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I don't know where to start...

Postby Sleepy_Insomniac » Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:38pm

I'm interested in the world of comics, but I have no idea how I'm supposed to go about the process of collecting and whatnot. I've read The Walking Dead and Watchmen hardcover books based on recommendations in the podcast, but I really want to get into the spectacle of purchasing individual issues and starting a collection.

So, I have to ask:
-What exactly do I need?
-Is there any urgency to picking up an issue, or can I just walk in weeks after its original publication and expect to find it on the shelf?
-Is there a certain etiquette when it comes to browsing and/or purchasing comics?
-Can I place a pre-order on an upcoming issue?
-What should I look for when picking out a comic store to frequent? (I live in Chicago if any of you have favorite spots around there.)
-Is it better to purchase comics online?
-How often do issues come out?

Also, if you have any recommendations for comics, they'd be greatly appreciated; I'm fairly open-minded to any suggestion. Thanks in advance!
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Sokkratez » Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:23am

Comics come out every Wednesday. You can be sure you never miss an issue of a comic you want by setting up a pull list at your local shop. This means that each week they'll set your books aside for you before they even make it to the shelf. Sometimes this costs a fee, but you usually get a discount on books if you have a pull list.

I used to go to a shop every week for about a year or two, but it got to be a hassle given the traffic and the distance from me (plus I had a big pull list and making changes was a pain), so I found a shop that does subscriptions online: http://scifigenre.com. They're a real shop based in North Carolina. You can manage your pull list and subscription online. You get discounts on everything in the store, up to 35% off depending how many books you subscribe to and what you're ordering (trades and action figures are usually 10%, for example). You can also ship stuff along with your subscription each week to keep shipping costs down (if you order trades, action figures or back issues, for example). I've been with SFG for about three years now and I try to turn people on to them whever I can. They're wonderful.
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Hellsfire » Apr 6th, 2009 @ 1:14am

I would suggest not thinking of comics as collectibles. They're hardly worth anything these days. You should probably decide if you want trades, hardcovers, omnibui or floppies. After that, I would decide ordering online or at a shop. If you have a good shop, you could support them and work some kind of deal out. If you don't, online you get some ridiculous discount if you pre-order at certain sites.
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Rydog » Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:02am

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-What exactly do I need?

A desire to collect comics.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Is there any urgency to picking up an issue, or can I just walk in weeks after its original publication and expect to find it on the shelf?

Depends. Most high-profile limited series and "event" books tend to be in higher demand. But I doubt you're gonna have much competition if you walk in to buy the latest issue of Jonah Hex a couple weeks after the fact.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Is there a certain etiquette when it comes to browsing and/or purchasing comics?

Probably depends on the store. I assume some comic store employees are aggro about customers reading books cover-to-cover in the store. I'm generally guessing as long as you aren't breaking things or trying to kill other customers, you should be OK.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Can I place a pre-order on an upcoming issue?

Any comic shop that's worth a damn will allow customers to open a saver account, yes.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-What should I look for when picking out a comic store to frequent? (I live in Chicago if any of you have favorite spots around there.)

Nice, sociable, knowledgeable managers/employees who are willing to take the time to help you find what you need. And it's a good sign when the place is well-kept (i.e. neat/tidy, organized back issue bins -- if the back issues' bags are all screwy with bent flaps, that's a bad sign). Beyond that, it depends on what you're looking for. Some comic shops keep a comprehensive trade paperback library, some specialize in back issues.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Is it better to purchase comics online?

I prefer real stores.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-How often do issues come out?

New comics come out every Wednesday. Most ongoing series are monthly, although stupid slow-ass writers and artists (see: Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, respectively) can cause annoying delays.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:Also, if you have any recommendations for comics, they'd be greatly appreciated; I'm fairly open-minded to any suggestion. Thanks in advance!

Boilerplate suggestion list (disclaimer -- I have a heavy DC bias):

- Watchmen
- The Dark Knight Returns
- Kingdom Come
- DC: The New Frontier
- Marvels
- The Golden Age
- JLA (anything from the 1980s JLI to the current ongoing Justice League of America)
- The Question (1980s O'Neil/Cowan run)
- Suicide Squad (1980s Ostrander run)
- Superman/Batman (at least up until the end of Jeph Loeb's run)
- Green Arrow (currently goes by the name "Green Arrow/Black Canary")
- Secret Six
- Astonishing X-Men (Joss Whedon's run is awesome)
- Planetary
- Buffy: Season 8
- Angel: After the Fall
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Master Higgins » Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:17am

Sleepy,

Congrats on getting into the wild world of comic books :lol: I'll try and answer your questions the best I can.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:I'm interested in the world of comics, but I have no idea how I'm supposed to go about the process of collecting and whatnot. I've read The Walking Dead and Watchmen hardcover books based on recommendations in the podcast, but I really want to get into the spectacle of purchasing individual issues and starting a collection.

So, I have to ask:
-What exactly do I need?


I'd recommend a pair of eyes, a set of hands, and the ability to read. Other than that, you're all good.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Is there any urgency to picking up an issue, or can I just walk in weeks after its original publication and expect to find it on the shelf?


Depends on the book, depends on the shop. I try and stock about the last 6-12 months worth of a title, but often books do sell out fast. Sometimes they get reprinted, sometimes not. You're more likely to find older issues of a top selling book like New Avengers than you are of a smaller, indie title.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Is there a certain etiquette when it comes to browsing and/or purchasing comics?


Again, depends on the shop. I've got a fairly open policy for reading and browsing...feel free to read as much as you want! If you like it, buy it ;) As long as you're not damaging the comics, it's cool. Some places don't let you read them, but I never agreed with that. Ask your LCS (Local Comic Shop...I should do a thread of Commonly Used Comic Book Lingo) what their policy is.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Can I place a pre-order on an upcoming issue?


You sure can! Most comic shops have a subscription service you can subscribe to.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-What should I look for when picking out a comic store to frequent? (I live in Chicago if any of you have favorite spots around there.)


Probably the same things you'd pick out looking for any type of shop...location, selection, staff knowledge and friendliness. There are a lot of really good comic shops out there these days; a lot of the Comic Book Store Guy-style shops have gone away, but there are still some out there. Check out Yelp, or ask around on some of the bigger comic websites, and I'm sure you'll get some good suggestions.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-Is it better to purchase comics online?


That's the big question these days, and it's price and quantity vs service, quality, and immediacy. They're going to be cheaper, but it's going to take a while to get to you, unless you want to pay a lot more for quicker/more frequent shipping. Also, if you're very picky on condition, it's possible you'll get books that aren't in as good shape as you'd like. Returning a single comic is a hassle. Buying from your LCS, you might not get as good of a deal, but you get to pick your own copy, you get it on the release day (or whatever day you're able to make it to the shop), you might find something else cool while browsing, and you're supporting a small business in your area. As a brick-and-mortar comic shop owner, obviously I suggest going to your local shop, but it's up to you.

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:-How often do issues come out?


Normally, once a month, although some books come out more or less frequent, and there are often times delays. You can find a Shipping This Week list posted in this forum every week. While not 100% complete, it's a large majority of the titles shipping from Diamond Comics, the main comic distributor.

Baring a holiday or an explosion at your local UPS, comics come out every Wednesday. This includes toys, statues, trade paperbacks, single issues, and whatever else might ship.
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Sleepy_Insomniac » Apr 6th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

Wow, thanks for all the help!

I think I'll take a train into the city tomorrow or Wednesday and I'll try to put your advice to good use. I've got a couple store locations printed out; some look shady, but I'll give them a quick glance. My Google searches haven't turned up good online comic providers that ship near my area, so I figure I'll just go to a brick-and-mortar store every week. Plus, I like the aesthetic of getting goods from a living, breathing human being.

Man, I wonder what my first issue ever will be. Heh, I'm getting too excited here. :lol:

Thanks again!
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Master Higgins » Apr 6th, 2009 @ 4:32pm

Lemme ask around what stores people like in Chicago.
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby Hellsfire » Apr 7th, 2009 @ 4:00am

Sleepy_Insomniac wrote:Wow, thanks for all the help!

Man, I wonder what my first issue ever will be. Heh, I'm getting too excited here. :lol:



I also forgot to say that you can't go wrong with Vertigo comics. If you're unsure, they're selling a lot of their comics for $1.
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Re: I don't know where to start...

Postby exwingzero » Apr 7th, 2009 @ 8:07am

Master Higgins wrote:Lemme ask around what stores people like in Chicago.


I hear that Challengers and Dark Tower Comics are good (this coming from the podcast that takes place in Dark Tower called 'Around Comics'). So there's 2, plus you have the windy city comic con being put on by the around comics guys. Apparently there are tons of creators in Chicago, and there are alot that attend, and it's only $10.
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