A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My Year in Comics: 2005

Yesterday was the first new comic day of 2006. That makes now a good time to begin a comic-related New Year's Resolution that has served me well for two years now. Starting in 2004, I stole an idea from Augie de Blieck, and began tracking my comic buys with an Excel spreadsheet. What I bought, when, from where, and for how much. It's a good way to keep track both of hobby spending and of what comics I own, and for someone who doesn't think he spends much on comics, I surprise myself. And it allows you an quick and easy way to gauge what went well and not so well in the last year.

Over the course of 2005, I spent just a hair under $940 on comics. This was a really big jump from the $700 I spent in 2004. I still managed to average a bargain, because the combined cover prices of my purchases was over $1700. I expect quite a drop for 2006, though.

Where did all the money go? Over half, roughly $510, went to trades and hardcovers. 57 in all, up from only 23 in 2004. And $133 of that (approximately 1/7 of my entire year's comic spending, and about 40% off their cover price) was on tpbs of one series: Usagi Yojimbo. A year ago, I made a list of all the tpbs I wanted, and it included every Usagi trade I didn't already own. In early December I bought my last one, for a total of 15 Usagi tpb purchases in 2005. Now I have a complete library of a series I'll probably never need to talk about here.

Twenty different titles drifted in and out of my box at the shop. A couple more, such as Akiko, were on my pull list but didn't release an issue in 2005. My favorite new title of the year was Jonah Hex; the new title that disappointed the most was probably Villains United, which I dropped halfway through. I can't recall ever dropping a mini-series partway through before.

I spent just under $380 at my comic shop, Odin's Cosmic Bookshelf, for an average of $7.30 per week. This shows why I'll often go two or three weeks between trips. My eBay spending was practically non-existant after February, but it did provide me with one of the year's best bargains: the first three Cerebus phonebooks for $13.50 total.

Back issue purchases helped me fill some longstanding holes in my collection, and I completed my runs of Young Justice, Static, Mike Grell's Green Arrow, John Byrne's Sensational She-Hulk, and Ty Templeton's last two animated Batman runs.

I've bought four of DC's Showcase Presents volumes. The Jonah Hex one is my unabashed favorite of the four. I hope DC doesn't wait forever to release a second volume.

Best overlooked collection of the year: Max Hamm: Fairy Tale Detective Vol. 1. This book was a hoot, and while it may not be the year's best book, I heard virtually no talk about it. It deserves more attention.

So if you're willing to do a little record-keeping, I'd highly recommend keeping track of your comic buying with Excel or some other means. I'd even be happy to e-mail anyone a sampling of what my spreadsheet looks like, if you'd like to know how to start.