Moving From Single Issue Comics To Collected Editions

Recently I had let go of my first love; comic books. I had been reading comics pretty much continuously for 24 years, most of that with a monthly standing order at my local comic store. Comics were my favourite hobby, my addiction. When something is that big a part of your life for that long a time it is very hard to let go. However, I was not prepared to give up on the comic book medium completely. No, siree! If monthly comics were no longer practical, then I was going to do the next best thing; I was going to move to collected editions!

However, it was not just a quick switch. I had to prepare! Remember, this was a 24 year habit I was moving away from. Certain “i”s had to be crossed and “t”s needed to be dotted. Here’s what I did to ready myself for the big change.

Choose Wisely:
When I stopped getting monthly comics I had to sit down and decide which series I wanted to continue following, albeit in collected format. Not every series I was buying I absolutely loved, so those were put aside. Series that I really enjoyed, be it because of a character I loved or a great creative team, I made a list of so I’d know what I needed to research.

Finding Where I Was Up To:
For those series that I was sticking with I had to figure out what the last issue I got was so I could in turn figure out which volume of the collected editions I’d start with (this was exasperated slightly by the fact that I cancelled my standing order after my move to the UK, so I hadn’t physically seen what the last issue I’d bought was). This was as easy as heading over to, looking up the series and seeing which issues appeared in which collection.

For the most part I was lucky enough that I’d ended my run the same issue as the final issue of the then-current story arc so there would be no crossover with the individual issues and the next collection. However, for some the last few issues I had would make up half of one collected edition. Rather than buy the collection and essentially repurchase issues I had, I decided that I would buy the missing issues as back issues so the swap from monthly to collection would be smooth.

Find Release Dates:
The next thing was to find out when those collected editions I was after would be released, if they hadn’t been already. Usually a collected edition comes out three to six months after the last of the issues collected within it. As such, most of the collected editions I would be looking to get had not yet been released, however, I was able to check the pre-release listings on stores such as to find the release dates. Going forward, I continue to check the various comic publishers’ solicitation lists each month to see when any future collections may be released.

Find A Store (On-line or Off):
This one is pretty obvious, really. Find a store where I can buy my collections from. Another great thing collected editions have over single issues is that more stores stock them than just “regular” comic stores. As I’d moved to the UK I couldn’t really use my once local comic store so I had to find alternatives. Luckily, several bookstores near me carry collected editions and whatever I can’t get from them I can get online. Of course, depending on where you live going on-line might be your only option. Most comic stores will have an on-line store, and the aforementioned BookDeporitory is great and has some of the best prices for collected editions.

Make a List:
This might be my anal-retentive side coming out, but I made a list (spreadsheet actually,) of what collections I need, when they are coming out and what issues they contain. I also added the release dates to my Google calendar. 😊 This helps me keep track over everything. I also keep my comic database up-to-date which, along with an app on my phone, ensures I don’t accidentally buy the same collection twice.

It’s been about two years since I made the change and I’ve found that collected editions offer a level of flexibility — especially monetarily — that single issues simply do not. Not having books to pick up each month is one less thing you have to budget for. In this way you are able to pick up collected editions as your funds allow. Also, given that the collections usually contain about six months worth of issues you can pretty much always be assured you’ll be getting a full story (or, rather, story arc).

While of course I miss my monthly fix of stories and the collectibility of monthly comics, in all I think moving to collected editions makes sense, certainly right now. If I gain a more steady and reliable income in the future I may return to buying single issues but for right now collected editions allow me to keep up with the characters and worlds I’ve enjoyed so much over the last 24 years without having to worry about expenses.

Has anyone else moved from monthly comics to collections? How did you find the process? Sound off in the comments below, I’d love to hear your experiences!

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