Hybrid Collector of Comics

Are you a Hybrid Comics Collector?

Wolverine and the X-Men

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron, on sale at Comixology once upon a time

Comixology had a sale a couple weeks back. All eight volumes of the Jason Aaron-penned “Wolverine and the X-Men” series were just $3.99 each. Having read and enjoyed the first two volumes, I picked up the next three in the series.

Yes, I was aware that at least two of those took place during a major crossover. And, yes, I knew the artistic rotation was a bit fouled up by all of it.  But, still, most of the art was still Nick Bradshaw or Chris Bachalo.  That’s not too bad.

Even if the stories were only half good, I was still getting my money’s worth.

But there’s an issue with these collections:

Doing the Math

Here’s a quick table of how many issues of the series are in each volume, along with how many pages are in each book:

Wolverine and the X-Men Publication Statistics

Even with an Amazon discount, I probably paid too much for the hardcover editions of the first two volumes.  I enjoyed them, but $20 for four issues is an enormous pill to swallow.  Without the discount, I never would have read them.

But $3.99 for a collected edition of four, five, or six issues is a solid deal.  I can’t complain about that.  I’m sure some people complained that the thinner volumes weren’t cheaper, but I would think the alternative would have been, instead, to make the thicker volumes more expensive.

I didn’t want to pay for six more books at $20 a pop without reading them before.  For $4, it’s worth the gamble.


Quick Detour into Consistency

One of the most annoying publishing strategies employed by Marvel in the last decade was their decision to do away with the oversized hardcover books that collected 12 issues of a series at a time.  Even though I bought every issue of the original “Ultimate Spider-Man” series in its standard comics form, I also picked up the collected editions in that nice hardcover format.  They lined up well on my shelf.

Then Marvel stopped making them, and I stopped buying Ultimate Spider-Man twice.  I don’t want to support the thinner formats, and I don’t want a series in different formats like that.

I love my collection of “Asterix” volumes, but it does bother me that some are hardcover and most are paperbacks.  That’s always just been a question of availability, to be honest.   The books are all the same page size, though, so the differences aren’t so great. Losing the larger page size and the thicker book size with “Ultimate Spider-Man” was unfortunate.

I love a bookshelf with like-formatted collections lined up in a row: Fantagraphics’ Duck books, Robert Kirkman’s series collections, the smaller “Usagi Yojimbo” line-up, the Absolute Edition shelf, etc.  They look good, they feel good as a collector, and the consistent format makes them a tad bit more fun to read.

Then there’s this “Wolverine and the X-Men” conundrum.


I’m a Hybrid Collector Now

With “Wolverine and the X-Men,” I bought volumes one and two in hardcover format.  It’s what Marvel used to called “Marvel Premiere” format — six issues (roughly) in a standard trim hardcover. I had heard good things about the series, so I gave it a try.

I was not disappointed.

I’ve made the decision now to collect all future volumes in the series in digital format. No matter how much I like them, I will never buy the printed editions. Life’s too short, there are far too many comics to buy this one again, and money isn’t growing on trees here, exactly.

I think this is the first time I’ve decided to finish a series in digital that I had started in print. It feels weird to orphan those two hardcovers, but I’m not leaving them completely.  It’s not like I bought the digital versions of them.

The ability to switch between formats — print to digital — is what I’m dubbing a “hybrid collector.”  Those of us who follow the pattern will buy comics in whichever format is most convenient.  We don’t need that consistency anymore.

I haven’t yet had to test how far I’d go with this yet, though.   Could I go back and forth from print to digital to print and back to digital?  Would my collector’s OCD kick in and not let me do that? I haven’t had to test that yet.


Define Hybrid Collector

For a hybrid collector, lots of decisions go away:

  • Trade paperback versus hardcover?
  • Collected versus single?
  • Digital versus print?

They don’t matter. I’ll take whichever one I want. Maybe it’ll be a cost issue.  Maybe it’ll be a size issue.  Maybe it’ll be a cluttering problem I’m trying to solve.

I’m not tied down to keeping a specific story in the same format for its entire life.  It’s still preferable, but it’s not a road block.

I just want to read the whole story.

And so I’ve adopted this “hybrid collector” terminology for myself.

What about you?  Are there certain series you collect in print and others in digital format?  Or are you mixing the two all together?

Are you a Hybrid Collector, too?


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Here’s a friendly little Instagram something.  Don’t forget to follow PipelineComics on Instagram for random comics panels most every day. It’s a lot of fun to see what pops up in that feed…

Comics Hybrid Collector definition for Instagram




  • JC Lebourdais December 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Hi Augie,
    great post, as always.
    Being a hybrid collector sounds like a real hassle just to keep track of everything in reading order 🙂 not sure I could master the bouts of laziness 🙂
    3 years ago I switched from a fully packed 4-bedroom house to a pair of 2Tb hard drives which fit in my trousers pockets and I couldn’t be happier today.
    I’ll always remain a lover of the vintage book as a physical object but I would never go back (I moved to a smaller apartment anyway, so I couldn’t even if I wanted to).
    I’m currently considering the setup of a foundation here in Belgium to host my 30+year-in-the-making physical collection (both US comics and Franco-belgian BD + tons of collectibles and rarities) and allow others to enjoy it. I’m going to check out the equivalents of kickstarter around here. any advice from you and your many followers would be welcome.

  • yoda December 19, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    I collect all the marvel/dc and most of image digitally most of the big boy and larger small press. The 99 cent sales is usually when I catch up, but a couple series I will buy when they drop it to 1.99. I buy tons of stuff on sale. A lot of the stuff I will read only once, and maybe come back to it in a couple years for a reread, who knows. It is a great way to try out new series that go on sale as well.

    For my book shelves I try to find things anyone could read. So that means anyone. If my daughter picks it up, she might not understand it, but there is nothing she can’t see. So I buy a lot of all ages kickstarters or webcomic collections, Old Peanuts collections, Calvin and Hobbes, art drawing books, etc.

  • The Killer, v1: "Long Fire" - Pipeline Comics March 6, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    […] print.  I hope you’re not the kind of collector who likes consistency.  ( If you’re a Hybrid Collector, though, you’re set. […]


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