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What I’m Buying

Sean T. Collins

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you! My “Favorites” post series will mostly be focusing on stand-alone book-format titles from throughout the years, and that’s a big part of how I experience comics. But I also look forward to Wednesdays for my front-of-Previews fix as much as the next nerd (even if I end up doing things a bit differently once we get there). So I thought it might be fun to take a look at the mostly superhero/”mainstream” titles I’m digging these days. Come flip through my pull list after the jump.

I’ve got pretty odd and unrepresentative reading habits, I think. I switched to buying only trade paperbacks back in 2004 or so, doing so online for the most part. Working at Wizard, where we got copies of virtually everything for our library, made that pretty easy: I could still read series in their monthly installments and evaluate whether or not it was worth plunking down the money and preordering the tpb. After the Wiz gave me the boot it got a little harder, but I still have enough access to review copies and the like that I’m able to keep up with most series on a monthly basis.

So when I say I buy a book, it’s the collections I’m referring to. Virtually always this means softcover–I don’t like hardcovers. And that means I can often have a long time to wait before getting a copy of a series I like in my hot little hands, particularly for DC. I’m also particular about exactly what I’ll pay for, and even what I’ll grab for free. There are series I enjoy fine enough when reading them courtesy of a friendly PR person or a friend or by skimming a copy in the shop that I’d probably only collect if I could snag free trades, and there are also a few series I follow for some reason or other but don’t care to own.

Below you’ll find lists of all these kinds of books–my whole “mainstream” reading list. “The Buy Pile” is what I’m definitely buying. “On the Bubble” are books I’d happily stick on my shelves if I could grab free or super-cheap copies somehow, but I’m just not sure if I can commit the cash to buying them outright. “Following” means I stay on top of it as best I can, but I’m not interested in hanging on to it for posterity. (Notes in parentheses where warranted.)

So here’s how it breaks down…

Marvel: The Buy Pile
Agents of Atlas (I assume–I really liked the miniseries and so far so good for the ongoing)
Captain America
The Immortal Iron Fist (Brubaker/Fraction/Aja era)
Incredible Hercules
Invincible Iron Man
Omega the Unknown (completed)
Ultimate Spider-Man

Lots of Brubaker, a pair of old-school Bendis books, Fraction’s Iron Man, and a smattering of titles on the fringes of the modern Marvel Universe, which is where the action tends to be for me these days.

DC: The Buy Pile
Action Comics (Geoff Johns era)
All Star Superman
All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder (on hiatus or something)
Astro City
Batman & Robin (when it starts)
Ex Machina
The Exterminators (canceled/completed)
Final Crisis (completed)
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
The Flash: Rebirth (when it starts)
Green Lantern
Superman: New Krypton (crossover event – completed)
Superman: Secret Origin (when it starts)

I’m pretty much a Morrison/Johns man. If they gave up writing comics for Lent or something, that would pretty much mean 40 days of no DC books for me at this point. I thought The Exterminators was entertaining and intriguing; haven’t finished it yet. Ex Machina I’m hopelessly behind on in the monthlies, but I think I’m all caught up in trade. Astro City is maddeningly infrequent, but when it’s there, so am I. Frank Miller has a lifetime pass from me, but I’d think All Star Batman was hilarious even if he didn’t.

Image: The Buy Pile
Jack Staff
The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman’s two improbable success stories, plus Paul Grist’s superhero thing, the second book to earn the “maddeningly infrequent” label on this list.

Dark Horse: The Buy Pile

I’ll buy any and all Mignola-verse titles, including the solo spinoffs like Abe Sapien or Lobster Johnson.

Marvel: On the Bubble
Immortal Iron Fist (Swierczynski era)
Captain Britain & MI-13
The Stand
Thor (Matt Fraction one-shots)
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk

I’m putting The Stand here simply because I feel weird putting a book containing a bunch of stuff I wrote on the Buy Pile (I’m Marvel.com’s Stand correspondent and a lot of the little features I do on the book end up in the book itself). With post-Aja IIF, I’m a little iffy on the art, though Swierczynski’s ideas and tone have been right in line with the Frubaker material everyone loved. With Captain Britain and Fraction’s Thor, I can’t decide if I like the execution as much as I like the ideas. With Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, Damon Lindelof has earned a lot of credit with me, but I sort of want to see where it goes before deciding whether to pick it up for good.

DC: On the Bubble
Action Comics (Rucka era)
Green Lantern Corps
Superman: World of New Krypton

The “New Krypton” crossover hooked me and I’ll be buying those trades, which I assume will be collecting the comics involved by triangle number rather than by series. But now that Johns isn’t involved directly in them anymore, I’m not sure if I’ll be keeping that up. Similarly, I don’t think I’ve ever actually read an issue of Green Lantern Corps that wasn’t part of the Sinestro Corps War, but I enjoy the concepts Johns has introduced so much that I’m trying to track down the trades so that eventually I can read them in rapid succession and see what’s what.

Marvel: Following
Dark Avengers
New Avengers
Mighty Avengers (Bendis era)
Secret Invasion (completed)

I like to keep abreast of what’s going on in the Marvel U., and I like a lot of the surface qualities of Bendis’s writing even when the ultimate execution is lackluster, so I’ve been trying to stay on top of these series even though what’s actually going on in them holds little interest for me.

DC: Following
Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge (completed)
Justice Society of America
Secret Six

Rogues’ Revenge was kind of like Geoff clearing his throat of the Flash runs that took place between his own once and future tenures on the title, so it’s interesting in that regard but not something I feel the need to have on my bookshelf. JSoA is kinda like the Bendis Avengers books in that I’m fond of the writer but not too fond of what he’s writing in this particular series. Secret Six features solid writing from Gail Simone and solid art from Nicola Scott, but while I find it fun, it doesn’t quite click with me on an emotional level.

So there you have it. As the fella says, what looks good to you?


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