The Geek Life: Back into Comics -

The Geek Life: Back into Comics

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The Geek Life: Back into Comics

Hi, my name is...

By Robert T. Trate     May 23, 2012

The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is going on in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week the Geek Life gets back into comics. 


Hi, my name is Bob, and I’m getting back into comics.


Over a year ago I stopped buying comics. The horror! It was purely financial. It was a good jumping-off point. “Fear” was just starting for The Avengers. Ultimate Spider-Man was dead and Spider-Island was just getting started. I picked those storylines as jumping-off points because they were new arcs. Arcs that I always thought I could go back and read in trade form at a later date. Then I went and did something rash. I started Comicscape back up again here at Mania. 



Being the news editor for Mania, a long time columnist, and fan of the site, I really missed Comicscape. When I approached Joel Rickenbach about writing the column I knew he would be perfect for the job. He is one of the few people I know who can not only talk at great lengths about comics but understands their place in Geek culture. I’m digressing and I’ll pat Joel on the back at the company retreat. What I didn’t expect was that bringing back Comicscape would effect my wallet again. 


Now I find myself reading Comicscape and perusing my local comic shop (Earth2 Comics) for its latest suggestions. Thankfully Free Comic Book Day gave me a glimpse of what new stuff is out there. I looked at what’s going on in The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man and had mixed emotions. The Avengers have not missed a beat. Ultimate Spidey is some new kid and, well, I honestly haven’t touched Amazing yet.


I didn’t go completely cold turkey when I stopped buying comics. Hey, nobody ever really does nor was there some help group out there supporting my decision. I still picked up my Walking Dead trade, finished Kick Ass, and by some miracle finished The Twelve. What I find so disturbing is the collection of first issues I am starting to accumulate. I guess I am willing to try anything as I have yet to get back completely in the game. I see it as a smorgasbord with new things to try and my favorites just waiting. Sure, I’ll go back to Amazing Spider-Man as it is my first love and the one book I have collected the most of. It’s just right now, I can try a few of Ed Brubaker’s noir books, relish in the brilliance of Brian K. Vaughn's Saga, and peruse the Millar World and its variety of stories. I can do all this without feeling the financial pinch. 

I have also found getting back into comics a tad confusing. Not with story lines, the New 52, or even catching up. I seem to have no desire to bag and board my comics. The kid in me who used to believe they would one day be worth something screams out loud anytime I see one laying around. The adult that sits in his place only thinks about the long boxes that get heavier and heavier every time he moves. Will comics really be worth anything 20 years from now? Oh, the original gold and silver aged ones will be. Though with professional grading and digital comics I see little point in bagging and boarding Thief of Thieves #1, 3rd printing. Who I would I be saving this for? Will I ever part with it? I like that I can read a digital comic and be done with it. Yet I miss the paper in my hands and the looks I get when I sit in a coffee shop reading my comics. 

Hi, my name is Bob, and I’m getting back into comics (damn you Joel Rickenbach and Mania).

Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.


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jedibanner 5/23/2012 5:26:08 AM

Thankfully I never stopped collecting in the past 20 years but now I'm finding myself buying less superhero comics and more creator owned comics. Millar is putting some very interesting and different comics out there and if you think Kick-Ass was great, try Super Crooks ot Superior or Secret Service. The Avengers Vs X-Men is great so far and again, Ennis rocks with Fury: My War Gone.  Crossed remains one of the great mini-series out there and now they've started an ongoing and as usual, it brings great story and gore (try Feral also, interesting stories but gerat art and gore also).

I love comics and wished there was more reviews of comics on Mania, let's hope it continues to be popular and maybe we will see more review (heck, I could do some...HINT HINT).

ElBaz13 5/23/2012 5:42:32 AM

Funny how this article pops up and I quit comics this year. After 30 years of collecting monthly titles, I called it quits. I don't think it was about the cash, I could afford it. It's the time and interest. Some of the work I was reading wasn't wowing me and being more and more busy with work and family kind of put these on the backburner. The biggest slap in the face was having Uncanny X-men relaunched at #1 after spending most of my life buying all the back issues and pretty much completing the series. That turned me off.

In the past year, I was just buying to bag and board. I realized all I was doing was increasing the size of my collection and using up space.

Who knows? Maybe I will come back like Rob. But I went cold turkey so that might be hard.

jayinvincible 5/23/2012 6:04:04 AM

 I think about quitting comics sometimes for not only financial reasons but also creative ones. I absolutely love comics but if I pay 3.99 for a comic I want real forward movement in the story not throw away stories and characters. Thankfully, I'm reading more and more creator owned and independent comics. More than half my pull list are these and I'm almost convinced that I can cut out Marvel all together and be happy. I've done it with DC and haven't missed a beat.

Wiseguy 5/23/2012 6:38:32 AM

I've been collecting comics since I could count my age with my two hands but I've always paused, slowed down or outright stopped at different times of my life. While in the USMC, when I was working a full time job and running my own little business hey life just gets in the way at times.

But even during those times I'd try to stay up to date with any major happenings usually with Wizard magazines back then now through cbr or any comics website. At least that way when inevitably I come back to my books I wouldn't be completely lost. It's just something that I can't seem to quit for too long if I don't really have to.

And I can't  or don't feel the desire to go out and explore new stuff. I feel this sense of loyalty to Marvel and DC to a lesser extent. I read comics because of their characters. I like to know how they're changing and what's going on in their lives, I care for them after decades of keeping up with them.



Oh and I still take care of my comics. I don't think they'll be worth much, at least not the new ones. But at the very least I still bag them, I board only the ones that I feel deserve it. It isn't about what they may be worth 20 years down the line for me it's just that I still cherish them.


Roqueja 5/23/2012 7:07:09 AM

Nice to hear where you guys come from on comics.  I myself just don't feel like a collector of comics.  I buy the comics, I read the comics, I put them away bagged and backed.  I don't throw them away after reading them, so they pile up.  I go back and read different story lines sometimes, and I share them with friends, family and co-workers.  I have a wide range that I read and enjoy that only the comics medium can match.  The best writers in the world aren't writing just novels, television or movies, they are writing comics as well, and the talent of the artists to convey their ideas to panels is stunning in a lot of cases and a perfect compliment to the written work.  I am in a dilema as well as what to do with the enormity of my comics as my basement is getting smaller as the long boxes stack up.  How would one unload 20 000 comics and not be ripped off completely?  An advice piece on this to the readers who may be stuck in this rut would be most enlightening.  Everybody is going to face this at some time. 

Wiseguy 5/23/2012 7:25:36 AM

Well Roqueja the problem is what's your opinion of being "ripped off completely". Most comics are not worth the cover price, that's just a fact. My advice to anyone trying to sell is to sell in bulk. Contact milehighcomics or midtowncomics for example. I believe they buy full collections but you have to be prepared to take a "haircut" them the facts.

Anything of high value I may put up on e-bay. I have Avengers, X-Men, Iron Man and DareDevil number 1s and a handful of significant issues that if I ever decided to part with I may have officially graded then put on e-bay

At least that's my opinion on this matter

redvector 5/23/2012 7:56:13 AM

What's bugging me right now with comics is after saying that DC's new 52 would not be changing a character's sexual orientation. When no sooner that Obama "changes" his stance on gay marriage then DC two weeks later says that a character previously who was straight will be reintroduced as gay. I'm BI myself and I thought it was political pandering in an election year when Obama did it and DC is pandering to generate a few more sales. They say this character is "major" "iconic" and male.

DC's track record has been inconsistant when it comes to LBGT character's in the past. This is the same company that introduced a stereotypical flamboyantly gay character with the lame code name Bunker. His costume is pink and purple and his power is that he can generate pink force fields made up of brick like shapes mostly around his hands. I've got no problem with him being gay but they give him a lame name, lame powers, and lame costume. As you can guess the reaction in the gay community was mostly negative. Comments like "stupid" "offensive" and "really bad fucking idea."

Wiseguy 5/23/2012 8:04:46 AM

I think it has to do more with Marvel's upcoming gay wedding than Obama. Marvel did it first ages ago with Northstar and now they're taking the next obvious step. LBGT community remarks I've seen has been almost universally positive about Marvel and it's hard to think DC would not be envious of all the kudos Marvel has been getting

Roqueja 5/23/2012 8:42:23 AM

Thanks Wise.  I'm just not looking forward to having to grade and input data on this many comics in a program and send it off.  Really wish that I had kept up with the logging of titles for them.  It seems a very daunting task to enter in every issue to a computer file.  Gotta do it at some point I guess.  I'll try and post at a later date how it goes and see what I've learned from the experience.  I am fully aware that comics are only worth what somebody else will pay for them.  I'm not looking to make a quick buck on my comics anyway.  These just simply take up way too much space, and I have had my enjoyment out of them.  I'll keep buying more every week, and they will pile up again and hopefully next time I will have learned the ins and outs of selling them with minimal effort and maximum expediancy.

joelr 5/23/2012 9:06:18 AM

 When is the company retreat?!? We talkin' Tahoe?

The best thing about having a soapbox to shout from is when you hear you were responsible for someone Picking up a new book, or getting back into comics all together. Bob, you're welcome. Bob's wallet and free time, sorry, chaps.

Chuck, writer of our Shock-O-Rama column (read it!) came up to me the other day shaking his head and muttering "Damn you". He had just come from a "A v X" and "Night of the Owls" binge. Another satisfied customer!

I haven't bought comics for value since I was a teenager. I buy them for story and art, and consider the trades and hardcovers on my bookshelf my "collection". I reward the story arcs or limited series' i think were something special with a trade purchase and a spot on my shelf.

I hear the Marvel company retreats have Chick-fil-a party platters just for Brian Michael Bendis. Just sayin'.

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