As a comic book reader I’m always thinking to myself “I should sit down and reread those comics.” But then there never seems to be the time. After all I go to the comic book store every week and buy new comics. I read five or six new comics a week and usually I read them twice. Once the week I get them and then a second time the following week. That’s my habit. I like reading a few different comics in one sitting. Maybe a new issue of The Savage Dragon, then a Lazarus, and after that a Usage Yojimbo. I find the variety fun.

I don’t usually buy back issues but I do occasionally buy collected editions of old comics. I have Marvel Masterworks collections of some of my favorite old comics like Starlin’s Warlock, Perez’s Avengers, and Ditko’s Spider-Man. I don’t always get to reading those right away and they can sit around for months waiting for me to get to them. I don’t know why except that I usually read my comics as periodicals rather than novels. Yet I’m always wanting to read them as novels too.

Some people only like to read their comics as novels in collected editions. They often say they hate waiting between issues and like to read a big chunk of something. I find this explanation lacking because the single issues come out first and there is even more waiting if you’re only reading collected editions. You could buy the single issue, let them stack up, and then read a big chunk with less waiting than reading just collected editions. I think what they really mean is that they prefer the convenience of having a lot of issues in one one volume. There is less to keep track of. That makes more sense to me.

I like reading my comics in the monthly format because I enjoy their periodical nature. The wait between issues is part of the enjoyment. A cliffhanger isn’t effective when you can just turn the page of a collected edition and see the resolution. When you have to wait a month is when a cliffhanger works. There is time to talk about and contemplate the comic. Time adds to the story experience.

Another thing I like about single issues is the covers. Comic book covers are an art all to themselves and they are best seen on the actual comics. They usually print the covers in the collected editions but as inside pages they have less impact. Often the inside edge of the cover is eaten up by the binding and that makes it harder to see and ruins the composition. I especially like flipping through old comic book series to look at the covers. It’s like a little time machine. You can watch the months go past as you flip from cover to cover. You can’t get that from a collected edition.

Whenever I actually do reread comics it’s a conscious decision to change my habits for a little while. When I take a break from doing work I sit down and play a video game or surf the web for fifteen minutes or so. Instead of doing that I have to choose to sit down and read some comics. I really have to do it consciously. Reading a pile of thirty or forty comics can seem like a large task compared to video games or web surfing which takes no effort at all. Reading those comics is really a pleasure and not a task but my brain doesn’t always think so until I start. Often after I start I have to tear myself away from the comics and get back to work.

I actually got around to rereading some comics in the last couple of weeks. The first is a Crossgen comic called “Scion.” I’m a little nostalgic for Crossgen comics. There is a sort of lost world aspect of them for me. They were here and then gone. Crossgen was around from about 2001 until about 2005 and they made a lot of good comics. I have fond memories of them. Crossgen is probably the first company to get digital coloring right. It was better than Marvel and DC’s digital coloring at the time. “Scion” ran for 41 issues that were mostly written by Ron Marz and drawn by Jim Cheung. I reread all 41 issues.

Overall I give the series a grade of B. It wasn’t my favorite Crossgen series but it was solid. The Jim Cheung art gets an A though. One of the reasons the series isn’t higher with me is that it’s about royal families. That’s a subject matter that I happen to dislike so if you don’t have that prejudice you might like it better. It’s about to kingdoms that are going to war with each other and the lead character is a prince of one of the kingdoms. It’s kind of a mash-up of sword and sorcery and sci-fi adventure. There are princes that hate each other, family power struggles, a little Romeo and Juliette action, betrayal, bounty hunters, and big battles. It’s worth a read if you never have.

The second group of comics that I reread is Terry Moore’s “Echo” issues 1-30. This came out from 2008-2011 and I’ve meant to read them as a group ever since then. It’s only taken seven years but I’ve finally done it.

“Echo” is a character based sci-fi story about a woman who witnesses a woman in a hi-tech flying suit of metal being shot down by missiles only to have the suit attach itself in part to her. Now she’s being pursued by an arms company that wants to keep her quite and get their weapon back.

I say it’s a character based story because in any Terry Moore story the interaction between the characters is generally as important if not more so than the plot. It takes place in the Terry-verse as some of the characters from his long running “Strangers in Paradise” comic show up. A couple of Parker Girls make an appearance.

I’ve never been disappointed by a Terry Moore comics and this is no exception. It’s an excellent series. Terry Moore’s art and storytelling are always on point. He especially good at drawing pretty women and great hair. Reading it from month to month there were some issues where things moved very quickly and it left me wanting more but reading it all at once I had the more at my disposal. I still remembered the feeling though.

That’s one of the reasons I like reading comics monthly. I can experience them as periodicals with time to reflect between the issues and as a graphic novel. Reading them just in their collected form takes one of those experiences away from me. I like them both. I just have to make the time for that second one.


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