So I was visiting my local comic shop today (after all, it is Wednesday) and in casual conversation with Carl at All-American Comics we began talking about the industry a bit as we usually do. The number of loyal followers and subscribers out of work and unemployed is astounding! This, of course, leads to a drastic cutting of titles by some of the clientele, while a couple have had to quit completely for the time being. It’s sad for both reader and store owner.
We all know the plight of the American worker right now, and it’s sobering to be sure. We buy our comics in a small attempt to find a little light at the end of the hard day, be it through watching the dead rise from their graves to torture the DC universe or by watching Norman Osborn foolishly invade Asgard. We look forward to these little joys in life. Sadly, for some of us the joy has to be severely cut back or cut out completely. I know well the trappings of said issue as I’m currently looking for steady work myself, so I’ve had to cut back my books as well. Which books I’ve cut is irrelevant; the core of my titles are the books I simply can’t live without, and that’s where you might find solace and a cheaper medium.
The main objective to reading our books, as I’ve stated time and again, is to read the books you enjoy. I’ve amassed a ton of books that are 90% “necessary reading” and a whopping ten per-cent that were just bought on 1) a whimsical fancy, 2) a crossover that might otherwise be unnecessary or 3) because I’m vying to keep up some solid run of a title. I’ve learned very quickly that while it’s wonderful to keep up with the exploits of the Hulk and Green Arrow I simply had to make concessions somewhere. It pained me to give up on a few titles for a while, but the alternative to quitting completely was far worse a fate! I took a year-long sabbatical and it pained me to not have my comic book fix, but life is what it is and we all have our bags to shoulder. Maybe some helpful hints can alleviate the pressure.
If your personal situation allows for some free play with a little spending money as we all tighten our belts, remember to buy only the titles you really love getting. I know, it’s a tough call for most of us, myself included, but the love of the hobby makes it a bit easier to tolerate. At least we keep our feet in the water as opposed to leaving the beach. Some fans cannot live with their X-books, and that’s fine. If Wolverine and Beast are your thing, then concentrate on those titles and forgo something that might be considered ancillary, such as a mini-series out of continuity or a one-shot not viable to lineage. The comics police will not be coming to your house to check your boxes for these books, I promise you. Remember that, save for rare occasions, these books now are NOT going to be worth millions, even hundreds, so you can always go back and find the missing links when situations and finances change. There’s no shame in planning accordingly and responsibly.
If there’s stories and arcs you simply can’t live without, try trading with some friends at the shop. Look, again, please remember these books aren’t going to be worth major money, that’s been established, but if your friend is as careful with his/her books as are you likely to be, then why not ask to borrow their copies and keep up? It always sends me into laughing fits when I see these guys come into the shop and pick up these books and slide them ever-so-gently into the bags as if they were handling C-4 capsules! It’s a book! Keep in it the best condition possible, but damn, enjoy the books! Whatever it takes to keep reading, by all means go for it! You’d be surprised how many comic readers are more than willing to lend a brother or sister a hand in keeping up.
Yes, the recession is a real bear, but with little bit of ingenuity and some positive thinking you can always keep up with the story lines and, when things get better, pick up right where you left off. Remember…it’s comics, and they’ll always be there for you!
Check the slide-show from just some of my picks for the top five books from DC, Marvel and an indie or two.
DC bringing back Bruce Wayne in ’10
Marvel Comics: A personal editorial
Comic book review – Brave and the Bold #28
All-American Comics is Chicago’s finest for comic books