Waiting For The Trades...

Being a comic book fan, doesn't necessarily mean trawling through longboxes in a local comic shop where everyone knows your name. Or at least your gamer tag. We don't all have that...privledge, especially here in Blighty where comic book shops are more secluded than sex shops and outside of the comics are only rarely found, buried on the bottom shelf of a WH Smiths or local corner shop. Still reprinting catch up issues of Infinite Crisis and Civil War, with the only characters with a semblance of shelf life being Batman and Wolverine.

Even the mighty battle of the (Forbidden) Planets (.co.uk and .com) can only manage 24 stores nation wide. So how's a guy to get his comic fix on?

Graphic novels, trades can be found in the same places as comics, yet also appear in regular book stores and the likes of Waterstones. You can also take your search online and again, finding UK companies who take subscription services for comics, or deal with back issues are not only difficult to find, but expensive too. Trades online are much easier to find with many online book specialists offering excellent prices, many with as much as up to 25% off the RRP, such as:

Book Depository
Forbidden Planet.com
Forbidden Planet.co.uk
WH Smiths

Now you've found some trades to start your collection, in my opinion a nice row of trades just looks so much more aesthetically pleaseing, as well as more effective to work with when selecting titles than using comic long boxes to store and find what you want. If you're like me and want your collection to remain consist, using all trades or all hard covers, or picking DC over Titan, or Marvel over Marvel UK or Panini when it comes to publsihing companies.

Many of these collections, be they of recent stories or older reprints often come with extras, including sketches, covers and celebrity laden forewards. These collections often collecting full stories can be a strong jumping on point for returning and new comic fans.

I do and have read floppy comics, but find it increasingly difficult when inundated by multiple page ads, which just don't exist in the trades. I understand the need to have ads, but when the centre pages are 4-6 pages advertising some sports event I have no interest in, you've just gone too far.

Though these are some of the reasons I personally opt to wait for the trade, you have to remember that it's the floppy's that result in trades being released in the first place. You want to continue reading about the C/D-list character you've discovered, then it's floppy sales that will keep that character alive and ideally the trades will help it then turn a profit.

Even though my personaly preference is waiting for the trades, sometimes there are some stories that just have to be read NOW. I get Booster Gold (love the character), Final Crisis (felt it had to be so good to make up for the awful Countdown), X-Men Noir, Incognito, Gears Of War and Brave and the Bold. Stories I just have to read now and, if they're good enough, like Booster Gold so far, I'll probably end up getting the collected editions as well.

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