With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt

I missed an issue of a comic series I’ve been collecting…and it felt great.

In recent years, I have had the luxury of popping around to several different comic shops during my time in Metro NY and now in the Finger Lakes.  Thus, I don’t ask my favorite retailers to order specific series for me. That does make it that much harder for the retailer, and I know that’s a drag for them.  But somehow, even with reserving copies, I don’t usually miss issues that I’d like to read.

Beyond my favorite comic shops, I’ve also been buying the DC 100-Page Comic Giant! comics (we used to know them as Super Spectaculars) from Wal*Mart.  In an effort to reach new readers, DC has been producing these overstuffed comics as Wal*Mart exclusives. Each one has a short new story and then several recent reprints.

There’s also another benefit – these comics are great to gift to young readers. They are packed with content and I like to think that when you give one to a  kid, they might spend some meaningful time reading (and away from their screens).

I really enjoyed their Detective Comics reprint comic, but I have made it a point to keep up with two series:  Batman Giant and Superman Giant

Brian Bendis is the new regular Superman writer (and he’s doing a phenomenal job) so it’s funny that he’s writing the new segments in Batman Giant each month. They are a lot of fun, and it only took a couple of issues to realize he’s stretching his job description and actually writing Brave and the Bold.  The conceit with that long-running comic (and cartoon) series was that Batman would team-up with other heroes from the DC Universe.

On the other hand, the Batman writer, Tom King, is writing the new short Superman series in Superman Giant. Yes, you can quibble that it was just announced that Tom King will no longer be writing the main Batman comic, but he will complete his last few laps around the Bat-track with a Batman and Catwoman series.

King’s Superman stories have sent Superman off into space to rescue a little girl abducted by aliens. This adventure has also been a fun romp. This series has allowed King to tell a bunch of different Superman stories, including a Flash-Superman race and a WWII Sgt. Rock tale.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that the artwork is provided by Andy Kubert.  One of the most solid yet innovative professionals working today, Andy’s work never fails to astound and delight the reader.

I recently stopped by Wal*Mart and, as usual now, made a beeline to the comic section.

I grabbed the Superman 100-Page Comic Giant!,  but was shocked to find it didn’t contain the concluding episode of Superman’s quest of the abducted girl by King and Kubert. The lead story was by another creative team entirely.  Superman had moved on to the next adventure without me.

Rats!  And unlike a comic shop, one can’t simply ask a Wal*Mart retailer to order another copy.  They’d think I was from another planet if I requested they re-order “that King-Kubert DC exclusive” I just missed.

Upon reflection, I can’t help but think how soft we’ve all become. Finding comic issues has never been easier.  Books are the same way – it’s easy to get just about any book online.  Even when it comes to watching TV shows or movies – the idea of hunting down something you are interested in is pretty simple.  Could any kid in the 70s have ever imagined you could one day binge all those shows with a click of the remote (“What’s that mean, future boy?”) from the comfort of one’s old couch.

And for all our media, we typically know exactly when new episodes will be released and what they are about.  The telephone book-like Previews catalog takes any surprise out of what is coming to a comic shop.  I tend to like these Wal*Mart comics because you never know what’s going to appear on the shelves. You just go in and see what’s there.

All in all, I’m glad I missed that last issue. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it, but I’m sure I’ll find it eventually. I’ve seen back issue retailers selling these Wal*Mart exclusives at conventions.  And I think that DC is going to package them all up in a book soon too.

It’ll be good for me to put a little effort into it. The hunt makes the eventual reading all the more fun.