In which format do you read your comics? And, to be clear, I am not referring to physical vs. electronic. But rather, the single issues or the Trade Paperback formats (which are the collected versions of those issues and story lines)? It may not seem like a very interesting topic to you and you would be totally right, but I find it interesting to see what peoples preferences are and why.
The above picture is my collection of trades. There are some titles that I had bought many years ago when I stopped collecting, to scratch that comics-itch I had. But for the most part, 80% of those titles were picked up because I wanted to read that story line.
In a previous post, I discussed why I was drawn to comics but I took a big break in actual collecting of comic issues. And I mean, a big break. As in close to 20-years long. In that time, I would buy the occasional trade just for shits and giggles; mostly it was if I had heard something was good or maybe the cover looked neat.
I got back into comics about 6 years ago, starting with the electronic versions and then back into the physical copies of issues about a year or so after that. But it was a slow progression back into weekly collecting. And in that – transitional time – I picked up some trades and really found that comics had changed drastically. The stories were much deeper than I remember. The art was gorgeous. I had a different appreciation for the medium now than I did back all those years ago. I know that with age, a change of perspective happens but with that in mind, I was still shocked at how rich comics had become.
The first trade I picked up was DC’s The New 52 Batman, written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo. Within the first few pages of that trade, I was overwhelmed with Capullo’s art and Snyder’s scripts were fucking amazing. This was a Batman that I wanted to know more about and I hadn’t recalled reading any other Batman comic that was so rewarding as this one was. I consumed Volume 1: The Court of Owls in a few hours. And then I read it again to be sure that I wasn’t being ridiculous and sure enough, I enjoyed it more the second time. After that, I went and picked up the next two volumes and that really is what kick-started my habit again.
As I write this entry, I have come to realize that maybe the trade formats are the gateway into collecting. I think its possible, dont you?
So, I collect issues of my books now. But I am also grabbing trades because I have either missed the issues and their story lines or I wanted to wait to get that particular story line in a trade. For the most part, its the former.
As stated above, I still grab my issues on a weekly basis but I do also like to get a good trade from time to time, allowing me to catch up on some really great stories that I missed while I took my comics break.
Some people prefer to just wait and get the trades; collecting comics for them is not a fun hobby. And I can see that point of view and admittedly admire it to an extent. When you get a really good story line that spans 5-12 issues, having them all in one book makes things much easier and kinda fun. You can pull a trade off the shelf and not have to worry about opening the bag of each issue.
So what do you prefer? Single issues or trades? Or both? Because while writing this post, I came to realize that, for me, I have a healthy attraction to both. And that’s ok.