Believe it or not, my time management has gotten pretty bad lately, and I’ve struggled to find time to read many comics, let alone actually write anything with any consistency. So because of that, I wanted to revisit an older column from last year that felt oddly relevant again.
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Not Rushing Your Comics Reading.
I never actually expected that I’d be writing a column focusing on the underrated aspects of comics on comics as a whole, but then I also never expected to be living during a global pandemic. The period of time during which comics ceased all publication drove me to reading a lot of trade paperbacks and other collected editions of series I had either never read, or hadn’t read in a long time; X-Men stories such as Operation: Zero Tolerance and The Dark Phoenix Saga, and a plethora of titles not from the Big Two ranging from Saga to a reread of Ninja-K. I’ve read a surprisingly large amount of Star Wars comics (more on those in the coming weeks), and have really cut down on my backlog of books to read (and consequently my collection has never been better organized).
But ever since the comic industry started to release books again, I’ve found that I haven’t actually read a third of what I’ve been picking up at my LCS. It’s not that I don’t want to read them, it’s that after so many months of reading a full story in one go, I’ve found that now I’m waiting until I have more than a single issue in a story to read so that I can get more of a fix in one go rather than waiting the 30 days between issues. I realize that this is also increasing the time between me reading the comics (I’ve got two issues of Once And Future next to me right now), but the fact that it’s already been more than 30 days between some issues is besides the point so I’m just prolonging the already extended period between issues.
The truth is, I wasn’t intending to do this. I had every intention of reading stuff immediately after buying it, but… I’ve lost the urgency to read comics as soon as I get them now. Pandemic related? Maybe. But it’s the lack of urgency that’s allowing me to savour the stories again and let the issues build up so I can lose myself in a couple issues of Batman, No One’s Rose and other series I’ve been picking up.
It’s nice, honestly, to have lost the FOMO (fear of missing out) that so many of us experience with comics. Maybe because I haven’t fully gotten back into the routine of buying, reading and storing comics yet, but I’ve found a new way to enjoy the stories that I’ve loved for nearly 30 years. With patience (though I enjoy reading older stories in trade, I don’t expect I’ll ever become a trade waiter).
Of course, give me a couple more weeks, and I’m sure that I’ll wonder why I ever wrote this, but right now not rushing through my comics has given me a surprising amount of enjoyment from what I’m reading. It may not become my new normal, but I’ll make the most of it while I’m still enjoying the process.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.