Friday, May 14, 2010

The Issue with Comics

Do you see what I did there?

My recent bout of apathy towards Kick-Ass and the subsequent conversations with my friends have made me think very hard about my relationship with comics.

One of my most vivid memories of being a kid was my fifth birthday, when I went by myself to the corner shop and told Rosa, the woman who ran it, that I wanted to change my order from Barnaby Bear to The Avengers. I can even remember my first issue of the Avengers - it was the reprint of Avengers #85. I was hooked.

35 years later, I am still buying comics. I have a loft filled with literally 1000s of comics. I taught my children to read using the names of characters from JLA/JSA crossover covers. When I was an impoverished student, comics came before beer in importance (pity many of those comics were early Image efforts - it was the 90s!)

In recent years, two things have impacted heavily my comics reading. The first is simple financial expediency - a period of redundancy made me re-evaluate the value-for-money I was getting from comics. They are a bloody expensive hobby to support issue-by-issue so a lot of my titles have been dropped, some changed to 'trade paperback only' purchases. The second is a little more touchy. In 2004, Marvel published the Avengers Disassembled storyline to revitalise the Avengers franchise. I've probably bored many of you with my thoughts about this turn of events, so I won't bang on about it here, but the subsequent transformation of my beloved Avengers into the Bendisverse creation it is now was not to my taste. I persevered for as long as I could, but in the end, I did the unthinkable and dropped the title-pretending-to-be-the Avengers. That took out a considerable chunk of my comics buying.

Currently, I only get two families of titles - Green Lantern/Green Lantern Corps and JSA/JSA All-Stars (although the latter is under close scrutiny)

So much of comic-dom seems so dry and lifeless to me nowadays. I feel like I quite literally have seen it all before. There is, as the Bible says, nothing new under the sun.

This apparent apathy has leeched into other areas. I have baulked at the idea of running superhero games in the past, because in the end I have always felt that it just wouldn't be the experience I wanted it to be. I think the number of conflicting ideas in my head would be too much, somehow. Its a silly block really, considering the method-GMing that I undertake on most occasions, burying myself in the media of the game I am running!

It has also made me wonder what to do with my comics mountain in the loft? It needs to be sorted out (the fact that it has not been in years is a sign that they are no longer so high on my priority list!) but after that? Could I be in the position to maybe liquidate some of that collection? The horrors!


Metaresearchboi said...

I think you underestimate the effect your recent job woes have had mate. You've never been the biggest spender, but certainly I've noted that you've massively reduced your expenditure on everything. Even now, with even the slightest uncertainly regarding your position, you've been very wary of expenditures and micro-examining the value for money of everything.

And what is this?

It's completely understandable is what it is.

Certainly I know I'd be very similar if I'd ever been in a similar position. The fact is comics are very bad value for money wise on the entertainment scale unless you like to seroiusly re-read your collection. Given that, I'm not surprised, given your current mindset, that you're micro-analysing the cost/benefit ratio of that hobbie.

Have you considered the Marvel Digital Comics route?

$4.99 a month for unlimited access to a vast catalogue of Marvel comics (far more than could ever fit into your loft). You can have a 6 month subscription for the cost of three paperback graphic novels.

Thats much better value for money!

Metaresearchboi said...

A very, very good review of the Marvel Digital Comics archive can be found here:

Fandomlife said...

Yes, being hit with the recession bat causes you to radically alter your spending.

As is the case on the macro level as well, when things return 'back to normal' the chances are spending habits will remain different.

You just learn not to live with some things and when circumstances change again you learn you're no longer that bothered!