My biggest problem as a fortysomething comic book collector is that I don't have time to read the damn books. You'd think I would -- after all, these aren't novels -- yet I repeatedly find myself with a six-month backlog of comics.
I love comics. I could spend every Saturday afternoon reading them... but I can't afford to do that. With titles running $2.99 to $3.99 a piece, I can only keep up with my core X-Men titles. If there's a major comic event (and there's always a major event) I might pick up an extra book or three, but I could never afford to read the whole thing.
We're in the lull between mega-events at Marvel right now, so I'm focusing my monthly pull on X-titles. Those titles are currently dealing with the aftershocks of the recent Avengers vs. X-Men crossover.
Two big story arcs have concluded in the comics universe over the last few weeks: Marvel's Secret Invasion mini series, in which the alien, shape-shifting Skrulls attempt to take over the Earth, and Batman R.I.P, in which the Dark Knight dies. Or appears to die, because really, what are the chances that he's actually dead?
As a result, we're into the clean-up phase of both story arcs, as their respective universes attempt to deal with the consequences that have been unleashed upon them.
The X-Titles have gone through another cycle of relaunches in the wake of the Mutant Messiah crossover, most of which are disappointing.
My comic collecting has entered the mid-winter doldrums; the big X-Men crossover has just ended, and while DC's Countdown is approaching it's end, that means little to me since I haven't been keeping up with it.
Last week was a light one for Marvel (or at least the Marvel titles I read) so I let Tony at Phantom of the Attic talk me into trying out a couple of other titles. In addition to my X-Universe standby – this week it was “New X-Men”, Part 12 of the Messiah Complex – I picked up Penance: Relentless #5 and Dark Horse Comics' The End League.
Finally there’s Marvel's The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born, one of the four graphic novels I got for Christmas.
After spending the month of November writing fiction, I’m finally getting back into reading it. While the Fall of Hyperion waits on my bookshelf, I’ve decided to ease back into things with my comic books … and the truly mammoth stack of graphic novels lent to me by long-time friend and Nuketown commenter Evil Genius.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the fact that my local comic book shop, The Phantom of the Attic, has moved to Third Street in downtown Easton, which is far more convenient then tracking over the old location at the 25th Street shopping center.
Looking back over my Top of the Pile columns, and considering what this week's might bring, I found that I was in something of a rut -- I've got my standard comics that I get every month -- X-Men, Conan, Ex Machinia, Batman -- but I haven't been venturing very far from that core. That's partly a monetary issue -- I just can't afford to pick up too many more comics then I already do -- but there's also my comic comfort level: I'm just used to my routine.
I decided to shake things up this week by trying out some new titles, adding Omega Flight and the Incredible Hulk to my pile, and picking up a fun new one-shot for my daughter Jordan.