Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

How Do You Jump Off A Moving Train?

This has come up a couple of times in the last few weeks so I thought I’d share.

The first time was listening to a friend work himself into a frenzied rage over Geoff Johns and DC comics properties. It was ostensibly about Doomsday Clock — which I admit sounds pretty awful — but really it was basically the same list of complaints I’ve been hearing for over a decade now.

You know the words, sing along! Geoff Johns is determined to move everything in the DC Universe back to the setting where it was when he was a kid. His writing is cliche’d fan fiction. He is obsessed with explaining EVERYTHING. (Of course, Barry Allen’s bow tie was invoked.) And so on.

Some of these criticisms have merit, some don’t. Personally, I quite liked the Johns version of the JSA. Mostly because it wasn’t really the JSA at all, it was basically the Thomas/Buscema Avengers in JSA drag.

His Green Lantern was okay up through the Sinestro Corps War. I really enjoyed his runs on Aquaman and Hawkman. His Avengers, on the other hand, was awful. His Superman run started strong and went off the rails with New Krypton. His Justice League run was not good. His Flash run I actively loathed. You know, some books I enjoyed, others I did not.

I try not to read or purchase comic books I feel sure I would not enjoy. Therefore I gave myself permission to jump ship. Even more, I gave myself permission to not care about what was going on without me.

So apart from a brief moment of WTF SERIOUSLY? when someone tried to tell me about the atrocities committed in Doomsday Clock …I really didn’t care.

The second time was when someone asked me about the current state of the Avengers in comics and I realized I had no goddam idea.

For the first time in decades. Always, before, even when I wasn’t reading the book I knew more or less what was going on in it. Granted, I’d felt a little twinge when my beloved comics retailer closed its doors after literally decades of me picking up my comics there once a week… but what I’ve discovered in the months since then is that I don’t miss keeping up with new stuff. It frees up cash for old stuff I enjoy more.

For those of you out there reading this that are long-time collectors… I’m not scolding you. I get it. I know how it sneaks up on you. The act of collecting ITSELF, the hunt for missing pieces of a complete run, can be very seductive.

…but once upon a time, it was also DOABLE. Today, such a quest takes on Sisyphean difficulties, even for the stuff I might like.

I can tell you how I got sucked in: Back in late 1972 or so when I was twelve, I had an epiphany. I realized that I could buy my own books with my lawn-mowing money. I didn’t have to depend on the library. I could build my own.

First were the Ian Fleming James Bond novels. There were fourteen. (I went for the Signet editions, mostly, because they were sixty cents each; the Bantam editions had MUCH cooler covers, but they were a staggering ninety-five cents apiece. There is such a thing as budget, people!)

I loved those books and still do; today I have them in varying editions in hardcover. But even at age twelve there was also the small but measurable pleasure in looking at that complete set, all lined up. I had done one a week or so, sometimes more if I could find any at the two bookstores I could walk to. I could have wiped out the whole set in a week if I’d been able to get to B. Dalton’s at the mall, but that took a car.

But the point is, my inner paperback collector had been awakened. I promptly set about acquiring the Planet of the Apes novels. There were eight; five from the movies and three from the TV show. I got four of them with a gift certificate my grandma gave me for my birthday– the others took a while longer. (For some reason David Gerrold’s Battle For The Planet of the Apes was ridiculously hard to track down.) But I got them.

And again there was that small, tight satisfaction at having the complete set. Later there were books tying in to the cartoon and I went after those too. The Marvel magazines were out of my reach–not available anywhere in my area, not even at the mall!– but I did collect the color comics reprinting them.

(Decades later, I discovered that there was a fourth in the TV series, Lord of the Apes, that goes for ridiculously high prices from dealers. I instantly had an irrational urge to own it, even though I had let go of the other paperbacks long ago. I knew buying it would lead to a quest to re-acquire all the other books, and then I’d go after the newer ones, and…. no. not going there.)

(Goddmamit I’M NOT! REALLY!)

This internal Maybe-I-will-no-I-shouldn’t is the constant burden of being half-fan, half-collector. That litany goes through my head every time I step into a bookstore or a thrift store or even just surfing Amazon.

Now, you have to remember that in the years I formed my habit– roughly 1973-79– that there was no such thing as home video at all. The only chance to see these stories again was syndicated reruns on the local station– which was seldom– or to read the books.

Sometimes the books were the only way I got to see this stuff at all. My mother forbade Kung Fu in our home (she had decreed that David Carradine was a “filthy hippie” after he showed up barefoot on The Mike Douglas Show) but I was able to read the books and that satisfied me.

Often I would find– like with James Bond, or Logan’s Run — that the books were better than the movies and that fed the fire, as well. But I have to be honest– the lure of a ‘complete set’ was never entirely absent. Even when it was clearly impossible, like with Doc Savage or Mack Bolan, I would daydream of one day owning a library where I had them ALL.

It only takes a couple of paragraphs to write this up but it was years developing. I got into the habit of finding a new series that I would collect each time I finished one, and by the time I was in high school I had several sets that I was not only collecting but updating. Star Trek, the Phantom, the Avenger, Conan the barbarian.

Comics, in those pre-specialty-shop days, had always been impossible for me to assemble any kind of complete set, or even unbroken runs… until I was in high school. Then the grocery store down the street changed owners, and magazine distributors, and suddenly comics were consistently available to me. I could follow continued stories — hell, I could follow crossovers. It was intoxicating.

Also during those years I learned how to take the bus into downtown Portland and find things that had been previously impossible to find– Marvel magazine back issues and old Man From UNCLE paperbacks, things like that.

These things all came together in high school to create in me a raging case of fannish OCD. By the time I left for college, I had amassed a pretty spectacular– if I do say so myself — collection of unbroken runs of this and that. Comics, paperbacks, and even a small number of old hardcover rarities. Because I had discovered the pleasures of antiquarian bookscouting by then as well. (That story is here.)

I won’t get into the whole sordid history of it– that’s not what this is about– but that collection slowly evaporated, unloaded for quick cash a little at a time, as my drug habit and drinking spiraled out of control. By 1983 it was all gone.

When I finally got clean in 1986, one of the hobbies I used to distract myself from the shame and difficulty of sobering up was deciding that, along with the ongoing process of rebuilding my life, I would also rebuild the collection.

That was thirty-two years ago. Since then, I’ve pretty much done that, and added a lot more… for one thing, home video is a thing now. The DVD collection alone is a wall of the front room. Books and comics are overflowing everywhere in our apartment.

But I discovered that it’s a trap, and here is where we circle around to the anecdote about my friend who is spurred into such a rage by Geoff Johns. The ‘complete set’ mentality is where that comes from.

When I was a kid it was possible to ‘keep up’ with, say, Star Trek. There were the Blish paperbacks adapting the original series episodes, the Alan Dean Foster paperbacks adapting the animated series, and a couple-three original novels and Making Of books. There were at most forty to fifty issues of the Gold Key comics and if you really were a completist, a couple of story-record sets from Power Records. It was a finite thing. Do-able.

When I embarked on my ‘rebuilding’ quest in the 1980s, there wasn’t that much extra. Some additional original novels from Pocket Books…. I had a pleasant few months tracking those down. Then came The Next Generation and those got paperbacks too. It was getting to be a hefty chunk of the wall of SF books in the back room, true… but still possible to keep up.

But today? Forget it.

I bailed in the 1990s, when I realized I wasn’t even READING the damn things any more, just adding them to the night-stand pile and then shelving them unread when I ran out of room.

So I had a purge.

Today it’s confined to the Gregg Press hardcovers, the Pocket hardcovers, a few authors I really enjoy like Diane Duane and Peter David and Diane Carey… and a few trade paperbacks of comics. That’s it. Even the DVDs we have on hand are largely confined to Julie’s and my personal Trek ‘greatest hits,’ not entire seasons or series. (The Fan Collective and Best Of sets are really all we need to have on hand, we’ve discovered. We probably are going to burn ourselves a set of Star Trek Continues one of these days, we love those, but there’s no hurry.)

This purge– almost a wall’s worth of books and VHS and stuff — was hugely freeing. With that realization, I started doing this with the other collections as well. Stripping out the deadwood, just keeping the things I genuinely like and will revisit.

Especially with comics, letting go of the monthly single issue habit and going only with trades and collected book editions has been wonderful… and something I noticed since my retailer closed? I don’t feel like there are things going on I need to know about any more. Batman getting married? Civil War II? Dark Nights: Metal? Whatever. Maybe in a few years I’ll get around to looking at a collected edition if I see one on sale at Half-Price Books or something. But the URGENCY that comes with the OCD collector habit is gone.

Even more, this pick-and-choose approach has changed my personal headcanon about what ‘counts’ and what doesn’t. Here’s a few mental edits that have given me great peace.

For us, The X-Files continuity ended with the release of the first movie. No Doggett, no revival series, we don’t worry about any of that. We do own the Lone Gunmen show and the episode of X-Files that wrapped it up, but that’s it for the later stuff.

In our household, Buffy The Vampire Slayer only ran three seasons, followed by its sequel, two seasons of Angel. The books we have on hand are the hardcovers, one or two of the Dark Horse comics collections, and anything from Christopher Golden or Nancy Holder. That is sufficient for our needs.

James Bond — no novels by anyone other than Ian Fleming, Raymond Benson, Kingsley Amis, and Anthony Horowitz. No Young James Bond except Charlie Higson. Movies, only the original Connery, Lazenby, Dalton, and the first two from Craig. Only two of the Roger Moores and no Never Say Never Again. No comics except Grell, Moench/Gulacy, and Don McGregor. The new ones, only Warren Ellis.

For us, the CW television universe of DC superheroes pretty much concluded with Crisis on Earth-X.

We haven’t felt the need to check in with those shows since then. Might get around to it, might not. We hear Black Lightning is good and we’ll probably find our way to that one eventually. No hurry.

I could go on. But the point I’m making is that when you pick and choose what you are going to read and collect instead of trying to get EVERYTHING, you can discard the stuff that annoys you not just in your library, but also in your headcanon.

It’s not even deliberate, it sort of just happens. My conception of Batman’s career, just to take one example, is basically Batman Year Two followed by Robin Year One and Batgirl Year One, then some Silver Age stuff/Batman 1966’s first season, then the Robbins/O’Neil/Adams era with the re-introduction of Two-Face, the origin of Man-Bat, and the first battles with Ra’s al Ghul; followed by Archie Goodwin’s Detective, Bat-Murderer, Englehart-Rogers, Moench/Colan/Newton up to Batman #400, the introduction of Tim Drake (the Starlin stuff with Jason Todd dying I sort of acknowledge but I don’t need to have it here), Knightfall, No Man’s Land, the Dixon run of Birds of Prey, Officer Down, Bruce Wayne Murderer and Bruce Wayne Fugitive, and Morrison up till Batman Inc. Sure, I own more than that (like Frank Miller’s first couple of Bat stories, but not the new stuff) but in my head it doesn’t really ‘count,’ and thus it never sends me into a spit-spraying rage like the one my Johns-hating friend must endure every time he walks into a comics shop.

Likewise, I never get upset about Star Trek Nemesis or Spectre or the current incarnation of the Justice League, because they aren’t part of the home library and my brain somehow equates this with “not existing at all.”

Do I still collect things? Of course I do. We’ll always have a home library and it will always be huge. But it doesn’t need to be complete any more.

That’s enough of a victory over my OCD tendencies. I’m taking the win and moving on. If things like Doomsday Clock or Civil War II or the DC cinematic universe are sending you into a fury, maybe you should consider doing the same.

Back next week with something cool.

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  1. M-Wolverine

    Hello, my name is Chris. I am an addict.

    But I’m in the midst of recovery. When DC went the Nu52 I stopped with DC. So all their weirdness since then has passed me by. There have been a few Marvel crossovers that have almost made me do the same thing. But I’ve been weak and have done a slow wean, and when things change and restart I don’t worry about picking them up and being complete. I was just thinking I’d probably be done with them too, but the MCU is so good and it keeps reminding me how good these charazcters can be. Or were.

    It’s just impossible to be complete. Used to be easy to collect and keep track of a whole universe when everyone just had one title and there weren’t ten sidekicks to every hero. And I could tell you where every character last appeared to the point where you could correct a writer/editor if they didn’t explain how character got from title A to title C.

    It’s also a problem that when books used to be better than other mediums now TV is far better and movies have started doing it better than the books. They can’t imagine much they can’t show now. So a full DVR and Netflix list and movie night precede stacks of comics.

    I love that stack of Bond books. Those are the ones on my shelf now. And nowhere near as good but I enjoyed the follow up books, till they got too hard to keep track of. Star Wars too, till it turned into some alien war with a millions books just like any other Sci Fi books. I will say ditch Quantum of Solace and get Skyfalk instead. If you’re going to own two of his Bond movies it’s that and Casino Royale. Though QoS is still better than Spectre.

    While Marvel movies are holding a consistency Pixar can’t even match, sad to say The Last Jedi has sucked my enthusiasm for my favorite Star Wars. Will I see Solo on opening night? Sure. Am I excited about it? Not really.

    But as we get closer, it doesn’t look so bad anymore….

    The first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem.

  2. Le Messor

    I’ve long thought that us collectors have OCD about us – and that comic book companies know that and use it. It’s why they keep making ‘events’ and why they sell and maybe why many people stop collecting.
    At least, this is my experience; ymmv:
    I thought about collecting The Avengers again (which I’ve done off and on for a while). Then I looked at the shelves and realised I didn’t even know what The Avengers was anymore; there were five series with ‘The Avengers’ in the title, none of them clearly the core series, and I didn’t want all of them.
    I further realised that if I started collecting them, I could either commit to the 50 issues of events per year I’d need to keep up with them, or skip the series during the events. I could hurt either my OCD or my wallet.

    I opted out, and chose not to buy them at all. Now I try to find back issues if I can.

  3. Edo Bosnar

    The points you make about keeping and/or acquiring only the stuff you love, and having a head-canon and sticking to that are crucial. I had two major purges of my comics and books collections, one at the end of high school when I moved out of state and another before I left the country in the early 1990s. When I drifted back into comics and geekdom in general in the mid-’00s, I kind of subconsciously followed these rules when I went about acquiring or reacquiring books – and that still hasn’t stopped me from accumulating so much g**damned material to read.

    I also have to point out that there’s a flip side to the OCD need to have whole sets: avoidance of certain things just because you know you’ll start obsessing and try to buy every last thing available. This reverse disorder first hit me in my early teens, which is why – for example – I never really got into the Star Trek novels, or even the comics (despite what you said in your column, even back in the early ’80s it seemed to me a Herculean task to get it all).
    More recently, however, I have read and very much enjoyed John Byrne’s Trek minis (the ones he also drew, not the New Visions stuff) and I’ve bought but not yet read Duane’s Rihannsu series.

  4. For me completism—which like you developed when I had enough money to be a completist — died in the 1980s. I finally accepted that “sooner or later Series X will be good again, and you won’t want a gap!” didn’t work because some things didn’t improve, or not fast enough to be worth the money (I should have quit Claremont’s X-Men years earlier than I did).

    Other things yes. I just got the last two of the old Doc Savage omnibuses I didn’t have. Have no urge to get continuations, though I have several of Will Murray’s.

    The New 52 finally killed my interest in buying any regular DC stuff (some Vertigo excepted) Still, I’m glad my library has lots of stuff. Even if the story’s awful, I want to know what’s been happening with Batman, Flash, etc. Though if the library didn’t have it, I could live without.
    I enjoy John’s JSA. Stayed with GL up to the point Sinestro became GL and it sank in there was no payoff. Rereading, I realized that started with his retelling of Hal’s origin –no payoff there, just set up for the future. ALL his arcs are set ups for the next arc, and that one doesn’t pay off either. I should have quit sooner.
    Do love his JSA. And his Hawkman. He should not be allowed near the New Gods in any capacity. But I don’t think his fondness for resetting is unique–lots of people at DC and Marvel seem to share the It Was Perfect When I Was a Kid view.

  5. A slight clarification: I’d already had to curtail buying a lot of comics series because my cheap employer had been paying us less and less, coupled with “Hmm, a b&w of Werewolf by Night for $15 bucks or eighty pages of current stories in color? No contest.” In a better financial condition, I might have lasted longer. But I certainly don’t miss it (rereading old comics and collecting TPBs of one thing or another probably has me reading more per week than I did in the first decade of this century).

  6. Le Messor

    some things didn’t improve, or not fast enough to be worth the money (I should have quit Claremont’s X-Men years earlier than I did).

    While I may’ve stuck with Claremont’s X-Men, I agree with the sentiment. (Though… some of that 90s Claremont X-Men… maybe not.)

    The New 52 finally killed my interest in buying any regular DC stuff.
    I read Gotham Academy, but that’s it. Somebody loaned me the first five issues each of Supergirl, Superboy, and Teen Titans; while the talked a lot about being heroes, they tried to save people precisely twice out of fifteen issues, and succeeded once. (Though Supergirl set up for a saving in #6. Six issues in before she saves anybody.)

    I’ve found Johns to be meh.

    1. I can quit buying, but given the opportunity I can’t seem to stop reading. I love the characters, even if any given take on them sucks so I’ll still read them even if I’m rolling my eyes.
      Along with Claremont’s X-Men, I should have given up on Doug Moench’s Bat-run almost at once. Hopefully the charity auction that took them will transfer ownership to someone who likes ’em better.

      1. Eric van Schaik

        I quit buying all of Marvel and DC. Astro City was the last monthly comic.
        Like Greg I don’t care anymore. Maybe it’s an age thing (me being 54 🙂 )
        I didn’t look at the Previews sollicitations very quickly after jumping of series because I might be pulled back. But after 2 months I didn’t have the desire anymore so it’s possible guys. You can do it to.
        I love Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman but I only want to read the stuff that I actually like. It’s great that Brace Wayne will get married but there is no desire to read about it anymore.

  7. Eric van Schaik

    Mine US comics OCD started when I wanted to know if Mary Jane would marry Peter Parker. The dutch translated version was 4 months behind the US version in The Netherlands.
    In the beginning lots and lots of money went to comics. Mostly Marvel but some good DC stuff too.

    Reading comics was the reason that I stopped reading novels. I was mostly collecting Stephen King books with a bit of Clive Barker.

    For me the purge came when we (my ex and myself) realised that the amount of stuff in the living room made us uneasy in our own home. I was surprised how easy I could say goodbye to my novels.
    Comics came a short while later. I had (and still have) 5 Ikea Billy bookcases. If I wanted to buy new stuff a lot of old stuff had to go. Going through my collection I saw a lot of stuffed that retroactive was surprised me. Some comics I could sell but a lot of other comics went in the old paper container.
    With watching television we went cold turkey when my ex had a burn out. The first week was tough but after that we were quickly accustomed.

    If I buy new stuff I listen to my guides Greg and Travis 🙂
    I only look at Marvel and DC sollicitations for finding TPB’s with older stuff.

    I’m surprised Greg that there is no love for Pierce Brosnan as 007. After Moore I hadn’t seen quiet some movies in the cinema. He brought me back.

    I buy music mostly right now. Looking for stuff that I liked before I met my ex (yeah, I’m in full nostalgia mode right now 😉 ). But I’m not buying everything from an artist. Although music is the only media where it is do-able to follow an artist.

    The advantage of buying less comics is that I finally have some peace and quiet to actually read stuff, not collect it and never reading it.

    1. I’m surprised Greg that there is no love for Pierce Brosnan as 007.

      Hey, *I* think he’s terrific. Tomorrow Never Dies is probably my favorite but I quite like all four of his. Yes, even Die Another Day.

        1. M-Wolverine

          Hmmm. I’d say Goldeneye is justifiably thought of as the best of his, and is a really good Bond movie. But like Greg I have a strong love for Tomorrow Never Dies. Love Pryce in anything, great Bond women, exotic locales that feel foreign, not American, exciting action sequences. The World is not Enough is a good, if flawed, Bond film. Die Another Day is a hot mess and Spectre is grateful for it, because they can say “hey, at least it wasn’t as bad as Die Another Day.”

  8. Le Messor

    Ah, yes, the Craig Bonds.
    During a time when everything was being stripped of all colour, vibrancy, fantasy, and fun, I was actually amazed that they managed to strip the fantasy out of a property that wasn’t fantastic in the first place.

  9. Jeff Nettleton

    I started bailing in stuff by the late 90s. My collecting days were pretty much over, though I still got some new comics; just not as much. I purged my collection, sold a small portion, donated the rest (about 12 -14 long boxes) to a boys’ home, after a friend came to B&N, to see if we could donate reading material. I mostly didn’t miss it, as I had trades of the good stuff, and acquired new trades as they came out. By the mid-2000s I was about as far as I was going to get there, minus some European stuff. I purged the library when I moved for my job, donating a chunk to a local library, including a ton of graphic novels and trades. I did that again when we moved this past fall. I have two bookcases of books (plus some oversized books) and that is it. I have digital scans of the comic stuff, which fills about half of a storage fixture. The dvds were condensed down into 2 and a half Rubbermaid file cabinets, in envelopes. They are mostly it, for that stuff.

    It is amazing how little you miss stuff, once the habit ends. Not always, as I did reacquire a couple of books; but, just a couple.

    Not much of a fan of Craig’s Bond, other than Casino. Don’t really care for that take on it, as they sucked all of the fun out of it and turned it into endless 9/11 metaphors. On the other hand, I love Moore’s Bonds, except Moonraker and View to a Kill, and they are still watchable. Connery is king and Lazenby is better than credited and Dalton was good in the first (not wild about his second.) Brosnan didn’t get much of a chance; but, I have them. Goldeneye is the only one I love, though Tomorrow has enough to satisfy and World has Sophie Marceau.

    1. For me, the desire to collect more and the desire to hang on to what I’ve got are quite separate. While I have gotten rid of a few hundred issues since moving up to Durham, I’m quite happy to keep the rest of them around (I reread them a lot). Same with books and DVDs. Actually I’m buying slightly more DVDs these days, as I keep discovering something I want to watch isn’t available streaming.

  10. Le Messor

    BTW, with all this talk of Bond, Lazenby specifically, I’d be remiss not to say that he moved to the next town over from me when he was 14, and lived there for about 10 years (according to Wikipedia). (The next town over is divided from this one by a river and a state border, and that’s it.)

  11. Louis Bright-Raven

    Sorry I’ve been away. Very busy this past week, trying to get my father’s medical needs taken care of. So, as I was trying to say earlier before my computer screwed up:

    I mostly stopped being “OCD” about comics a long time ago. Close to twenty five years ago. The constant spinoffs and crossover storylines in the late 1980s started the ball rolling regarding my annoyance with the Big Two. Claremont’s departure from UNCANNY X-MEN in August of 1991 (which was the last straw with the X-Books for me), John Byrne “picking up his toys and going home” when DANGER UNLIMITED, BABE and NEXT MEN didn’t sell to the levels he felt they should have, and the KNIGHTFALL, DEATH OF SUPERMAN, and EMERALD TWILIGHT storylines in BATMAN / SUPERMAN / GREEN LANTERN in 1992-94 respectively really pushed me out of that behavior, hard.

    Thus, I adopted a system. If I’m starting to read a new ongoing monthly series, I give it a year. If I still like the book at the end of the 12 issues, I give it another year (through #25), and I revisit this every 12 issues, until I either get bored, or the creative team changes or I no longer like the series, or for whatever reason I choose to stop. If it’s a miniseries, I get the whole miniseries. If I enjoy it, maybe I buy the next mini. If not, then I’m done.

    It becomes very easy to walk away when you call yourself out like this. “I have a complete run of X number of copies (12, 25, 36, 50, every 25 issues thereafter), but I’m bored / not happy with the book currently…” Okay, then it’s time to go. If I want to sell it later, I have a complete set to market. Everything I’ve collected from that point onward has pretty much followed that system. Read to enjoyment, stop when it’s no longer enjoyable, have a ‘set’ to sell later. I’ve pretty much done this since 1992-93 thereabouts. (And I wasn’t a ‘hardcore’ comics fan who went to comics shops and bought more than maybe 2-5 books a month until 1989 when I’d left for college. So it
    didn’t take long for me to figure it out.)

    As far as back issues go, I’ve never been so much a completest as much as I’ve wanted specific issues that I can remember from my childhood, and then if there’s additional issues that I missed from that specific period that interest me enough maybe I might get those as well. I think that part of the reason I didn’t have that completest attitude was the basic understanding that I was never going to have all the stuff published from before I was born, plus the realization that no matter how many U.S. stories I’d get, there’d still be all the stories of the characters that originated in other countries that are not even translated into English. Are you really a BATMAN completest if
    you don’t have the stuff from Japan, for example? (And I don’t mean just the “Bat-Manga!” stuff that has been translated – there’s even MORE that hasn’t been seen in America). Are you really a SPIDER-MAN completest if you don’t have the SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN UK comics that feature stories with the work of artist Andie Tong that aren’t printed in the U.S.? He only worked on the character for 5 years (2005-2010) and yet most U.S. Spidey fans don’t even know his name.

    So I figured it out relatively early when I was collecting that being a completest was nonsense. And once you break yourself of that mentality, it’s easy to stop.

    Do I ‘care’ about what’s going on after I leave the books? Not so much. I don’t know if I ever needed to give myself ‘permission’ not to care, like you felt you had to, Greg. My ‘caring’ has more to do with the annoyance generated by know it all fandom who want to treat others as inferior / lesser then them, or the fandom who has to sit there and piss and moan about the books but still buy them, and get defensive when I or anyone else calls them out on their behavior.

    Greg Hatcher: “Especially with comics, letting go of the monthly single issue habit and going only with trades and collected book editions has been wonderful… and something I noticed since my retailer closed? I don’t feel like there are things going on I need to know about any more. Batman getting married? Civil War II? Dark Nights: Metal? Whatever. Maybe in a few years I’ll get around to looking at a collected edition if I see one on sale at Half-Price Books or something. But the URGENCY that comes with the OCD collector habit is gone.”

    The only “urgency” I feel is when I buy the true independent “back of the catalog” books or underground titles, because you’re not likely to get a trade collection with that content. As far as “knowing about” things going on in the industry – there is so much white noise signal from social media today that it’s next to impossible not to know some generalized idea of what’s going on. It’s more just not wanting to deal with the overreactions of others. (And hey, can’t blame you there.)

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