I’m Waitin’ For the Trade

Unless you count starting and never finishing projects, I have one hobby: comics. I guess writing would be another, but I don’t usually spend money when I write.

I have a ton of bagged and boarded comics in wonderful long boxes tucked away neatly in my closet. Since I decided to purchase the weekly DC comic Trinity, I drop by my comic shop once a week to pick up my pre-orders.

I think I might be done.

No, not with comics. However, I sincerely doubt I will buy single issue comics on a regular basis. I’ve been moving toward this for years. I barely collect any titles and have moved to trade paperbacks more often than not.

Monthly comics, which I affectionately refer to as “floppies,” are creeping up into the $4 per issue range and I’m not going to go along. I’m the freaking demographic for the big two comic book companies, but I’m not paying $4 for 22-pages of comics.

I recently bought the third Kevin Smith DVD for $15. There’s ten hours of enjoyment on two DVDs. That’s a buck fifty of entertainment cost per hour. I can read most comics in five minutes. At $4, that’s eighty cents of enjoyment per minute. The initial enjoyment-cost ratio just isn’t there anymore.

Switching to trade paperbacks and original graphic novels is the plan. I already collect, read and enjoy several series that way: Powers, Criminal and a bunch of others. The accusation I’m killing the industry by not supporting monthly floppies is ridiculous. Monthly floppies are an archaic and frankly dumb investment of my entertainment dollar. Sure, I can go back and re-read them. However, lets say it’s a six-part story. I have to go and find all six issues and then start. You know what’s easier? Reading the damn trade all in one collection.

In fact, comic companies, if they want to continue to be in the publishing business, probably need to quit printing monthly comics in the near future. It’s not cost effective. There isn’t a single comic book issue I could give to someone to hook them into buying monthly comics. They will read it, probably in less than five minutes, realize it’s part one of a three-, four- or six-part story and immediately want the next issues. Once they realize an entire story might take six months to come out (if it’s on time), they are done. Give them an OGN or a TPB that has a story with a beginning – middle – end and they feel like they have a finished product and the $15 price for a 4- or 6-part story seems fair.

Trinity is up to issue thirtysomething and I’m bored. I doubt Busiek and Bagley are going to produce something great in the last 20 issues so I’m dropping it. In fact, I’m getting the Kevin Smith Batman Cacophony three-issue mini-series in floppy form because I can deal with a three issue mini, but I probably should have waited for the trade. I’m buying the Legion of Three Worlds mini because its friggin’ amazing, but I probably should have just waited for the trade because I know I’ll get it as soon as it’s available. Also, I can go into any Barnes and Noble or Borders and buy a great TPB or OGN and with the awesome Borders coupons I can get it at 20-30% off.

The economy sucks. I’ve become much more discerning about my comics hobby. I’ll continue to purchase TPBs and OGNs, but I’ve just about had it with monthly comics.