Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting for Alex to Return

Hi, it's Nathaniel again, hijacking Alex's weekly comics/catharsis column once more. Anyone who's been around this blog awhile knows that I'm not terribly up to speed with the latest comics, so I won't pretend I know anything about just how ultimate the Marvel universe is anymore, or who's wearing Batman's cape these days. (Answer: Batman.)

I will, however, take a moment to talk about how heavy trade paperbacks are when you throw them all into a big box and try to lug them up a flight of stairs.

They are very heavy.

I've devoted roughly the same amount of shelf space to my video games and DVDs as I have to my comics, yet the comics weigh twice as much and and provide half the lasting entertainment value, if even that much. I replay my favorite video games from time to time--though far less frequently now that I've got such a massive backlog--and I'm willing to rewatch just about any TV show or movie I like if it means I get to share it with someone else. Comics, though? They're all one-shots to me.

Granted, the oldest comics I have on my shelf are only two years old--that's hardly enough time for nostalgia to set in, and I still remember most of the stories fairly well. It might be fun to dig up and dust off the random single issues I have from when I was much younger, but I don't have any compelling reason to go back in time with Booster Gold to a few months ago when I first read about Booster Gold going back in time. My trades look pretty on the shelf, but it'll be at least another few years before I know whether it's been worth it to lug them around instead of selling them.

The practical side of me is saying that this might be an indication that, at least when it comes to moving your entire collection of comics from one place to another, this trend toward digital comics might not be such a bad thing. The side of me that embraces my collector's mentality is saying that if I wasn't interested in having a collection, I wouldn't have continued to stockpile when I could have easily borrowed just as much from Alex. In some ways, my collection is just as much for me as it is for my family and friends.

A shelf filled with comics becomes a lending library, and a library of your own means you can share what you like with other people. It's not entirely unlike a DVD library, but it's harder to lean over someone's shoulder and read a graphic novel together. Lending out comics typically invites deferred gratification; it isn't until you're arguing over whether The Hulk or The Thing would win in a fight that the satisfaction of sharing your comics library kicks in.

That's one kind of satisfaction I've largely missed out on because I'm not a comics fanboy. I seldom get excited about the books I lend, borrow, or read on my own; I don't have enough of an opinion or comics education to really get into a deep discussion, or debate, or fisticuffs with anyone. Perhaps reading the comics is only part of their entertainment value--the other part is actually talking about them. I think I've been ignoring the social aspect of the comics fandom all this time, for better or for worse, but I'm willing to bring up the subject a little more often.

It's been ages since we've had more than a brief mention of The Goon on this blog, and it doesn't help that I stopped to rest after visiting Chinatown and haven't been back to Lonely Street since. Maybe...just's time for me to start asking Alex again for a knife to the eye.

And if none of what I just said made any sense, then maybe it's time you asked Alex for a knife to the eye, too.

No comments: