Civil War Issue 3 from ten years ago

Any Excuse to Read More Comics

Ten Years Ago This Week…

…Marvel announced a delay in the original “Civil War” publishing schedule.  The effects to their publishing plan were enormous.  The dominoes fell immediately, and some books were slotted quickly into the gaps to keep the timeline consistent.

But, as one might suspect, the internet went crazy that the next issue wouldn’t be out for six more weeks.  It was the end of days.

I saw it more as an opportunity, though.  From Pipeline Commentary and Review of August 22, 2006:


Catching Up On Old Times

If you’re anything like me, you have a stack of unread comics sitting by your computer, or on a bookshelf, or acting as a nightstand next to your bed. There might be a box of trades or a long box stuffed in the back of the closet with unread comics — either runs that you were waiting for the full story on and yet never got to, or single issues that just never seemed as appealing to your collection as they originally seemed on the shelf of the comic shop.

Well, guess what? The CIVIL WAR delay gives you six weeks to catch up on all of them. No, the delay doesn’t mean the end of civilization. It doesn’t mean the end of all comics. It doesn’t mean you’ll have nothing to read. Heck, it doesn’t even mean there aren’t plenty of valid independent or even DC titles that are reading being published at the same time.

But I’ll take you all at your words. All of you on the comics message boards across the internet in the last week have done an excellent job in describing the end of world scenario that this six week delay represents. Many of you have even promised to make it last longer, by vowing to never read another Civil War book or another Marvel comic for the rest of your lives. I think you all have amazing death wishes, since I guarantee we’ll see you kvetching about the post-CW storylines six months — nay, three months — from now, anyway.

As you can tell, I’m rather cynical about the whole thing. A company’s poor response to bad news is only trumped by the groupthink of an agitated crowd.

I, however, am making lemonade out of these lemons. I’m looking at my bookshelf and planning on tackling it. I read a few books this week that have been sitting on my shelves untouched for weeks and months. It feels great! Give it a try. Rather than denying yourself the pleasure of a new read, use the newfound time to create new reading opportunities. (Or, you know, catch up on those piled-up DVDs, or go out to a movie, or read a novel or something.) Marvel will come back. Don’t worry. When CIVIL WAR #4 comes out in a few weeks, I’ll be back to review it. And I’ll do my best to not be like every other reviewer out there who will judge the book not on its own merits, but rather on the basis of, “Was it worth the wait?”

In the meantime, let’s see how my time was spent this week. Coincidentally, both books came from Marvel…

Back to 2016 Now…

That was the week I read the last third of the Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo run on “Fantastic Four”, as well as the original “Marvel Zombies” mini-series.  It was a very good week. Catching up on your unread comics stack is very rewarding.

I would later write a piece in which I suggested people should jump off the bandwagon, not go to the comics shops that Wednesday, and instead read some of the unread comics that sat in stacks at home, instead.  It was, to put it mildly, not received well by the Direct Market retailers.

I can’t blame them. I want to say I wrote that column around a Christmas time when there were very few books shipping anyway, but maybe not.

I still think it’s a good idea, though.  I think we’re all behind on something or another.

Civil War I'm With Captain America

As for “Civil War”: There was quite a lot of grinding and gnashing of teeth when Marvel announced the prolonged delay of the fourth issue of “Civil War.”  That’s the internet.  It’s what we do.  I’m not sure Marvel ever properly explained why they delayed the series.  I’m sure the old chestnut about “Quality over quantity” came out at some point, though.  Comparisons were likely made to publishing delays on “Watchmen” and “Dark Knight Returns,” too.

“Civil War II” has only had minor delays and now, of course, an extra issue attached to the end of it, which means post-CW2 books will be arriving before the mini-series ends.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Civil War I'm With Iron Man

…says nobody, ever.



  • Tom Murphy August 24, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    This brings up a good point, are we comic fans and readers or comics accumulators. Personally I went through a period of buying comics to keep runs going, hot book of the moment, and any other various reason but it got to the point where I was not a reader anymore just an amasser. I got so tired of the big events, fake buzz books, and over hyped creative superstars that I turned my back on all of it. You know what, it felt great getting to discover a joy of comics after a break has been amazing. The feeling of not being obligated to by to keep what are now arbirary numbers going forward was liberating. So take a break try something new get caught up with an old series or better yet ask around your local comic shop and try something new or old that you never thought about trying before.

  • Augie August 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Yes, it’s ridiculously easy to get caught in the hamster wheel and never stop running for fear of falling out. But I discovered that while the initial shock is high, you get over it very quickly. Eventually, it’s easy to let go of those books you accumulated, but never read. I got rid of more than 5000 comics last year that way, though I did hold onto them for too many years.

    I’ve got a laundry list of books I’d like to buy and read, but I also have lots of comics I KNOW I liked that I’d like to enjoy again. It’s a never-ending balancing act.

    But it’s all comics, so it’s all good.

  • Colin Taylor August 27, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Wow this is going to be a bit embarrassing BUT my reading list is actually a spread sheet and from bottom to top can take a run, series, whatever two and half years. Gulp. Its currently about 3 1/2 thousand comics long… I know, I know.

    Now to be fair its is half re-read – to make sure the comics I keep get read AND I always read my pull list comics immediately. The thing is I started to do this when we were expecting our first baby. Having heard the tales of financial woe and already signed the little ‘un up to nursery and seen the cost, so I decided to stock pile… as ever things weren’t as difficult as I expected and so the stockpile just kinda became the norm.

    It wasn’t healthy so I worked hard (it is such hard work to read comics after all, but I’m a trier!) to get it down and I was succeeding. I was below 2000 comics and declining… then I went semi digital and lets face it Humble Bundle wasn’t designed to help you cutting back on your comics accumulation. So many Image sales, Dark Horse constantly cutting prices. DAMNIT… then a 2000ad re-read was needed (I’ll spare the logistics of how this is spaced out) and before you know it back to the aforementioned 3600+ comics on there….

    Clearly I’m wittering BUT I do have a point. See its pretty clear I could cancel my pull list, save about £70 a month (I’ll keep my 2000ad sub) and still be able to read comics I want for 2 1/2 years and save myself what…(quick maths) about £2000 (not worth as much as it was of course!)… so why don’t I (actually why don’t I???). I could probably then pick up most of what I missed digitally for half the 2 grand saved.

    Trouble is comics (and reading generally) is a curiously social activity given its reputation. I enjoy my trips to chat, however briefly to the folks in The Sheffield Space Centre. I enjoy my exchanges – now restricted to online conversations – on what’s being read here and there (there’s a wonderful 2000ad online community). We’re social animals. We’ll laugh together, we’ll cry together and we’ll have fan tantrums together. About the silliest things – after all if I whine about a comic being late its only hinting that I should be thinking of saving for a new … well whatever you can get for £2000 these days.

    So yeah you are defo right, we could definitely be a lot more sensible and practical about our hobby and passion, but what would be the fun it that?

    • Augie August 28, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      @Colin – I like the spreadsheet concept! That’s clever. It’s probably too late for me to accurately come up with one, though I suppose I could start now and add as I find things. Hmmm… Just how crazy do I want to get with this stuff?

      And, yes, the social interaction in the comics shop can be a lot of fun. I do miss that, even as I don’t miss my once nearly $100 a week spending habit.

      • Colin Taylor August 29, 2016 at 2:47 am

        ” I suppose I could start now and add as I find things. Hmmm… Just how crazy do I want to get with this stuff?”

        As I recall that’s how I started (almost 8 years ago now and my memory is an unreliable thing). I got a systems and all sorts. Things to re-read grouped together in 4s in a single ‘monthly’* slot, of which 2 of the 4 are re-read. So the latest (no.90 for those keeping count) is:

        Walk Dead #1 (issues 1-24 bought in the compendiun via Humble Bundle compendium)
        A load of Image trades (bought in same Humble Bundle 32 issues in total)
        Infinity Inc 1-12 (Milligan run = re-read)
        2000ad Progs from 1979 = re-read)

        See all neatly organised, fun and easy to follow AND also a very bad idea. See it justifies having all this stuff. I can buy something, ‘log’ it then tuck it away tidily in my nerd cave… all good, but imagine if they were all stacked in somewhere around the house, I’d never live with myself.

        Its a spreadsheet to justify bad habits to myself… it was a slippery slope I’ve well and truly slide down and crashed miserably (well happily if I’m honest) at the bottom.

        *Alas since changing jobs to one needing less public transport its taking longer to get through my slots.

  • Tom Murphy August 28, 2016 at 12:31 am

    I love the social aspect of going to my local comic shop, and I do feel the need to help support it. I still try to go every week and sometimes its just to talk comics and catch up socially. I enjoy trades and Image has done great with the newer collections being cheap to get you to try a series, $10 can’t be beat. So I might pick up a trade but no single issues, I sold all my singles in one shot about 12,000 books. Now I go all trades and if the series grabs me I stick with it if it doesn’t donated to my local library or handed off to a friend that might enjoy it. Right now there are only a few books I read on a regular basis and only 1 book from “the big two” and even the 1 book from a big publisher tries to get you to buy other trades to get the full story. I have been testing the waters digitally but I have found for me its hard, I want the feel of a book in my hand. I don’t want to tell any one how to collect but I just think that to enjoy comics is to read the comics you get.


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