Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Buying a Book For Sentimental Reasons... Can Be Bad!

As I was doing my nightly work out, I was thinking of ways to cut expenses and the first obvious one is cutting out comics.

Hmmmm...

How about just cutting down a lot and cutting our cable television down a level?

Much better.

At any rate, as I was looking through my list of books, it really hit me that I collect quite a few books just because. Yep. Just because.

What kind of a crappy reason is that?

My best example is the X-Men titles. I have every issue of Uncanny X-Men since the early 100's. That is over thirty years of continuity. On the "adjectiveless" title, I have every issue since number one. Despite the quality of the book, I continue to buy each issue.. you guessed it... just because.

That has got to stop. I have done well with the Civil War related titles at Marvel, dropping several titles I have long enjoyed without remorse.

BUT I HAVE TO DO MORE.

If I keep collecting crappy books for the sake of continuity it does no one any favors in the long run, other then my nephews for selling my books after I pass away many years from now.

As of today I am taking a vow to drop shoddy books despite any sentimental reason. God help me, I have to. Both financially and to take a stand with the comic book companies by speaking with my money.

Of course, currently I AM enjoying the Uncanny X-Men storyline by Ed Brubaker, so maybe that is a bad example. Heh. Flash would be a better one, or Wolverine.

I will keep you posted with how I do in winning the battle over sentimentality.

How do you do?

16 comments:

JohnH985 said...

It's hard to do. I know. That's what I went through. I had every issue of some books like Daredevil from issue one on up. Well, that's a bad example, cause right now Daredevil is one of my favorite comics, but at the time he wasn't. I was buying it and it just sat there, not even being read. I bought it because I thought I had to. At the time most Marvel comics were in that postion, but I bought them because I had been buying them forever. And with comics costing as much as they do, it's too expensive to be buying something I'm not enjoying. The good thing about dropping some titles that you don't read is that you'll feel freer to pick up something new that you might not have read.

Carl said...

My bride and I did this for years. I don't think she read her books since we moved to Tampa and that was like almost 20 years (I swear to God, it doesn't seem that long ago). Yet, with our various and sundry problems, her health and medicine, myself having to get a job after 10 years of House Knight (never "Mr. Mom" or "house hubby", no way!) and home-schooler, I didn't have a steady cash flow for months. And I learned that I survived with out all these comics. While I am not saying yeah, give up your books, see how rich you'd be, "just because" is such a bad reason. Yeah, I had a collection of Batman unbroken, 5 frickin' titles (or more) going back to the '80s. And all his graphic novels, the specials and all that. Same with The Punisher. I had everything save his first few appearances. Even the horrible "Angelic" Punisher, hhhherrgawd! And on and on. I had to have everything that I followed even if the book turned into crap right before me. Like when people took over Wolverine and Daredevil and others that didn't know the character at all.
The real reason is the basic one. We are collectors. Our collecting instinct tells us we have to have the complete set. The whole story. But, it's not going to happen. Many creators are gone, their creation still lives on. So, we unless they finish the various stories by ending their tales, we won't see the end. And even if the character ends in one version, who says Dick Grayson won't become the new Batman? That the next generation won't replace the next? I'd never thought I'd see a new Blue Beetle, a new Atom, a 3rd Spectre and so many changes.
Life is too short to read crappy books, even if you have all of them or they are/were beloved characters and "just because...

Mark Engblom said...

Good for you, Heidi! The only books I'm sentimentally attached to "through thick and thin" have been the Superman titles (there's been more "thin" than "thick" over the past several years, by the way).

Happily, the Superman titles have been on an upswing of late....but it was pretty rough sledding for awhile. I was very, very close to dropping them entirely, but I just couldn't pull the trigger.

Stay strong! ;)

Loren said...

I struggle more with buying a crappy title just because I have all the issues before it. I find there are some titles I just don't enjoy, but I don't want there to an incomplete set.

Books I buy for sentimental reasons are like Teen Titans because I've bought them since I was little. Fortunately, I also enjoy this title. But, for example, there was a moment where they had a two-part story with art by Rob Liefeld. I bought it for completion sake (and because it was written by Gail Simone). But, I can't stand those issues and I can't figure out why I bought the second part since I didn't like the first part.

Maybe we should form a support group... :)

Mark Engblom said...

"Hello, my name is Mark and I'm a Continuity-holic."

Lisa said...

I feel for you, Heidi! When we opened the store we had to do some financial cut-backs, and then my husband was fired from his full-time, good paying, company car, great health insurance job and we had to cut back even MORE. I'm still working on budgeting! No Starbucks, DSL instead of "blazing fast Roadrunner" I thought about dropping HBO from our Direct TV, but we love Rome, so I'm leaving that alone for now. We cut back on cell phone minutes - since we don't have to call each other anymore. I was a big scrapbooker before the store, and kept buying cool stuff, even though I didn't have much time to do it - so finally I had to stop that. Cutting fun stuff STINKS! I'm sorry you have to do it. But, sometimes it can be helpful in clearing out life's clutter.

Bahlactus said...

My collecting hustle is a lil' different. Once a hardcover comes out that collects those issues, then I'll get down with that instead. I'm a HUGE fan of ABSOLUTE hardcovers especially :)

If I have to settle for a TPB, then I'll add that to the library. If no compilation is ever available (like MARVELs' "The Crew"), then I keep the individual issues.

I've got a Comics resolution for 2007 to be giving away whole story arcs of things I have in HC or TPB -- spreading the Comics clue to new readers and hardcore fans alike. Spread the love.

Heidi Meeley said...

John, you are very correct that in dropping some of the "dead weight" titles I am freeing up the option of getting something new. I will not be so nervous after I can get a few more titles dropped.

Today I dropped three titles, and it felt okay. Hopefully I can drop several more over the course of the next month.

Thank you for the kind words.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, it is very true that to stop the collecting urge is difficult. In the last few months I have really seriously considered selling part of my collection to pay bills. I am finding that there are books that I don't think I will miss. Even the unbroken runs.

It is about being practical in the midst of being a pack rat. The only books I really don't want to part with our my Wonder Woman and JLA runs. Otherwise I just have to buy for quality and sell for practicality.

Thank you for sharing your story on this.

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, the Superman titles are a big question mark with me. I am really torn on whether to keep getting them or not despite the quality. The good news is that All Star is kinda bi-monthly, so that is easier to keep. The other books I am up in the air about.

I am glad for your support. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Heidi Meeley said...

Loren, I love your idea of a support group. We could get together online and share our stories of woe! :-) God knows, I could use that right now!!

Titans is a tough one for me as well. I started collecting the book when it came back out in the late 1970's. It is hard to stop with that much emotion invested in the characters. I agree about the Liefeld two parter. I just went through my Titan's books and I TRIED to read it. I just couldn't!!

Thank you for being so sweet, Loren. I really do love the idea of a support group!

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark- Hahahaha!!

I'll join there with you.

My name is Heidi and I am a continuity-aholic.

Heh.

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa- wow, you have gone through exactly what I am facing. We have real life staring us in the face, and comics are just what you say- fun. I love them dearly, but it is about paying the bills first.

I can't believe how much you have dealt with. You are an inspiration, and it sounds like things are going well with some adjustments. I was thinking about the cell phone thing myself.

Thank you so much!

Heidi Meeley said...

Bahlactus- I have mad love for your plan. I think that sharing the joy of reading with others is a great gift. I need to start thinking along those lines as well.

For mini-series, I really like the idea of getting TPB's or hardbacks. Lately my opinion of having to get the single issue has been changing, partly financially and partly for ease of reading.

I think you have something there. Thank you for the great ideas!

Vaklam said...

I'm with you! I dropped several titles recently because I realized I was wincing whenever they showed up in my hold box. Not a good sign.

I am also ditching titles after issue #1 or #2 if they don't grab me. Life's too short (and I don't have enough disposable income) to stick with something that doesn't thrill me. There are many, many good titles out there and I believe in supporting them.

Heidi Meeley said...

Vaklam- you are doing it the right way. I applaud your resolve and hope to someday join you in it! I appreciate the sentiment and the information. Thank you!