Bargain Bin: X-Force (Volume 4)

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

This was purchased from an Ebay auction that listed several different series. Many of auctions that have multiple series do not list the titles. Some will even say that they are random (I don’t believe them), or that they haven’t been picked over (I always assume the previous owner picked over it).

In this case, all the titles and issues were disclosed. I just wasn’t smart enough and wound up bidding on an auction that I thought would fill the gaps in my “Uncanny X-Force”. But no. The auction only included titles for “X-Force” without the “Uncanny” prefix.

Yes, I got this one by mistake.

The lot was for 30 issues, 7 were X-Force ranging from issue 3 to 14. In total I paid about $12. This means I received 10 times as many comics from this auction than I would have received if I spent the same amount on new titles.

My Familiarity With the Title

Obviously not very familiar if I bid on the auction thinking it was a different series. I was slightly more familiar with the writer Si Spurrier.

How were the Issues?

Uncanny X-Force was not my favorite, so I didn’t have high expectations for this series. It features two of the characters that made Uncanny weird.

But they weren’t weird this time and the series was glorious. When I read an issue by Si Spurrier I feel like I’m getting more than one story.

Obviously, it’s a team series. Or in theatric terms it is an ensemble cast. The series landed well with me for a couple of reasons:

  • Each of the issues I read focuses on one of the team members mostly through inner monologue, but continues to advance the plot for the entire team. Instead it builds momentum as the other characters reference previous issues either through dialogue or action.
  • Each character has a unique voice. It’s like there is a team of writers working here. Not just one. I am very, very envious.

Will I read it to my children?

Tough call on this. It has a lot of violence, but not a lot of gore. The language isn’t out of control (one issue actually deals with this in a rather humorous way). I don’t feel that women are misrepresented. Characters face dilemmas that are not always solved by violence and their decisions have consequences.

In short, it’s probably not something that I’d walk up to my 6 & 9 year old and say “Hey let’s read this.” But if they were asking for a recommendation on X-Men (or any X titles) I’d probably share it with them.

Favorite Panels

At some point in my bargain reading I started taking pictures of panels that I thought I could sneak into a Facebook comment or two and look totally hip. This is one of the few modern titles that had these types of panels.

 

Bargain Bin: Avengers Volume 5

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

In total there were 5 issues acquired in about 3 different purchases. The 4 of the issues range range from #3-7, with only 5 missing. The other one is issues 35. 4 of the issues came in as part of a purchase of a lot. One was purchased through a 50 cent bin at a local comic shop.

I paid around 50 cents for each, so only out $2.50 for these titles. Using comic book math I couldn’t even buy a regular issue for that. If I was lucky I might be able to buy a promotional comic or two that sell for $1 a piece.

My Familiarity With the Title

It’s the Avengers, I’ve been reading more of these titles recently. Some thing like 40 issues from the 80s. Plus some of The New Avengers issues that I loved were written by John Hickman who wrote all 5 issues of the Avengers covered by this review.

Did I mention I really enjoyed the New Avengers? This is by the same writer. It should work out.

How were the Issues?

It did not work out. With the New Avengers it was like reading them for the first time. With volume 5 of The Avengers, it was like I didn’t know who these characters were any more.

How was the plot? I’m glad you asked, because I was unable to figure out the plot for any of the 5 issues. Maybe that’s on me. Maybe I should have read more than 40 issues before reading even one volume 5 issue.

Bottom line. These issues aren’t good bargain bin material. None of the issues provided adequate background for new readers like myself to enjoy. Plus the roster looks like it is over 20 characters! Not every issue has all 20, but each issue covers multiple threads with a large cast in each. It’s hard to follow, and for me it was impossible to know what the plot was.

I don’t mind plots that are elusive, as long as that is the intent of the writer. This didn’t have that vibe. It felt like I wore a costume to an exclusive party that turned out not to be a costume party and was hosted by someone who didn’t invite me… but somehow received an invitation. Ya. I think that sums it up well enough.

I’m guessing that these are enjoyed by long-term fans (or people with a subscription to Marvel Unlimited).

I probably won’t be picking up any more of these on purpose. The ones I do have will find there way onto eBay.

Will I read it to my children?

Maybe they could explain it to me?

Favorite Panels

None. But I did like the cover to Issue 7 (the featured image for this post).

Bargain Bin: The New Avengers

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

In total I acquired 6 issues, 3 from volume 1 and 3 from volume 3. They were obtained through a couple of mix lot auctions where I was looking for other titles. One I think was from a 50 cent bin and another I picked up for around $1.50 at a used book store. This haphazard approach resulted in none of the issues being consecutive.

The average price was less than a dollar issue. Since this wasn’t really a title I set out to collect, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about obtaining them. But the low cost kept me from feeling like this was some high risk gamble.

My Familiarity With the Title

This is the Avengers right? I’ve been reading some issues from the 80’s. I should totally know all of these characters…

Volume 1 was written by Brian Michael Bendis and Volume 3 was written by Jonathan Hickman. Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve had much exposure to either one of these two pillars of the current Marvel era.

How were the Issues?

… It was like I was reading these characters for the first time, and it was awesome!

The volume 1 issues were part of the “Secret Invasion” story line, and I slightly preferred that to volume 3, which was basically a secret order of prominent Marvel characters. Both did a good job of filling in the holes between the issues.

Will I read it to my children?

I will recommend it when they express interest in epic level superhero story lines.

 

Bargain Bin: Incredible Hulk 1993 – 95

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

I won two auctions from the same seller that had split up their collection. In total it was 18 issues ranging from 409 to 428 at about 50 cents a piece (including shipping). I honestly did not think I was going to win the two auctions. It was a happy surprise though.

Later on I picked up an earlier issue from 1990 (#373), at a used book store for $2.50.

My Familiarity With the Title

Up until recently, one of the few Marvel titles I’ve read was a hardcover collection called “Heart of the Atom” which covered the sparse appearances of Jarella, one of Hulk’s love interests. In reading the early issues in that collection it really struck me how the narrator was an independent character, often times mocking the Hulk. This later fell away, but it did stir a feeling of sympathy from me. I mean, the Hulk was unwanted by everyone, even his own narrator.

How were the Issues?

It was nice that most of the issues were sequential because there was a lot I was unfamiliar with, and skipping ahead 10 issues might have been a struggle.

In the issues I read Hulk was essentially Bruce Banner, and it was explained that the Gamma Radiation accident had not initiated a second more violent personality. Bruce had always expressed that extreme side of himself. The Gamma Radiation gave that personality a vehicle to take over… and turn himself into green monster.

So that was the first thing I had to adapt to, that it was Hulk’s body but Bruce’s brain. Bruce still labored to keep his temper for fear that the Hulk’s personality would take hold again.

The other thing that I needed to adapt to was that Hulk… er Bruce was now the leader of his own team of secret super powered people. He had basically fallen into the role of Professor X. But these weren’t mutants. This was the Pantheon, which I didn’t understand altogether other than it was like a really devoted and dysfunctional family.

All in all the stories were pretty great stuff. The art became less appealing for me. And it didn’t start out all that great either. Especially the way women were drawn.This is not just a criticism I have of these issues. It’s alot of what was published in the 90’s

For various reasons (many of which I don’t know) artists started pushing boundaries. Some were good and others were not good. The DC series for Robin is among the worst for me. It is an attempt at incorporating many of the attributes found in Japanese Manga, but falls short of Manga’s appeal.

As I mentioned, I didn’t like how the women were drawn. When it was at its best, it looked like the artist had used a Barbie doll as model. This did those characters a disservice. As the 90’s moved on the women were drawn in increasingly impossible positions. I think there was one where I thought it looked like a twisted hieroglyphic.

Artists are smart. Maybe these were calls from editors. Maybe it was some elaborate symbolism that isn’t intuitive to me. The point is, it became harder to read.

Overall, I liked these issues. I thought they were written better than some of the current titles I’ve read. But when I buy other issues they will be earlier issues.

Will I read it to my children?

Maybe, but they don’t seem interested in Hulk.

My oldest reads on his own now, but I wouldn’t recommend every issue to a 9 year old. One panel sticks out in particular. A college girlfriend of Bruce Banner’s says something like “What’s wrong, you don’t touch me any more.” To be clear, I’m concerned about the broader context which was that in order for a romantic relationship to be healthy the only concern/requirement is that a couple is kissy face all the time and that the way to fix a troubled relationship is more smooching. (In case you were wondering that is exactly how I would phrase it to my children).

Additionally, there’s the issue about how the women were drawn. If I read it with them I’d point out the impossible dimensions and positions. Knowing my luck at least one of them would think its cool.

But in all honesty, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if my children read these issues at a young age.

 

Bargain Bin: X-Men Legacy

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

I purchased 2 issues from the 50 cent bin of a comic book store about 2 years ago. More recently I acquired several more, mostly through the 50 cent bin of the same comic book store. At least one was part of a small lot I won via an online auctions.

I have not been actively seeking out these issues, but they usually meet a couple of criterea for my bargain hunting. Mainly that there is more than one issue I can get at a time.

At the moment, I have 8 issues ranging from 1 to 17.

My Familiarity With the Title

I thought I was familiar with X-Men until I read this series.

How were the Issues?

When I read them the first time I was pretty confused, and took some satisfaction that I only spent $1 instead $8 – $10 on these issues if they were knew.

Then I read The Spire, which was a non Marvel self contained limited series Si Spurrier did with Boom. I became familiar with his story telling and began to really enjoy it.

When I more recently acquired 6 additional issues I reread everything and thought it was great.

Not entirely sure why this is a series that has “X-Men” in the title. Well I do. It means it will sell. But the series primarily focuses on Legion (Charles Xavier’s son) and not a team. In order to enjoy the series I had to get past the lack of a team.

Will I read it to my children?

Probably not, but not because there is anything inappropriate in them that comes to mind. Si Spurrier’s plots are multi-faceted and that can be confusing for adults. But kids are smart maybe they would enjoy it?

 

 

Bargain Bin: Avengers (1980’s)

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

These were purchased in 2 primary waves on Ebay. The first was 3 auctions of 4 issues each, ranging from #308 to #340 from the same seller. Most sellers will combine shipping, but this one did not advertise it. I contacted the seller, who said they would combine the shipping cost, but did not say by how much. Ideally, combined shipping will lower the unit cost. Unfortunately, there was not much of a difference for that seller. The plus side, is that he used so much bubble wrap, I’ll be able to reuse it when I sell online. In any case, the lesson learned here is that I should have asked for some figures for the combined shipping. When it came down to it, I only paid about $1 an issue for the first wave.

The second one was a single auction of 21 books that ranged from #225 – 271 and paid about 75 cents for each.

All together I paid about $27 for 33 issues. Current comic book prices are about $4 an issues, which means that same $27 could have gotten me 6 – maybe 7 new issues if some of them were priced at $3.

Overall this feels like a good acquisition.

My Familiarity With the Title

I’ve watched the movies and seen some cartoons. But no real familiarity with the stories portrayed in the comic books.

How were the Issues?

I enjoyed the earlier issues a lot more than the later ones. That could be because there were more of them and the gaps between them were not as large. I enjoyed seeing the Wasp run Avengers and thought it was interesting how at least once Captain America stepped back to let her run things her way. It was not the only time that a character in the series demonstrated a mindset that was socially ahead of its time.

It is not perfect though. I rolled my eyes a few times. The most memorable panel is when Captain America to She-Hulk to hold his shield. It served no purpose in the plot and irritated me.

All in all it was good enough for me to buy one issue from my local comic book shop for $2 an issue. And I’ll probably get a few more.

Will I read it to my children?

I offered to, but they weren’t interested.

Favorite Panels

At some point in my bargain reading I started taking pictures of panels that I thought I could sneak into a Facebook comment or two and look totally hip.

I have previously not disclosed what drove me to do this, but now is the best time to reveal the mystery that has been hanging over this section for a while now (ok like 2 posts). It was 2 different panels from 2 different issues written by the same person. Each was closeup of the speaker and the brief monologue was perfect for the story line, but also stood apart from the story. I immediately thought, “that could be a meme.” BTW, ‘meme’ wasn’t a word or even a concept in the 1980’s, when ‘going viral’ did not have a positive meaning. To me it was no coincidence that these two panels in two issues were written by the same person… Larry Hama.

Once I started looking for panels it was a little easier, but I don’t think any (so far) have approached the level of the two above. Here are the rest:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Sidepost: Marvel, Diversity & Sales

If you haven’t heard, someone who works for Marvel said some pretty shocking things at a conference of retailers. His theories on why Marvel sales have been down recently were the most alarming. Basically saying that readers were tired of diversity in the Marvel line. A more detailed and accurate synopsis can be found elsewhere on the internet. Here’s one at Newsarama

To borrow a line from a Marvel Comic I read last night: “I don’t have one emotion over this. I have fifty.” (yes, I know it was a Friday night but I’ve never really been one to define my self esteem be defined by what I do on Friday nights).

The big question: Is this a fair assessment?

I’ll skip past the part of whether Marvels sales are down and just assume they are.

To be clear, I can’t explain why sales have declined with 100% certainty. I don’t think Marvel can either, but they likely can come to a conclusion with more certainty than me.

But here are few considerations and hypotheses based on the segments of Marketing:

Price

Marvel has consistently priced higher than other publishers, while DC tries (sometimes) to price below everyone else. Granted Marvel gives extra digital content with each issue, but from what I can tell a lot of readers do not claim the digital content and therefore I argue that the price is not based on the additional content.

In a slightly different take, Image comics generally has the lowest cost trade paper backs (collections of issues) for the first volume of a series. Usually at $9.99 and then the volumes that follow are priced at about $15.99.

It might seem irrelevant to the conversation because the person at Marvel was referring to declining sales of single issues. But it is relevant if consumers are switching from single issues to tpb. Or if the coveted new readers are skipping single issues altogether. After all for the price of 1 image tpb a consumer could only get 2 full price marvel comics that had less than half the content.

In business terms. Image has created a loss leader and it works for them. I don’t think either of the Big 2 have responded to this model. Maybe they don’t need to since they are both part of large entertainment conglomerates and it is possible that the comic book divisions themselves are the loss leaders.

I should mention that starting with trade paperbacks and larger volumes was similar to my experience of becoming a comic book reader, but I eventually came around to single issues.

Promotion

I don’t think Marvel has supported the diverse character line with any serious promotions to new readers. There were some moments I remember where they were able to receive a generous coverage in mainstream media, but after that I don’t remember anything remarkable promotions.

Think about that for a second. They only promote when a new character or an existing character steps in to assume the mantle of a hero, but then don’t promote any of the plots/stories?

In a different context that would be like announcing the lineup of an Avengers movie and then never making a trailer or advertising for the movie. Sure loyal fans will see it, but over time that base will erode.

It is entirely possible they did make an effort to promote the titles to the new readers they were trying to attract and it didn’t reach me or I don’t remember it.

But wait… There’s more… There are cartoons and movies that have the heros, but they don’t align with the comics in current form. It begs the question: Are the movies and cartoons ads for the comic books or are the comic books ads for the movies and cartoons.

Actually, it doesn’t matter because neither are likely to be effective at promoting the other if they confuse the consumer. Ideally Thor could be a man in a cartoon and a woman in the comics (or vice versa), and both mediums would reinforce that the mantle can change. So when a fan of the cartoon picks up a comic book for the first time they don’t think “This isn’t what I was looking for. where is the thing I’m looking for?”

And in all honesty, it won’t be the other way around. I find it hard to believe that someone reading the comic books that they’ll rent a Thor movie and be confused. The characters in movies and TV are far more accessible than the ones in comic books.

And that is because…

Comic book readers are required to be informed consumers (especially if they are buying more than one title). They know where to purchase their books and what they want out of that experience. It has been that way for a while.

To bring in new comic book readers Marvel either needs to educate them or disrupt industry norms so that consumers do not need to be so informed.

Product

Marvel’s product has changed in other ways besides an increasingly diverse line-up of characters. The volumes are significantly shorter even for major titles. Some get only 12 issues before being moved to a new volume to start at #1 again. Others get fewer.

Issues are also faster to read. Frequently taking less than 10 minutes to read the first time. Older issues had enough content to take up twice that time. This may be a benefit to the consumer as attention spans shorten. But when coupled with a higher price the benefit disproportionately goes to the publisher.

There are more events that disrupt a title’s story. This doesn’t just mean that there is an event issue, but the event can alter the character and the current story line enough that it sabotages the story line for the title the publisher had promised its readers.

Lastly, Marvel is competing against DC’s product which is showing an increase in sales. DC successfully relaunched/rebooted or whatever they called it. It appears to have brought back some of the readership it had lost with the New 52, while retaining some of the newer readers as well. It may last, it may not. As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider. Noteably: DC changed some of its marketing strategy as part of the initiative. It lowered the price and number of titles offered, but increased the frequency that some titles are published.

Placement (Distribution)

Direct Market (Comic Book Stores) – Comic book stores solved a problem for comic book publishers. They were losing readers because grocery and convenience stores stopped buying them due to low sales. So the direct market solved a problem with retaining readers, and from what I understand it did a really good job of it. But this distribution channel has not adapted to bring in new readers with the same success.

Digital Market – It is routinely communicated that digital sales don’t come close to print. But that sentiment doesn’t segment new vs existing readers. When I was a new reader I exclusively read digital. I didn’t know where to buy a comic book and didn’t know what to buy. This overlaps with the comments on low priced trade paperbacks impacting the sales of single issues.

The digital market also includes subscriptions. Marvel offers a digital subscription service for as little as $69/year. It offers a huge catalog of older issues, many as recently as a year ago. Which brings us to…

Secondary Market – The single issue sales referred to in the comment only referred to sales of new issues to retailers. In the broader context, there are about 300 titles per month for sale each ranging from about $3 to $5. As mentioned before these new titles compete against trade paperbacks, but they also compete with the secondary market, otherwise known as “back issues” to the comic book community. To everyone else they are better known as “used”.

New issues constantly compete against the market and the secondary market has a couple of advantages. Again breaking it down by the 4 main areas of Marketing… Price: Back issues are generally less expensive. Some can be as expensive or more expensive than current issues, but there is enough supply that one could spend years probably only reading discounted back issues. Product: For the Big 2 back issues use familiar characters to tell familiar stories. They are longer reads with longer runs. Placement: Many comic book stores sell back issues too! And probably have a wider margin on their sales. There are conventions too which overwhelmingly sell back issues (I’m talking smaller conventions that do not make the Entertainment news). And lastly, there is a healthy assortment of sites that consumers can purchase back issues from.

In addition to that, the secondary market offers another benefit to consumers. Namely, the ability to participate as a seller. Despite the hype, most collections do not sell at a premium. But they can get enough to lower the overall cost.

Anecdotally, as I venture into buying discounted back issues I’m mostly finding Marvel titles in my price range.

Black Market (Pirated copies) – These are most likely digital. Again, hard to track and personally I think pirated copies eventually contribute to more sales. To be clear I do not advocate, purchase or read pirated copies.

Back to my original question: was it a fair assessment? No. The person who made the comment blamed the audience/consumer. I don’t think that’s a winning strategy. But while we’re here lets briefly speculate on what that audience is.

My understanding is the new portrayals of the Marvel cast was to appeal to new readers. That approach was not likely to go over well with 100% customers who were loyal to Marvel, or maybe even a character/team/title/whatever. Is it possible that Marvel did not realize how many customers it had who might be upset by a character switch-up to a different gender or race? And at the same time over estimate how many new readers would commit to years of reading a these issues?

Possible, but not in isolation.

It’s more likely that there are flaws in the pricing, promotion, distribution and design of Marvel’s products.

Framed as a question, could the diversity have been more successful with a better executed marketing strategy?

My opinion: Yes

To bring things back into perspective. I don’t think this is Marvel’s official stance. I don’t think this person was an expert in analysis. I think this was a salesman who slipped up when he was trying to reassure his largest customers (the direct retail market… comic book stores) that the decline in sales was not a reason to buy fewer titles from the publisher and that the publisher was correcting the problem.

Clearly, some of what he said hit a nerve (at least with me).

Bargain Bin: Uncanny X-Force

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

I acquired 7 issues from a 50 cent bin at a local comic book shop over two separate trips. The issues range from 2 – 10. So I have fragments of about 3 different story arcs.

My Familiarity With the Title

I had zero experience with X-Force and my only familiarity with Marvel’s X line was through X-Men. Primarily the 90’s cartoon and the first 3 movies.

A friend of mine is a big Marvel fan and I mentioned that I had picked up the titles. He explained that X-Force was like the special ops of the X-Men. Or maybe it was dark ops. I can’t remember.

How were the Issues?

At times they were cool. And then there was the issue that featured a love triangle between Psi-Locke and 3 different versions of the character Fantomex. It seemed like it was an attempt to represent a poly-amorous relationship, but if that was the case I don’t think it was all that successful.

Frequently artists change in a series and sometimes the results can be jarring. That happened at least once in this series.

Will I read it to my children?

No. At best it had subplots that were confusing for adults.

 

 

Bargain Bin: Daredevil

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

My first serious endeavor into bargain priced comics was Daredevil. These were primarily acquired through 2 online auctions, for a total of 15 comics priced at about 75 cents an issue. The math works out to about $12 spent for 15 issues. Compared to current issues that are priced around $4/issue the same $12 would have yielded just 3 issues. Regardless of whether I enjoyed reading them, the purchase felt like a win.

I noticed there are not a lot of auctions specifically for the character Daredevil, but there are regular lots for sale in the range of about 6-8 issues. One auction included a complete story arc by Ed Brubaker (one of my favorite comic book writers).

My Familiarity With the Title

I had read a little of Daredevil on comixology (through a sale), This was mostly Frank Miller’s early work and Mark Waid’s recent run. As with most Marvel titles I feel like I don’t understand the larger context so I struggle to understand the story being told.

I also watched the movie and a few episodes of the Netflix series. As a grown adult, I have no shame in saying that I am not old enough to watch the Netflix series. It was gruesome and violent to the point I had my head turned for most of the episodes I watched. Surprisingly, my wife loved them.

How were the Issues?

These bargain additions are about the same experience for me in terms of not getting the broader context of the Marvel Universe. Some of the issues are good and I’d enjoy the others more if I understood what was going on.

The one thing that really struck me about the character is how self destructive he can be and then quite strikingly be overly optimistic. It made me wonder if the character is bipolar, and if that has been explored in the series.

Will I read it to my children?

Nope. Too gory. violent and sometimes just weird. For issues that fell under the Comics Code Authority they wouldn’t be enjoyable for my children.

Favorite Panels

At some point in my bargain reading I started taking pictures of panels that I thought I could sneak into a Facebook comment or two and look totally hip. Haven’t tried it yet, but here are the panels I’m saving for the right occasion.

 

Tales From the Comic Book Bargain Bins

It has been a long time since the last post, and there are good reasons.

To recap my comic book adventure, I sort of fell into them as a grown adult looking for something his children could read and finding new an exciting adventures that were tailored… to grown adults. I wasn’t the normal comic book fan, who have a tendency to come across as having collected comics for more years than they have been alive.

I tried to distance myself from that mentality and focused more on the limited series that had self contained plots. Essentially, avoiding superhero comics.

But here’s what I’ve learned. To collect a good series, you need to buy them new. If you don’t then acquiring them in the secondary market is at least twice as costly. And then comes the tricky part… you don’t know which series will be awesome, and which ones will make you shake your head for days… wondering why oh why was that ever printed? Not to mention that you can’t unload them on the secondary market because you are not the only one disappointed with the launch.

Looking back I can see this was my motivation for my 1 vs 1 reviews (where I compared two number 1 issues) and my One Two Reviews (where I reviewed the first two issues of a series as one whole, usually to determine whether I’d keep reading).

These were fun and quirky posts, but ultimately I became uncomfortable with the amount of money I was spending on these issues.

And that’s when I started looking in the bargain bins, which are almost always going to be full of superhero titles.

I’ve learned that a good superhero issue will provide enough of a recap at the beginning or through other writerly devices to make the storyline accessible to new readers. Operative phrase here is ‘a good superhero issue’.

Another thing I try to stick to is to only buy titles that have multiple issues availble. They don’t have to be sequential. I’ve purchased some that are pretty far apart, but I find buying 5 issues for two different titles more enjoyable to read than 5 random issues.

In anycase, when I have time (maybe tomorrow. maybe next year.) I’ll review a couple of those titles. Maybe.