As stupid as this sounds, buying comics is kind of like dating.
And before anyone makes a crack, I’ve been in a great relationship with an actual woman for three years. I would also like to state that I’m very happy in said relationship and this week’s column is in no way a cry for help.
What I mean by this is that for a lot of us comic buyers, you’ll pick up an issue, usually a number one, know right away that it’s not for you and you break it off clean. With other comics, sometimes it takes a few dates (issues) before you realize that this relationship isn’t going to work out, you wish them all the best and leave it be.
But when do you know if it’s time to drop a book? As previously stated, it’s kind of like dating so if its been a few years, when do you know that the relationship is dead and it’s time to move on?
In my comic book buying life, I’ve collected a few on going series for long periods of time. The book that kicked up my comic buying into serious mode was X-Force #1, drawn by Rob Liefeld. At the time it seemed like a good jumping on point for the X-Men universe (which along with Jim Lee’s X-Men, seemed to be having a bit of a renaissance). And for the age I was, the relationship went well. There was interesting stories, new artists and writers passed through the book but ultimately what pulled us apart was the rest of the X-Family of books. I’ve gone on record numerous times about the fact that I dislike company / line wide crossovers essentially due to the fact that being an X-book reader in the 90’s was lousy for these. I was a teen and didn’t have much money so I could only afford X-Force. During these crossovers, getting one book meant that you got parts 4, 8, 12 and 14. Stuff like this also occurred in the annuals and eventually it got to the point where I only kind of knew what was going on in the X-Force universe (keep in mind, this was before the wide spread use of the internet). It got to the point where I was just buying it out of habit. I eventually dropped the title with issue #31 although I’d be hard pressed to tell you anything about it. I think Black Tom becomes part tree or something.
I came close to dropping Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The whole, Buffy with superpowers story didn’t really thrill me but I decided to give it a few more issues and I’m glad I did. The current arc with the new male slayer has added a very interesting twist on the old concepts.
Currently, I have decided to drop Secret Avengers. I’ve been with the book since #1, in part due to the concept and the fact that Ed Brubaker was writing it. I liked the idea of a Black Ops Avengers but with a roster of (for the most part) random members. I loved the idea of a book with both Shang Chi and Nova in it. I loved that Moon Knight was being used well. In all, it was a solid read. But the stories have been dropping off in my interest lately and with the announcement that the title will be re-numbered, the general format of the series changing and Nick Spencer (who wrote my least favourite issues of the series) being brought back as writer, I figure now is as good a time to drop the title and make way for something new (possibly the new Guardians of the Galaxy?).
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a few series that I don’t think I’ll ever quit on. Anytime Matt Wagner’s Grendel or Mage hits with new material, I am there. The same goes for Hellboy trades. I still buy Buffy the Vampier Slayer and TMNT as monthlies. And Neil Gaiman has said he has a new chapter of the Sandman story in the works and I can never say no to Neil.
But I ask you good reader, when do you sit down and decide that a book should be dropped? Do you go to a certain numerical value? Do you drop it the minute it sucks? Or do you wait it out a while in the hopes it gets better?
And you thought the dating analogy was weird.
Let me know your thoughts below.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!