Summer Drought

The summer is almost upon us and as such seems to mark a dramatic slowdown in my comic buying. I’m not quite sure why but every summer material I’m interested in dries up and my ordering list gets smaller and smaller.

In the old days it was believed summer output from Marvel and DC dropped because kids all over North America were out of school and didn’t have time for comics. I’ve been a collected editions reader for a few years now and this publishing cycle shouldn’t effect trade paperbacks but I guess old habits die hard.

My pull list for July has four entries: two I’ve marked as “thumb first” because I’m on the fence. Yikes! Marvel and DC just posted their August releases and so far I don’t have anything on my list.

In a previous column I mentioned my family recently moved and I boxed up all my comics and then unboxed them and filled my new shelves. As I unpacked more and more boxes I kept coming across books I hadn’t read yet, or material I’ve had for decades and couldn’t remember. These ended up on their own shelf as I plan to get through them before the summer is out. No, strike that. I want to enjoy each and every one of them, not just get through them.

Unfortunately a lot of these unread volumes are oversized or gigantic, depending on the size of your hands. If a book doesn’t travel well it doesn’t go with me to work where I fill my lunch hour with reading. With three children at home hauling out an Absolute edition is a cause for lots of questions and requests to read along, which makes great time shared but not much actual reading.

If by some inconceivable twist of fate you don’t have any unread books sitting on your shelf this summer drought presents a perfect opportunity to try something new. With luck you’re not too far from a comic shop that has a used or discounted section, or a second hand bookstore that carries trader paperbacks or seconds. Pick up something you wouldn’t otherwise read, give it a good thumbing and then take one home.

I like lists. I keep a list of books I’ve pre-ordered and mark them off as I buy them from my local comic shop. It’s nice to know what hasn’t shipped yet or is late; treasures sure to arrive any day now. Like IDW’s Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artists Edition, now several months late with no sign of shipping. Come on!

I also started a read list when 2012 rolled around; I’d often want to refer back to when I’d read a book but couldn’t remember if/when that had happened. I’m also marking on the list if I’ve reviewed it, so in December I can compile an accurate best of the year post.

Reviews need to be fairly timely, close to their publication date, so you can catch the internet searches for the title. If you miss that window of a few weeks you might as well post it when you feel like it. Speaking with Anthony Falcone it seems the current fad are “retro” reviews, fresh looks at old material. Hmm; I’ve just been calling them reviews no matter the age of the material. Looks like I’ll be going full retro this summer as I review my lost treasures.

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

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