We all have that comic book that we feel like we have to read even though we don’t like it anymore. Well, here’s how to quit.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s usually a completist book or it’s a book that you think will have something important happen in it and — GASP!! — you’ll miss it.
For me, it’s Batman Eternal.
Surprised? A devoted Batman guy like me?
See, here’s the thing. I’ve long wanted a weekly Batman book. And check out the pedigree: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and guys like that have all been involved — guys whose work I usually really dig.
So I eagerly picked up the book when it started and I liked it. And I kept reading it and I started feeling a little bored. And I still picked it up but stopped touting it in my Batbook of the Week round-up. And I picked it up and started feeling resentful. And I picked it up … and then finally put it down.
I didn’t finish last week’s Issue #39. I just couldn’t.
I just put it down.
Now, you may love that book. And that’s fine. I’m not here to dump on it. In this context, what I don’t like about it is beside the point. I’ll call it uninspired and leave it at that.
It just struck me that I kept reading Batman Eternal because I felt I had to — long after I stopped enjoying it. I call that kind of comic-book reading “newspaper reading”: Reading to stay informed but not to be entertained. It’s something I promised myself I wouldn’t do anymore. And I caught myself.
Cold turkey. Tear off the Band-Aid. Pick a metaphor.
Here’s what I’ve learned after more than 40 years of reading comics: It’s OK to quit a book.
The sun is up right now and now I can spend that extra few bucks on Ant-Man or Lady Killer. I still have Batman and Batman and Robin and Batgirl and Grayson and on and on.
So why waste my time with something that actively aggravates me?
What’s the worst thing that can happen? Some “major” event that I’ll miss? Some “minor” event that will be referred to in another book?
I promise you you’ll be able to figure it out. And I promise you that anything truly significant will be telegraphed because that’s the way the industry and Internet are now.
Whatever it is, you’ll find out. You’ll get to read it. But there’s no point in wasting time to get there, wherever there is.
Now let’s say we’re talking about a book where one or two titles is all there is. I’m not forgetting you folks. Maybe you don’t like The Flash right now but love the character. Or the Hulk.
Well, I agree with you that it sucks to be deprived like that. But nothing is forever. And if you keep buying books you don’t like, the companies will have no incentive to change them.
I have boxes and shelves filled with comics I love and always complain I don’t have enough time to re-read them — and I’m guessing the same goes for you.
Go pick one up. It feels great. And it’s far better than making yourself angry by what you’re paying for.
Ideal? No. But life isn’t always ideal. So you have to take the joy in what you do.
Read what would you love and like and only what you love and like.
I’ll hold your hand and we’ll get through it together.
January 5, 2015
That was Spider-man for me. An avid reader since 1967, my reading slowed down as they began to get away from what made it popular for me – a character driven story. The final nail in the coffin was wiping the slate clean with Mary Jane with the “brainwashing” Dallas-like sequence. Have not picked up another issue since then
January 5, 2015
Years ago I used to love Spider-Man. And as the maximum clonage story dragged on and on I stopped reading books I liked so I could afford each spidey book so I didn’t miss anything. I ended up getting so frustrated that it lead to almost 15 years of barely reading any comics. Luckily I’ve rediscovered my love of comics.
January 6, 2015
You know, Dave, I almost put this in the piece, but the same thing happened to me around 1992. After the Burton movies came out it was Bat-saturation and I actually got burned out. I couldn’t choose what to read and what not to read and I quit. About 8-10 years later, I rediscovered comics and am in deeper than I’ve ever been. But I learned a lot from that experience. It’s empowering to make your own choices and it’s so common for fans to stay dedicated past the sell-by date. I love Batman and usually really like what those writers do, but the mixture here just isn’t working for me.