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.
This has lead me to the unsettling conclusion that I need to reduce my weekly draw and use Marvel Unlimited more. For those who haven't seen it, Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service that gives you access to thousands of comics for a flat monthly fee. Read my review of the service.
I hesitate to switch entirely to digital for three reasons: I still like reading physical books, I like supporting my local comic book store, and Marvel Unlimited can be hella buggy. And yet ... Marvel Unlimited is $10 a month rather than $50 for physical books, and Unlimited's built-in 6 month lag time on new comics is pretty much what I do anyway.
Still, I need to cut back. I'm looking to have 5-6 comics a month in my pull, which works out to around $20-$25 a month. My focus is on books I really like, and/or books that are essential to my collection. Those books will be:
- Uncanny X-Men: I've been collecting this title since 1989; I can't stopp now.
- X-Men: Kitty Pryde on an active X-Team? Yeah, I gotta get that.
- Uncanny Avengers: The new mutant/human hybrid team featuring X-Men and Avengers and led by "Call Me Alex" Summers.
- All-New X-Men: The original team is brought forward in time. It's a fun book, but I'm surprised how few time ripples we see based on its premise.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: I've really been enjoying this galactic space opera.
Age of the Atom is problematic. It's Marvel's big crossover event for Fall 2013 (at least among the X-Titles) and I'm sure I'll get the core book, but damn it -- I'm not getting all the spin-offs and tie-ins. That's what Marvel Unlimited is for.
As for what didn't make the cut...
X-Factor should be on the list, but the Peter David title is ending its run this fall. Wolverine and the X-Men has been at the bottom of the my pile for the last year; the stories, characters, and art really haven't grabbed me (and that's saying something since Kitty Pryde is in the book, and I'll usually read anything with an Excalibur alum. Cable and X-Force is a decent title, but it's fallen to second string status for me. I'll keep reading it on Unlimited. Heck, with the exception of Legacy I'll probably read them all online.
I gave X-Men Legacy a good eight issues, but the story of Legion, Charles Xavier's son, trying to reign in his powers didn't appeal to me. X-Treme X-Men and Astonishing X-Men are both being discontinued, which saves me from having to cut them. They're being replaced by Amazing X-Men this fall (so says Wikipedia. I'll probably try the title, which is supposed to be built around Wolverine and his own X-Team.
I've referenced Marvel Unlimited alot, and I want to be clear: it's the worst service you'll ever love. I primarily access it through the Marvel Unlimited app on my iPad, and I've found it to be buggy, crash prone, and incapable of consistently determining whether it can connect to the Internet.