Switching to trades

It was a tough decision but I’m making the switch from individual issues (weeklys)  to trade paperbacks.  The idea was percolating in my head for about a year and the rationale is twofold: new comics aren’t worth anything and there’s a lot more enjoyment from reading a complete story.

Say what you want but there are very few comics from 1980 onward that are worth much of anything: collecting seems to cap at the bronze age.  I’ve been a die hard collector for thirty years and have a large silver age collection that I’m hoping will aid my future retirement plans.  In all those years I’ve seen the value of our hobby plummet while the cover price of comics increases.  If you can wait a few months you can get most published books from bargain bins for a dollar or two each.  The fact that I’m bagging and boarding these every week and filing away long boxes in my closet (much to my wife’s chagrin) with no hope of them retaining the value I paid for them means there isn’t much sense in hoping for modern books to become collectibles.

When we stop looking at comics as collectible then we’re reading and buying them for one reason: we enjoy them!  The story, the art, the characters, everything that makes us do the weekly visit to our local comic shop.  A while ago I didn’t have time to read my comics every week so they piled up and I would get around to reading them in groups of three or four issues.  To my amazement I discovered it’s much more enjoyable to read an entire story at once; this is even more pronounced when monthly titles have gaps of three to six months while we wait for the creators to finish up.  Buying a trade means you get a complete story all at once.

Tying into value is cost.  In general a trade paperback costs less than the sum of it’s individual issues, and online retailers such as Amazon provide a discount of 35-50% off cover so you’re even further ahead.  As long as I can afford it I’ll get my trades from the same comic shop I’ve been getting my books from; it let’s me peruse the shelves and pick up one offs that won’t get collected and make note of stories and series I want as trades.

I’m still new to it so I’ve taken a two pronged approach.  I’ve stopped getting new series but am continuing my regular monthly titles: this way I don’t have to go cold turkey since it does take months of waiting to get the trade.  At the same time I’m picking up trade paperbacks of series or story arcs I missed the first time around, conditioning myself to the format and all it entails.  We’ll see how it goes; I’ve already broken my strategy with Batman & Robin since I was concerned every issue would be late and it would be two years before there was enough material to collect.

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