Too Many Comics?

David at YACB ponders a question I have deep sympathy for: the downside of having so many quality comics available.

I mean that there are too many comics that I want to read. … This is ably illustrated by my growing Too Be Read pile, which now takes up three short boxes of comics and well over 100 graphic novels, manga & collections sitting on bookshelves. (Not to mention all the comics in the library that I could read if I had the time!) It didn’t use to be this way. Back in my college days I’d buy maybe 8-10 comics a week, and over the course of one or two evenings get them read. But today there are not only comics to buy–and more of them–but also a plethora of comics in book format.

I’m right there with you. I was so pleased to get my office organized, so I could have everything to read in one place. Since that time a few months ago, I never go in there… because my to-read stacks have filled the space there and expanded to take over a new bedroom bookshelf. Four dozen manga. The remnants of convention season samples, with generous new publishers wanting me to sample their graphic novels. Classic works available again in lovely new presentations. Slippery stacks of single issues, each representing hours of potential review writing. Graphic novels I’ve bought myself to enjoy.

I think that’s part of the problem. Once upon a time, I could read 10 stapled comics in about an hour. Now, a graphic novel takes hours in itself. Back then, I also had much lower expectations of my writing quality (and a smaller readership in case I made an idiot of myself), so I could just spill out what I thought and move on. Now, there are plenty of people doing that for many books already, so I want to say something original and say it well.

The one thing that’s going to get me to finally tidy up is the coming of Thanksgiving: I’ll have a few days to do nothing but read (joy!). I have a second pressure driving that, too — I’ve been using my sweater-storing cedar chest as a table, with stacks of review copies on it. Now, I need to get in there, because it’s getting cold!

3 Responses to “Too Many Comics?”

  1. Lyle Says:

    I mentioned this at Dave’s post, but a big factor for me is the manga boom. I used to pick up just about any comic that was slice-of-life or romance because if I bought every one, I still had plently of time and money left over for other genres.

    Now I have so many choices in romance, horror and suspense comics I have to look carefully to find the ones worth ignoring so many others.

    That’s made me less patient with DC and Marvel, too. I don’t see myself checking out the next Manhunter or Hard Time. I used to pick up those titles with the expectation that even if I expect to be cancelled shortly, at least I’ll have enjoyed their short lifespan. I don’t have the time, anymore to support a book that’ll likely end abruptly. If I’m going to take a risk on a story not reaching its end, I’ll give that money to an indie creator instead.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Oh, yeah. As a side effect, it’s a lot harder to be well and widely read.

  3. Rivkah Says:

    Now, there are plenty of people doing that for many books already, so I want to say something original and say it well.

    I think as a creator, I also appreciate that even more. When I read your review of the first “Steady Beat” it was nice to not only what you did and didn’t like about it (or what needed improvement) but also why. Reviews like yours are not only tools for the people deciding whether or not to buy these books, but also a way for artists and writers such as myself to get useful feedback we can incorporate into future work. I know that it takes more time having to carefully think out your posts and reviews, but don’t ever think that it isn’t appreciated. :) :) :)




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