Nothing thrills me more than visiting my local comic shop every week and picking up the latest and greatest issue from the various titles on my pull list. It’s like Christmas morning every time where a glimpse into the ongoing story is revealed. But sometimes with how some titles are published, the wait can be unbearable. Take for example Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Image Comics releases this title every month, therefore, I have to wait a substantial amount of time to continue the ongoing epic. And sometimes it’s tough to remember what happened in the previous issue. Yes, there’s a section at the beginning of the issue to remind me of the major points but it’s still consuming a chunk of the story every month.
With the advent of Netflix, binge watching became relevant. I, for one, fell into this statistic when my wife and I watched the entire 6 seasons of Lost within a week’s time. Yeah, it was like being unable to put down an engrossing book but with an entire television series. There’s just something satisfying to continue watching a tv show from start to finish, of course, with the hope to get all your questions answered. I’m not going to weigh in on what I thought of the ending of Lost or of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, for that matter, but you get the picture, right?
Circling back to comics, there are ways for a reader to mimic the Netflix experience and that’s through trades, either in hardcover or in paperback forms. They act like watching an entire season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where you get the entire story arc in one nicely packaged book. And for some readers, this is the way to go. It’s the ultimate benefit to finish an entire story (or arc) in one sitting, like a movie playing across your imagination. And, in the long run, it’s definitely easier on your wallet.
One pitfall I’ve experienced with trades is the space issue. Just like how I wrote about the difficulty in keeping several boxes of physical comics , finding a large enough book shelf for all your trades is a challenge. I know my buddy keeps all his The Walking Dead Compendiums on the bottle shelf of his book shelf. Those suckers are heavy! But they allow my buddy to catch up on the current story in one or two evening reading sessions.
For me, I enjoy adding trades to my book shelf, but I’m on the pickier side of the coin. Typically, those stories that I really enjoyed line my book shelves, so I can pull them down whenever I want to re-read that particular story from start to finish. Some examples of what you could find on my book shelves include:
In my opinion, especially for new readers, trades are the best to get your feet wet with a certain character or creative team. Most local comic shops have sections where the staff picks their favorite stories to check out, and these suggestions offer new readers some tried and true stories to get into. Or, if you prefer, a simple Google search on a particular character will reveal what stories people like reading and you can go from there.
Sifting through the best and worst stories is part of the fun when reading comics. Trades offer readers a chance to consume an entire story, without the hassle of waiting every month, every two weeks, or the like. Though you often times have to wait for a story arc to finish before it’s collected in a trade, the good outweighs the bad in my opinion.
So don’t waste anymore time and pick up that trade you always wanted to read! And leave a comment on which ones you particularly enjoyed. I’d like to know what interests you all and perhaps I might add them to my trade list, too!
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