Just about every comic I have right now and collect regularly are in trade collection form. I have a few floppies, mostly stuff I consider collectibles (like a black and white reprint of Chew #1 and The Unwritten #1), but for the most part, I’m a trade-waiter.
*)NOTE – this isn’t everything, just some of it
These days a lot of talk goes on on various message boards and blogs on the Internet about saving the industry, about supporting artists and great series by buying stuff in floppies so that monthly sales of titles can maintain high enough numbers to remain viable, and similar veins of thought. After all, if sales numbers remain high, people argue, then a series won’t get dropped from Diamond’s catalog (especially an indie title that isn’t on one of the Big Two), and it won’t get canceled.
Sometimes, it seems like there is a lot of subtle pressure on fans to “save the industry” by helping great series continue to exist by buying stuff in floppies. I feel that as a trade-waiter, I’m sort of looked at as not “enough” of a fan because I wait for stuff to come to trade paperbacks. A great example is say, Captain Britain and MI:13, a Marvel title. What it had going for it was a Big 2 book, it had a great cast, fantastic writing, it spun off from a popular mega-event (The Skrull-tastic “Secret Invasion”, introducing the first story arc “The Guns Of Avalon”), the art ruled, and it was a follow-up/semi-sequel to a popular Marvel MAX miniseries (the Wisdom one). It had a lot of great stuff going for it.
Unfortunately, it also had a few other things going against it. None of the cast are considered mainstream “A-name” characters (as cool as a cast of Captain Britain, the Black Knight, Spitfire, Blade, Pete Wisdom, and more are, they’re no Wolverine apparently), none f them are American either, it doesn’t take place in America, and it suffered from rumors of cancellation on and off for a while despite critical acclaim and everyone and their mother on the Internet claiming that they bought it and read it.
Now, everything I read from it, I loved. From the start, when I saw some previews and scans of “The Guns Of Avalon” I knew that this was going to be fantastic, and the previews of “Vampire Nation” (the final storyarc) blew me away. Dracula? Fuck yeah! Flying warships soaring through space? Magical invasions and demonic plagues? Come on, who wouldn’t like that? But I told myself that I’d get it in trades, because to me, that’s just easier to handle. I don’t go to the LCS once a month or a week (I don’t technically have an LCS, I go to Forbidden Planet in Manhattan)
I guess when it comes down to it, I feel bad because I refuse to feel bad about my reading habits, of being a trade guy because not only does it read better to me (as a power-reader who can finish stuff in relatively short time when I get engrossed in it), but also because it’s easier for me to store and shop for. I don’t go to the comic shop every week or even every month necessarily. I go when I can, when I want to. This way, if stuff is collected in trades I can pick up a whole storyline or even a whole short-lived series or miniseries (if not an entire story by just getting an original graphic novel). I don’t have to worry about getting longboxes and organizing them, I can just put stuff up on the bookshelves or in stacks that are more manageable than a stack of floppies. In fact I think I remember reading a blog entry from writer Brian Wood where he suggested that instead of monthly floppy single issues that, on a regular schedule, a more solid “trade” come out containing the equivalent of that many months’ worth of issues, and I thought that that was a great idea. That is something that would definitely float my boat, and in actuality probably have me buying comics a lot more.
The same way that I hate the insinuations about what I’m “supposed” to do in punk rock when it comes to buying and listening to music (never mind the way I’m apparently supposed to dress and act), I hate being told the “right” way to buy and read comics. For me, the best way to do it is my way, because that’s the only way that’s fun to me. And in the end, it being fun is what matters.