Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tradewaiting

My local comic shop is closing the first week of December.

I first went there back in high school, some 26 or 27 years ago and bought some specialty comics that I couldn't find at the Town Crier or the grocery store. I remember it being Micronauts and I don't know if it was that trip or another, but I also scored a copy of Slow Death Comix #2 with some Richard Corben and Jaxon art in it.

Man, underground comix were cool.

I became a regular at the shop just after high school and established a pull list that at its height included all the Superman titles and all the Spider-Man titles. I got every issue of The Death of Superman and the godawful Clone Saga. I chased events like Legends and X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner's Song. Yeah, I was an X-Men geek, too.

I also discovered some really cool non-mainstream comics and creators over my twenty-year association with the shop: Matt Wagner's Grendel was the biggest. Then I found Wagner's Mage. I fell in love with James Robinson's and Teddy Kristiansen's art on Wagner's ancillary title Grendel Tales (Four Devils, One Hell is still one of my all-time favorite stories) and so when Robinson launched Starman at DC Comics, I was there. Neil Gaiman's epic Sandman series I came to late, but it didn't matter. I loved those books, too. Garth Ennis' and Steve Dillon's Preacher immediately hit my list every month and so did John Byrne's Next Men and Frank Miller's Sin City. The list goes on: The Losers, Fables, 100 Bullets, Freakangels, The Unwritten.

JBNM is recently returned. Freakangels, The Losers and 100 Bullets ended. I dropped Fables 80-some issues in. The Unwritten is still going. Next Men and The Unwritten will be the only books from my current pull list that I'll wait for trades for, along with Locke & Key which I'm only reading in trade form. I have no intention of going digital on comics any time soon, either. So trades are it.

But Town Crier is gone. Borders is gone. And now my comic shop is gone, too. There's another shop in town, a good one, but it's not the same for me. There's also a Hasting's in town that's going to be good for casual browsing but it won't be the same. Twenty years is a long time to be loyal to a place and I've been waffling on tradewaiting for five years at least. Now I can make a clean break and do what makes sense.