In 2012 I noticed I was buying far more comic books than I was reading. I love a good sale and tend to pick up books I wasn’t willing to pay full price for, but was willing to give it a shot at 50% or greater off (thanks to Black Friday and Boxing Day). I also noted if I reviewed the book, to see how many reviews I was getting out per year.
This was my first attempt to combat tsundoku that I wrote about last month, and allows one to see if their hobby of reading is actually about the reading or the buying and collecting.
At first blush this may seem an odd exercise, but I enjoy it for three reasons. First, it’s easy enough to do. I maintain this as a text list on my phone and add to it when I finish a book. Second, it shows me if I’m actually reading the comics I’m buying, and at what clip. Third it helps me see what I’m reviewing, but that lacks general appeal.
I normally write a best of column at the end of the year but skipped it for 2016: in red below are my top five 2016 books.
Here’s my reading list from 2016; they’re in order of when they were read, and only about half were released in 2016.
Star Wars Artifact Edition (reviewed)
Usagi Yojimbo: Samurai and Other Stories Gallery Edition (reviewed)
The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Book 5
P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mysteries and Other Stories Gallery Edition (reviewed)
The Sandman Gallery Edition (reviewed)
King Of The Comics: 100 Years Of King Features (reviewed)
The Tipping Point
Monsieur Jean: The Singles Theory
Star Wars: Dark Times Gallery Edition (reviewed)
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume One Kevin O’Neill Gallery Edition (reviewed)
Sam Kieth’s The Maxx Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
The Nameless City (reviewed)
Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling
Kelly Green: The Complete Collection (reviewed)
Captain America: White
Wonder Woman Earth One Volume One
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Graham Ingels’ EC Stories Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Johnny Hazard The Newspaper Dailies Volume One: 1944-1946
Elfquest Gallery Edition (reviewed)
The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Book 6
Scalped The Deluxe Edition Book Four
Wallace Wood Presents Shattuck Original Art Edition (reviewed)
Conan Vol 16: The Song Of Belit
Corto Maltese: Under The Sign Of Capricorn
The Hero Book Two
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller Gallery Edition (reviewed)
Don Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist’s Edition Vol 1 (reviewed)
Jose Gonzalez’s Vampirella Art Edition (reviewed)
Frank Miller’s Daredevil Artifact Edition (reviewed)
Frank Thorne’s Red Sonja Art Edition Vol 2 (reviewed)
Mandrake The Magician: The Hidden Kingdom Of Murderers, Sundays 1935-1937 (reviewed)
Corto Maltese: Beyond The Windy Isles
Jack Kirby’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Best of DC War Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
The Adventures Of Dieter Lumpen
Joe Kubert’s The Return Of Tarzan Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Corto Maltese: Celtic Tales
Herb Trimpe’s The Incredible Hulk Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Corto Maltese: The Ethiopian
A Princess Of Mars: A Graphic Novel
Frank Miller’s Sin City: The Hard Goodbye Curator’s Collection (reviewed)
The Graveyard Book Volume 2
Warship Jolly Roger
John Byrne’s The Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Star Wars Vol 1
Mike Mignola’s The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
The Comic Book Makers
Marvel Covers: The Modern Era Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
The Massive Library Edition Vol 1
The Massive: Ninth Wave Library Edition
Jeff Smith’s Bone: The Great Cow Race Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Ragnarok Vol 1: Last God Standing
Jack Kirby Kamandi The Last Boy On Earth Artist’s Edition Volume 2 (reviewed)
Gil Kane’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Book 7
Jack Kirby Kamandi The Last Boy On Earth Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
The Metabaron Book 1: The Techno-Admiral and the Anti-Baron
The Goon Library Vol 4
Girl Power: Amanda Conner Gallery Edition (reviewed)
Terminal City Library Edition
Prince Valiant Vol 14: 1963-1964
Usagi Yojimbo: Senso
MAD Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Absolute Batman: Year One (reviewed)
Usagi Yojimbo: The Artist and Other Stories Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Jack Davis’ EC Stories Artist’s Edition (reviewed)
Moebius Library: The World Of Edena
The Theory Of The Grain Of Sand
Wonder Woman By George Perez Omnibus Vol 1
Frank Thorne’s Red Sonja Art Edition Vol 3 (reviewed)
John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition Vol 2 (reviewed)
Aquaman Vol 1: The Trench
Aquaman Vol 2: The Others
Mickey’s Craziest Adventure
Outcast Book One
Jack Kirby Pencils And Inks (reviewed)
Jeff Hawke: Overlord
I read 83 comic books in total and reviewed 41, or 49%. I don’t read periodical comics (floppies, monthlies, what have you) so these are all collected editions or graphic novels.
The list is dominated by Artist’s Edition format books, since 2016 was the year I focused on the AE Index and its functionality. Here’s the breakdown by publisher.
|Classic Comics Press||1|
I’m surprised only one Image book made the list. Since they started producing deluxe hardcovers I switched to those from their trade paperbacks, but the pace of those hardcovers is quite slow. I expected IDW to top the list since I focused on Artist’s Editions, but am surprised at how many Dark Horse books are there. Their low priced large sized library editions are wonderful, and I’m thoroughly devouring every Usagi Yojimbo Saga volume as they’re released. I enjoy newspaper strip reprints, but find reading whole chunks of a strip detracts from the experience so I tend to read two or three of these at a time to break it up.
This is a very interesting exercise. It shows how much stuff can accumulate within just one year, and even at 50% off cover price, the cost is no small feat.
I’ve got 3 kids and we recently made an attempt to clear their shelves. I couldn’t believe how many books we purchased for them over the years. We gave a way about 3-4 medium sized boxes of books but that was only about 1/5 of what we had.
I don’t believe my own annual list of books purchased is as big as yours, may only 20-25%… But my shelves are still overflowing with trades and thick Omnibus books, most of which are still shrink wrapped. But I’m in no hurry to read these, especially the Omnibuses. For one thing, I’ve read most of these stories already many years ago (although the details are foggy) and I don’t believe they are meant to be read. The Omnibus format is not practical and so I see it just as another way to collect. Artist Editions in particular are designed to be viewed so I’m surprised you read all our AE’s. I’ve got a separate “to read” pile, and interestingly, none of it is Superhero material.
Maybe there should be a rehab clinic for collectors ^_^
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