It's not as cut try a question as one might think. Do you buy a comic based on the writer, artist or publisher? Is it the genre, such as crime fiction or cosmic super-heroes? Do reviews or friends influence your purchases or do you buy certain books out of obligation, such as to "not break up a run"?
I asked these questions and more to a handful of other comic book bloggers over the past week and they've been kind enough to share their thoughts with me. I will be spotlighting each of the five bloggers every day this week (you can read the first part by clicking here) and today's answer comes by way of Lee Newman, staff writer at Broken Frontier!
Why Do I Buy Certain Comic Books?
by Lee Newman
There are some books, like Amazing Spider-Man and Justice League of America, that I buy regardless of anything. I just collect them.There are a myriad of reasons. There are some books, like Amazing Spider-Man and Justice League of America, that I buy regardless of anything. I just collect them. Batman and Spider-Man are the mainstays of my hobby. When I was about ten years old and read my first comic, it is was a dusty old copy of Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spider-Man. Several years later I discovered Batman in Detective Comics. When I went away from comics - I pretty much didn’t read any from 1992 through 2002 - those were the two characters who made my very first pull list.
The majority of the books I buy are because of the writer. If it says Vaughan, Willingham, Gaiman, or Ellis on the cover, it gets added to the pull. If it says Guggenheim, Dini, Fraction, or Johns on the cover, I will give it a shot. There are very few books written by guys like that that I will drop. I’m a writer, so the story is the draw to me.
If it says Vaughan, Willingham, Gaiman, or Ellis on the cover, it gets added to the pull.Characters and art are nice, but I need a compelling story to keep me interested. I’ll take an issue of Y: The Last Man over any incarnation of Wolverine or The Incredible Hulk any day. Funny thing about that is they all are on my pull list.
Though, I do like art, as well, it has never been that big of a deal for me. Sure there are the lovely pencils by folks like Jim Lee. However, I can only think of four artists who are currently working that I will buy anything they do, regardless of story. They are Tim Sale, Ashley Wood, Ben Templesmith and Darwyn Cooke.
Everyone else, even the guys I praise, like Josh Howard, Ryan Kelly, Becky Cloonan and the ilk, are going to have to deliver a story as well. Fortunately, they have thus far.
If an artist wants me to take notice… they need to be unique.Ashley Wood is the most obvious example to me. When he did the Tank Girl book last year, I was elated. This was one of those characters that I just dug and here was my favorite artist on the book. Two issues in and I hated the writing, but the comic stayed on my pull - because Ashley Wood was drawing it. I just like looking at art by those guys and they transcend that typical comic art and try to do something unique. If an artist wants me to take notice… they need to be unique.
I flip through almost every new number one issue I see and probably buy about 80% of them.I also like to try out new things, I flip through almost every new number one issue I see and probably buy about 80% of them. Sure, you end up reading some crap, but for every Sanctuary I read, I discover a Pax Romana, a Sparks, or an Elephantmen.
Hit me with high concept and I’m sold. It is the reason books like Doc Frankenstien, The End League and House of Mystery get my seal of approval before they even hit the stands.
I also don’t hold grudges. I am not a Silver Surfer or Punisher fan, but with every new title or creative team, I give them a shot. Some things, like Captain America, are just waiting for the right people to handle it and tell that story which finally pulls me into that world.
There are also publishers who are gold… take Red 5 Comics, Arachaia Studio Press, Radical Comics or Viper. Even when they put out something I don’t like, like say Red 5’s Afterburn, it is still so much more creative then most of what Marvel or DC comics puts out.
It is a lot easier to make another Batman title than it is to come up with a new group of characters and a compelling story.
It is a lot easier to make another Batman title than it is to come up with a new group of characters and a compelling story.The revitalization of Image Comics over the last two or three years has been a joy to watch. If a publisher wants me to rave about their product, it’s really kind of easy - just take chances. Sure, you might put out a book that just perplexes me, like Charltan’s Ball, but you could also breathe new life into the medium by publishing something like The Sword.
There was a time when I pretty much bought anything that came in the shop. Being a manager of a comic shop has it’s privelages after all, but these days, I realize that I can’t read all of them. I have about 5000 books at home that I bought but have yet to read. They are organized by priority but inevitably there are books I will never get to. It’s not that I don’t want to - given enough time, I would probably get them all - but there isn’t that much time.
In the end, I am one of the most open minded readers I know. I give almost everything a shot. Heck, how do you think the big guys got so big, because there were people out there like me willing to give them a shot. And maybe one day, who knows, someone will write that Silver Surfer story that will make me understand what all the fuss is about.