I love comic books as a medium, even though they’re a little work for me. I have difficulty following the sequence of panels. Nine or so years ago, I was all about purchasing comics. It would be incorrect to say I ever really kept up with a series; I mostly bought back issues or collected editions (those giant “ESSENTIAL” ones from Marvel more than any proper Trade Paperback).
But I haven’t bought any new comics in a long time, and the last few times I did, I ended up buying copies of issues I already had. (Both for Buffy Season 8 and Astonishing X-Men. Joss Whedon is apparently the only person who can get me into a comic book store anymore.)
So I started thinking, why? I live very close to a comic book store. What’s keeping me from buying new ones, keeping up, etc?
It comes down to a few things I think:
1. Comic book issues are very short. Much like I’ve become a person who prefers TV-on-DVD to actually following a series, I like to consume my stories in one sitting. Especially with Buffy Season 8, it feels like each issue is one act of an episode – maybe 9 minutes’ worth of entertainment. So, then, I get very excited about my new comic book and boom, the excitement is over so quickly because the stories are so short.
2. I forget. If I were clever enough to subscribe to a service (say, from Things from Another World, for example) that delivered comics directly to my house, this would be much less of a problem. So why don’t I do that? I don’t know.
3. I like to get in on the ground floor or have an easy way to catch up. Oddly enough, this was NOT the case for Buffy the show – it was before the days of entire seasons on DVD – but I came in shortly before the show was syndicated, so that did make it easier. I love the ESSENTIAL books for just this reason. I can tell you all about the X-Men from the time when Wolverine joined (not the first group, but I’m told I’m not missing much by skipping to the second iteration of the X-Men). I can talk about Spiderman’s earliest days, before he even had his own book. I hadn’t been BORN yet, but it’s easy for me to find these things. So if I can’t easily jump in from the start, then that’s a bit of a barrier. (Fortunately, this is not such a problem. TPBs really have made it possible to start at the very beginning and get caught up fairly quickly. YAY!)
4. I don’t really like the comic book store near my house. The people there aren’t MEAN, by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t know that they themselves are especially fond of comics. They’re always slightly patronizing, which I think is partly because I’m a woman. It is not an especially female-friendly shop. It’s not hostile, or anything. It’s just… not comfy. When I go there, I grab what I’m looking for, pay, and get out ASAP.
But you know what?
When I go back to school, every day I’m on campus will be a day within easy walking distance of an excellent comic book store, one where I feel very comfortable just browsing. Additionally, the library of the school I’m attending has the first volumes of several comic books/TPBs, so I can check out new stories without spending any money.
I won’t have the same amount of disposable income I have now, but if I’m very careful, I think that maybe comic books and I can get back together.
Won’t that be nice?