Ahhh… collecting things. Isn’t it fun?. I just found some comic books at an online comic shop and ordered them. About thirty comics. The vast majority of them were under a buck so the whole shipment cost me under fifty dollars. A good chunk of change but not a ton.

I really didn’t need any of the comics. They aren’t ones I was dying to read. I was just filling in some holes in obscure comic series that normally I can’t find anywhere. I bought two issues of “The Masked Man” that I have been missing for decades.

“Masked Man” is a series from 1984-1988 published by Eclipse comics. It was kind of a tribute to Eisner’s “The Spirit”. I remember liking it but haven’t read it since then. I’ve been missing two of the twelve issues since the Eighties and have never seen any issues of the series anywhere. I’m sure demand for them is not high so no dealer is going to drag out his issues to bring to a comic con. Not that I’ve been to a comic con in a decade.

I also bought the last issue of “Usagi Yojimbo” that I’ve been missing. It’s “Space Usagi” Volume 2 Number 1. The one time I did this same thing, sometime last year, I ordered this comic but they sent me “Space Usagi” Volume 3 Number 1. It gets a bit confusing sometimes. Hopefully I’ll get the right comic this time and complete my Usagi Collection. Of course I still need the comics he appeared in before he had his own book.

A few recent things were in the order too. Like a couple of issues of “Fear Agent” that I missed. Most books that I buy month to month I never miss an issue but sometimes I pick up on a book a little late or maybe money is tight and it doesn’t quite make the cut for a little while. “Fear Agent” was one of those books. I started with it late, picked it up for a while, dropped it, and then picked it up again. I still am missing a couple of issues but they are cheaper then when they were new. If you can track ‘em down.

It was a little annoying ordering from this online shop. Only because I missed putting an issue in my order. I thought I did but I didn’t. I e-mailed them and got a response that since the web site used an automated ordering system they couldn’t add things to my order. That seems a little crazy to me. When a sales system is so inflexible that is loses sales I have to say that is a big flaw.

I haven’t bought any back issues of comic book in a while. There are so many collected editions of old comics being published that there is no need to hunt down back issues. I especially like the oversized hardcovers of stuff that’s been coming out. I’m not a huge trade paperback fan. I prefer the hardcovers. Often, but not always, they’re printed better and if they are bound well they are easier to read that TPBs.

I still like actual comic books though. I like their periodical nature. Waiting until next month to see the next part of the story is part of the fun of comics. I buy the individual issues of all of the small press stuff that I read regularly but nothing from Marvel or DC. If I want some mainstream super hero stuff I’ll usually by a collected edition. There are too many ads and not enough story in a regular Marvel or DC Comic for me.

I’ll often buy the collected edition of the small press stuff I like too. Not only to support my favorite cartoonists but also to lend out. For some reason I find comic book fans are more likely to read something new that they can borrow if it is in book form. I don’t know why. They’re comic book fans and read individual comic books but would rather not be bothered with something new unless it’s collected. Weird. Regular people won’t read a comic at all but might read a collected edition.

The collected editions are fairly cheap on a per issue basis. A comic costs three or even four dollars an issue now. For twenty two pages of story. That’s expensive. A two hundred page collected edition is going to run you twenty five to thirty dollars. Plus I get a thirty percent discount on collected editions at my local comic shop. A powerful incentive to get collected editions. Of course that also means buying a lot of “comics” at once. The downside of collected editions if you’re just trying stuff out.

I’ve already started digging through the database of my comic collection to see what other obscure comics I am missing. Maybe I’ll put in another order soon or maybe I won’t. Let’s face it these aren’t comics I’m dying to read right now. I’ve been missing them for a lot of years and have been in no rush to find them. Still it is fun to fill in holes in the collection after all these years. And most of the ones I need are cheap.