I used to read a lot of comics as a kid. I had tons… but I stopped reading at some point. I think probably because it was just hard to get a hold of back then. We had a comic shop, but it was always so out of the way from where my parents went for anything, it was more of a “special occasion” than anything else.
When I got older I got back into comics in a hard way for quite a while. There was a point in my life that I was dropping $100+ a week on comics. I bought anything and everything that even looked remotely interesting. I have crates and crates of solo issues, runs bundled together, and most of all Graphic Novels that I’m sure are slowly putting a dent in the floor of our house. That isn’t even counting the digital library I have amassed on my server of pretty much every comic ever worth reading. But at some point I stopped reading comics again and I found myself wondering “Why?”.
While browsing online today, I came across an article about the newest Carnage comic. Carnage was always my favorite villain of all time. Back in the 90’s with the Maximum Carnage comic, and tie-in video games on the SNES/Genesis and even the ‘94 Fox Kids animated series, he was kinda everywhere for a bit. I remember the fleer card series having a quote that has stuck with me to this day, for him; “I’m killing you ‘cuz I can!”. From a bad guy perspective, thats awesome, it’s so evil and bad, it’s exactly what I want out of a supervillain. One that doesn’t care about life, and is killing people because he wants to. Not some greater good in their mind, not some cosmic balancing act, not a way to show power… just plain pure desire.
So when I read the article, the gist of it, was that there was going to be a new tie-in with Spider-Man, and that’s when it hit me again…This is why I stopped reading comics. Too many tie ins. Every overarching story has to be connected with 92 other comics. And you can’t feasibly read and keep up with them. I’ve never been a fan of issue a month, even as a kid. The reason being, that you would read it within 10 minutes (if that) then have to wait an entire month to continue the story.
Back in 2002, I got really into modding Xboxes and there was a media player program called XBMP that stood for Xbox Media Player, they changed the name a bit later to call it XBMC for Xbox Media Center, which allowed you to either load tons of movies and videos on your Xbox, or you could setup a Samba Share on your network and access the media on the Xbox without transferring anything over. It was kinda like Netflix Streaming in a way.
This is how I consumed media. TV with its commercials and waiting for an episode to rerun was pointless when you could just watch a full season in one sitting. People call it binge watching now, but back then, it was just watching it all at once, whenever you wanted. And that is how not just movies and TV should be, but also comics.
I don’t want to sit and wait an entire month for another issue. Just put the whole thing out when it’s done. 1. Because it can’t get canceled in the middle of its run (which, yes, can happen, and usually does more often than not) and 2. I am not going to run around, keeping a list of which comics I have to pick up when and in which order to read them. That’s stupid and a waste of everyone’s time. It’s nearing 2020, everything is digital. It’s been that way for a while, and while I do agree that holding an actual book in your hands, something tangible is much better than a digital layout, it’s a thousand percent more convenient. It takes up zero real world space, is instantaneous and can be at your fingertips in moments.
But again, this is not even what I’m here for. It’s about the tie-ins. How much better is it, when you pick up a graphic novel, and are able to read it all the way through, instead of searching for each issue, again mostly from different series and franchisees, finding the impossible to find reading list, and then getting it all in order and then finally going to read it?
Browsing a list of newly released comics on a torrent site, where any comic is able to be downloaded instantaneously still brings out the rage as there are just way too many comics being made. Most of them are now utilizing some form of tie-in or crossover event. I saw one today that was about Red Sonja and Vampirella meet Betty and Veronica from Archie. Really? Does anyone need that? Is there any conceivable reason that comic exists? Oh, and it’s not a one shot, it’s a series. It’s on it’s sixth issue as of this writing.
Graphic Novels are the only way comics should be put out. Unless it’s some indie comic, or one off or whatever. But if it’s a continuing series, it should be in Graphic Novel Volume form. I remember when Gotham City Sirens first came out, and it was so nice to finally get volumes of the series, that put all the run of issues in one convenient package. Instead of having to hunt down every single back issue or whatever. It’s so much easier.
I’ll take convince when it comes to reading over the real thing every single time. Because in the end, what are you really there for? The Story, or to collect?