What I read this month

Things are still well from settled at the temporary apartment we’re staying in while our reno happens, but they’re getting there. I figure we’ll have everything perfectly squared away right before we need to pack up to move back home.

With more down time these days, here’s what I was able to get read:

Hell Yeah or No – Derek Sivers
Savage Sword of Conan #1 – Writer: Gerry Duggan, Artist: Ron Garney, Colorist: Richard Isanove
Savage Sword of Conan #2 – ibid.
Savage Sword of Conan #3 – ibid.
Savage Sword of Conan #4 – ibid.
Daredevil #1 – Writer: Chip Zdarsky, Artist: Marco Checchetto, Colorist: Sunny Gho
Daredevil #2 – ibid.
The Avengers #1 – Writers: Jason Aaron & Ed McGuinness, Artists: Mark Morales & Jay Leisten, Colorist: David Curiel
The Avengers #2 – ibid.
Silver Surfer Black #1 – Writer: Donny Cates, Artist: Tradd Moore, Colorist: Dave Stewart
Silver Surfer Black #2 – ibid.
Wolverine #21 – Writer: Archie Goodwin, Artists: John Byrne & Klaus Janson, Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Wolverine #22 – ibid.
Wolverine #25 – Writer: Jo Duffy, Artist: John Buscema, Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Wolverine #43 – Writer: Marv Wolfman, Artist: Jihn Buscema, Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Wolverine #44 – ibid.
Silver Surfer #34 – Writer: Jim Starlin, Artist: Ron Lim, Colorist: Tom Vincent
Silver Surfer #35 – ibid.
Silver Surfer #36 – ibid.
Silver Surfer #37 – ibid.
The Incredible Hulk: Ground Zero – Writer: Peter David; Artists: Todd McFarlane, Erik Larson; Colorist: Petra Scotese

Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell – Chris Colfer

To dip my toe back into comic reading, I opted to start off with anything I brought with me that 1a) I hadn’t read yet, or may have but wanted to read again to be sure, and 1b) it turned out I had multiple parts of (surprisingly few), and then moved into 2) graphic novels and trades (which were almost entirely one-shot volumes as well).

A quick aside for non-comic readers: Comics often have story arcs that take multiple issues to complete before moving onto another story, though the issue numbers continue to climb. Story arcs, particularly for the more popular series, are often later collected as a whole story unit and released as individual “trade paperbacks”, aka “trades”. Graphic novels are long-form comics that haven’t been published previously.
The multiple names attached to comics are the the top credited roles in bringing the comic to life (albeit with plenty not given cover credit and instead listed inside). It typically features the writer, the (pencil) artist, and the colorist, although it can vary.

The Savage Sword of Conan is one of my all-time favourite comic titles. It had previously been published in a larger, magazine-sized format. And while there were other Conan titles released at the same time, and since, Savage Sword has always remained a preferred pick. These days, a slight variation on the title is being published as a more standard comic format. And as soon as I saw the first few issues on the shelf, I couldn’t not buy it to see if it still held the same interest for me. I’ve read the first four issues, and while it seemingly doesn’t share the same mystique and engagement as the ages of old, black and white, magazine format did–perhaps that’s just me romanticizing the past–it’s still an enjoyable read.

As I get into the single comics later on, I’m curious to see if I’ll be able to tell if my interest (or lack of) in wanting to read more of the story comes from the characters or the writing. I had zero interest in reading more of the Wolverine story bits I was dropped into the middle of, but then, I don’t find the character particularly engaging. Whereas I would for sure read more of the Silver Surfer story I was dropped into the middle of, but I like that character more. So is not caring about one story but caring about another owing to my relative interest in the characters, or how the writer handled it? I suspect a blend of the two. It’s also perhaps in part the fact that the Wolverine series had issue gaps plus had a mix of writers and the Surfer issues had one. I could see how a single story told by multiple writers in turn–even working hand-in-hand–could feel not as engaging as one writer telling the full story.

Time will tell.

One thing this comic reading has pretty much cemented for me is that I’ll definitely be looking at getting a digital comic subscription. As discussed not too long ago, I way prefer reading an analog book, or comic, to reading a digital one. But one can’t deny the convenience of having hundreds of digital book titles stored on a single device, or having access to decades of comic material being available to read online. Particularly after this move, involving packing and hauling literally dozens of boxes of books and more long boxes of comics than I even recalled having, plus now getting a taste of some comic stories I want to keep reading and not being sure I could chase down physical copies of the continued series anyway, a digital comic subscription makes more sense to me than ever.

And the cost makes it a no-brainer. I was amused in reading the Ground Zero trade to see the original late 1980s covers printed at the beginning of each issue’s section, and the price for each issue was 95ยข Canadian. These days, I don’t know that you can get a single new issue of a Marvel title for under $4, and it seems to be more for first issues of series (which is odd: I’d think you’d want to charge less for series openers to get more people likely to buy them and then bump up the price for subsequent issues as the series went on, but what do I know?).
Suffice to say, the monthly cost of a comic subscription spent on physical comics instead would be used up pretty quickly. Paying that same amount to have access to way more digital comics than I could ever run out of seems a much better option.

I’d be sad to see printed comics disappear completely, and do want to keep supporting them and their stores somehow. Walking around in a comic shop just to peruse the titles on the shelves and seeing what catches your interest, and being able to thumb through thousands of back issues to see if you can find the story arc you want to catch up on, all has its own unique appeal that can’t be replicated digitally, to say nothing of finding old copies of stories you own and being able to slide them out of a plastic bag to enjoy them all over again. But as with buying into a music streaming service instead of buying physical copies of music I like–I preferred buying CDs to streaming, too, until we got to several hundred (maybe over a thousand) of them, at which point storing and moving them became a legit problem–I’ve gotten to the point where going more digital than physical with this entertainment just makes more sense.

Here’s hoping there’s some kind of turnaround in that worldwide trend so that my daughter and future generations have possessions of value rather than not owning any material goods that they enjoy simply for their own sake.