Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't Even Get Me Started...

Countdown 36
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Today Jim and I went to get our comics and they were once again delayed. Three of the four boxes will be there tomorrow and the remaining one will be there on Friday. Diamond's excuse is that UPS fouled up. In my mind, that is just part of the problem. By now Diamond should damn well understand that we have a major problem with UPS in this area and do something about it. Do they? Nope.

My retailer wants to try Fed Ex and Diamond is dragging their feet. While the shop sits and loses money, Diamond does nothing. I am sorry, but what a bunch of assholes. My retailer pays the shipping so why shouldn't he be able to make that decision? It doesn't make sense to me. As a result of this disaster, I feel like Zatanna as being played by "bad" Mary Marvel.

The topper is that I have business meetings the next two days and can't possibly get to the retailer. They close at 6 p.m and I can't get there until after that. I am stuck without books until Saturday unless Jim, who feels ill, decides that he can make the journey downtown to pick them up. It is a f**king comedy of errors that is making me super bitter.

Adding more fuel to the fire, I am so pissed off about the number of tie-ins to 52 and Countdown that I am to the point of just wanting to stop reading comics all together. My positivity and good nature has crumbled in the face of the realization that the industry in general doesn't seem to want me as a customer. The distribution chain doesn't get my books to me on time. The publishers have no freaking clue how to market to me. My local retailer keeps screwing up my orders.

I am about ready to give up, so I am asking for your help. Give me a positive reason to keep buying and reading the books I have been so faithful to for the last thirty-five years. Please???

OR... tell me why to throw in the towel.

It is your choice. Help convince me to stay in the game or to run screaming out of it!



Vaklam said...

Three words:

Immortal. Iron. Fist.

Ragnell said...

Back issues. Trade Paperbacks. Both are cheaper than brand new stuff.

If the tie-ins to the megacrossover are what's getting you down, yodrop the megacrossover until its finished, snap it up in trades and back issues. In the meantime, you can try some of the less-central books that you hear good things about, or just buy your absolute favorites and save money.

kalinara said...

I wouldn't let the tie ins get you down, honestly. They look like a lot, but really, if you notice most are miniseries unrelated to the main plots of most of the comics.

Besides, Kyle's going to be in the Search for Ray Palmer, and Gail Simone's taking over Wonder Woman? (Amazons Attack is also thankfully almost over. :-))

Eaglewing said...

Well, I wouldn’t recommend throwing in the towel. However, your situation does suck the high wind. How does one get around an industry that wants sales but doesn’t seem to care about selling or distributing? (cough, cough, internet, cough, cough :) As it is, if there’s no solution to your ongoing comic buying nightmare, you might have to consider moving to the trade route, such as myself. There’s no way I could be bothered with the hassles you’re having, so I buy my trades through Amazon and enjoy comics that way. It may not be the most current, but it is enjoyable. Less stress too – unless they decide not to put out a trade. Then you’re snookered.

I hope you don’t pitch comics altogether. I like coming here to read your thoughts on them. And there’s way too much good, creative stuff out there to give up comics completely. Hell, Ennis and Brubaker alone keep me putting money into the habit. Might have to adjust the purchasing approach, but the creative works available are worth it.

Britt Schramm said...

I would say don't leave comics but then again, I'm on a somewhat sabbatical from the medium since the excess of crossovers and their associated tie-ins paired with the limited number of quality books in the marketplace have bummed me out.

Plus, it's disheartening to see the super heroic icons that you grew up reading back in the day are now being treated with such a total lack of disregard to not only their continuity but also to their own characterization such as Nightwing, Max Lord and even with her short creative lifespan, Cassandra Cain/Batgirl.

Also, I'm totally with you on Diamond's unfettered monopoly concerning the distribution of the majority of all comic books. If there was someone in a position of power who would take a look at this chokehold that Diamond has put on comic book distribution, Geppi might be looking at some jail time; kinda like Capone served.

So, rather than cut it all out, I would cut back in the number of monthly titles. Then, put that extra money towards HC reissues or trades as ragnell stated previously. You'll get at least an entire arc in one purchase.

Swinebread said...

Weird, my shop gets their comics via FedEx

My Advice… Take a break, especially from the big Two (Marvel and DC) and superheroes. I abandoned comics for most of the 1990s and I’m so much the better for it. It sounds to me that you’re buying out of habit rather than genuine interest. What ever comics gave you in the past they’re not giving it to you now, so stop for awhile and find out what you really miss or if you miss it at all. I suspect you would miss it but letting go for a time would really help you focus on what parts of the hobby are truly important to you.

Another thing, I think you should think about is the comic’s format. You have a love for the comic’s medium, but your chosen genre (superheroes) is currently flawed. Branch out. Read other stuff. Pick up some Manga (adult stuff not that teenybopper stuff). Try some horror or adventure via Boom Studios. Pick up something by Fantagraphics or Top Shelf for something different. Try some Feminist/alternative comics. Peruse some of that biographical stuff like Persepolis. Read books and magazines about the format and history. Hell, dare I say it; make your own comics even if it’s some sort of zine thing or web comic. I cannot in good conscience tell you to keep reading superhero comics when we all know they’re at a low ebb. So maybe it’s time to abandon Marvel and DC but not the medium.

If you are in desperate straights for something to lift your spirits and show you what the comic’s medium is really capable of then run out and pick up Blankets by Craig Thompson ASAP. That’s a book I would give to anyone who didn’t believe that comics aren’t a valuable format.

Mainstream comics are putting a stake through hart so why not let that part of your love of the medium go into torpor so another part of you can blossom and discover something new.

Anonymous said...

Taking a page from Vaklam, two words:

"Back issues"

Seriously, that's been my own salvation through alot of rough spots when the new books just aren't cutting it anymore. Pick up some old favorites, or explore some great books of the past you've always wanted to experience, or are curious about. Really, comics are about so much more than the latest and hottest (and I know you already know that), and there are so many ways to check out the old stuff. Yeah, the Showcase collections are adequate, but sometimes it's great to own the real deal, with all the ads, letter pages and the rest of the undefinable joys.

Believe me, I won't waste my time (or yours) defending the current comic book industry. I have a low opinion of the calculating, craven bunch who are running the show and (in some cases) creating the comics, and the tie-in, mega-event mania is a becoming a huge turn-off for alot of us, so your anger is certainly justified.

In the short term, I would suggest cutting your list back. Yeah, your comic shop suffers as a result, but at the same time, it's not up to you to keep his shop open. It's a risky, volatile business to begin with, and most people know that going in. Buy what you like, dump what you don't, pick up a few back issues, and I think you'll be feeling better about things eventually.

Or you'll snap and storm the Diamond headquarters with a gang of Harley-driving Heavy Metal-heads with big chains.

Vail said...

Don't give up!! My daughter got for her 4th birthday a "My Little Pony" superhero. Come on, that's gotta be progress right? Now instead of dressing up, making cookies or whatever, My Little Pony has a mask and is saving people! She also got a Green Lantern stuffed doll (can you tell my friends are unique?).

Nick said...

Honestly I was where you were about a decade or so ago, when Zero Hour came out. I generally got disillusioned and realized the comic companies were just trying to make a buck and stopped reading comics altogether for years..

Years later, I started reading again by way of independents (30 Days of Night) , and that's my reasoning for why you should stick with comics. Yes independents cost most and come out less frequently but, the companies that make them are more concerned with just getting the story out then the all-consuming buck. That's the ray of hope that keeps me going with comics...the lone independent comics that make me smile...and sometimes the big two have great stories too *cough* Green Lantern: Sinestro Corp *cough*

Also if you quit comics, my comic blogger list will be down one :(

Lisa said...

Your post makes me sad :(

sad that Diamond and your retailer could discourage you. And sad that you feel like comics aren't for you anymore.

As others have said, stick with what you like and forget the rest. If you don't like the Outsiders weekly don't buy it. If you don't like the current run on a comic, don't buy it. There are plenty of good comics out there. And sometimes a good comic goes bad or vice versa.

Money is the only way to show a publisher what you like and don't like. Buy what you love and skip the rest. If that means you stop using your store's pull service, then that's what it means. Hopefully they order well enough to have some good stuff left when you get there.

Just don't get bogged down in the semantics. Don't let another inconveniently late shipment discourage you. Don't get overwhelmed by mini-series that you don't need. Everything has an ebb and flow and sometimes you just have to ride out the rough spots. If you love comics, then buy them. But if you no longer do, then I guess you shouldn't buy them anymore. However I do believe that there are at least a couple out there that you do still enjoy.

Elayne said...

"If you don't like the Outsiders weekly don't buy it." Bite your tongue, my husband worked on one of those. :)

Heidi, this might be a good time to re-evaluate your shopping habits. Rather than giving up on comics altogether, and assuming you have a pull list, what would be the harm in having your retailer save the books for you until whenever you can get in, maybe a couple times a month instead of every Wednesday like clockwork? I know you want to support your retailer, but that's a common courtesy thing rather than an obligation. You should never, ever feel obligated to buy unless you enjoy doing so.

I used to walk to Midtown Comics after work (or during lunchtime) each Wednesday when I worked in Manhattan. Now that my office has moved to the 'burbs, while I do miss the socialization I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by waiting to have Midtown mail me the books every couple of weeks. I haven't bought most DC stuff because we get the pamphlets in our monthly comp box, which is often up to a month and a half behind what's in the stores. So I've gotten used to not reading things at the same time as most other fans. And I've lived!

Lisa said...

*gulp* Sorry Elayne!

OK EVERYONE buy the Outsiders weekly series! If your store doesn't have them mine does, so contact me.

Heidi Meeley said...

Vaklam, thank you for reminding me. That book kicks major ass. It does restore my faith in humanity when it comes out. Nice one!

Heidi Meeley said...

Ragnell, these are great suggestions! I am using them to make my new game plan so I don't have to run screaming out of the industry completely. I am a big fan of back issues and trades, so that is very sane for me to do!

Thank you!

Heidi Meeley said...

Kalinara, that is certainly true- some of the bad stuff is going away sooner then later, and there is good stuff coming! Yay!

I feel better already...

Heidi Meeley said...

Eaglewing, you bring up a very good point that is the one I am struggling with most of all. I want to be loyal to my local retailer. It is harder all the time. The lady who does comics is going to retire sooner then later and stuff gets pulled wrong. Adding Diamond to the mix just makes it that much worse.

I used to get my books through Mile High and I was quite happy with their service. I also occasionally buy from Amazon. The only problem is that then I miss out on the retail experience. I wish that Lisa was in my town- if I had a great retailer like her, it wouldn't matter that the books were late sometimes nearly as much.

It makes me very torn.

You are right that Ennis and Brubaker keep me spending money too!

Heidi Meeley said...

Britt, you are a wise man. I think you and Ragnell's idea of trades and back issues is a good plan. I also think that cutting back is another good idea. It would make me only buy what I really want instead of every obligatory thing that will supposedly keep me in the loop.

Thank you!

Heidi Meeley said...

Swinebread, you really made me think. I think you may be onto the biggest problem I have. I am burned out on mainstream books. It is Vertigo and lesser known stuff that makes my soul sing these days. Manhunter and Lone Ranger are two books that have really caught my interest. Maybe I need to take a step back and try other genres. You make a lot of great suggestions! I have always wanted to pick up Blankets but I was a bit unsure. Now I know I need to. You are a wise man.

Checking out westerns, adult themes, and horror are an extremely good idea as well. It is time to look around.

You have great ideas- thank you so much!

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, your last sentence made me laugh. God knows last time my hubby and I went to Delaware, I was trying to mapquest Diamond so I could go see them. Hmmm... I wonder how much security they have? Heh heh heh..

Back issues are indeed the way to go. I have so many books in my basement that I need to check out. It has been so long since I just sat down there and read old comics. I also need to browse a few shops and find something new. That is a must.

Your post here was very thought provoking. It made me think and laugh all at the same time!

Heidi Meeley said...

Vail, that is so sweet! I wish I could have seen that. I am glad to hear that the girls growing up today can play heroine/hero and still find joy. That makes my heart very happy indeed.

Heidi Meeley said...

Nick, you convinced me. I can't quit otherwise it will ruin your sidebar!! :-)

Seriously, I think you are right about where my head is at. It is sheer burnout, plain and simple. You and Swinebread are correct that I need to switch up the genres. I think that is why I have really enjoyed Lone Ranger and some of the Virgin books. It is a different take completely.

I have got to try new stuff! No more wallowing in super heroes!

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, I want you to be my retailer! I am sad that I live so far away from you! :-)

I was actually contemplating going and telling my local retailer how upset I am. Maybe it would help. I don't know how to approach it. Maybe you can help me a bit? I dont' want to hurt their feelings, but I want them to know that when they leave my comics sitting on the counter with only our pull board on top of it, other customers think it is fair game. Sometimes my stuff isn't there. Also, sometimes stuff doesn't get ordered correctly. I feel bad because the lady doesn't see very well and I don't want to hurt her feelings. :-(

I agree that the industry is at an ebb where it is very disillusioning. Maybe it will pass sooner then later, and maybe if I implement some of these wonderful suggestions, it would really help.

Thank you for your help!

Heidi Meeley said...

Elayne, you are so awesome! You make a very good point that I don't have to plan my life around Wednesday to survive comics. I am hoping that by talking to my retailer and then by trying not to be driven by that day that it may help. God knows, it couldn't hurt!

Also, whatever Outsiders book Robin inked, I want to pick up. I ordered the books, and I really enjoy his work! :-)

Unknown said...

Maybe its just time to give up mainstream super hero comics...getting mad at diamond and DC, and quiting comics is like hating any medium of entertainment and quitting the medium all together. Comics shops can suck, and so can the mainstream....why not read the Indies...the collected Jeff Browns, Optic Nerves, Snake and Bacon's Cartoon Cabarets? Change how you buy comics, sure...change what you buy makes sense, but to quit comics entirely? Is a really bad idea, maybe its just that the monthlies aren't for you anymore.

Heidi Meeley said...

J- thank you for the excellent suggestions! I am ready for something new to be sure!

Joshua S. said...

As someone who is really jaded with the current state of comics (really, just the Big Two) I know exactly how you feel. Most of it is crap. However, for every five or six books that realy on cheap gimmicks there is one solid book that relies on good storytelling. Find those that are still worth supporting and buy those. Hopefully if enough people support the good stuff with their wallet and stop buying the garbage the publishers will get a clue.

Also, I've recently discovered the joy of hutning down back issues. I am far more excited about stories I've missed the first time around rather than the new ones coming up. They're generally cheaper and you can find out if they're any good before you commit to them.

Good luck.

Heidi Meeley said...

Josh, I am finding that back issues are my salvation. You and I seem to be at the same point, so it is a safer bet to go look in the back issue bins. I have also been going through my long boxes and finding buried treasure there. It beats the crap out of obsessing about the new stuff. :-)

Heidi Meeley said...

Josh, I am finding that back issues are my salvation. You and I seem to be at the same point, so it is a safer bet to go look in the back issue bins. I have also been going through my long boxes and finding buried treasure there. It beats the crap out of obsessing about the new stuff. :-)