Apparently feeling we haven’t had a real good comic-blog-controversy lately, Augie De Blieck tells us why we should stop going to the comic store and buying monthly comics.
The underlying point of the essay is hardly controversial: Too many people buy too many comics out of habit, not because they particularly enjoy them. I can get behind that.
But the financial aspect is slightly out of whack. Trade paperbacks are cheaper than monthlies because the monthlies pay for most of the content. Stop publishing the monthlies, and trades won’t remain so cheap; either they’ll become more expensive, or the monthlies will be replaced with hardcovers.
Shopping entirely online isn’t necessarily a great option. For one thing, it means lots of money for giant corporations with little customer service or any sort of investment in the community, something I dislike on general principle. I order from Amazon sometimes, but I certainly wouldn’t want it to be my only option.
Online ordering also cuts down on the great art of browsing. Buying online can be quick and easy, but it’s best for times when you know exactly what you want. Only an actual, physical store can provide the great discovery of finding a book on the shelf or rack that looks really cool. Or even thinking “That book sounds kind of interesting, but I’d like to take a look at it before I buy.”
De Blieck acknowledges this point to some extent:
Go to your local comic shop and see if those two books are currently in stock. I’d say you have a pretty good chance of the X-Men title being on a shelf somewhere. I wouldn’t lay any bets on a random “Asterix” volume haunting the same bookshelves. And even if your retailer stocked “Asterix,” would that particular one be on the shelf?
Of course, many stores aren’t very good at all. If my choice was between online shopping and a physical store that only sold Marvel and DC books, I’d probably go online, too. But that’s an argument in favour of more good comic stores, or at least one opposed to crappy stores.
There’s absolutely no better place to buy comics than a good comic book store.