I’ve written before about my reading habits but it seems I’ve developed a new one that’s been working for me. At least where it comes to the many collected editions of comic books that I have on my shelves. For a few years there, about 2008-2011, I was mainly buying collected editions rather than monthly comics. There weren’t enough monthly comics that I was interested in. But then I started searching out more monthlies and Image Comics in particular started publishing a lot more comics I was interested in. So for the last three years it’s been mostly single issues for me. That’s good because I like single issues.

As much as I like a well made hard cover book of comics I prefer reading my comics monthly. I’m not much of a binge consumer of anything. I don’t sit down and watch many episodes of TV shows or movies in a row. I prefer one episode a night if I have a lot of one particular show to watch. Binging gets boring for me. I can’t sit still that long. I also like the wait between episodes and I enjoy variety. So I prefer having a stack of ten different comics to read rather than ten issues of one comic.

I’ve got my monthly comics reading habit down pat now. I’ve got it to the point where I read all my new comics twice. I’ve found the key to that is to leave them out and available for a few weeks rather than file them away. So I buy them, put them on the end table next to my reading chair, read one, and then put the read copy on top of my inkjet printer. That way the already read copies are still in front of me. I can easily glance at them, thumb through them, or give them a second read before filing them away. Being on top of my printer they’re also kind of in the way which encourages me to read them again in a timely manner. It’s a weird little habit but it works. I get more enjoyment out of my comics reading them twice. Plus a lot of modern comics read really fast so it’s not much trouble to read them again. But that leaves my collected editions out of the loop.

As I wrote before I don’t buy a ton of collected editions anymore but I still get some of them. I have a wish list of stuff on Amazon that my family buys off of at Christmas and my birthday so I get them for presents. Plus I often see good deals online and pick up a book or two here and there or want to try out something new from my local comic shop. The problem is that I wasn’t always reading them after I got them.

Back when I was mostly buying collections my reading habits were simple. Pick out a collection to read and then keep it out until I read it. Repeat. The problem I ran into with that is many of the collections I bought really weren’t meant to be binge read. And I don’t like binge reading anyway. A lot of the collections I bought were of old genre comics. I got a lot of the Atlas Era Marvel Masterworks books for example. I like them a lot and find them interesting but they are mostly made up of eight page stories from the 1950s. It’s tough to read thirty or forty such stories on the same subject in a row. They just weren’t made to be read like that. So I just sort of stopped reading them. I was still buying some of them but they languished as I read my now healthy supply of monthly comics.

Cut to this Christmas. I got a few new collections as presents plus the last week of the year is a slow one for new comics. I read all my monthly comics and even read them all twice and cleared them off the top of my printer. So I grabbed one of my new collected editions and gave it a read. As I wrote before I’m not a binge reader so I only read one issue of “Glory: The Complete Saga” and then put it down. Later on I found myself wanting to read a comic but not “Glory” so I ended up reading nothing. After all “Glory” was the one that was out to be read.

After a couple of times of that I decided I needed a new reading habit. I had already read another book I had received for Christmas called “Shoplifter” but that was a graphic novel and not a collection. And it was short so that was not a problem. But I also had a pile of collections sitting on a footstool nearby. My Christmas books plus a few things I purchased recently and left out to read. Turns out I never read them and they just got more stuff stacked on them.

Next time I wanted something to read I grabbed a “Serenity” collected edition, which had been sitting around for a month, and read an issue from that. After that I grabbed a collection of Richard Corben “Creepy” stories which had been sitting around for two years. After that “Winterworld” which I bought a few weeks ago.

I stack all these collected editions in a new place. On my drafting chair. I have to find a better place but for now the chair is okay. It’s in my line of sight and I don’t sit on it a ton since I stand and work. I can easily grab a book off it to read. I finished up “Glory” and “Serenity” pretty quickly and have since added “Starstruck” and “Starman: Omnibus Volume 6” to the pile. Those are both books that have been on my shelf unread since 2011. That’s a crazy amount of time to not read a book but they are both huge volumes with three and five hundred pages in them and I was never in the mood to read ten issues of “Starman” in a row. Now I don’t have to.

With this new habit I’m enjoying reading my collected editions again. I’m especially liking the Richard Corben “Creepy” stories because this is more how they were meant to be read. Since there was usually one Corben drawn short story every monthly issue or so of “Creepy” they weren’t supposed to be read ten stories in a sitting. A sameness crept into them when I tried reading them that way and it was tough to pay attention to the details of any one story. Now that I’ve been reading them a story or two at a time and then moving on to something different I appreciate the Corben stories much more. They get my full concentration. I like when I can make my habits work for me and not against me.