The status of comic books (for me)

I used to go to the local newsstand in my little town at least once a week. This was when I used to buy Topolino, the weekly Disney magazine published in Italy. I visited that place every Wednesday, waiting for my copy to arrive and eager to check its content and read its stories.

One day, during my weekly visit, I found a new comic book: L’Uomo Ragno, Spider-Man. It was 1987 and Star Comics released the first issue of the new comeback for Marvel in Italy. I devoured that issue and re-read it multiple times.

It was not clear how often, and when, the next issue of L’Uomo Ragno was going to be published, and I basically kept on visiting my local newsstand almost daily to see if the second issue was out. These were visits of expectation and excitement. Every time I asked “Did you get the new issue of L’Uomo Ragno”, my heart was pounding, hoping to hear a “Yes!”.

I can’t tell you the excitement when Star Comics announced they were coming out with a new title, i Fantastici Quattro, the Italian edition of the Fantastic Four. Again, no specific release date. This made the visits to the newsstand even more fun: not only I was buying my Topolino, but I was waiting to get my copy of L’Uomo Ragno and i Fantastici Quattro.

Nowadays I would love to feel the same excitement, but comics have changed. There are way too many titles out there. Only Marvel publishes hundreds of titles every month. And every title has variants, new numberings once in a while. Let’s also not forget that you now have to go visit comic book stores (newsstand in the U.S., where I now live, are gone) and you need to pre-order your comics if you want to make sure you’ll get your copy. This is incredibly burdensome and takes away the spontaneity that I had many years ago.

I am still looking for the same emotion and excitement I used to feel, but the more I wait for it to come back, the least likely it will come back.

This makes me sad.

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