As you can probably guess by now, I read comics. A LOT of comics. More importantly, I
own a lot of comics. Many, many thousands of them. Mostly I collect them in trade format, which means I need a lot of space for them. Thankfully I have the greatest wife in the world, who lets me have a room just for my geekiness, but at the end of the day it’s still a relatively small space. I recently got all of my graphic novels onto our new bookshelves, and while it looks fantastic, it’s already full, which means that if I want to ever get new comic books, I need to cull. Drastically.
To that end, I’ve taken it upon myself to reread my entire graphic novel collection from beginning to end. That might not sound like much, but it is if you own several thousand trades/graphic novels, which I do, much to my wife’s dismay. I’ve decided to set the ground rules as such: If I truly love something, it stays, but if it’s just ok, or I feel that it’s not something I need to own anymore, I trade it in to my local comic store.
I started this a few weeks ago, and I’ve discovered some interesting things about how my
reading habits have changed, and how comics have changed over the years. A good friend (designerjay at http://inspirationtopublication.wordpress.com/) suggested I start to write about the culling process, and talk about what I’ve learned, so here goes. Due to the way I organize my collection, I started with my DC comics trades and collections first. The interesting thing to note here is that while superhero comics are a large part of my collection, there are very few mainstream superhero books that I follow regularly today.
Part One– Animal Man to Batgirl
Animal Man – I’ve been a sucker for this character for a long time. These are the trades that collect the much ballyhooed groundbreaking run of Grant Morrison. Like much of Morrison’s work, this is overrated, and has not aged well. Unlike much of Morrison’s work, this is still readable, and I’m keeping all 3 trades.
The All-New Atom – Man, I miss this series. Well, I did, until I actually read it again. The first 8 issues of this series are full of fun, creative superhero action. Gail Simone obviously had a blast writing this, and you feel as if her creative gloves were off, so to speak. But then DC decided to bring Ray Palmer back, and the quality of this started to fade quickly. When Simone left the book she passed the reigns over to Rick Remender, who proceeded to remove everything fun, smart, or interesting that was still present in the book, and make this yet another dour, gloomy DC snoozefest. I ended up keeping the first 2 trades, and got rid of the last 2.
Batgirl – One of the first surprises in this process, was discovering how much I liked Kelly Puckett’s run on Cassie Cain’s Batgirl. A well written, fun series. You’d think that this would get overwrought with pathos due to how brutal Cassie Cain’s origin is, but Puckett keeps the tone light and even handed all the way through. Only negative here is that more of Puckett’s run on Batgirl isn’t collected in trade.
Batgirl Year One – Written by the poor man’s Chuck Dixon, Chuck Dixon. Still stands up as a fun adventure story, and fits perfectly with Dixon’s Robin Year One Mini.
Coming up next: Batman. Lots and lots of Batman.