I have been looking to recapture that Wednesday feeling I used to get as a kid. It’s been a long time since I’ve walked into a comic book store on a Wednesday and got excited to see new books on the shelves. Don’t misunderstand, I will always love comic books and Wednesday is still my favorite day of the week. I was just not getting the same feeling as I used to. I’m found myself less eager to discover something new or find a rare gem. I’m no longer surprised by seeing a cool new book on the shelf or an issue that I’ve been searching for. When you’re the person who’s in charge of ordering the product, it’s very difficult to surprise yourself. When you put every title on the shelf with your coworkers, how can you find something that catches your eye? I wanted to get closer to comics by working at a comic store and in some ways I feel like I’ve only drifted further away from what made me like them originally. I wanted that Wednesday feeling back and that’s why I had to change the way that I bought comics.
What I realized is that the reason that I lost that feeling isn’t because of the comic book medium. It’s about a certain portion of the comic book publishing world. It’s about the superheroes.
I’m not as interested in reading continuing adventures of my favorite heroes and villains as I used to be. This feeling of apathy is focused on the modern superhero comics being published by Marvel and DC. I’ve been reading Marvel comics since I was 8 years old and superheroes have always been a big part of my life. I have multiple copies of Amazing Spider-Man issues from when I was young because I read them so much that they fell apart. I used to scrounge over back issues of Captain America looking for those missing parts of my collection from the Mark Waid run from the late 90s. I just don’t feel that enthusiasm about new superhero comics anymore. I’ve been in the superhero game too long and it’s taken a toll. I’ve transitioned from being someone who was obsessed with new comics to someone who finds himself getting jaded by the whole idea of constant relaunches and re-imaginings.
I thought I was losing touch with comics altogether when I’m really only growing tired of a specific genre. What I want is something fresh, something that’s new and exciting. I want to go beyond the constant crossovers and the big fights. I want to explore new worlds and meet new characters and find new genres to dive into. I’m expanding my tastes and it’s all because I’m looking for that feeling again.
A few years ago my pull list was almost entirely made up of Marvel comics. I slowly started to add Dark Horse, DC, Vertigo, and Image titles on the list as well. These days, Image makes up the majority of my pull list and I’m spending more on collections of older Marvel comics than I am on monthly series. I’m still buying my old favorites like Thunderbolts (now titled Dark Avengers), X-Factor, and others, but I just don’t see much interest in the typical superhero series like the Avengers and the Justice League. I’m buying fringe books that have more to do with horror or mystery. Supernatural thrillers or science fiction stories set in space with talking robots and dudes with televisions for heads. I started looking outside the box and that feeling is slowly coming back to me.
Image is helping me get excited about comics again with new series by different creators every month. Books like The Manhattan Projects, Planetoid, Saga, The Revival, and others are quickly finding their way to the top of my reading pile every week. I’m finding my reading habits changing along with the way that I view comics. It’s not really about collecting or needing to “stay up to date” with my favorite characters anymore. It’s more about enjoying what I’m reading and sharing that feeling with others.
I receive an enormous sense of joy out of helping someone find something new and exciting that will expand their comic book tastes. I don’t want a customer to complain about the books that they’re buying only to drop out of the comic habit altogether. There’s plenty more out there than just superheroes. If you ever find yourself getting jaded or reluctantly buying things out of habit, take a step back. Evaluate what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. Why not give something different a shot instead of picking up that latest issue of Superhero Mega-Crossover #1? Reading only superhero comic books is like only watching one television channel or buying one type of video game. It’s not the entire medium but instead just one aspect of it. There’s a new comic book out there that will reignite that feeling of wonder and excitement in you. You just have to be willing to dive in and give it a shot.
Wednesdays have changed for me, but it’s not a bad thing. I just get a different feeling now when I open up the comic shop. I’m more interested in discovering a new world and sharing it with others than I am with reading the same old superhero plot. Superheroes and villains will always have a special place in my heart and I’ll always be interested in the adventures of Spider-Man and Batman. I just won’t let the bad aspects of the genre get me down about all the great possibilities the medium has to offer.