29 Aug 2008

Thought Balloon: Tough Decisions

By Matt C

Justin Boatwright’s article over at Wednesday Is My Sabbath regarding his decision to prune his pull-list has inspired me to do a similar thing. You can’t turn on the TV or open a newspaper these days without finding someone banging on about the credit crunch, and with the unavoidable task of remortgaging my flat fast approaching, along with the arrival of my son, Harvey, into the world, it looks like I have no other option but to look into ways I can save pennies. So, where does a good chunk of my disposable income go? On comics, of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I’ve known for a long time that I need to reign in my spending, and think more carefully what books I’m putting down my hard-earned cash for.

Justin went for 25 ongoing titles to keep on his pull-list, I did try and aim for the same but managed 26! First, my Top 10 – if I had to be really severe these would be the only ten titles I’d get (and let’s hope that day never comes!):

1. Captain America
2. Criminal
3. Thor
4. Nova
5. Scalped
6. Action Comics
7. Fell
(assuming we ever see this again!)
8. Doktor Sleepless
9. Green Lantern
10. Daredevil

The next ten I wouldn’t want to drop, but if it really came down to it there’d be some casualties here:

11. Conan The Cimmerian
12. Amazing Spider-Man
13. Invincible Iron Man
14. Guardians Of The Galaxy
15. Incredible Hercules
16. Proof
17. Justice Society Of America
18. Wolverine
19. Punisher
20. Elephantmen

The final "five" (the Final Five!!) are either soon-to-be-completed series or ones I’m umming and ahhing over:

21. Noble Causes (this’ll be done in a few issues time)
22. Godland
(also in the home straight)
23. Wolverine
(depends who takes over from Millar)
24. Booster Gold (will give the new creative team a chance)
25. Uncanny X-Men
(I’ll give Fraction and Brubaker a few more issues to convince me)
26. Charlatan Ball (early days, not decided whether this is a keeper)

A few ongoings are being jettisoned then. I like The Spirit, but the current creative team aren’t doing anything near as interesting as Darwyn Cooke was, so I’m knocking it on the head. I’m anticipating that the next issue of Powers - #30 - will be my last. Was a time it would’ve been in my Top 5, but that time is long gone. Unless this week’s issue of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers knock me for six, they’re gone. I might dip in occasionally if anyone recommends me an issue, but they both disappoint too regularly to keep on the list. Zorro: I will wait until the end of this story arc and then consider the trades at a later date. Catwoman is done this week, not that I’d have dropped it if it was continuing, but it does mean one less comic a month.

That just leaves various mini-series, which I’ve already started being more cautious with; there was a time when I would have got, for example, all the Final Crisis tie-ins, just to keep up to speed with things, no matter the quality. These days, the main series is more good enough for me by itself. And stuff like Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas? Nice and all, but waaay overpriced and inessential. So, the minis I’m currently getting:

Captain America: White (not quite out yet, but there’s no way I won’t get this!)
Crossed (#0 didn’t totally sell this series for me, but I’ll check it out)
Final Crisis (it’s improving, or at least it seems to be)
(this finishes this week, but I would consider giving any further minis a look)
Infinite Horizon
(if we ever see this again)
Marvel 1985
Mouse Guard
Newuniversal: Shockfront
(this is fairly close to the chopping block though)
Pax Romana
Pretty Baby Machine
(if another issue ever comes out!)
Red Mass From Mars
Secret History
Secret Invasion
Secret Invasion: Thor
(I know it’s a tie-in, but it’s Fraction and Thor!)
Ubu Bubu
(is this actually a mini?)
War Heroes
That puts my pull-list up to 46 titles, but seeing as a lot of those minis (and some of the ongoings) are hampered by delays, it’s not like it’s 46 titles a month (I’m probably averaging about 30-35 a month), so it should, hopefully, remain manageable. And, obviously, I reserve the right to add another title to either list at any given moment – often temporary, like Jason Aaron’s current arc on Black Panther - but my intention is to keep at this level.

Not quite as ruthless as I thought I’d be, but I’ve jettisoned a few books, and on top of my decision to stop buying Ultimate books, I’ve reduced my spending quite a bit from this point last year. As long as I keep my overall outlay for comics well away from the £100 a month threshold (which I can no longer afford!) I’ll be happy! And it should mean the comics I get I enjoy rather than buying them out of habit, or some other misguided reason!


Anonymous said...

Great list! You've given me some titles to think look into. I've been cutting my pull list for a couple of years now, and find to my surprise, from my September Previews order form, that I'm only taking one (projected; lets hope it survives) long-term ongoing: ECHO. Otherwise, all I'm pre-ordering are: X-FILES and FARSCAPE, which as TV tie-ins won't last; KULL, which probably won't, either, and ATOMIC ROBO, which I really enjoy but am considering dropping anyway, since somehow I feel I can live without it, considering the money I'd save.

Minis: I'm looking forward to SAMURAI LEGEND from Soleil/Marvel; the Brainiac arc from ACTION; and Guy Davis's MARQUIS trades. Sorta thinking about JACK STAFF trades, too. But still, pretty scant fare from all that I used to buy.

Titles I *wish* I could buy forever:

Matt Clark said...

I'd love to check out the Soleil stuff too but due to what I'm guessing is copyright issues they're not being made available in the UK. Which I should be thankful for as it saves further pennies, but I'd like to have the option at least!