Saturday, March 22, 2008

Brief

Pretty much just a filler post here, to get something new on here while I try to read my recent comics purchases.

I thought I would talk about my ritual of comic reading/buying. Every time I go to get my comics, whether it has only been a week or it has been three months, I always do the same general pattern of behavior.

First, upon entering the comic shop, I place my bag at the side of the counter. This is a hold out from when they were more strict on the no backpack policy. They have not mentioned that I needed to do it for a few years, and I don't think I have ever seen anyone else drop off their bag. I still do, though. Just seems to be best not to invite suspicion.

Next, I wander through the trades. Starting with the new trade table right inside the door, moving through the Marvel section (starting with Ultimate stuff, then X-Men, then alphabetical from there), the DC, the Neil Gaiman/Garth Ennis/Grant Morrison/Warren Ellis sections, then finally reaching the "Whatever is cool this week" and everything else trades. Frequently I will either pick a couple (as many as 4 on a trip) or mentally make notes for which ones I should track down later. Some of these mental notes turn into which comics I choose to try to read online to see if I enjoy enough to buy later.

Next, I make my way to the actual singles. There is a full all of shelves for these, with six rows of comics.I start at the front upper shelf (nearest the counter) and scan down to the end, then back again on the next shelf down, until i have scanned every title on the racks that particular visit. If something catches my eye, i will grab it. I also try to keep track of which issue si see that I should be getting in my pull list, as well as the ones I remember enjoying that I may not have added to the list yet. This is sometimes difficult, as my comic shop is good at pulling comics that tie in with something I read to add to my list, on the off chance I will want it. But, sometimes they only do that for a single issue of a new series so I have to remember to grab later issues or keep them in mind in case they issue may or may not have been pulled a second time. I have also had a couple visits where the comics from last week were late to this location but were on time at the second shop I visit (more of a game store with a small selection of comics). So, have to remember which one s I bought last week at the other store.

After this process, which usually takes around 20-45 minutes, I head back to the trades I looked at but did not grab yet. I agonize over which ones I want this time, if any. Many times recently this has been me wanting one, and choosing to wait. Some rare visits this also leads me to the back issue boxes. That only happens if I remembered my lengthy list of comics I need to fill out collections. That happens once every 2 to 3 months (more often if there was a recent miniseries I missed something from).

Finally, I go up to the counter, get my comics from my box, and buy the large pile. This runs me anywhere from $20 to $120 depending on the week and delay between visits. Because I am weak willed when it comes to dropping comics.

After this, i walk the half mile to the other comics/game store where i pick up any issues that I missed at the last store, due to forgetting or lack of stock. I also tend to pick up some sort of roleplaying game or card game at this time.

Then, off to the mall nearby to sort.

My sorting process involves me taking the huge stack of comics and dividing it into three piles. I have Marvel, DC, and Anything Else. Starting with the Anything Else pile, further dividing by specific publisher. Then I divide that stack further by which issues I am most interested in, placing the least interesting issues on top (still sorted by publisher). This takes a while, as some of the comics I like the most are from different publishers. I also try to place any series that is new to me toward the top.

Next, I sort the DC comics. I place the all ages books first on this pile, then any limited series, and then the regular ongoing. Sometimes I will slip a limited series in with the ongoings if it is particularly good. All of these are sorted by worth as above, then placed with the Anything Else comics.

Finally, I get to the Marvel comics. Again, all ages books first, then limited series (within the standard Marvel Universe), then regular ongoing series, then Ultimate line books, and finally MAX books. Occasionally, I will place an event comics at the end of the queue if it is really good (Annihilation: Conquest had that for 4 issues). Once more, they are all sorted by personal merit within their sub-groupings and placed with the rest.

What I end up with is a pile of comics starting with my least anticipated or most unsure of non-Marvel/non-DC comics on top, with progressively more interesting books sorted by publisher and sub-grouping further down until I get to the "best" Marvel book as the last comic I read.

After all of this, I grab some food, possibly watch a movie, and head home to read everything. As I read it, i review it. So, the order you see the reviews is the order in which I lace the comics on the pile. In this way, you can see the value I place on each series by where it is in the order of things on this page.

You can also see how terribly OCD I seem to be when it comes to my comics buying and reading. This pattern of behavior has been ongoing for about 5 years now with the only changes being the amount I spend and the layout of the stores themselves.

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