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RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

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RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby LOLtron » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:58 pm

RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

RU explores the fanboy mindset and wonders why it is that we read books that suck. In this first of four articles, RU explores habit as a driving force behind the maintenance of the status-quo.



Source: the internet

Hello there, internet people, it’s your good buddy, RU, here for something a little bit different. Rather than helping you through the minefield of garbage comics I am going to ask why it is that we read garbage books to begin with. Before I begin I want to clarify some points; First, when I am speaking of bad comic books, I will be referencing books I dislike and some that I like; in no way am I passing judgment on those whose opinion on these books differ from mine. I am well aware that “crap” is (mostly) relative and cannot really be quantified. Second, I also know that, nowadays, there is a distinct disconnect between reading comics and buying comics. With the advent of torrents and other piracy tools it is no longer necessary to spend money on comics before reading them. It is unfortunate that we have to differentiate between buying and stealing comics, but it is the world we live in now.

To start, I am not writing this as an attack on a portion of fandom that I am separating myself from. I have and continue to read books that I know are garbage, although I hope that I am reading less crap than I used to, so I know what it’s like to finish a book for the third straight month and wonder “why the f*ck am I still reading this?” without taking the two minutes it would take to delete the book from my DCBS pull list. Why do I do this? I believe that there are three basic, often overlapping, mindsets that drive this choice; habit, completionism, and hope, with morbid curiosity a possible fourth driving force.

Habit:

Whether it’s an online service, such as DCBS or MOC, or a physical comic book store, the pull list has done a lot to hinder the ability of fanboys to implement any planned action of dropping a book. At the local comic book store, it can be uncomfortable to take the stack of comics the store employee hands you, after taking the time to pick out everything you said you’d be buying this week, and tell them that you are no longer going to be reading a specific book. Part of you feels like you are betraying a trust, that you asked them to do this work for you, often so you can receive some sort of loyal customer discount, and now that work is not good enough for you anymore.

As you stand there, going through your stack, it just seems easier to say “Meh, it’s already here, what’s the harm in giving this book one more shot?” It’s even worse with online stores, since the pull list is updated with books that you won’t even be able to read for months, meaning that, by the time you realize that issue #1 blew chunks, you might have already ordered and paid for up to four more issues of that same series.

By this point, the decision to continue to buy and read a book you don’t like has been made and the simple fact is that this decision was arrived at based on habit. Once habit becomes the primary motivator behind the continuation of a collection, it becomes very difficult to move past it, and it takes (at least it did for me) something outrageously horrid to break the hold habit has on your collection. For me, that was Victor Gischler’s run on X-Men.

Even before Gischler wrote X-Men (2010) #1 I already knew that his writing was not for me. I had suffered through two horrid Deadpool series (more on that later), and now he was tackling a franchise that I had been reading for 23 years straight. Up until the insulting and infuriating X-Men (2010) #6 I had never dropped an X-Book. I survived Austen, Claremont (version 2), and even Fraction, all without giving in to the temptation to drop the book (or freeing myself from it, as I later came to view it). But, once I was able to break the habit of buying any book that was called "X-Men," the flood gates opened and I was able to liberate my pull list from other (not all) flotsam that was sucking my soul dry. Gillan’s Uncanny X-Men was next, followed quickly by other long standing books on my pull list including, but not limited to, Morning Glories, Batman (OldDC), and Jack Of Fables.

Ripping the band-aid off of my habit did more to make me love comics again than any new book ever had. By dropping the crap I was buying, I saved money and was able to explore the market for new books to entice and entertain me, including The L’il Depressed Boy, GI Joe: Real American Hero, Dark Horse Presents, Mind MGMT, and many others. Comic book fans need to stop living in this world where comic book stores and the comic book industry are somehow different from any other industry or retailer. It is the job of the comic book store employee to pull your books if that service is offered. It is their job to allow you to edit your pull list. It is their job to direct you to other books you might like so that they don’t lose a sale. It is not your responsibility to buy books to keep them in business.

*****
That is it for this portion of the discussion, later in the week I'll post the other parts: Completionism, Hope, and Morbid Curiosity.  Until then, later peeps.



Written or Contributed by GHERU


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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby mrorangesoda » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:07 pm

I agree, except for "even Fraction". His run seemed mediocre, but the weighting of those three creators is super off- Austen's was literally the worst.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby GHERU » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:24 pm

mrorangesoda wrote:I agree, except for "even Fraction". His run seemed mediocre, but the weighting of those three creators is super off- Austen's was literally the worst.

for me, Fraction's run was worse because it was obvious he wasn't even trying and Greg Land
Austin's run was crap, but at least he cared enough to try something new
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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Arion » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:35 pm

Great article. I never buy crappy books, except when they're free, but seems like I'm alone. Every day here or in other message boards people complain about how bad certain titles are and yet they continue to buy them. Force of habit. That's true, and sometimes it's very difficult to defeat that (I know I used to buy things out of habit until 2005 or so).

I read one issue of Gischler's X-Men. I never bought another X-Men book for over 2 years after that. So I completely understand why you decided to let go of the X-Men after that particular run.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Keb » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:24 pm

GHERU wrote:for me, Fraction's run was worse because it was obvious he wasn't even trying and Greg Land
Austin's run was crap, but at least he cared enough to try something new

Yeah I had zero interest in Matt Fraction's X-Men. Love Hawkeye, love Casanova, but his X-Men screams "Don't buy!"

I will say that I think this habitual buying is perpetrated by a nostalgic sense of dedication to a comic. It ties in to completing things as well. The problem with comics is that we read/watched/consumed these properties as kids and as a result we now feel some sense of dedication to the brand/property. It's REALLY dumb and perpetuates a some sort of hoarding habit.

I broke this cycle YEARS ago when I finally got sick of Bendis. The comic shop I was pulling from also had that silly "3 months in advance" rule so I would end up stuck with a few issues but eventually I stopped caring. Now, if I don't like something, I won't bother buying it. I bought the first volume of Proof, loved it, read the 2nd and 3rd and didn't love them. I haven't bought the rest. Probably won't.

The great part about the internet and comics fandom is that the internet gives fans a number of media outlets by which they can still follow their favourite characters and titles even if they don't like the creative direction the book has taken. After my 4 year hiatus from comics, I read up on Wikipedia about a bunch of characters I liked and if the story sounded interesting I went and tracked it down.

I really dislike when comic shops and mail orders make people buy something for three months. I guess that's why I just go to the stores and buy off the shelf rather than looking for a pull discount. I've always liked doing that.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby mrorangesoda » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:31 pm

GHERU wrote:for me, Fraction's run was worse because it was obvious he wasn't even trying and Greg Land
Austin's run was crap, but at least he cared enough to try something new


I thought he was trying but didn't really have much to say. The science team was neat, but a lot of it felt like a thing he fell into because of his status and Marvel's needs at the time. Greg Land is the worst, I can see that.
I try to leave myself open to differences of opinion, but the Draco... I'll have to forever agree to disagree.

My shop got rid of pull lists entirely about 4 years ago. I just fill out a weekly online checklist, their ordering data's good enough that I've never heard of or experienced a shortage. I haven't habit bought anything since.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Victorian Squid » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:41 pm

I drop books like a hot potato if they disappoint. Comics are too expensive for much remorse. Since I dropped both Marvel & DC, I'm not reading anything out of habit or for the characters.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Sunless » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:45 pm

I loved Gillen's X-Men. He's probably one of my fave Marvel writers right now.

But I see his point. I don't read crap anymore. I can't afford to read anything other than books I enjoy.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby GiveWarAChance » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:54 pm

Once I've been reading a title for years, I find it impossibly hard to drop it. I usually stick through the crappy runs waiting for better days to come. I try to find any redeeming quality to stick with it. Uncanny X-Men and Fantastic Four are two of these examples. I don't know if it's me being a completionist or what. Red Sonja has been a title I have not been enjoying for a long time and just can't bring myself to drop it.
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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Keb » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:00 pm

mrorangesoda wrote:
I thought he was trying but didn't really have much to say. The science team was neat, but a lot of it felt like a thing he fell into because of his status and Marvel's needs at the time. Greg Land is the worst, I can see that.
I try to leave myself open to differences of opinion, but the Draco... I'll have to forever agree to disagree.

My shop got rid of pull lists entirely about 4 years ago. I just fill out a weekly online checklist, their ordering data's good enough that I've never heard of or experienced a shortage. I haven't habit bought anything since.

I know everybody HATES Chuck Austen's Uncanny X-Men with a passion but I'm one of the few that defend it. That along with Morrison's latter half of New X-Men got me into comics. As bad as Austen's stuff is to go back and read now, I have to agree with RU that he was actually trying something new. He had moments that were really nice, like bringing Northstar to the team or having Juggernaut smack Lorneto with a tree (I laughed). There were a LOT of really bad things but the guy was brought on to the title to be a fill-in and eventually was just handed the reigns to the least popular X-title. The ideas were bad but he gave it a good shot. I mean, everything was better than what Joe Casey was doing, except like X-Treme X-Men, so when he stepped on he was pretty much pegged to fail no matter what he did.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby GLX » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:33 pm

Keb wrote:I mean, everything was better than what Joe Casey was doing


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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Keb » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:30 am

You liked that crap? :smt011

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby GHERU » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:08 am

With DCBS I don't mind the three month pre-order because I am getting, basically, wholesale prices and I figure that if I end up with ~10 comics a year I wish I hadn't bought I am still way ahead of the curve when it comes to money
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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby Punchy » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:09 am

Fraction's Uncanny X-Men was good, if only for the 'Fraptions' which accompanied each X-Man and got increasingly hilarious.

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Re: RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit

Postby 3MJ » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:20 am

I have never bought a book for long if I thought it was crap. I simply can not get into the heads of people who waste hundreds of dollars on useless purchases

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