If you couldn’t tell from all of my reviews both here and on Goodreads, I am quite the fan of comics. Whether it be superheroes or scouts, adaptations of shows or original content, big brands or indies, I’ve truly become engrossed in the comic format and community. I want to share my comic story, talk about the merits of single issues versus trade paperbacks, and about my reviews to come.
My love of books can be traced back through my childhood but comics are a much more recent discovery. It first started through my love of shows like Firefly and Avatar the Last Airbender, needing more stories from those worlds to immerse myself in. Upon finding out there were new tales in comic format, I immediately pounced on the idea. What brought me into an actual comic store, however, was Free Comic Book Day. The first Saturday in May is reserved for imprints to put out short stories or previews of upcoming titles that are free for the public basically celebrating all things comics.
Cue the introduction for my local comic store, Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop. I was so lucky to discover them in my search for a place to attend Free Comic Book Day. That first year I just meandered through the shop but the next year I took the plunge into buying single issues with the series Hawkeye. Soon enough I had a pull list with them, starting a bunch of new titles, and it all spiraled from there. With amazing events, friendly staff, and their very own cat, Winston; I feel right at home.
Now that you know a little about my comics journey, let’s chat about single issues vs. trade paperbacks. Single issues are each individual piece of a story printed one by one where as trade paperbacks are a collection of issues typically bringing together a story arc in groups of five or six. I read and purchase both, no one is surprised there, but each have their own merits.
- You get the story right away without having to wait possibly half a year to find out what happens. A little piece of the puzzle, once or twice a month.
- Materials: Light paper
- Collecting: Make sure to bag and board them for storage. They take up space!
- Available from comic shops and digital.
- Materials: Glossy flexible cardstock cover, heavier paper.
- Often have additional content like extra artwork.
- Longer wait, patience needed. Easier to store.
- Available from comic shops, bookstores, and digital.
For me the single issues I buy are the stories I love the most or ones I’m really intrigued by. Often it has to do with certain characters like Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Ms. Marvel. I’ve never bought a DC single issue but I have picked up a number of independent titles like Lumberjanes. Marvel is my go to when it comes to singles, that’s just what I like. I have been trying to cut back since single issues will definitely suck you in. There’s an ebb and flow to it.
For trade paperbacks I typically read most of them from the library. A lot of DC Comics titles like Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and Nightwing as well as a bunch of Image Comics. There are two series, Fables and Rat Queens, that I buy in trade. That’s just how I started collecting them and now I can’t stop. I even have a few hardcover deluxe editions from Fables as well as Nimona.
Here’s the thing: I’m actually really bad at reading my single issues upon release. I have a stack waiting to be finished and an even bigger pile to be bagged and boarded. Part of the problem is that I get my trades from the library and feel I need to read those first just like with books. Not to mention all the books I read as well. The singles seem to get lost in the shuffle and I have to set aside time to get it done even though they’re my favorites.
When it comes to reviews, I’ve been talking about all the trade paperbacks as I read them but some of my favorite titles fall by the wayside as I read them single issue. I’m going to go back through and start reviewing series I’ve completed so far. Lookout for reviews on Hawkeye, Black Widow, Loki: Agent of Asgard and quite a few more that are still being published.
Inquisitive Minds Want to Know
Do you buy or borrow?
Single Issue or Trade Paperback?
Comic Shop or Bookstore?
I’d love to hear about your comic story and preferences in the comments below! Even if you’re new to the genre, please share your thoughts!