Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Flops vs. TPs vs. HCs?

The good doctor commented here last week:
I've made the conscious decision to stick with trade paperbacks since my untimely return to the wonderful world of comic books.

Unfortunately, the problem with this is that I have to wait for specific books(ie. Invincible, TWD and Goon). The up side is that I'm able to go nuts with previous arcs and runs(particularly in reference to Vertigo, Wildstorm and other more Indy books) without feeling guilt. Plus, I save quite a bit of cash considering that single issues down in OZ can reach up to $7.00 AU a book. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the topic of TPB vs. Floppy, Zilla.
You know what partner? I'm not even sure of MY strategy when it comes to flops vs. TPs vs. HCs. Let me organize my thoughts like this:

Flop Thoughts:

  • Great for comics that are digestible in chunks, and where it's easy enough to remember what happened last issue (TWD, Invincible, Powers).

  • Generally flops are the easiest to handle and read IMO... it's nice to be able to open them completely flat (on a table, lap or in the air while you're on your back in the 'ole comfy hammock). No issues having to maneuver the book to weird angles to read that dialogue bubble or admire art half hidden by the TP or HC binding.

  • Maybe the best (and most obvious) part about flops is... No wait! For comics i'm dying to read shortly after they hit the stands (Des Jones, All-Star Superman, Goon, etc.).

  • I also buy flops of anything i want to "try". I've def been known to buy a few flops of something then just quit the monthlies all together while i go back and read through all the trades first (100 Bullets). Another good example here is #1s.

  • There are def some comics that i just can't digest issue by issue. Sometimes they come out too infrequently or they just don't read well in bits and pieces because there are too many details from the last issue i can't remember (100 Bullets, Y the Last Man, etc.).

  • Lastly, there are some comics that i just read and enjoy month-to-month but have no real desire to collect and/or put on the shelf for re-reading later. I def buy these as flops (New Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, X-Force, Astonishing X-Men, Exterminators, Fear Agent). Not to take away from any of these titles, they're solid or i wouldn't be reading them but i prob won't reread them and/or shelve them.

TP Thoughts:

  • TPs are GREAT for catching up (esp for guys like us that were away a while). Once i get hooked on a comic, i'm well known to either A) suspend the monthlies until i'm caught up by the TPs (100 Bullets, Y the Last Man), or B) Keep reading the monthlies for a reason or another described above (in my "flops thoughts"), and at the same time catch up on the back-story via trades (Powers, Goon, Brubaker's Daredevil and Captain America, Savage Dragon).

    There are some comics (100 Bullets) that i'm all caught up with, and def enjoy, but have decided to read only by trade...

  • I know it's a total waste of money in some people's minds but i'll also buy the TP of anything i REALLY dug (my favorite titles or great mini's, etc.) - even if i've already bought and read all the flops. Ugh. There's something really cool about re-reading a great arc or mini in a sitting or two when the TP comes out (then shelving it for future re-reading pleasure). Silent Dragon, Surrogates, Revelations, Powers, TWD, Ferro City, and Ex-Machina come to mind.

    I'm going to try and start selling the flop runs of TPs i buy on eBay but haven't gotten there yet (to make myself feel better about buying stuff twice). At the end of the day though i don't really mind... if a writer/artist combo put out something i love THAT much, i don't mind giving them my money.

  • TPs are uber-portable. You don't have to worry (as much) about them getting banged up when you travel w/ them (like a flop would), and you can grab a start-to-finish read off the shelf pretty easily and plop down and power through it in an hour or two.

  • The biggest negative for TPs is the wait for current stuff... Once you're caught up with something and have decided to read just by TP... damn it can be a year between releases. Understandable, but still crap.

  • Lastly, i buy a lot of TPs of stuff simply because that's the only way it's available (Sandman, Preacher, Transmet, Maus, V for Vendetta, Batman this or that, and many, many other classics).

HC Thoughts:

  • I love me a huge, thick Absolute or Omnibus. HCs are reserved for when i REALLY, REALLY dig something and want to immortalize it for re-reading and re-reading, and well... just admiring on the shelf at times given the royal treatment (TWD V1, Invincible V1, Alias Omnibus, Absolute Hush, Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen V1, Powers V1, and the Goon HC).

  • HCs are def the most difficult of all formats to handle, but i struggle through (esp difficult since i do most of my comic reading on my back). Ah well. They are gorgeous though.

  • Though i'm not good at selling my flop runs when i buy a trade of something, i AM good at selling my trades when i buy the HC. Usually you can turn these around for a good chunk of what you pay for the biggun HC so that's a plus.


15 April, 2006 16:47, Anonymous CellarDoor said...

I wrote a rather lengthy and rambling response to Rob H's comments earlier, but it didn't post for some reason or another. Anyway, I'll try to sum up my thoughts much more concisely this time.

I recently decided to buy only TPB's or HC's as the case may be. This was a combination of two factors. One was I'm moving and so getting to a comic shop is going to be a low priority for awhile. The second was purely monetary reasons. I decided (along with some help from my lovely wife) that I have been spending too much on comics lately. When you can average out to $1.67 per issue buying a 6-issue TPB vs. paying $2.99 per issue and you buy around 20-30 titles a month it adds up! So I order 4-6 trades that usually last me close to a month, and when I start the last one of the batch I place another order.

This is going to be hard for sure...I'm already going through TWD withdrawal. So we'll see how long it lasts but that's my plan...and for now I'm sticking to it.

15 April, 2006 22:25, Blogger Rob Woods said...

Since getting back into comics, I've read exclusively in trade/hardcover. A good proportion of books published now are paced with collection in mind, and I don't really read many of those that aren't (ie the majority of superhero titles). Plus it's cheaper anyway.

I'll always buy in hardcover if it's available, since it's usually cheaper than the equivalent number of trades (except the ridiculous DC Absolute Editions; I really wish they would just release a sensible, affordable series of reprints similar to the Marvel ones).

More recently I've been considering collecting a few floppies again, but it's basically only for indy books that take forever to be released and collected.

16 April, 2006 00:31, Blogger Rob H said...

Great post, Zilla. Like you've said, the wait is one of the many things that'll kill you when waiting for a current title to come out in TPB. Like CellarDoor has so aptly posted, I'm going through TWD withdrawal(as well as Ex Machina, oh how I love this book) as we speak but there's always that something out there in TPB that'll tickle my fancy. Fables is a good example.

I've read somewhere that chances are, some people may insist on buying the single issues out of habit. They've been doing it for so long, its become an addiction. While this is true, the same can be said for TPB. They look great on the shelf.

Hard covers are something that I've never really thought about. I'm yet to find an arc or story that I love enough to justify paying that much. The Goon, maybe but it has never really entered my train of thought. It's something to consider, I suppose. You get a hell of alot more from what I've seen and heard.

One thing I can't stand about the flops is that I'm paying up to $7.00 per issue for a 10 minute read(with ads no less). Before I'd put a halt to my floppy addiction, I was picking up to 30 or so titles per month. That's quite a bit of cash to fork up over 300 or so minutes of reading. Like I've always said, trades can be cherished over time, again and again and again and again and again and again.

Cheers for the great post.

16 April, 2006 10:18, Blogger zilla said...

At the end of the day, i think each has their own place and time you know? i can't see myself doing w/o any of the 3 all together at this point... i'll keep on w/ $25 a week on flops and $50 2x a month at Amazon or Instocktrades.com on TPs and/or HCs. $200 a month on comics. Jesus. I never added it up before... At least we're not paying $7 AU (or $4 CAN) per issue 'round here (THAT is crap).

17 April, 2006 17:21, Blogger Ryan X said...

For what it is worth, I fall in line somewhere between Zilla and the rest of the posters here. I buy a small amount of titles in floppy and then do the rest in trades (No HCs to date). I love trades for sure, but I also love the "junk food" aspect of flops. I can knock one out just about anywhere I have 5-15 min. Plus, I am addicted to buying them and having the routine of going to the LCS to get them. It is the small pleasures in life...


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel