Questions for you, in regards to COVID-19.

§ August 19th, 2020 § Filed under reader participation § 34 Comments

I’m just kind of curious how the COVID-19 crisis has affected your comic book habits. Particularly in the U.S., where our handling of the pandemic has been…less than exemplary.

Look, I know COVID has impacted far more important things than just our beloved funnybooks, but this here website has a specific subject and I’m sticking to it. Basically, I want to know:

1) HAS COVID AFFECTED HOW YOU BUY YOUR COMICS

Do you do curbside pickup? Do you have them shipped to you? Do you have to go somewhere else to get comics because your regular shop ended up going out of business? Does your store maintain the proper health protocols? You know, that sort of thing.

2) HAVE YOU ALTERED YOUR READING AT ALL

Do you get more or fewer comics? Have you stopped buying comics altogether, or close to, because of financial concerns? Are you actually reading (as opposed to simply obtaining) more or fewer comics? Do you find yourself catching up or rereading anything because you suddenly found yourself with more time on your hands?

…If the answer to any of this is “yeah, I got COVID so that kinda screwed up everything,” I apologize. I’m not trying to make light of the situation we find ourselves in. Mostly, I’m just doing a very informal survey of how the comics, both the artform and the retail end, look to the people who would come through our doors and peruse the racks.

If you choose to participate, thank you. Not sure what I’m going to do with any answers I may receive, but I imagine some of you have a few points of interest to make.

34 Responses to “Questions for you, in regards to COVID-19.”

  • Snark Shark says:

    “where our handling of the pandemic has been…less than exemplary.”

    USA! USA!

    I did ONE curbside pickup at the store I go to, but now they’re open again (with limited hours).

    “Does your store maintain the proper health protocols”

    I think they’re OVERDING them a little, actually.

    “Do you have them shipped to you?”

    Just what i bought from you- and some ATLAS and Conan stuff from ebay. and some TPBs from ebay.

    “Do you find yourself catching up or rereading anything because you suddenly found yourself with more time on your hands?”

    during those initial 3 months, YES, more reading. Some comics, some books.

    “Do you get more or fewer comics”

    I think it’s more… but it’s mainly because I’m buying a big pile every time I go, as I usually went once a month, and it’s been TWICE over the last 5 months because the store was SHUT for 3 months! I still only reserve only a few titles, after the big cut-back I had to do a couple of years ago.

  • Dave says:

    I’ve been reading comics since 1959 and buying/collecting since 1965, so I had a lot of history.

    I’d been reconsidering my habit for quite a while and the shutdown–and the closure of my LCS–pushed me over the edge and I’ve stopped buying comics altogether. I’m still reading them online, but realized that while, in the old days, I’d give them multiple reads and file them, for the last ten or fifteen years, I’d read them once, put them in long boxes and never look at them again, and all they were doing was taking up space.

    For the past couple of years, I’ve been liquidating my collection, mainly because I don’t want my wife to get stuck with disposing of them once I’m gone.

  • Martin says:

    Similar to Dave I stopped altogether and switched to marvel unlimited.

    I felt like the serious collectors were only interested in slabs, which is something I didn’t really want to get into, so the value of my 30 yr collection wasn’t really worth anything despite some pretty nice keys.

    So why take up more and more space just to have the kids toss it when I die?

    I much prefer reading on marvel u anyways. I was always more than a year behind, so now I can read a complete event without FOMO on some content and I don’t feel guilty dropping a series cuz it now sucks. Dropping a pull was a pain.

  • CalvinPitt says:

    1) Not really. I don’t have a specific store I buy from; there’s 2 in a town nearby and I stop by if I’m in town on other business and there’s something out I want. If they don’t have it, there’s an online store I order from that ships to me.

    One of the two stores has mandatory masks and no more than 6 customers inside at a time. The other isn’t really doing anything special I can tell.

    2) I’m buying fewer new comics, but it’s because there’s fewer coming out on a weekly basis, with all the delays to getting the issues printed and whatnot.

    I’m probably buying more tpbs and manga this year than normal, but it’s not a switch in habits so much as finally buying things I’ve been meaning to for a while.

    As far as reading habits, I don’t see a change. Anything I buy, I read, and probably reread a couple of times, trying to decide if I like it or not.

  • Thom H. says:

    I’m still going to my regular LCS. At first, we were doing curbside pickup, but now they’re allowing customers in the store. Must wear a mask, 5 people at a time (it’s a small store), use hand sanitizer, etc. I think they’re doing a great job enforcing health protocols, actually.

    At first, I was buying more than usual. I tried a bunch of books not on my regular pull list because a) I was bored and b) I wanted to support the store while new comics weren’t coming out.

    Once it became clear this was a long-term situation, I tightened up my pull list and have stuck with that. Who knows what’s coming down the pike at this point? I want to save as much money as possible while also continuing to support my LCS on a regular basis. No more impulse purchases. I did just discover Black Magick, though, so that’s a new addition. But only because I really like it.

    I have been rereading some of my collection. Mainly, I want to use my extra time to finish trimming my collection to the essentials. I’m lucky because my shop is still willing to buy old comics from me in exchange for credit.

  • King of the Moon says:

    I switched to digital (apologies for saying that on a comics blog) around 2011. Combination of my LCS closing and losing that Wednesday community AND my eyes getting older and being able to zoom in on those panels sure was nice.

    Since March my habits have changed.

    1) Supporting a certain California store while it was closed by shipping bundles to my friend’s kids all around the country weekly

    2) I’ve gotten back into print! I never thought it would happen. But no longer commuting to my job left me with hours open at the beginning and end of my days. In particular in the mornings, I’ve been using that time to have some caffienated goodness, put on my reading glasses, sit on my porch, and read print again! I’ve been mainly ordering omnibuses and going through the classics. Power Pack, Daredevil, X-men etc. I’m loving that format so much I’m thinking about getting runs in my shortboxes I never pull out and getting them bound so they are readable books. Rom, Blue Devil, Ronnie Raymond Firestorm etc.

  • adrian says:

    HAS COVID AFFECTED HOW YOU BUY YOUR COMICS

    Marginally.

    I have been buying from DCBS for close to ten years i guess-after the LCS i was buying from (see my comment from your last post)folded. The others around here are difficult to work with and get to for a 9-5 guy. I’ve cut down my orders from dcbs by probably 80-90%-i was getting between 130-180 dollars a month; now, even if i get speculation copies, it rarely goes above 50. It’s actually much lower though.

    When i had my podcast and i had a partner in it, we got one dcbs order for the two of us and he paid me for his share-because he HATES the idea of mail order comics, but he loves the price, and we needed talking material for the show. I still get his books and he still pays me, and it’s still usually under fifty-so 2 peoples books-under 50, big change.
    It became a perfect storm though, with the need to cut books to begin with (that much dough was just way too much; i indulged terribly) I began to dislike where DC was going, especially with Bats (the less said the better) and things weren’t being solicited, printed, or distributed entirely, so i dropped all DC books completely. I severely cut down Marvel, alllllll the way down to just Star Wars books, and no minis of those. I still make sure i get things like Ascender, Manifest Destiny, and really unique things like the Original ALIEN Screenplay, and he gets Hellboy and Mignola stuff (long as he wrote or drew it)no matter what.

    HAVE YOU ALTERED YOUR READING AT ALL
    well yea.
    I’ve been making a concerted effort to find things to clear out of my collection of 28 longboxes and i dunno, 6 shorts; I’ve been trying to sell them on atomic avenue (you want some?) with barely notable success.
    At any rate, to be sure they should go, I’ve been re-reading hundreds of books. As a result, i’ve taken long runs of books i haven’t touched in (some) literal decades-like kyle rayner GL, What If vol 2, Daredevil, rando copies of Howard the Duck, several different versions of Justice League, (N52, Morrison 96, etc. I’ve gone back to Swamp Thing, Silver Age Flash up till the end, Wally Flash.

    But the biggest change in reading is all the Golden Age crime and horror. I’ve found a few cheap collections of things in used book shops like a volume of Black Cat, ROD HATHWAY, SPACE DETECTIVE, and others.

    I’ve taken advantage of Comixology Unlimited to read hundreds stories in EC collections of individual artists (wally wood, etc) and I’m not proud to admit, but bought 5 dvds of public domain crime, horror, and scifi (right, scifi) off ebay. Something about doing it that way doesn’t stick right, it’s hard to be sure everything is public domain and non one’s getting cheated. I’ve always been fascinated by Golden Age stuff, and I acquired a copy of Seduction of the Innocent this spring, which just made me want to read them more.

    This has actually been a great time to look at all KINDSSSS of older stuff, even something only as old as Avengers: Children’s Crusade. Because I was getting 40-60 comics a month new, the old stuff, no matter how acquired, was always just “well, it’s there when i want it”. I’ve also been reading the official DVDs marvel put out a few years ago, you know, 40 Years of Fantastic Four, 40 Years of X-Men, all those. Reading the Avengers disk i remember why i always thought Hawkeye was such a jackass- cause he indeed was.

    It’s also kinda great because i would normally go to maybe 3 cons a year, and come back from each with probably 100 back issues, easy. So every year for more than a decade i’ve been adding an entire longbox just in back issues.

    This is a *fantastic* opportunity to go back through your collection, remind yourself of what you really dig about comics, and prune away stuff that…if you were honest with yourself…doesn’t mean anything to you and is just taking up space.

    This is a great time to reassess why you’re keeping some books, and remind yourself there there is no such thing as a comics funded retirement. We all SAY we know comics aren’t worth anything, but then why bag and board them? why not chuck em in a tupperware box and call it a day? Because we all think somehow we’ll have a hulk 181 somewhere and time will justify us.

    Anyway, that went long, but that’s the reality of my collecting and reading in the age of covid.

  • John Platt says:

    My comic shop (Cosmic Monkey in Portland — the best) offers shipping, which I’ve done a couple of times so far. They also offer curbside pickup, which I may try soon. Both options are great for my pull list, not so good for my love of browsing and picking up random oddities. It means I need to pay a lot more attention to the “shipping this week” notices and ask the shop to pull stuff for me.

    Have I altered my reading at all? Yes, but only because it’s hard to focus amid the pandemic — even on bite-sized items like comics! I’ve got a very, very big “to be read” pile…

  • Matt says:

    I had been cooling on comics for a couple of years, stopping in once in a while when I heard there was a title I liked or a revival of a book I recalled fondly.

    COVID hit about the same time Legion of Superheroes was getting back, and I had picked up the prequel issues with the intention of getting back into LSH monthly. That didn’t really work, and with the exception of one order from the Best Comic Shop That’s 2500 Miles From My House, I haven’t tried going back to shops or making mail orders.

    So, yes, COVID reduced my expected comics intake. Ordering from Mike meant I could ask about titles and see if he had Steeple or Wicked Things in stock, without worrying that I would ask the shop owner to order them and then forget to go by the shop again. I bought a larger amount of comics in my mail order than I probably would have otherwise, because I intended that order to tide me over for a while.

    Thanks, Mike!

  • James G says:

    I haven’t been to my LCS since all this started. It’s in Boulder, CO, and I live in Denver. My old habit was to take a trip every few weeks and hit everything in Boulder I needed at once. I’ve been going to my LCS for over 30 years.

    There are a few reasons for this:

    I’m laid off work. With no income other than unemployment at the moment, buying comics is not on the list. I would love to support them, but I need income before I can do that. And I don’t see my place of employment opening up any time soon.

    COVID. I take the attitude that I should behave with 10% more safety than I think there needs to be. I shop for groceries once a month, and this latest stretch is a month and a half. We found a farmer’s store that will put eggs and veggies in our trunk. Delivery is going to be even more important. While I do have health insurance, I do not want to get it, and am taking precautions. So going into places I don’t have to is not happening.

    But finally, my comics reading has been going down quite a bit anyways. I grew up with GIJoe and Transformers, X-Men and New Mutants. I pivoted to things like Transmetropolitan, Sandman, and more indie fare. I like some of the stuff Image has been doing. But Marvel has been a right disappointment, DC never did anything for me, and so much of comics these days replaces body horror and torture porn for ‘dark’ storytelling. Reading another depiction of how someone is torturing another person is not something I want to spend my time and money with. That seems like the state of the market right now, and the sum total of “creative” thinking right now.

    Comics used to speak to me. Sure, GIJoe was army fodder, but Snake Eyes was dealing with emotional distance because of who and what he was, and it made him compelling. The X-Men and New Mutants were outsiders who were unique and powerful, and that spoke to me as a teenager. Transmet was about social justice, even when big systems were in place to take that away. “It’s A Bird” was so bold and interesting. And I’m assuming Injection is done for, but what an interesting slow burn of a comic. It was terrible as a periodical, but as a graphic novel, it was so good. The polar opposite of Ellis’ and Shavley’s Moon Knight, which was also great.

    What is on the racks now? If it’s outside the big two, it’s hyper-violent, gore, and not much emotional writing beyond ‘fridging’ a character. The big two have diluted their product so much, it’s not compelling. There is so much never-ending story that I don’t NEED to jump into it.

    I love the art form. I love some of the things a few creators are doing. I wish Space Mullet would have continued (the creator is busy being a big time comics creator). I wish Injection hadn’t derailed, for many reasons. I wish Saga would get it going again. I wish there were more kids comics, even though it would have no impact on my life. But much like radio, it’s a medium that you love that isn’t going to love you back.

    I know this is way more than you asked for, but I guess it was my time to get it out, and maybe to a group that would understand.

  • Tom Bondurant says:

    1. Yes, COVID has affected how I buy comics. My LCS has reopened, but it now closes an hour earlier (6 pm vs. 7 pm) and doesn’t open early anymore on Wednesdays. Having everyone at home (work and school) also means that the LCS run is probably part of other errands, which doesn’t leave much time for browsing or chit-chat. My LCS requires masks and sells them too, so that’s not a big deal.

    2. Maybe…? To the extent COVID has affected publishers, it’s affected what I buy, because it’s mostly DC with a side of Marvel every now and then. I did use the Time Without New Comics to catch up on various series, and I have been re-reading a lot of older stuff (literally, like the All Star Archives I got when they were way cheap). Generally it has re-focused me on what I enjoy reading, so I view it as a net positive.

  • Matthew Murray says:

    I haven’t bought single issues regularly in years (other than occasional weird back issues), and I don’t even buy that many graphic novels because I use the library a lot. I would go in every month or so and pick something up and talk to the owner.

    However, I would buy a lot of books from creators at comic book events and that’s not happening this year.

    At the beginning of the pandemic I borrowed a ton of things from the library and worked my way through them and some things on my shelf I hadn’t read. But by May my comic reading basically dropped to nothing. (I read two graphic novels in may, and four in June.) I’d say I usually read 12-20 a month.

    The library has opened back up, allowing me to borrow stuff again, which is great. They have Hoopla, which provides digital access to comics, but I really hate reading it on my laptop. I don’t enjoy reading a comic zoomed int to one panel. I use it sometimes, but usually only when there’s a missing volume or something.

    The comic shop here has opened up again and I went by a few weeks ago and bought a graphic novel that had been on my “to read” list for a while. I’ll probably drop in again next week and pick up some other stuff, more out of a desire to support the shop than anything else.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    1) My LCS owner got creative and found ways to stay completely open (with indoor business, though he did offer curbside & shipping) during the initial heavy shutdown in southern CA in March-April. He ran some special big sales and his loyal customers bought lots of books and donated some for him to sell at half off. So I’ve had a place to go every few weeks for my comics fix. But, interestingly…

    2) …COVID is the least of several contributing factors leading to me deciding to curtail my already meager habits. I was never buying more than $20-$30/month, but the great darkness saga surrounding this spring and summer has really made me reprioritize my entertainment. I don’t need dark works infecting my mind right now. Two favorite crime comics seem to have stopped coming out, and as much as I enjoyed them, I don’t miss them at all. I’m still enjoying the adventures of this samurai rabbit, both old & new (NOW IN COLOR!) and I’ll buy any floppies by Dorkin or Fiffe, but besides my Bible, my favorite things to read these days are the classic newspaper comics republished by Fantagraphics & IDW in the last 20 years. Little Orphan Annie, Prince Valiant, Popeye, Peanuts, the Disneys, Krazy Kat & the like.

    Sadly my LCS doesn’t carry any of these, so I tend to turn to Amazon when it’s time for the next volumes.

  • Snark Shark says:

    adrian: “bought 5 dvds of public domain crime, horror, and scifi (right, scifi) off ebay… it’s hard to be sure everything is public domain”

    I would THINK 90% of non-Marvel or DC-related Golden Age stuff would be public domain by now. There’s the occasional character (the Shadow) or group of characters (Archie & supporting characters) that are still around today, but I think most from back then have essentially been forgotten about. and there’s sure as hell some old stuff I’d like to read, that is WAY too expensive (when you can even find it) fo rme to afford.

  • DavidG says:

    I broke the monthly floppy habit over 15 years ago, due to a combination of my LCS closing and Cerebus finishing. Since then I pick up random trades or old strip collections I’ve read about online if I happen to be near a store or I go to the library.

    When this all kicked off I decided to treat myself and bought a ton of back issues online to fill gaps in late 70s – early 80s Legion. Turned out to be a genius decision, such an enjoyable read in troubled times. I’ve read all the ones I bought, and am now deep in the Levitz period, rereading stuff I haven’t looked at in at least a decade. So much more satisfying than current stuff – deep plots, art by people who can both draw without tracing and tell a story. Issues that take more than 3 minutes to read!

    I have also amused myself looking up the products advertised in those old comics, things that never made it to Australia. Having not thought of Grit in years I finally found out what it was. Also, those Sgt Rock figures that Joe Kubert made look so cool we’re pretty lame in real life.

  • Brad Walker says:

    It’s been challenging, dealing with FCBD books when hours are reduced and I have to depend on public transport. The closest LCBS to me just got one book, Donald Duck, this week.

    I’m buying fewer books but that’s partly due to my changing tastes. It’s easier for me to find what I want at Comixology, DriveThru or IndyPlanet. I did rent a Zipcar last week and drive to a comics shop that had four tables of FCBD books from the present to a few years back (only 3 per visit, though). They also have extensive dollar and quarter boxes so I leave with a pleasing sheaf of reading material. (If I had to pro-rate it I’m sure I’d pass out from sticker shock.)

  • Isaac P says:

    Like many other folks posting above, I’ve been out of the monthly comics game for quite awhile. I’ve been using the downtime to read through my backlog of unread stuff, both single issues and trades. I’ve been selling off batches of backissues on craigslist for cheap and separating out whatever ‘keys’ I have and debating whether I want to get any of them slabbed and try to hawk them on eBay.

    I would usually stop by the comics shop about once every two months to browse and get a trade or two. I’ve only been in once since COVID and they were requiring masks and limiting the amount of customers. Bought a few Golden Books from their kids section to give to my friend’s sons.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    1) COVID hasn’t affected how I buy my comics too strongly. During the shutdown, I got some digital comics through Comixology sales and Humble Bundles, but I was doing that anyway. During the first couple of weeks of reopening, my LCBS went with shipping comics, then opening the doors for restricted hours, then opening the doors on a schedule close to pre-shutdown hours. They’re very good about requiring masks and limiting the number of customers in the building at a time.

    2) I’m actually buying more new comics. I’ve been lucky enough to not lose income during the pandemic, so I can afford to buy overpriced new issues. Before the pandemic, I was reading some of the X-titles, a couple DC comics, and a smattering of other comics in print. Now, I am also reading the two big event books (Empyre & Death Metal) because I can.

    I should note that I don’t have a device that’s good for digital comic book reading at the moment. My old iPad won’t update and I haven’t replaced it. When/if I get a new device, I might go all digital, but I hate feeling like I’m abandoning or betraying somewhere important to me that needs my financial support.

  • Rich Handley says:

    I get my comics from you via mail order, so the only thing that changed was not receiving shipments due to nothing being published.

  • Rob Staeger says:

    HOW I BUY COMICS

    Covid’s definitely changed the way I buy comics. I was a Wednesday Warrior — every week, unless I was on vacation, I was there. If I had a freelance gig in NYC (ha, those were the days), I would go to Midtown Comics to get books I intentionally left off my pull list for those weeks, AND THEN go to my LCS as soon as I could to pick up the rest.

    Yesterday, I looked at Comixology to make a list of what came out in the past two weeks…and decided there wasn’t quite enough that I wanted to make the trip in. Partially because of Covid, partially because of travel time, partially because going outside is such a hassle these days. Next week there’s a Legion comic coming out, and I won’t want to wait on that…so I’m making a point to get there next week, and passing on this week’s books. I’ve learned patience.

    If there’s a book I *really* want to read on a light week, hell — I’ll drop the $4 on Comixology to read it, and then pick it up from my shop when I make it in. But those books are fewer and farther between.

    WHAT I’M READING

    There hasn’t been a big change here. I started buying the DC Digital Firsts, while they were coming out — they were good stopgaps for keeping me home. And I’m digging deeper into Omnibuses of older comics, allowing myself no more than 3 unread ones at a time.

    But my regular purchases are for the most part, unchanged — although there’s going to be a sudden drop in my DC books come November, when I lose three titles I was really enjoying. And I’ve been looking at new comics and deciding if I want to buy them digitally or on paper; I decided, for instance, that the new Dreaming title would be a fine one to have digitally. If Seven Secrets is sold out from my shop by the time I make it in next week, that one might also be a digital purchase from the start. We’re thinking of moving soon(ish), and that will require letting go of a LOT — not all — of my longboxes. So I’m looking at the non-physical nature of digital comics as a feature, not a bug. That’s been a real shift in perspective for me.

  • Adam Farrar says:

    For background, I’m in San Francisco which shutdown fairly early. My wife and I were lucky enough to keep our jobs during all this so I was happy to spend money at places I cared about while I could.

    1) Yes!
    My local shop has been fantastic about following the rules. And we’re all grateful. When businesses were closed, I just waited. But I did buy a gift certificate to support them in the meantime. As you may recall, I also did some back-issue ordering from shops I was friendly with.

    When my local shop reopened, I was there on one of the first days ready to the small stack that was waiting for me. Then I put in an order for some collections so I could spend some extra money. Except for a few weeks, it’s all been curbside pickup. There’s limited hours and a table blocking the door. We wear masks, we stand six feet apart, and we do our business.

    One tricky thing is preordering has become much more important. There’s no browsing and the shop is careful about ordering. If I think I might want something, I have to commit early. I don’t think it’s changed my buying habits too much but I’m really stressed that ComicHub or Diamond won’t screw things up down the pipeline.

    2) Yes.

    I used to be a regular on Wednesdays and I would see many of the other regulars and we would chat for a few hours before closing time. But now I only go every two or three weeks as some weeks are light for me. I rarely leave the house so I want it to be worthwhile when I do. So while I’m behind the latest news some weeks, then I get to gorge myself on newness. In the meantime, I’ve been dipping into my long boxes and shelves. There’s stuff I hadn’t read in a long time or partial runs I filled gaps that I didn’t read all at once. The big project has been rereading the Fantastic Four starting with Walt Simonson’s run; I just finished Pacheco’s run in the early 2000s.

  • William Burns says:

    I’ve been letting stuff pile up at my LCS since March. AFAIK they are following masks and limited customers in the store, at least as far as I can tell from the emails.

    I’ve been buying a lot of cheap trades online, but I was doing that before all this started. Lately, I’ve cut my comics budget back due to financial and other uncertainties.

  • swamp mark says:

    wow mike
    nice can of worms. we sure are learning a lot. people seem displeased with modern storytelling and digital is the future.
    as for what i’m reading, except for one notable addition, not much has changed. i still hunt down, buy and read every single appearance of Swampy i can find. it takes me about 10-15 years to read my way through my vast collection of comics and library of books. by the time i get to the end and start over, it’s like meeting an old friend i haven’t seen for awhile. when covid started i decided to put into action a thought i’ve been keeping for a while now. using digital for the first time, i pretend i’m a small boy in 1961 seeing FF #1 on the stands. i read every marvel that comes out month to month. i’m only up to 1966 so far but i’ve got to say, i’m loving it. the writing is so wonderfully dated. who knew the Wasp was so “man-crazy”. it’s a great way to kill a few hours a day.

  • Wriphe says:

    1) No, not the process. The day of the week have changed, but I still walk inside and buy my books off the rack.

    2) Yes. I do far less browsing and, therefore, less impulse buying. I know ahead of time what I am going to buy, I go in, pick it up, pay for it, and leave. I’m sure that results in less money for my LCS, but I’m not comfortable being in a store where not even the GM wears a mask.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    @swamp mark A few years ago I read through all the Marvel Masterworks of the early Marvel Age on Comixology, using the Supermegamonkey chronology as a guide. That was fun. It was amusing to see Stan Lee squeezing in all the drive-by (fly-by) cameos of the early Marvel heroes in each other’s books. “Sorry, can’t help you out today!” Now that’s how you build a universe. It’s particularly fun seeing the Hulk jump around from book to book as sort of an essential link between them all, before finally ending up in his Tales To Astonish series.

    Ditko’s Spidey & Dr. Strange remain my favorites, but I really enjoyed Ditko’s underrated run on The Hulk in TTA.

    Bringing it back to Mike’s topic, I will substitute my occasional weekly comics habit with purchases from my LCS of certain old Marvel Epic collections as they show up in my dealer’s stock.

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    I’ll admit, outside of a few special exceptions–I was there for the return of the Fantastic Four, for example, as well as Dan Jurgen’s return to his version of Superman–I’ve been out of the monthly floppy game for a long time. Haven’t grabbed any trades lately, either, just because working an allegedly essential job means I have little energy during my ever more limited free time.

    @John Platt, Cosmic Monkey is pretty great. They weren’t quite a thing yet when I was in peak acquisition mode, though, so I was getting my fix at TFAW with the occasional side trip to Excalibur.

  • googum says:

    1) I had one curbside pickup, before the re-opening of everything. (Specifically for that X-Men Nightcrawler special; it would’ve just about murdered me if that one hadn’t made it out before things shutdown.) I did get a couple boxes from you and another online store. My usual store’s still there (and just moved again, back to the location they had when I first moved here maybe 20 years back!) as well as a couple others. Everyone seems to be healthy and the percentage of mask-wearers is pretty high.

    2) About the same? There are a lot of books I wouldn’t pay full price for, but will absolutely read when I find them on the cheap. That said, ‘obtaining’ may be outpacing ‘reading’ since I probably spend too much time doomscrolling. I was already a work-at-home guy when this started, so you’d think not much would change, and maybe it didn’t…but the ongoing crappiness of everything is exhausting.

  • Here in Arizona, we’re just so tough that we don’t believe in the virus, so of course it hasn’t affected anything!!!!

    I only altered my buying because nothing was being published. My store never closed, but obviously his business shifted a bit, as he sold more on eBay than at the store. Once the comics started coming back, it seems most of the customers came back. It’s not quite as packed on Wednesdays as it was, but it’s close, and I don’t know if people are just not coming or if they’re coming at different times to miss the rush.

    We all wear masks (even the Trump supporters!) and stay away from each other, even though the store isn’t that big (I’d say it’s about half the size of Ralph’s, for context), but there’s no numbers restriction. I think they’ll do curbside, but I haven’t taken advantage of it. It’s pretty much business as usual.

    I’ve been buying less DC and Marvel, mostly because I don’t buy single issues from them anymore and their collected editions have been coming out a bit more slowly. But hey, the big Solomon Kane collection came out a few weeks ago! I’m still basically buying at the same level as I did before, which is fine with me. So many good comics out there!

  • Steven R. says:

    No change, because I went mail order on new comics 30 years ago (or so). Which is good, as the nearest comic store is a 1 1/2 hour one way drive away (or so Alexa tells me).

  • Tim says:

    Disclaimer : I am in Australia, specifically in Melbourne, which is current in Stage 4 lockdown : you may only leave your house for one hour a day for exercise or to shop for essential services (supermarket, food, medical).

    During the initial lockdown, my LCS could only sell by mail, and there were no new comics being produced. I bought a number of trades (including hardcover Crisis on Infinite Earths) along with gift cards to be used when comics started again.

    Currently, I’m getting comics delivered about every three weeks.

    COVID hasn’t really changed which comics I buy, although it has accelerated a trend over the last 5+ years of not buying ‘event’ minis and certainly not ‘event’ spinoffs. My Marvel / DC purchases are down to pretty much Spidey, Batman, Ms Marvel and Daredevil.

  • MikeyWayne says:

    I had always been an Every Wednesday guy, but I moved to the Czech Republic in February 2019. I Shipped 12 long boxes (6 of them Legion of Super Heroes, it’s great to see Legion mentioned in responses above) here with my other stuff. I first got my new comics shipped to me from Midtown bc they were willing to ship to my country of residence. However, that meant I was getting comics about 8 weeks after they came out, and I do so love comic websites and hate avoiding spoilers and not knowing the latest Right As It Happens, Now Now Now, so… I tried comiXology for some titles, and started going digital-only for more and more titles as the months passed. Like poster Rob above, I came to see the lack of physical comics as a feature instead of a bug (much less storage space at my place in Prague, ). With that as a backdrop:
    1. Yes. COVID slowed down the mail (international flights weren’t happening, and the Czech mail process slowed to a crawl) so much that I switched to all-digital for weekly comics. Now I only order collected editions for my “permanent library” from Midtown.
    2. Yes. I find myself getting less big two comics, particularly regular titles, and I find myself much more willing to try new things. I don’t know if I would have ever tried No One’s Rose from Vault, and I love it. I also get a few more digital trades bc I have more time to read them.

  • Daniel says:

    I haven’t been to a comics shop since before COVID struck. I wasn’t a regular at any comics shop. I might go a half dozen times per year. Usually split it up between three shops in the area.

    I wanted to support the local shops, but I’m not comfortable shopping in person. None of the three shops has any online retail presence to speak of. There’s no listing of their stock. There’s no way to search their stock online. They each offer curbside pick up, but without any way of knowing what they actually have, that’s not really practical. So I’ve mostly bought from Amazon and eBay since the pandemic started.

  • Snark Shark says:

    swamp mark: “who knew the Wasp was so “man-crazy””.

    I KNEW. I KNEWWWWWWWWWW.

    Michael Grabowski: “but I really enjoyed Ditko’s underrated run on The Hulk in TTA.”

    COOL! I didn’t know about that! My favorite silver-age Hulk is #6, the Ditko “Metal Master” story!

  • Patrick says:

    1. It’s a combination of Covid and DC switching distributors. My local shop made the decision to stop carrying all DC products shortly after the distributor such. I still mask up and take the walk to that shop to pick up anything non-DC. I used to look at the new releases but now I’m very much just pick up what I pre-ordered and leave. I switched to picking up my DC books via mail from another shop (shipped to me bi-weekly).

    2. Because of receiving books by mail I’m often reading them 1-3 weeks after release. After always reading new comics on day of release for decades this has been a tough adjustment. It probably affects how I interact with the online comics discourse more than it has affected my reading habits. I am also reading less new books but I think that is more because of reduced output at the publishers than anything else.

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