This was originally going to be about how the Internet has made me stupid and lazy. I was going to offer as an example my decision to sit here in the living room and search the 'tubes for several minutes to see how many issues are included in the first Fell trade paperback instead of just walking into the other room, taking it off the shelf, and opening up the damn thing to see for myself . . . but it, uh, went another direction as I was writing it.
Consider this a warning, but feel free to ignore it.
I don't read many comics in single issue format anymore. Back in the salad days, I had a habit that would shock and horrify -- or entice and thrill -- most people. You know how once a year or so the local news shoves some poor reporter into a disgusting house where some crazy cat lady didn't throw a single thing away for a decade? You know how there's always a tower of newspapers that go back to the Nixon years in that place? Replace the papers with comics and the cat filth with polyhedral dice and you've got a damn close approximation of my house.
Well, before Anne came along and straightened all of that shit out. One of the casualties of growing up and getting responsible was the weekly trip to the comic shop where I'd trade piles of shiny gold rocks for the likes of Batman, X-men, Grendel, Sandman, whatever Alan Moore was doing, and too many "gotta have this because it crosses over into this other thing I like" issues to count.
In fact, from about 1996 until last year, I hardly read any comics at all. I'd pick up a few trades here and there, but I mostly stayed straight and sober.
Man, have I fallen off the wagon.
It all started with a few trades of Transmetropolitan and Fables. That snowballed into other trades for the books I mentioned in this old Geek in Review about great graphic novels you may have missed, and before I knew it, I was picking up absolute editions of various things I already owned in single issue and TPB format. Because, you know, I needed to have them.
I was teetering on the precipice of a weekly habit when TokyoPop sent me out to different comic shops to promote the Star Trek manga.
Like, once a week I'd go to a different shop where I could see what new stuff had come out that week.
And buy it.
I mostly got trades of books I'd wanted to get caught up on, like Y: the Last Man and Blue Beetle, but I also found myself leaning toward single issue books again.
It's important to point out that I am the biggest Batman geek on the planet. I love Batman more than anything else in comics. I have so many Batman shirts, my wife frequently says, "Why do you have so many Batman shirts?" I have a LEGO Batman on my keychain. I plotted to blow up the world when the Batman movies were all such shit (World, you can thank Batman Begins for saving you. A fruit basket would be a nice gesture.)
But still, I didn't want to get sucked back into reading Batman, Detective, Robin, Dark Knight, and Batman We Really Don't Have A Reason To Put Out This Book But We're Going To Anyway Because It's Batman And Batman Geeks Like Wheaton Will Buy It. Partly this was due to financial considerations, but mostly it's because I just don't have the time.
I've been doing very well, to be honest. Because there's such a huge backlog of trade paperbacks for me to get through (I'm still working through Fables, Y: the Last Man, and a few others I'm too embarrassed to admit right now) I've only bought two titles in single-issue format: Batman (GODDAMN YOU GRANT MORISSON WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO AWESOME?!) and Doktor Sleepless (GODDAMMIT WARREN STOP IT JUST STOP IT.)
Then I went to Wizard World with Matt Fraction. Matt and I had a conversation about this very issue, and Matt said, "You know, I buy a lot of books weekly because it's professional courtesy. I never know when I'm going to run into [huge list of names that made me fall down]."
Now, I'm no Matt Fraction (BUT I'M READING FUCKING CASANOVA IN SINGLE ISSUES NOW BECAUSE IT'S SO AWESOME GODDAMMIT MATT) but I've been bumping into more and more comic writers thanks to TokyoPop, and as I am presently working on a comic of my own (way to bury that one, Wheaton. Thanks, I try!) I may also find myself in a position to run into [smaller list of names that would make some of you fall down].
So, yesterday, I went to the shop -- on Wednesday -- planning to only pick up Casanova and Anna Mercury.
I, uh, walked out with issues 670-674 of Batman (OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU GRANT MORRISON LET'S NEVER FIGHT AGAIN), three issues of Suburban Glamour (Wow. Jamie. Seriously. This is a beautiful book), the 25th anniversary edition of Killing Joke (which I already have in like four different printings, including a Mint First Printing, Bitches) PvP (which is mostly okay because Scott Kurtz is my friend) a few other things that looked interesting to me and . . . Secret Invasion.
I know, I know. I don't even read fucking Marvel books, and I haven't paid attention to Civil War at all, but the idea of gleefully reading this miniseries all summer long, which we all just know will take some massive twist or something right around San Diego Comic-Con, was just too much for me to pass up, and after reading the first issue, I know that I chose ever so wisely.
When I was up at 12:30 this morning, sitting on the floor in my office, surrounded by the books I'd bought, I had a flashback to 10th grade, and I knew it was time to admit it:
I have a comic problem.
It's not a big deal, though. I can stop reading any time I want to, and even scale back to just a few trades every few . . . months . . . so I don't . . . go . . . to the comic shop . . . every . . . week. . .
. . .
OH MY GOD I CAN'T IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT MY COMIC BOOKS SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME.