Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reading Weekly Comics Again - Comixology

Years ago (over a decade at this point now) I was an avid weekly reader of comic books.  My Wednesday pilgrimage to the comic book store was something that I looked forward to every week - and there were some weeks where it was literally the only good thing about my week.  But about a decade ago that stopped.  A lot of things collided at once to make this happen - prices on books increased past my tipping point for justifying such a weekly expenditure, we bought a house (and added all the expenses related to that), I went back to school, and, frankly, I stopped enjoying the books I was reading from week to week.  So I stopped buying weekly comics.

Now, that’s not to say that I stopped reading comics.  I moved instead to being a trade collection and original graphic novel reader.  Instead of buying comics weekly, my purchasing of new books became much more sporadic.  And the fact that there are five Half-Price Books location in town that each have a fairly decent-sized trade paperback shelf became more important to my comics purchasing habits.  I am also fortunate to live in a city that has a public library that has a fairly extensive trade paperback collection and is part of a network of libraries that makes that collection much larger.  (I also started reading more webcomics, though some might suggest that my webcomics habit has more to do with the fact that I’ve stopped reading newspapers and so don’t get the daily/Sunday funnies that at one time were really important for me to read.)

So while I’ve remained a comics reader and a comics buyer, the weekly ritual has disappeared from my routine.  Until recently.  A few months back I finally “jailbroke” my old Nook Color and installed the Comixology app on it.  I’d tried Comixology out before and, while I have always approved of the idea of digital comics distribution in theory, the thought of reading books on my desktop or even a laptop was never something that I was all that anxious to do.  After downloading a number of free comics (and wow, does Comixology have a TON of free comics) I found that I enjoyed reading comics on my tablet.  I enjoyed it a lot.  In fact, I would contend that for a lot of comics out there, reading them on a tablet is a more enjoyable experience than reading them in the pseudo-magazine “floppy” format that comics have had for decades.

So I’ve started reading weekly comics again, though only in limited doses.  I still have a problem with the prices - 22 pages of story for $4 or even $3 is just too much for me to pay for a format that I can’t share with other people, can’t resell as a used copy to regain a bit of the money back and could, frankly, disappear at a moment’s notice if Comixology were to go under.  It was too much for me to pay as a print comic that had the resale and sharing attributes, so a more restrictive format isn’t going to get me in at that price point.

But.  Comixology has a number of titles that are reasonably priced.  And by reasonably priced I mean “roughly $2 or roughly 20 pages of story”.  There are quite a number of 99 cent titles that are 10-11 pages (or more) in length.  There are also quite a number of $2 titles that have the industry standard of 22 pages of story.  And there’s backstock - things that are months old that have dropped in price down to $2.  All of these combine together to give readers looking for good books at a reasonable price a whole bunch of options.

So I’m back on the weekly comics thing to a degree.  And I’m going to try my hand at putting up some reviews - or at least some ‘thoughts about the comics” if not actual reviews.  Partly because I need a directed writing exercise to focus my efforts on, and this sounds like a good one to go for, and partly because I like these books and want to talk about them somewhere.  We’ll see how this goes - my previous efforts at blogging have fallen by the wayside before due to life leaving me no time, so I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t go the same way.  But nothing ventured nothing gained.  

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