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Monday, September 22, 2008

Reader copy

With all this collecting who has time to read anymore ? Well I must admit that the collecting/searching/buying/cataloging/grading/bagging/boarding part of the hobby sucks a lot of time away from the actual reading. Ad to this the hours a day I spend online, talking about..well comic books and you might think I don't read at all. Even though I don't get to read as much as I'd like I do try my best...which isn't always good enough.

When (non-comic) people visit me and see my collection the first question always is "Have you read everything" (the second question is invariably : "how much i this worth"). And then I have to shamefully admit I might have read about 20% of my books...but hey 20% of 10.000 comics is still no mean feat and I know plenty of collectors who have huge collection and have hardly read a book.
When I started collecting comic books about 6 years ago I got slapped around with two old adages...one was that I wouldn't continue buying new comics AND back issues at the same time (this turned out to be true) and the other one was that the more you turned into a collector the less you became a reader.
Alas the second one looked to be true as well, it's a lot easier to buy 100 comics online than it is to sit down and find the time to read them...and after all the 12 -15 hours you would spend (remember backissues take more time to read than modern books...because of the (better?) words-to-picture ratio) reading them, could very well be used to search for some more books (and then discussing these books with fellow collectors who haven't read them either)

But a few years ago I decided to try and fight the power and rediscover my inner-reader. I set myself a task of reading about 10 comics a week, or 500 a year. I will take me the better part of 10 years to read everything, but it's a start and I have managed to stick to it. Now there are weeks when I don't reach the magical number, but that only means that I need to take it up a notch the next week. The best part is that due to my manic collecting of complete series I now get to read entire Marvel runs from start to finish and last month I finished reading Avengers #1 - #503.

Now I did cheat a little as I started reading Avengers in the Summer of 2005...but that was just the Silver Age and I stopped at #40 or something.
You can read my reviews in the archives section in the right column (July/September/November of 2005). So about two years later I picked up where I left off and this time I didn't throw the towel. It was a very eventful ride, read a lot of great books, skimmed through some crap and generally had a good time.
No way that I'll review all 450+ books I read, but I do have a few observations...

  • Observation #1 : Things really picked up for the SA books with the arrival of The Vision in #57...stories got a lot more involved and layered.

  • Observation #2 : Runs which had Captain America AND Hawkeye in the lineup were alsmost all excellent

  • Observation #3 : Hank Pym was a sucky little suck in any of his incarnations all throughout the series

  • Observation #4 : Splitting the team in the middle to creat the West Coast Avengers killed the book for a long time

  • Observation #5 : The George Perez/Kurt Busiek modern Ultron run is as good as *any* of the classis Bronze Age and Silver Age arcs

In short I loved this series.pure superhero fun all the way, maybe not as brilliant or complicated as the Fantastic Four and maybe less intense and moving than Amazing Spider-man...but pure comic book fun.

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