I am fairly new to the world of comic books, my collector status is only about 3 years old though I have always had a passing interest from my childhood. I have always bought trade paperbacks rather than individual monthlies, without fail, but is that the right way to do things?
There are a few reasons why I choose trades over monthlies:
Storage – It’s much easier to store trades on a bookshelf than it is to store monthlies which require more than just being stacked. Monthlies also need to be packed in individual bags to avoid damage.
Accessibility – When I want to read a particular trade I just go to the shelf and pick it out, with a monthly I’d be trawling through boxes of comics to find it, and then I’d need to grab half a dozen to get enough reading material worth the effort. Which brings me on to…
Content Size – For me, a monthly comic is not big enough. Just as you are getting going the issue ends and you have to wait another month. At least with a trade I can sink my teeth into anywhere from 5 to 8 months worth of storyline.
Availability – I live in a small town with no comic book shop, just a Waterstones where I can buy trades. My nearest comic book shop is at least 45 minutes away and not somewhere we go regularly. I could order online but that really ties in with the next point…
Cost – It goes without saying that it is far more cost effective to buy trades than monthlies. I can get a 6 issue trade on Amazon for £7 or I can pay between £12 and £18 for the individual issues, and then add shipping onto that! It’s a no-brainer with those figures.
All that aside, I do sometimes feel that I missing out on the romance of receiving an issue every month and following the story on a continuous and regular basis. I visited a Forbidden Planet store a few weeks ago and saw the latest issue of Fables, something I won’t get my hands on for many months when the next trade comes out. It’s occasions like that make me wonder if my concern for the price is making me miss out on the true comic book experience.