COMIC BOOKS WORK BETTER IN BOOK STORES

Waiting for the Trade

I’m changing my comics buying. It is my only vice, addiction and habit. I don’t smoke, rarely drink and never use drugs. I don’t spend money at strip clubs (…anymore) and I don’t play video games. I go out to eat with my girl more often than I used to and I do like to go to the movies, but really my only vice is buying funny books and I’m about to make a change.

I’ve been buying the regular paper and staples floppy books forever. I have eight long boxes full of comics. In addition, I have plenty of collected trade paperback books on a long shelf. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to primarily purchase collected editions and my wallet thanks me for it.
The best part about buying collected editions is that I can go to Borders or Barnes and Noble and buy these trade paperbacks. I even get a discount. They have a pretty good selection of the sort of stuff that I like and if they don’t have it then there’s always Amazon.

I’ve allocated $20 a month for comics. Basically that will buy me a couple of floppies through my comic shop and one or maybe two trades either through my shop or down the street at the big box bookstore. The floppies I get are of books that are not guaranteed to be collected in trade form like the recent and highly enjoyable Legion of Super Heroes (although I bet it does get collected…).

I’ll be happy when I finally sell my comics (that I have already in trade paperback form). I should get a decent dollar for the books and my closet will thank me. Anybody want an entire run of The Authority?

Now there are those out there who think that someone who is “waiting for the trade” to be akin to the devil. They believe that I’m killing the industry. I say, too stinkin’ bad. DC, Marvel and some of the lesser companies are flat out moving towards collected editions. The books are being written for trade, so I’m just following the marketing and saving money and space in the process.

Marketing Departments for funny book makin’ companies have finally realized that having collected editions in Big Box Bookstores increases the chance of selling more copies than old, smelly rat-traps that double as comic book stores. Granted, there are plenty of good stores out there (mine is quite excellent), but there is no way my Mom is walking into a comic book store. However, she is more than happy to walk into Borders. The chance of meeting The Simpson’s Comic Book Guy is nil and maybe that eight-year-old might convince his Mom that the Spider-man trade might be fun to own even if it doesn’t have Tobey Maguire in it.

Presently, this isn’t an essay on how comic book stores should try and clean up their act, but more a reflection of the big companies catering to where the real and potential market can find the books. It’s at Borders. It’s at Barnes and Noble. It’s at Waldenbooks. It’s not at Fantasy Realm Comics and Cards.

Ultimately, I’ve decided to stop getting the comics that are guaranteed trades and continue to get a few floppies that just might not make it to trade form. The plan is to wrap up storylines that are hanging and then stop with the floppies. I’ve already dropped a few books that actually I wish I had just bought the trades. The Outsiders springs to mind and Superman/Batman. I might even move to trades exclusively.

Comic industry be damned.