As a further bit of explanation, and to demonstrate where I’m coming from, I will go through this week’s offerings and tell you how I plan to consume them. My rampant downloading will no doubt anger some comics professionals, but until that new copyright bill gets ass-rammed through Parliament I’m not technically breaking the law (since I’m not offering the items for download and thus “trafficking” the materials).
Note that wherever I mention “download,” it is shorthand for: “download, read it, then delete it soon thereafter.” The stuff I tend to download and keep tends to be either stuff I don’t own and is out of print (Golden and Silver Age stuff), or stuff I already own and want a digital copy of for my own use (my complete runs of Starman, Hitman, et cetera).
ALL NEW ATOM #25: Download, if it’s not too much trouble to find it. This is the sort of comic where I am not really invested in the story; if I were at a shop, I might pick it up, leaf through it, then put it back down and never think about it again. Mostly because I have downloaded probably about half the issues of this comic, and every time my reaction is the same: “….eh.” It’s not a bad comic, it’s just kind of there. (Sorry, Gail Simone!) This probably adequately describes at least half – if not more – of my comics downloading.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #564: Download and read. It’s really easy to find the newest Spider-Man comic for downloading, and I like following the storyline. I just don’t particularly want to pay for it. When the first trade is released, if it’s a reasonable price (read: less than the pure chiseling that was the pricing on the World War Hulk trade), I might pick it up on a whim; the stories in the comic thus far are enjoyable Spider-Man stories but entirely disposable, so I don’t feel any particular urge to own this.
(Sidenote: I own the entire run of JMS’s ASM in trade, which is another run of Spider-Man that I first read online through downloads. Yes, I (mostly) liked JMS’ Spider-Man run, and especially liked it when he was working with John Romita Jr., so sue me that the new, unmarried Spider-Man isn’t as interesting to me. Maybe in fifteen years when death’s cold fingers are a bit closer to me and I desperately want to relive my childhood, okay?)
Also, I can’t remember if this is a Dan Slott issue or not, but I download anything Dan Slott writes just in the hopes that it pisses him off a little. I even download Avengers: the Initiative, which I don’t even read or like. FEEL MY FIT OF INTERNET PIQUE, DAN SLOTT!
ANGEL AFTER THE FALL #10: Maybe download? This is probably on par with All New Atom for level of interest; I just find it mediocre. Whatever interest I have stems from leftover curiosity about what “officially” happens to Angel after the show ends, but that’s dropping fast thanks to the incredibly ugly art on this comic.
AVENGERS INVADERS #3 (OF 12): Download, because I am curious to see if they can go anywhere after the deeply retarded second issue, where the Invaders figure out that they’re in the future and then more or less arbitrarily decide that the Avengers are Nazis because of an offhand comment made by Bucky. Likelihood that I will ever pay money for this comic in any form: practically zero, because it is terrible. But I love a trainwreck.
BATMAN #678: Download because it’s Morrison. Might buy in future, I dunno. Grant Morrison is a great writer and all, but a lot of fans tend to forget that when he screws up, he pancakes hard. Then again, I have lots of Grant Morrison stuff on my bookshelf, so the odds are generally good I buy it eventually. Then again again, I don’t have The Filth. Then again again, when they put out the inevitable one-volume collection of All-Star Superman i will probably buy it, despite having already bought the initial hardcover.
BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM #1: Download, read, strictly first issue “try before buy” basis.
BLUE BEETLE #28: Download and read with eventual plan of purchasing trade if/when it comes out; I already own the first three trades of this title and will buy the fourth when it comes out, and the fill-ins thus far have been decent so I figure the fifth will join them.
BOYS #20: As Blue Beetle. I own the first two trades, eagerly await the third. I just don’t like having to wait for the trade and I refuse to buy a fucking comic book twice.
Some may argue that the cost of the floppies is a purchase price for immediacy, and that is a fair argument. It’s just one I’m going to ignore entirely. Guess what, comics: I’m your market. There are a lot more of me than there are completists willing to buy every issue they’re interested in reading right away, and I spend a fair amount of coin on you so it’s not like you don’t get anything out of me.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #16: Download, wait for trade again, already have the first two, thoroughly entertained by this title, happy to buy it in trade, not going to wait.
FABLES #74: Same again: I have every Fables trade and the 1001 Nights of Snowfall hardcover.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #3: Download, because you know what? I missed the first two issues entirely. (This is the downside of downloading comics as your primary means of reading them on a weekly basis.) I’m curious, what can I say. (This, incidentally, shows one of the strengths of the downloading-at-very-low-cost delivery model for comics; there’s a lot more opportunity to try out a book. It’s a lot less common now for someone to pick up a random issue of a book like this for a tryout basis.)
JOKERS ASYLUM THE JOKER #1: Prior to copypasting the “coming out this week” list from Savage Critics, I didn’t even know this existed, so what the hell. Back in my purchasing days this might have been an impulse purchase. Now, not so much.
JONAH HEX #33: I’ve been thinking about getting the first trade of this for a while now. Not that downloading this issue will influence me one way or the other. But it’s on my “maybe” list. The problem I have is that most of the stories in Jonah Hex tend to flow together in a sort of same-ish way.
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #43: Will buy the actual issue. Legion is the one comic of which I buy single issues because I just like having the single issues, even though I buy the trades. Which is fine. I understand that for some people this is what they feel for every comic. (Not for me, though. The trade paperback release this year that made me happiest were the reprints of the old Denny O’Neil Question series, because I thought “thank god, I can finally get rid of those fucking single issues.”)
MANHUNTER #32: Probably download? I’m not emotionally connected to this book like it seems the entire rest of the comics internet is. If it’s stuck in front of me I’ll read it, I guess. (And yes, I read the earlier issues, I know it’s quality product, it’s just not a story I’m really that interested in.)
MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #41: Same as Manhunter. I’m not in any rush to find this and read it, but if I see it, I’ll download it, read it, delete it, and fifteen minutes later I’ll be hard-pressed to tell you what the story was about, but I’ll remember being vaguely entertained.
NORTHLANDERS #7: See, I love Brian Wood’s other work, but this is another case where I read maybe the first two issues, liked it, then lost track of it entirely. I’ll probably pick up the first trade when it comes out, because my memory of it is good. (Of course, sometimes that backfires – I read the first few issues of Desolation Jones online, thought it was good enough, then bought the trade and hated the ending and sold it at a used books place.)
PATSY WALKER HELLCAT #1 (OF 5): Wait, there’s a Hellcat limited series? Well, huh. I don’t care, but I’m impressed there is one. (This really has little to do with the topic at hand. I am digressing.)
RANN THANAGAR HOLY WAR #3 (OF 8): I read the first issue and it was so bad it almost became good. (Almost.) I might download this just for laughs, if I don’t have to look too hard for it. That “looking hard” for a download of this title involves maybe a minute’s worth of clicking tells you how invested I am in reading another issue of this comic.
SECRET INVASION FRONT LINE #1 (OF 5): Another train wreck waiting to happen. I eagerly await the new adventures of Sally “Stupidest Bitch In The Marvel Universe” Floyd. What stupid thing will she say this time? Truly, Paul Jenkins is one of the great comedic minds of our time.
SQUADRON SUPREME 2 #1: Yeah, I’ll give it a look. And then probably lose interest again, just as I usually do with this revamp of the Squadron Supreme.
SUPERGIRL #31: I kind of download this one every month, in the hopes that I will see a Supergirl that I actually want to read about and maybe even spend money on. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m optimistic.
TRINITY #5: Maybe this week it gets good.
WALKING DEAD #50: Another “download until the trade comes out” one. I like Walking Dead.
And that’s that.