Here’s a funny thing: every third week, I write a column for this great web site on comics that are coming out that week that I think are particularly noteworthy. Up until now, they were also all comics that I was reading.
But recently I decided to step back from the monthly grind of the Big Two. I’m still going to read some of their output, but now I’m going to wait for the collected editions. My theory is that I won’t buy quite so many books if I have to wait for them. Borderline books that I keep buying month in and month out will lose the momentum of frequency, and thus fall off my list.
In other words, here are some books that I think deserve mentioning, but I’m only actually buying two of them.
I grew up on a steady diet of superhero comics and fantasy fiction. I still have a soft spot in my heart for those seemingly endless Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms’ books. Needless to say, I was pretty excited when IDW announced a new Dungeons & Dragons series.
Dungeons & Dragons Vol. 3 collects the last few issues of the IDW run, which appears to be on indefinite hiatus. That’s too bad, because this book is a lot of fun. I fell behind after the second issue, but caught up again with the digital editions. IDW, like most comic book companies, has made the extremely smart choice of dropping their books down to $1.99 after they’ve been out for a while. It’s the main reason I was able to get back into the title. If you have any affection for fantasy fiction, you have to try this book.
In lieu of the D&D book, IDW gives us Forgotten Realms #1. I have to admit that this was a late addition to my order. I haven’t read anything by Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood since high school. Since then, it seems like people have become pretty down on his writing. Again, since I haven’t read any of it in twenty years, I have no idea if it would hold up to my matured tastes. Still, fantasy fiction is fantasy fiction, so the first issue is worth a shot, particularly given that Sal Buscema is the inker.
The Last DC Book
It’s only appropriate that the last monthly issue of a DC comic that I get is All Star Western #8. This book has really been the gem of the relaunch for me. Yes, I’m a little concerned that if enough people decide to trade wait for this book (like I’m going to do), it won’t live much longer. But I also have a feeling it will read really well in the collected format, particularly the back-up stories.
Three Marvel Books That I’m Not Buying (For Various Reasons)
Daredevil #11 is the first regular series issue of this title that I’m not getting. I say regular series because I didn’t get #10.1, either. Like All Star Western for DC, this is the Marvel title I’ve enjoyed the most. But Marvel seems determined to collect this series fairly quickly, and the first hardcover collection is really nice. In fact, it’s so nice that it makes having to wait to read Daredevil pretty tolerable. Still, if you’re not reading this book you need to listen to the great word of mouth and give it a shot.
If I still loved superhero comics the way I did when I was younger, Avengers vs. X-Men: Versus #1 would be like crack. I give credit to Marvel for creating a series that fans are going to love. I mean, the two biggest lines in the Marvel Universe facing off for two dozen issues? Again, my younger self would be going crazy for this. I think it’s great.
That said, let’s not pretend it’s anything more than what it is. This is possibly the worst title out there for bringing non-comics readers in. In fact, I think it’s doing a disservice to this series and to its readers by claiming it will bring in new readers. Just embrace the fact that it’s for the fans and leave it at that. For what it’s doing, it doesn’t need to be anything more than that.
Part of my reasoning for switching to trades of comics from the Big Two is that I want to save some money. I want to save some money because I’m going to need it to pay for all the great collected editions that are coming down the pipe. Marvel, in particular, seem to be determined to get everything they’ve ever published back into print.
The perfect example of this is Darkhawk Classic Volume 1. While I was a big fan of a lot of comics from the 90’s, I never read Darkhawk, nor am I going to start. But I think the fact that this title is getting reprinted is a good indication of the degree to which Marvel is involved in their collected editions. I couldn’t be happier about it (I just wish they’d keep them in print longer after they’re released).