thought.

    I can’t imagine my life without comics now, but will I still be reading them in 20 years? Heck, I couldn’t tell you if I’ll be reading them in 5! I hope so, but you never know.

  14. I assume my salary will only get bigger as I grow older [hopefully] so money will never be an issue. Having said that I guess the only reason I would stop would be because they got really bad. Don’t see that happening, even if the majority go south in quality I imagine there will always be at least a handful of comics that I read on a monthly basis no matter how old I am. No matter how bad of a week I am having at home/work/personally/etc I have always Wednesday to look forward to, and again I don’t see that feeling/excitement going away.

  15. Nope, I hope at fifty, I would be a few years away from going with Grandkids, like I plan on doing with my daughter or son.

  16. I think that whether someone continues reading comics or not depends way more on that person’s personal life. Moving somewhere else, graduating, getting married or getting into a series relationship, having kids, getting a new job which for whatever reason serves as an outlet in the place of comics, getting into a new hobby that for whatever reason you get sucked into at the expense of comics. All those things matter and effect whether one collects comics more than the price of single issues going up $1, at least from what I’ve seen over the years. Here’s another thing: any downward turn in the quality of comics, or how much you like what you’re reading, that doesn’t really affect things much. You’d think it would but, c’mon, as long as you have a few series you’re enjoying at a decent level, we’re all still going to keep being comic collectors, and we’ll probably even keep buying many series that we don’t like all that much.

    Confession: I’ve actually been thinking of getting out of comics for a while. By "getting out" I don’t mean I’ll never read a comic again; by "getting out" I mean not caring about new comics on a weekly or monthly basis. In other words, I think it’d be worthwhile for me to get to a place where I don’t know about the existence of dozens of current titles that I have zero interest in. I only came back into comics a couple years ago because I happened upon trades of New X-Men and Astonishing X-Men in my local Borders. I read them for free, loved them, and decided to step into a comic shop for the first time in years so I could follow Whedon’s series "monthly". Due to delays in Astronishing’s shipping schedule, I becan filling my time with a bunch of other series, which I liked "okay". I thought I’d get out of comics once Astonishing (finally) ended, after the last Whedon issue. But I stuck around. By that time I’d really gotten into Morrison’s Batman. Then this past fall that series basically ended. But I’m still here, anticipated Morrison and Quitely’s Batman due out next month. But at this point, like someone wrote above, it’s a point of "diminishing returns". Maybe I won’t buy Batman & Robin monthly. If the first issue leaves me cold, then I’ll have no series to really "hang my hat on", and I’ll be free free free of caring about comics on a weekly/monthly basis. I’ll still buy trades every now and then, of course, but I’d guess only 3-4 trades a year.

    As to whether you guys will have "pull lists" in the future, that all depends on whether or not single issues are even published then. Anyone want to take an educated guess at how long the industry is going to put them out. My guess is that by time Action and Detective hit #1000, it will seem really anti-climactic. I think there’s a good chance that DC will hang on to single issues JUST to put those issues out, maybe as the last single issues of DC ever, and at the same time the readers won’t even care–we’ll all be on $15 six-issue trades by then so we won’t have to pay $6.50 an issue. The equivalent of single issues might be released online or electronically, but that’d be it. Single issues for regular series have to die at some point; the profit margin, the arrangement, the scheduling–looking at the current system we’ve got going, this set-up is just ridiculous. And how ridiculous it is is getting more apparent by the week: we obsess and hanker to buy little wispy pieces of paper, and these things are delayed so often, and they only take 5-8 mintes to read, and they don’t sell on newstands (the place for which the format was designed); we complain about the price of them and yet truth be told, due to low circulation and almost nonexistent advertising revenue, the things should be selling for like $5 each. For 32 pages.

    Single issues of "Adventures" type stories will probably last longer than single issues of standard series. Because those things can find their way into Borders and into school bookfairs and stuff.

    Will there even BE pulllists when we’re 50? Maybe pulllists of trades.

  17. It occurred to me today that, no, I never see kids in my comic book store… but I go at 11:00 on a Wednesday. If I see a kid at my shop, I need to keep him there till someone can call his mom.

    I did used to think, "Ugh, God, if I’m still reading comics when I’m fifty, somebody shoot me," but as daccampo says, I’ve never thought, "Oh, cripes, if I’m still watching TV when I’m fifty, somebody put me out of my misery" or "God help me if I’m still listening to Who albums in ten years."

    Now, I have seen the Who continue touring into their sixties and thought, "Oy, someone put them out of THEIR misery," but that’s another matter entirely.

    The impulse to ask "will I have a pull list when I’m fifty?" has less to do with the material itself and more to do with that pernicious stigma we keep revisiting. We have this idea, no matter how hard we try to banish it, that comics are meant for kids or arrested-development cases, when all they really are is another medium. You get older, you watch different things or listen to different things than when you were a kid. Or maybe you don’t. I think the only thing that makes comics different is that they have a way of piling up on you.

  18. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    For me, 50 is another lifetime away. I turn 25 in August. So, I don’t know what my interests will be in 25 years. I don’t know what the world will be like or if I will have functioning eyes or if other forms of storytelling will evolve and take hold. All I know if that I’m addicted to discovering new characters and worlds. I need to be surrounded by stories, lots of stories, to be happy. Even before I could read on my own I was lucky enough to have a mother who would read to me and take me to story time at the library. Wherever there are stories, that is where I’ll be.   

  19. Honestly, what your article made me think was…holy crap that’s only 18 years away, which is less time than I’ve already been reading comics, and at that point I’ll be middle aged, and only so far from retirement, and then I’ll be dead……..essentially it was a freewheeling descent into despair about how short life is, but then I got myself together and this is what I thought…

    In the end I’m fairly certain I’ll be reading comics at 50.  Over the past however many years I have hit these bumps where I’ll feel dissatisfied with the material I’m reading, but that doesn’t stop me reading comics.  I just look for something new.  Back in the early 90s I was dazzled with things like Jim Lee’s X-Men and early Image books with their fancy art (some of which really wasn’t that fancy-I once had an issue of Brigade-my only defence is I was young and stupid) and soon grew bored with all the gloss with no story so I discovered early Vertigo like Doom Patrol and Hellblazer.  A couple of years ago I wanted some variety to add to my usual glut of American books and started to get into European stuff like Corto Maltese and the work of Bilal.  My pull list has adapted with time and takes in a fair amount of variety when I include the collections I buy.  Right now I’m looking into manga for the first time and trying to decide what I might like.  I’ve got something for every mood and in that way, I believe,  the comics addiction kind of grows old with you.

  20. I know I’ll still be reading comics or at least rereading the ones I love best for as long as I live.  Right now I don’t have time to reread stuff because so much awesome storytelling is happening in so many books, but who can say about the future writers and whether they’ll ever live up to the personal golden age standard that every individual has in their own mind?  I follow writers rather than characters…I was toying with dropping Punisher Max ever since Ennis left until the recent announcement of the upcoming team of Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon (!!).  I started reading Thunderbolts because Christos Gage is the man!, but ever since he left, I’ve been on the verge of blowing that off. 

    So I can look into the future and imagine a time when all my heroes have retired or become wizard hermits, and I think at that point I could be done with keeping up on a monthly basis.  But I really hope not.  I hope that new and exciting creative blood just keeps flowing endlessly into this world I love so much so that I can keep being excited every Wednesday right through to the end.

  21. If I quit buying comics when I’m 50, it will probably have more to do with cover price of $6.99 then me actually losing interest.  It’s not like comics are all of the same genre or anything.  Sure I was a diehard Superman & Batman fan as a kid, now I’m more into Vertigo stuff as I move into my 30s soon.  Maybe I’ll be more into horror and crime comics a decade from now?  Nobody ever grows out of watching movies, but they definitely steer away from watching Disney stuff when they’re old enough to see a movie that is rated PG-13 without having to sleepover their friend’s house to see it.

    I was really into playing Mario and Sonic games when I was a kid.  Yes, I’m not really into that anymore.  Did I quit playing video games altogether? Hell no!  I traded my Wii in for a PS3 once I realized what I was missing out on.  I will be a video game player until I die.  I’m sure I’ll certainly have to cut down on how many new releases I buy when I finally move out of my parent’s house, but I’ll always have a couple games around for when I can spare sometime to play them.

    I sure hope DC gets better at putting trades out in time by the time I’m 50 though.  I can definitely see myself buying more trades from AMAZON rather then pedaling my bike all the way out to Shelbyville every Wednesday for damn sure!  

  22. @daccampo I was going to make the same comparison to TV and movies.  Will I still watch television when I’m 50?  Would it even occur to anyone to ask that question?  Comics are a storytelling medium.  I expect that they will change.  I would, for example, love to have a Kindle-like device that displayed my comics at the right size in the right color, on which I could subscribe to my titles (as though I had a pull list), so that they could be delivered weekly.  Will comics go that way?  I don’t know, but it would be awesome.  It would do away with my FLCS, and that would make me sad, but it would also save an absurd amount of virgin paper, which would make me happy, so I call it a draw.  Format change?  Yes.  Still comics?  Absolutely.  Think of it as "ComicHD."  Same basic technology, just more awesome.

  23. I buy only trades, and spend less than $50 a month on them (usually through instock or amazon) which is a small portion of my disposable income.  As long as there are good stories to read in 17 years (when I hit 5-0) and it’s not a big cost I’ll keep buying them.  The better question is where will I be storing them…

  24. Great article and so many good comments here.

    1. As much as I’ve enjoyed reading Spider-man the past 1.5 years, I was going through the issues to find one to share with a friend that would encapsulate how great this series has been and I couldn’t find a single issue that captured the feeling i get from reading regular issues. There’s a cumulative effect that comes from reading serial issues.

    2. I recently went on a tear against Secret Warriors because I couldn’t stand the art, but then I gave it another chance and found that as i moved from panel to panel, the art was doing a great job, it just didn’t do much for me as I skimmed it. The ability to do that, to slow down and appreciate art and story one panel at a time, it’s like hearing a secret for the first time, and i hope I’m still able to appreciate that when I’m 50.

    3. There’s a lot of defenseiveness about whether this is a medium for kids, or men in an arrested state of development. And a lot of that is the cultural stigma, which still exists, if to a lesser extent (though maybe there is some backlash to this nerd is the new cool idea). But I think we need to own our own enjoyment of comics and not try to haughty it up with high-minded ideas. People of all stripes enjoy sports, music, movies, and don’t seem to feel the need to cover that up. 

  25. I have been reading comics since the early Seventies and have been a "collector" since 1982.  While I am much closer to 50 than most at this site, so I have no doubt I will be reading comics as issues, trades, or digital downloads when I hit the big 50.

    I have friends that approach hobbies like a sprint.  They jump in head first and spend a large amount of time and resources on said hobby (i.e. fishing, home brewing, etc).  They eventually get burnt out on the hobby and head in another direction.  There is nothing wrong with this approach.  They loved their time with said hobby but no longer wish to participate in it.

    I have approached comics like a marathon.  I keep a steady pace and make sure I don’t overdo it.  This has allowed me to prolong my love for the hobby.  At times where I am finding myself buying more than I enjoy, I cut back on my purchases.  If I have more free time than I would like and have a little extra cash to spend, I ramp up my purchases.  My buying trends have definitely changed in the last couple of years.  I am more likely to wait for a new or limited series to be collected than I would have 10 years ago.  I am less likely to hunt down back issues and more likely to catch up via trades if I find out about a run or title months after it started.

    I hope you will continue to enjoy the hobby will into your 70s.  Throttle your buying to match your interest/ free time/ available income.



  26. As long as the industry never goes into a dark age (like the 90’s), I’ll still be reading them. But will we have a pull bin when we’re all fifty? For me that’s 30 years into the future; who knows how advanced the industry will get? Will all comic be digital or will all comics be trade release only?

    Either way I’ll still pick up comics. In fact getting older is probably a good thing if your a fan. Hopefully everyone gets a great paying job and that means a better budget to get more comics. I mean I only read 12 comics series at the moment and my budget each week is $15 at most. If my life goes the way I want it to go; maybe I can get a pull bin like some of the ifanbase (or itrinity) and spend $50+ on comic books a week? I can only hope.

  27. Yeah I am a card carrying Fangirl for life. I love so many things about comics I dont see a reason to stop unless the genre goes totally digital then I may revolt.

  28. I only know that I’ll still be listening to Rebel Yell by Billy Idol. The rest is yet undecided.

  29. @TNC – the 90’s gets a bit of a bad rap. There was a lot of shit in the 90’s, but the fact is there was just a lot of EVERYTHING in the 90’s. I read comics all through the 90’s. Stuff like Starman and the Vertigo line thrived in those years. So, I wouldn’t discount a "dark age" to break you of the habit. 😉

    I was your age when the 90’s started.

    Crap. Now I feel old.

    (But also wise.)

  30. i would really like to think that im still reading/buying comics at 50. im sure the media will in time change just like everything has, there is still something cool/magical about going into a shop and checking the new release wall, searching deep bins for that one issue of the fury miniseries you desperatly need….anyway…. i plan to keep reading, not sure if it’ll still be the same books or characters but it’ll be a good ride along the way.


  31. @daccampo

    Thank you.  There were so many great comics in the 90s.  Sure, there was a lot of crap too.  There was a lot of crap in the 80s also.  Anyone remember the post Turtles indy B & W explossion?  I’m getting tired of the "the 90s sucked" rant. 

    Love and Rockets, Grendel, Mike Parobeck (RIP), Hellboy, Nexus, Groo, Waid’s Captain America run, Morrison on JLA, Starman, Preacher, Sandman, BONE!, Strangers In Paradise, Avengers Forever, Kingdom Come, etc.

    This is just a list off the top of my head.  Anyone else…..?

  32. I was thinking about this today as I tried to shuffle last week’s books out of the way so I could pick up this week’s.  With my fiancee moving in after our wedding, I’m having to find new ways to handle years worth of comic collecting and have gotten to the point where driving to the nearest children’s hospital and dropping off a car load of longboxes is becoming an option.

    If comics don’t go digital, fully digital, then I might not last more than another year or two.  My finacee is already grumblling about the costs of comics at a time when we’re trying to save for the wedding and perhaps a year living in the UK, and so… well it’s a fight I might lose.

    I’ve actually quiet enjoyed the experiance of reading comics on my iPhone, and have liked the DVD collections of Marvel books that I’ve bought.  If there was a current issue download service I’d buy my books there.  Make it like iTunes and I’ll be reading comics until I’m 99.  But the stacks of boxes in my storage space just is not going to last much longer.

  33. I’ll read comics until I don’t enjoy the stories anymore.

  34. Absolutely, bean. I mean, the 90’s had stuff like Bendis’ Jinx and Torso, as well as the start of David Mack’s Kabuki. You had Alan Moore doing friggin’ Wildcats in the 90’s. Vertigo had loads of great comics, including Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Shade, Morrison’s Kid Eternity and The Invisibles… so many more. Ellis’ The Authority. Marvels. Astro City.

    There was a whole lotta good coming out of the 90’s. Stuff that is still influencing today’s best books.

  35. @daccampo: Well sure there were a lot of great comics in any decade. Just cause the early years of Marvel could be considered ‘campy’, there are gems in them. But there’s a reason most people cringe or shudder when almost anything comic related of the 90’s is mentioned.

  36. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    "Well, sure, but I was making a blanket statement." 😉

  37. @TNC – and that’s my point. There have always been great comics in every decade, so just because one decade is known for having a glut of "bad" stuff doesn’t mean that anyone should jump out of comics. There was a very steady stream of good comics for anyone reading in the 90’s. No reason to stop reading.

  38. @TNC

    With all due respect: I believe that "most people cringe or shudder when almost anything comic related of the 90’s is mentioned" is based upon a groupthink mentality of people who only focus on the high profile, high print run, speculator crap that was being bought and driven by people who largely were not comics fans at the time or do not read comics today.  Please note:  I bought my share od chromium cover/"Blood (fill in the blank)/Extreme Studios, etc books at the time, but I was reading all of the quality titles that daccampo and I listed above.  There was a hardcore, educated fanbase prior to the internet that sought out and supported quality product and craftmanship.  What were you reading in the 90s?



  39. @Paul: Why you….:P

    @daccampo: That’s a fair point, I guess it’s all subjective when it comes to the 90’s. Although it does seem like more people agree it was a bad era then good. But in 1994, when you were picking up major titles….I was reading Batman Adventures and watching the animated series…Even I feel old thinking about it.

  40. Damn, no edit function.

    "od" should be "of"

    and, that last sentace comes off more confrontational than I meant it.


    Batman Adventure was one of the high point of the 90s.  You were reading the good stuff.  Don’t appologize for it.


  41. @bean: It didnt come off confrontational dont worry about it 🙂

    Again considering I was age of 1-10 during the decade. I came off reading only Batman Adventures and ASM as a kid. Then I quit comics and eventually came back during the (arguably) height of this decade. So it’s all good.

    But I have picked up old 90’s issues in my LCS’s 25cent bin….yeah not the cream of the crop by any means. But it’s only 4 comics out of millions that came out.

  42. I don’t see why I wouldn’t still be reading comics when I’m 50. The stuff I read I don’t think I’ll "grow out of".

    A doctor recently asked me what I do in my spare time. One of the things I said was read comics. He goes "oh, graphic novels!", I said "no, comics" 😀 Because obviously comics are for children and graphic novels are for adults, or something.

    When I told a new friend from uni that I read comics but not the superhero stuff she was puzzled – cos what other kind of comic is there?

    Basically, I can see how people could "grow out of" superhero comics for the reasons stated in the article here. But it all depends on how the stories go I guess… how creative the writers get.

    I think it’s much easier to stick with comics when you read the creator-owned stuff because they tend to be more… fresh? Writers have more freedom to come up with new characters, new stories. You just have to look at Kirkman’s stuff – the general feeling is that his mainstream superhero stuff was ok but his creator owned stuff is awesome (not my opinion mind you). 

    But for as long as there are writers like Warren Ellis, Joe Kelly, Joe Hill, Garth Ennis, Terry Moore, Brian K Vaughan, Brian Wood, Kieron Gillen etc doing awesome creator-owned stuff then I’ll easily be reading comics… forever, because it’s like asking will I still be watching movies and listening to music when I’m 50.

  43. I’m sure I’ll still have a pull list at 50 (given I make it that long of course).  I really do love comics as a medium, and that’s not going to change, though I imagine the time I’ll get to spend reading them will diminish.

     One time, when I was in college I went to my LCS, and the guy who was in front of me in line was this guy in his mid 60’s, very nicely dressed, with stark white hair only on the sides of his head, and he still had a rather sizable stack of comics to pick up every week. When he left I looked at the store manager and said " That’s awesome."  So hopefully someday I’ll get to be the cool old man picking up my comics in a nice suit and a hat that only old men can get away with wearing.  


  44. Just remember this:  Buying comics at age 50 is not wrong.  Standing alone in Abercrombie and Fitch at age 50 is.

    I will buy comics until they no longer are a source of entertainment and joy for me.  Considering I’ve been buying them since I was 7 (with a brief 2-3 year break in college), I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.  Comics will always be a part of my life whether I’m buying them weekly or sharing them with my children.

  45. I should stress that ‘IF I lived to be 50 or older I’ll still pick up comics’.

    Cause I plan going out guns a blazing sometime in the near future. Especially during SDCC this year with the ifanbase….



    ….Note to self: the site knows to much. Change of plans *darts eyes*

  46. i will buy comic till the day i die. 

    as a matter of fact, i hope i die on a thursday morning so id have read all my wednesday books.  and i hope its a week a really good daredevil and batman came out. and also the final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man as written by BENDISBOT2.0 and drawn by Mark Bagely’s clone, in which peter finally, finally, FINALLY, graduates from high school

  47. I want to die on FCBD on top of the table after finally reading an Owly issue. Die smiling.

  48. Only 7 years to go for me and I can’t imagine me stopping.  I’ve been reading since I was 11 with only a few years gap in the mid/late 90s like so many others.  Comics are much better now than they have ever been, so unless that changes I’m still here.

    As for the stigma:  Went through a period where I worried about that but then I realised that the people who saw it as a stigma were watching reality TV for 4 hours a night and quickly got over it.  🙂

    Stick with it until you stop loving it or you can’t justify the cost anymore.  Age is irrelevant. 



  49. i think i will keep going but i worried about it for a short time but then ijust dived back into it. no worries i will be getting these for a LONG time

  50. When I started actively buying comics on a weekly basis years ago, I swore to myself that I would only buy the books that interest me storywise, and not just buy stuff compulsively. Its been about 3 or 4 years, and every single week since then I have had no less than 3 books a week. This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, and the only reason I can think of stopping reading comics if I become disinterested in the stories or creators. I highly doubt that will happen though, I see it like living in the 1600’s and thinking "Once that William Shakespeare goes, there will be NO MORE good playwrights ever again!" 

  51. HECK YA I WILL!!

  52. Insightful article, that put alot of thought into how and why I collect comics, sorry I should say read comics. I don’t want to get into the trap of collecting, buying old issues that will never be reopened. I will continue to read comics until I am old and at this point I will find a friend / co-worker whose kids enjoy comics and GIVE THEM AWAY FOR FREE!!. I recently did this with my Toy collection – eveyone thought I was crazy – "do you know how much that is worth!!" "yeah so I would say", the enjoyment that those kids received is priceless. Such will be the fate of my comic collection, to be shared and given away for free –  I challenge you do to the same at the age of 50.


  53. Well, I’m 40 and have no intentions of stopping any time soon.  or ever really.   the comics I read may fluctuate, my tastes may change, but as long as pull lists continue to exist, I’ll be on one.

  54. Eh, I’ll probably keep buying when I’m 50 if I have the money, because mainly why I’m buying is because I like specific characters and their stories. If I still end up digging those characters and their stories, I’ll keep buying.


  55. im in for the long haul!

  56. Yes I will be still reading at 50+

    I am now 45. I have read comics on and off my entire life. 

    The trick has been that the experience of comics has changed as I have gotten older. From the astonishment I felt as a wee lad, to the "Fricken cool" I felt as a teen, to the Intellectual excersise in my late 20’s and 30’s, to the Nostalgia and "safe home" feeling I get now. Comics has always been something I enjoy, and I dont anticipate it going away.

    Yes I get "burnout" from time to time, but the desire never truly goes away.

    "Rage into that goodnight" Ifanboy!


  57. I’m a comic book reader who just never sees himself growing tired of the medium. I don’t necessarily follow characters but rather the stories and art that most intrigue me. Which is why i would buy the first four (plus the trade with first appearence of venom) trades of usm and not the whole bendis/bagley run. If i ever do get tired of comics i’ll get my kids intrested in comics from an early age so my comics can entertain other generations.

  58. I passed that milestone seven years ago and I still have a pull list. Granted, it’s much shorter than it used to be (six titles now vs. almost everything in print back in the 70s). With a mortgage, three kids in college and current cover prices there’s just not as much money left over to spend at Alien Worlds. I do browse the new issues table and pick up random copies of whatever looks interesting.

    Even though I don’t read as many comics as I once did, I get my comics “fix” in other ways. There are many more comics-related movies and TV shows today. I also probably spend more time reading about comics and the industry via iFanboy.com and similar sites than I do reading the comics themselves. I’ve tried to quit or cut back severely a few times, but after 40+ years it’s a habit I’ll probably never kick (cheaper and healthier than smoking).

  59. I think I’m going to be interested in comics by the time I’m 50. I hope so because otherwise I won’t have much to talk to the other 50 year-olds about. Heck, I still read comics aimed at kids (and then give them to kids). I still watch cartoons, even Bugs Bunny. I’m just odd that way. I don’t buy sports memorabilia, fancy car parts, or suits. Just comics and cartoons on DVD is all I need to make me happy.

  60. 55 still have a pull list..well at 20 I had a pull list but no one called it that

  61. I’m 47. I have a pull list. A very short one, but nevertheless, I have one.

    The comic shop I go to has a stream of customers from their mid-30s into their 60s. Some may be older, but it’s not my business to ask or guess. The (few) kids I see in there are with their parents.

    Wondering if you’ll be reading comics at 50 seems bizarre to me, as if you think you’ll somehow turn into another person entirely. You should be able to tell right now if the medium will still hold your interest. By this point in your life, assuming you’re at least in your mid-20s or early 30s, your personality is fully cooked. You are now who you’ll be.

    Certainly your tastes will shift. But the major parts of your personality are pretty much set. Our culture has been gradually changing so that “geek” and “nerd” hobby pursuits don’t suffer the same kind of peer pressure to quit that they once did. The real question is what kinds of comics you’ll want to read at 50. I can say that my tastes have changed a lot since I was, say, 25. Then, I was still interested in following a large number of titles, the newer and edgier the better. Not for me then were the silly, colorful books of the ’70s, the ones I grew up reading. Now, I find myself drawn back to those old Marvel Two-in-Ones, or anything that reminds me of that era – Hickman’s run on the Fantastic Four, for example. I now tend to gravitate towards more colorful, fun books; I get enough doom and gloom from the news. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate more literate comic books, especially graphic novels. I do. But nostalgia is now a draw, too, a powerful one.

    I don’t mean to imply your tastes will become like mine. Of course they won’t. But they will evolve. Not become “better” or “more refined.” Just different. You might burn out on comics from time to time. I did. I stopped reading for at least a decade…mostly. I still felt like a comic fan. I’d just overloaded on them. I’d grab one or two a few times a year. Now, they’re like old friends, that I don’t need to see every week, but with whom I like to hang out once or twice a month.

    Now, you could find yourself feeling peer pressure to drop comics as you get older. “A grown man reading those kinds of books!” some will say. A grown man, or woman, reads what they want. Peer pressure was bad enough when we were high schoolers, and is even more pointless in our adulthood. Read what you want. Do what you want. And stop thinking in ageist terms – “when I’m fifty I’ll be too old to…” Someday you’ll be fifty, and wondering why you thought you’d be so different.