My name is Sean Michael Kelley.
I am 28 years old, and I.....am an addict. Since 1991, at the tender age of 9 years old, I have routinely fed my addiction every single Wednesday. I have spent ludicrous amounts of money on my addiction. On many nights when I could have been out with other humans engaging in social activity, I stayed at home, and instead of laughing, dancing, conversing....I stayed at home with this horrid, monstrous demon.
I call my demon "Comic books" and I am hers completely.
Oh, it started innocently enough. Like about 6 million other kids and idiots looking to get rich, I bough Chris Claremont and Jim Lee's X-MEN #1. Well technically, my brother Tom got X-Men #1, and I bought #2, but I read #1 first. I started with X-Men. It was my gateway drug. It seemed harmless enough. Heroes in colorful costumes fighting villains...also in colorful costumes? Right up my 9 year old alley. But it didn't stop there. Once I had a little taste of sweet comic-y goodness, I needed more. I started buying all of the X-books. X-Force, Generation X, Excalibur, X-Factor- my bedroom closet back in Newburyport, MA is chock full of comics with big "X"s on them. From mutants, I moved into the heavy stuff, real traditional superhero stuff- Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Avengers, Kingdom Come (Kingdom....motherhugging Come). It was a downward spiral.
Sure, I thought about quitting. I tried to quit! I thought about moving on. I really did try! I had the impetus to stop. Remember Onslaught? When Magneto and Professor X's consciousnesses merged and sent nearly all of Marvel's best heroes into a weird alternate dimension where Rob Liefeld was God and no one had feet? Yeah, it was awful, and I almost stopped. But I didn't. I couldn't. Like I said, I'm an addict. And not even a Rob Liefeld world filled with shoulder pads, giant guns, and feetless heroes could get me to put my precious comics down.
And so I've kept it up. Hell, I'm holding the most recent issue of "Invincible Iron Man" right now. Sweet, delicious, Iron Man...Oh Iron Man. Don't ever leave my side. I need you Iron Man! And you too War Machine and.... and....
Where was I?
Oh right. Addiction. Dealing with it. Or something.
I've come to a pretty momentous decision. I'm going to do something about my addiction.
I'm going to...stop buying comics.
It's hard. It's really hard. Comics have been my refuge from the real world for almost 2 decades. When life got stressful, or sad, it was always so easy to pick up a stack of comics and get lost for a little while. But I've got to stop. It's time
Why? What FINALLY sent me over the edge? It's a bunch of stuff.
1. They're expensive. A single comic now is at least three dollars. If I buy 5 a week, I'm spending $90 a month.
2. They clutter up my house. I'm not a collector. I don't keep my comics in plastic bags with cardboard backs in organized file cabinets. I put them wherever there's space. The bathroom. The coffee table. My bed. If there's space in my apartment, comic books live there.
3. And finally? The comic book industry has moved on from it's classic, monthly single issue format. Writers don't write single issues anymore- they write sprawling 12 issue epics that are collected into "graphic novel" format at the end of the storyline. A single comic just isn't enjoyable like it used to be. Well, if the comics industry isn't going to write single issue stories anymore, I'm not going to buy single comics anymore.
So, no more comic books from me. I'm moving on...
To graphic novels. Oh, you thought I was going to stop collecting all together? Stop reading about superheroes? Oh, no. I still love superheroes. And I love sequential art as a storytelling medium. You can't make me stop reading this shit. You'll have to pry my heroes from my cold, dead fingers, as a great, insane man once said. But I'm not going to blow my money on single comics if the industry itself doesn't care about them anymore, and if they want to charge me too much for them. I'm dealing with the reality of the 21st Century, and that reality is that superheroes are moving from comics to graphic novels. And digital apps. I have the Marvel Comics app for my iPhone, and it's great. And they have some comics for free!
So yeah. I'm dealing with my addiction. I'm not giving up my addiction I'm not giving up the bottle, I'm just buying a bigger, cheaper, more potent bottle from now on. I'll miss single comics. I definitely will. There's a great deal of nostalgic pleasure to be had from holding a single comic, and reading it cover to cover. But it's time to move on. I've got my Marvel Comics app, and I have plenty of shelf space for my new graphic novel friends.