Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Executive Decision: We're Moving from Floppies to Trades

So, this last week, I made a decision.

By the end of 2010, I'm making a massive shift to the practice of "waiting for the trade". This means that of the DC and Boom! comics I buy, I'm now going to shift the vast majority of my purchases to buying the books collecting 4-6 issues (or more) at a time.

I'll be continuing to buy Superman and Flash comics as single issues at DC, and I'll pick up some issues of other series, such as Oni's "The Sixth Gun" as single issues. I'll also be picking up some other series I want to check out as they roll out from non-Big Two publishers, but I'm going to be reducing the number of floppies I'd normally pick up, while cutting out other series altogether.

And, no doubt, some of the series I picked up that I suspect I was just picking up out of habit... I have no doubt I'll drop.

Perhaps ironically, I'm making the decision at a time when DC is making efforts to keep me heading to the store every week. Interlocking series I'm supposed to read in the chronological order in which they're released (Ex: Blackest Night), and a focus on weekly release of series with a heavy social media push to make sure you're paying attention should have kept me heading to the store.

Certainly the cost if a factor. Trades are usually cheaper. But I can actually pull them off the shelf and re-read them, which is not something I can say for comics after I've bagged and boarded them. Also, it keeps me slightly separated from the crazy cycle of having to follow Previews and trying to guess if I'll like something, and reading reviews after I've already read the comic (we all got the comic on Wednesday, after all).

I can only suspect it will be a bit odd for me as this decision will mean I'm ending several collections, including a fairly impressive Batman collection( which i plan to do once Morrison leaves the character). I've got an unbroken collection of both Batman and Detective that's got to be 10 years long, but arcs back to around 1985 and earlier. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman seem like smart choices for converting to trade as my collections are fairly modest.

Probably the part I'll like least is that I do pick up single issues of comics just to check them out, and to see if I want to jump into or out of a series (this was how I got into "Birds of Prey" very late and "Wonder Woman" around 1999 or so). But at $3.00 - $4.00 a pop, my willingness to check out a title from an unknown writer has greatly diminished, anyway. Sorry, publishers, its true.

I'm hoping that this means my budget loosens up and I can look at more stuff outside of DC Comics, and do a bit of expansion on my Superman collection. We'll see what happens, I suppose. All I know is, its going to mean fewer long boxes and more shelf space, which doesn't help Jamie out at all.


Fantomenos said...

Wow, that's big. I mean, some Wednesdays you will have no comics at all.

I've definitely cut back from the rising costs and my modest (by choice) employment situation, but I can't imagine moving over full stop, even though it makes total sense for all the reasons you mentioned.

In a way, it's like TV on DVD, you wait a little bit, but superior viewing experience, no ads etc., and just like TV on DVD, if everyone did it, the medium just wouldn't exist.

horus kemwer said...

I don't think it's necessarily the end of the medium. Serialized interlocking story telling could exist in a format involving longer chapters published at slightly longer intervals.

It would, however, permanently change the shape of the story arcs and the story telling. I'm not sure that would necessarily be for the worse - but it would be sad to see monthly serialization in the pamphlet format disappear completely . . .

The League said...

I've already cut back to a once-a-month-unless-there's-an-event schedule, so I've gotten used to slowly making myw ay through the pile of comics over 4 weeks or so. Its also been enlightening to see what gets shuffled down to the bottom of the pile.

Horus, I can't speculate anymore over what the industry should or could do (other than: DC needs a digital strategy), only what I am going to do. I will genuinely miss the interlocking stories, and I am not looking forward to those confounding trades that focus only on the series in question rather than tying in all of the pertinent chapters.

The factor I didn't mention much here is that if I really like a series, I will pick up the trade after the fact. So I am also going to be saving money, hopefully, by reducing the number of comics I wind up "double buying" in order to have easy access to the story again. At some point, picking up the floppies on series where I see a pattern of picking up the trade after the fact, it just isn't useful to have the floppies at any point.

Simon MacDonald said...

Welcome to my world.

I think one good way to check out new books is via the Comixology web site as you can now view comics on the web. Comics are about half the price of physical floppies so at least you are saving some money if you indeed end up double buying.

Nathan said...

How many floppies were you buying before? Could any of them be converted to subscriptions? As soon as I knew I liked "Captain America" a few years ago, that's what I did.

The League said...

Ah, ha ha ha... I have no idea how many. Let us just say it is well into the double-digits.

I tried the subscription thing through DC a few years ago, and was deeply dissatisfied with the service. Nor do I want my comics arriving in huge stacks and filling my mailbox, which we check all too infrequently.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club. Honestly, I can say I enjoy reading comics more now. Paying $3 to $4 for a mediocre floppy just doesn't do it for me anymore. In addition, if some story fills me with disdain or rage, I don't regret buying it as justifying the cost of trade collection is much more defensible.

Finally, you don't get that frustrated feeling anymore when your favorite title gets hijacked by some mandated crossover armageddon marketing scheme. J. Michael Straczynski's Thor was totally jacked by the Powers That Be at Marvel and his story arc was essentially tossed out the window. If I had been buying floppies for that only to have the title taken over it would have been a total waste of time and money.


The League said...

I hear you, NTT. I know the cross-overs were why I lost interest in Guardians at Marvel, and when I heard JMS's Thor was not avoiding the cross-overs, I bailed.

Its going to be interesting, especially as I'll have a lull now between my monthlies and when i can start catching up again via trades.

Anonymous said...

You can read other trades. Did you ever check out Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind like I recommended? If you want something out of the ordinary and morally complex, that is it.