Over at the old stand, once a year or so I’d take a look at the comics on my current reserve list.
That reserve list ends as of the 28th of this month, when my beloved old comics retailer Zanadu closes for good. They have been offering to help customers set up a new pull box at another retailer, but honestly? I can’t think of anywhere I’d want to change TO. Time Travelers is gone, Comics Dungeon is gone, Games Plus is gone. I can’t think of a comics shop that isn’t at least forty minutes away by car.
Apart from all that, I don’t really want a reserve list anyway.
I am not at all sentimental about the format of monthly comics, certainly not as they exist today. (All right, I have been known to get a little misty about the old 100-pagers and DC Giants and so on.)
But the vast, vast majority of monthly comics I own have been sitting in longboxes, unread since the original day of purchase. Sometimes for YEARS.
Meanwhile, Marvel, DC, and the rest of the publishers out there have adopted a cycle of collecting every six months’ worth of a title into a paperback, and lately they are experimenting with hardcovers collecting a year’s worth of stories (omnibus editions of two or three paperbacks at a time, generally.) Those I can shelve, and they get reread. (Even one reread already makes it a better financial return for me than a monthly 32-page comic.) I have entire series runs that I bought new in this format, my shopping habits no different than when I pick up a new book from a favorite author.
Moreover, comics I missed the first time around are now available in book form, as well. Even the really obscure stuff.
And finally? The ability to order over the internet lets me get these books for pennies on the dollar, often as soon as six weeks after publication. Certainly no more than within a year of the initial release.
So what all this means is that we actually have more comics coming into the house than ever before. Here’s the accumulation of the last six months or so… and these are the ones I’ve already READ, waiting to be shelved. There’s another stack almost as tall in the to-read pile on the nightstand in the bedroom.
Every one of these was acquired for half of the cover price, or less. Usually considerably less. None of them from my comics retailer.
So why maintain a pull list at all?
Well, because I’m also sentimental about my retailer.
The crew at Zanadu Comics have been enormously supportive of me and my students, and I felt like I should throw them some business. But if they’re closing, I have no qualms about letting the pull list go. It’s kind of a relief, honestly.
Here’s what was on it, as of day before yesterday, when I cleaned it out for the last time. (They applied my initial boxholder’s deposit from over a decade ago to the pile, as well, so I wasn’t even out any cash.)
Aquaman. This is on the list mostly out of inertia, although I do enjoy it. Originally, it was on the list because I wanted to support the continued presence of an Aquaman title. I’ve been a fan of Aquaman since I was six years old. In fact, it started with the cartoon.
My first Aqua-purchase wasn’t a comic, but the Big Little Book Scourge of the Sea. I’ve been keeping up with all the incarnations since then.
DC is pretty good about getting the newer stuff into book collections, although they haven’t got any of the sixties stuff from Steve Skeates, which is what I really would like to see. When Jeff Parker took the book on a few years ago, it very much echoed that Skeates-Cardy-Aparo vibe, and Dan Abnett kept to that approach when he took over. (Cullen Bunn’s brief tenure was treated as a one-off aberration, as it should have been.)
But, to my great annoyance, this approach is being scrapped in favor of another interminable storyline about palace intrigue in Atlantis. Which has been DONE TO DEATH.
The reason for the makeover is painfully obvious.
Even though I get why DC is doing this, and certainly it’s good business for them to steer things closer to the movie, it still annoys me. I think they could do the movie makeover and still keep the fun of Aquaman and Mera living in Amnesty Bay.
Will I keep up with it? In trade paperback, yeah, probably. I imagine I’ll be converting the longbox of monthly comics to book form, as well. I like Dan Abnett’s writing and though the art team hasn’t been terribly consistent, everyone has been good.
Archie. Originally I picked this up on the strength of Mark Waid’s name — I think he is probably the best mainstream comics writer working today, and one of the very few who can still produce a complete comics reading experience in 22 pages.
The current storyline wraps up this month, though, I’m told, and I think that’s a good jumping-off place. Although I’m impressed that Waid has made me care about these characters at all, I don’t feel the need to keep current with things in Riverdale. (Or should I say Riverdale-Prime? There are so many weird alternate iterations of it these days I can’t keep up.)
IDW Star Trek titles. The interesting thing about Trek in comics, if you have any grasp of comics history, is that though the license has made the rounds of at least six different U.S. publishers — to say nothing of the various comics produced in foreign markets — they’ve generally been pretty consistently good, and especially from the 1980s onward, the publishers have been given the freedom to experiment and do stories that you couldn’t get from TV or the movies or even the licensed novels.
IDW has actually taken that further than any publisher before… AND they get all the older stuff back in print, too. It’s the best of both worlds.
I have been getting both of the ongoing titles, Boldly Go and New Visions. I have to admit that I’m not enjoying New Visions as much as I was.
The Fotonovel approach is starting to wear out its welcome with me, and I think I’d rather John Byrne go back to the more original Trek books he was doing.
On the other hand, Star Trek: Boldly Go, from Mike Johnson and various artists, is just getting to be more and more fun. It’s ostensibly about the movie crew of the Enterprise after the events of Star Trek Beyond, but it’s so much MORE than that. Johnson isn’t afraid to draw on the last six decades of Star Trek lore, and he is twisting it in delightful new ways.
He’s done stories riffing on the original Mirror Universe saga, and gradually building on that until we’ve reached the current “I.D.I.C.” story about all the various parallel versions of the Trek crew colliding.
Really, it ought to be called Crisis on Infinite Treks, or something. But it’s a hoot and a half.
Will I be keeping up with them? I daresay the 20 issues of New Visions I have here will be sufficient, but I certainly am going to keep up with Boldly Go in trade paperback, and any other Mike Johnson-written Star Trek as well, probably.
That’s it for the official pull list. But to my delighted surprise, Zanadu also pulled the first two issues of Quarry’s War, from Hard Case comics, because they knew I’d want them.
There’s a reason I’ve stuck with that shop for so many years.
This miniseries is actually really cool and I’ll have more to say about it… next week, along with other Hard Case offerings. See you then.