So, I’m in the process of thinning out my comics collection, in anticipation of selling it on E-Bay and giving what’s left over (and age appropriate) away to kids at Halloween. And I’ve come to the depressing conclusion that I’m willing to part with the vast majority of my comics.It’s not that a lot of them are bad. There are a few stinkers here and there (just looking at the covers reminded me of how much I hated Batman: Tenses and Ruins), but the vast majority of the comics I’m willing to get rid of are just plain mediocre.
It’s weird how I can break them down in to categories, too, and what those categories say about my reading habits. I have some miseclaneous pre-Crisis 2 DC superhero comics (a few Kevin Smith Green Arrows, from when I used to think he was the best director ever, for instance) andÂ a smattering of indie books ranging from Savage Dragon to Geisha. But most of the comics I’m trying to purge come from Wildstorm, Vertigo,Â or Marvel.
Not that it should surprise me. IÂ usedÂ to really be in to Wildstorm’s Eye of theÂ Storm books, before they all died and only Sleeper got a proper ending. I have a mostly full run of Stormwatch: Team Achilles, for instance. It wasÂ anÂ interesting failure of a series, never quite clicking but being if nothing else a very different take on superheroes, somewhere between Garth Ennis’s satirical take on them and someone like Warren Ellis, who plays them straight in everything but Nextwave but has no real affection for them (the Ellis influence makes sense, given that he was the architect of most of the Wildstorm Universe, sort of like a cynical English Stan Lee). But between Whicle Poratcio’s artÂ being so prevalent (ah, my eyes!) and the fact thatÂ I’m nowhere near as interested in superhero analogues as I used to be (andÂ a lot of theÂ stories tend to hinge on “this character is like ___, but a bastard that has to be shot in the head by tough military types”, from what I remember), and I just can’t seeÂ ever reading it again. It goes that way for most of the Vertigo comics, too; interesting, worth reading, butÂ I have no use for ever looking atÂ comics like the Extremists (and I’m a huge Peter Milligan fan) orÂ Pride and JoyÂ again.Â
The Marvel stuffÂ I’mÂ keeping is moreÂ fromÂ Bill Jemas’s era, and the stuff I’m purging is from post Jemas. I still can’tÂ believeÂ I miss the jerk, but there were some damn fine comics publishedÂ during his tenure, andÂ at least heÂ and Quesada seemed to keep the crossover wolf outside theÂ door. I’mÂ not giving himÂ all the credit,Â mind you; it’s not likeÂ he and Quesada did much more thanÂ snatchÂ guys like Morrison, Ennis, Bendis, and MillarÂ away from the competion and let them loose on their popular characters. Still,Â it must be said;Â we never hadÂ aÂ Civil WarÂ on Jemas’s watch.Â I’d putÂ up with glib statementsÂ and lame sales stunts like U-DecideÂ to a return to a Marvel like that. But I mostly read their backlist these days anyway, so take that for what it’s worth.
Serieses cancelled ahead of their time, even if I really liked them (Minx, Chase, and Omega the Unknown, for instance) are probably going to find new homes soon, too.Â Because there’s no real ending for any of them,Â that makesÂ re-reads frustrating. I remember the last issue of Chase being particularly grating, because it was about how great Hal Jordan was, with the main character almost being a guest star. It was funny to realize that Klarion, pre-Seven Soldiers stardom, was in one issue. But I can stand to be rid of this series.
And so it goes. I’m getting rid of more single issues than trades, if for no other reason than that I decided to wait for the trade on a lot of comics I once followed in serial format in mid storyline, so I have a lot of incomplete arcs I’m going to want to get rid of.Â It’s also interesting to see how many comics I just plain gave up on mid way through a story; 1602 and Astonishing X-Men stand out there. I’m not one, generally, to dramatically drop a comic.
Which sort of the killing blow for most comics singles for me. If I’m not feeling giddy anticipation for the next issue, it goes in the “wait for the trade” bin, where it may never get out of. Because, by that criteria, I have a lot of trades to buy.Â I mean, 1602 is on there, and I barely even liked it.
I bitched about the second Astonishing story arc on the old blog, but really, I just gradually lost interest in that series (which, beyond the fact that I don’t think anyone but Vaughan should be writing them anyway, makes me leary of Whedon’s Runaways run, even if I still have an unholy love of hisÂ TV work). It sticks out for Astonishing because I adored the first arc on a huge, if shallow fanboy, level. It hit all the right buttons. 1602, well… it just moved way too slowly and was too cute (it’s Peter Parker, but his name is spelled weird! And it’s Magneto, but he’s part of the Spanish Inquisition!*) for its own good. I am still temtped to read the trade, especially since Target has it every time I’m in there. That’s probably more for the novelty of comics being in Target more than anything, though.
I don’t dramatically drop comics I’m reading in singles issues; I just tend to lose interest and find other things to spend the money on. Right now, that’s usually not comics, which could be why I’m finding it so easy to think of being rid of so many of them.
Speaking of trades, I’m sellingÂ a good numberÂ of those, too, for a lot of the same reasons.Â I mean, do I want to read Danger Girl again? I’m sort of ashamed I bought it in the first place, but it was really fun in spots and had good storytelling before it triedÂ to getÂ serious, IÂ swear! Â
I’ve had the nagging feeling that all of the medicore comics I had read since getting back in to comics were what was killing my enthusiasm for the medium. I mostly blamed that on my glutton at a buffet like tendency to gourge myself on big comics lots on E-Bay and on Free Comic Book Day, where I will take anything not nailed down. HopefullyÂ jettisoning the large number of lacklusterÂ comics in my collection will help me recharge my battery a bit (orÂ at least give me some pocket change). It’s a little disappointing thatÂ I can encapuslate the mainÂ interest of my life for the lastÂ sixÂ years or so inÂ a big pile of refuse andÂ a small by comparison pile of keepers, butÂ that’s comic collecting for you; it’s not for the weak. Â
*- Okay, that was cool.
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