Happy New 52 day, everyone. Today begins the new DC Universe, and I’m not particularly thrilled about that. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten used to the idea, but the fact that they’re rebooting things so that Lois and Clark are no longer married still stings. Particularly since they’re leaving the core Batman books pretty much untouched. Also I’ve never been a fan of Jim Lee (he’s great with dynamic poses, but I find his style off-putting).
But I’m over that, really (I swear). The more interesting thing for me, is that DC’s reboot has basically completely changed my comics buying habits. Before they announced the reboot, I read on a monthly basis, about four comics from DC. Once it became clear that the books and characters I was reading were no longer going to matter, I dropped them. And for the past two months, I haven’t picked up a DC comic.
More importantly, during this time I haven’t been to my local comic shop on Wednesdays. That makes me sad, and it ends a long-standing tradition that has survived repeated moves across the country, during which time I had to scramble to find a local comic shop.
In any event, with today’s reboot, I’m left wondering what I’m going to pick up again. I find myself largely unmotivated to read the major books. Oh sure, I’ll pick up the first issues of Action Comics, Superman and Supergirl (and probably today’s Justice League, since it kicks everything off) but I don’t feel any loyalty to these books. And since I’m buying them digitally, I won’t feel any guilt at dropping them from my pull list, since there is no pull list. No retailers will be left with unsold inventory, no owner will try to smile, as he knows I am one book closer to leaving forever. Sad, but true.
I’m actually looking at DC’s checklist of new titles and thinking I’ll try something entirely different. Like Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man. Or All-Star Western. Or I, Vampire. Or Demon Knight, a book I hadn’t even heard of until Comics Alliance reviewed it. And if they suck? I’ll drop them. No commitment, no guilt.
Lately I find myself enjoying non-DC books more anyway. I’ve been reading through all of Ultimate Spider-Man (still not caught up yet), am completely in love all over again with John Byrne’s Next-Men (which is sadly ending yet again), and absolutely adore the Rocketeer Adventures anthology. Digital has made it very easy to pick and choose books, and I’m absolutely loving that.
The loser in all of this, of course, is my local comic shop. As much as I love supporting local comic retailers, ultimately I have to be selfish. Buying comics locally costs significantly more money - on average, 30% more per issue compared to digital, 50-75% more per physical collection compared to Amazon.com. Physical comics take up space, and frankly, I’m at a point in my life where I no longer enjoy having comics pile up. Ultimately comics buying isn’t a charity, and I’m going to go where I get the best results as a consumer. Not to mention the fact that the selection in any local comic shop is going to be spotty (through no fault of their own, of course…they simply can’t overstock on every book).
In ten years my guess is that it will be rare to see local comics shops outside of major cities. And I’ll know in my heart that I was the one to kill them. With DC’s help, of course.