No More Single-Issue Comics For Me. Ever.

Ever since the New 52 came around, I’ve been collecting floppies for the first time since I was little. Just a few titles, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Batwoman. Before that, I was just collecting trade paperbacks when it came to mainstream comics. Now I remember why.

While I understand that single-issue comics are very important to the American comic industry in that they gauge interest (via sales) before a comic is published as a trade paperback, but floppies are the most annoying way of reading comics.

First of all, the advertising is such that it’s incredibly distracting. I could almost understand having all those pages of ads in such a short amount of pages, the money has to come from somewhere, but I hate the way the ads interrupt the story. As I was reading an issue of Batwoman last night, the sequence of pages went as such: 14 pages, ad, ad, page, double-page spread ad,  page, ad, ad, page, ad, 5 pages, end of comic material. Batgirl was laid out similarly: 4 pages, ad, 3 pages, ad, page, ad, ad, 3 pages, ad, ad, 2 pages, ad, 3 pages, ad, 3 pages, ad, page, end of comic material.

It made me really mad that the story I was reading kept being interrupted. Being familiar with the publishing world, I know I must put up with advertising to keep such publications afloat, but I would rather quit buying floppies entirely than have to deal with this. Putting all the ads at either the beginning or the end of the comic seems like an acceptable option to me, but clearly DC thinks otherwise.

Then there’s the amount of pages you get for each single-issue comic you buy. Argh. 20-22 pages an issue is far too little to truly enjoy for me. It’s all the fault of my long-term manga collecting habit, I know.

See, advertising in manga isn’t as invasive. Even in the original magazine you don’t get full-page ads in the middle of a chapter. Ads wait til the end, or are off to the side, only taking up part of the page. These small in-page ads do interrupt the story a bit, but are far easier to either ignore or skim without breaking up the reader’s concentration too hard.

But also, for the price of three floppies, I can get 10 times the pages for my money with manga. I know this is because mainstream comics rely on color and shiny paper. I know this, and yet I can’t feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth. And I’m fairly certain that manga publishers need my dollars more than Marvel and DC do.

I’m just going to give up and give in to my illogical hatred of single-issue comics.

Man, am I glad manga isn’t published like that anymore.

About Daniella Orihuela-Gruber

Daniella is a freelance manga editor and blogger. She likes collecting out of print manga and playing with her puppy. Yes, someone got her a puppy already.
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11 Responses to No More Single-Issue Comics For Me. Ever.

  1. Annaliese says:

    This, this THIS. Everything you said is just how I feel about buying floppies. Put a collected book out later and I might check it out. But floppies? No. Too many ads, too little story and for too much money.

    Plus, the last floppies I bought were for a 12-issue series. I think there were…. 3 pencillers by the end of it? Each with pretty different styles, so all of a sudden all the characters would look different enough that it would take me a few minutes to figure out who was who. It’s 12 issues! Why did you keep switching pencillers? ARGH!!!

    • Annaliese says:

      Errr, forgot to actually end that last thought. But yeah, that’s why I stopped buying floppies… all the ad craziness, too little story, and the art inconsistencies just drove me mad.

      • Haha. It’s fine.

        I don’t care about switching people who work on the series. (Although when I like a writer, I fear that they’ll change them and ruin the story.)
        But I just can’t take the cost and the layout they use. It kills it for me. I wonder if digital is better?

  2. I like how you ended the entry, since it reminds of when Blade of the Immortal was published monthly in American comic-book style.

  3. animemiz says:

    This sounds just like buying a magazine.. like Vogue or Vanity Fair.. you end up purchasing more for the ads. At this time now I don’t buy those type of magazines, but does seem pretty frustrating.

  4. Kris says:

    Though I should note that smaller publishers put their ads at the back of their books. Actually, publishers like Dynamite Entertainment basically just advertise their own comics. About 5-6 pages at the back of their single issues is ads for their other series.
    Like what manga publishers do.
    And I also have to agree that I HATE paying $4 for maybe 20 pages of actual comic. Especially when I can get around 150 pages for $10-12 out of a manga. The value there is clear, even if it’s in black and white.

    • That’s the thing, though. Ninety percent of the ads were for DC’s stuff or for other DC properties. And then there were a few ads for The Onion or something!

      I like publishers that put their ads in the back. I like them a lot.

      And I also like that manga is in black and white. It leaves something the imagination, you know? Something you can fill in yourself, kind of like you do with novels.

  5. Elle says:

    Woo late commenter, but I totally agree as well! Some of the ads chosen for certain comics are just downright weird, I was reading a kind of dark, minimalist story, and turned the page to see a half-naked 3D digital viking chick in an ad. Totally ruined the mood, and bore no relevance to the book (y’know, as opposed to fashion ads in Vogue, which makes sense and fits aesthetically)!
    It’s the cost of single-issue comics that did it for me too, couldn’t justify spending money on short, flimsy single issues, especially if there was a chance that I wouldn’t enjoy the story anyway, which was the case with the New 52.
    I’ve never seen any manga in serial magazine format as opposed to paperback, I would really like to!

    • What about stuff like Shounen Jump or Shojo Beat or Yen Plus? (Although now those are all no longer in print or online-only.)

      I can’t completely remember if those magazines had ads in the middle of the manga, but I don’t think they did. They had ads in between the chapters for sure…

      But also, for $5 or so, you got a relatively thick manga magazine.

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