Beauology 101: I Come in Peace

Beau Smith

Beau Smith

by Beau Smith

I am at peace with comics right now.

I have finally worked out my old school ways with the part of me that embraces modern technology. I think that’s important right now, not only for me, but hopefully for everyone who enjoys comics.

For the longest time I was conflicted on how I was going to deal with reading, buying and collecting back issues, new issues, graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Not so much on the budget end, because I know how much money I have to spend and what I don’t.

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier

Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier

I started with new comics. As you know, they are no longer a monthly form of cheap entertainment. The average cover price is now $3.99. I really went down my list of monthly comic books that I HAD to buy and looked long and hard at them. Like an NFL team I had to cut the roster down for the season to begin.

I am proud of myself in the fact that I did really think hard on what books I was buying and not really enjoying as much as I should for the cover price. I cut them from the team. On the other hand, I am very proud of the books that I kept because I really do enjoy them and they are worth the cover price and even a little more for me to read them every month.

I figured I was saving myself a little money and at the same time leaving a small cash cushion if something new popped up that I wanted to add to the must buy list.

Amazing Spider-Man #1

Amazing Spider-Man #1

Next I looked at my back issue consumption. You may find it hard to believe, but even though I’ve been buying and collecting comics since 1958, I do not have everything or all that I want. I’m just a few issues shy of having complete runs of The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Amazing  Spider-Man and other key Marvel Comics of my youth. Let me make it clear that by complete runs I mean “Complete Beauology Runs.” That means issues #1 through #100. That was a goal of mine way back when I was a small child. To be honest, yes, I do have almost all issues past #100 in most cases, but the solid 100 is my goal.

So as you can already tell, it ain’t gonna be that easy to buy Amazing Fantasy #1 or Amazing Spider-Man #1 through #6 when it comes to money. I’m not talking mint condition, just readable. Through trades and selling off other stuff, I should be able to meet these goals one day before I croak and my family just heaves all this stuff. (And yes, I have more than my share of Marvel Essentials and DC Showcase Presents, but those are for anytime reading. The true back issues are the hobby.)

That brings me to trade paperbacks and graphic novels. I have thought long and hard on what series, arcs and mini-series I want to have as single issues and those that I want in a big fat book. Once I took the time to do this, it wasn’t that hard. I just did my research ahead of time in the Westfield Catalog and Diamond Previews catalog. I’m glad I did because it really does bring back the hobby and collecting part of comic books that I had let slide. By that, I mean the special feeling.

Now in 2010, we all have comic books in digital form to contend with and think about. Being a big fan of my iPad and reading books and comics on it as the major part of me getting it, I have found a place for it as well.

First off, for travel I will download a couple of comics that I haven’t read that don’t fall into the category of what I described above in New Comics, Back issues and Trade paperbacks. Those are for the something new feeling. Kinda like a treat after a meal.

Iron Man

Iron Man

For non-travel, I’ve downloaded a few classic comics just to see them on the very nice, bright and shiny screen and really play with blowing the art up and checking panels I know so well in a more personal way. One of the first that I downloaded was an early issue of Tales Of Suspense with the original version of Iron Man by my buddy Don Heck. That is a real treat! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone back and re-read and looked at that book.

Another thing that the digital downloading offers is a wide variety of FREE comics from all kinds of different publishers. I’ve found that a GREAT way for me to try out new stuff that I may not have ever thought about buying in print. After reading a few I’ve discovered that there are new books to add to my must buy print list and also some that I’m glad I didn’t throw $4.00 at.



In the big picture I think I have made wiser choices with my time and my money. I may have even saved a few dollars as well. Most importantly I am reading what I enjoy and this has helped keep my enjoyment of comic books alive and well. That’s important to me. I also hope that more of my own comics will be available for download in the near future so I can show them off to anyone with eyeballs. I’d love to see my Guy Gardner run or my Batman/Wildcat, Catwoman/Wildcat series offered up.

So you may wanna think about how you are gonna work your comic book reading in this ever changing, world of technology, higher prices and vanishing back issues.

Me….I am at peace with comic books.

For the moment.

Your Zen-like amigo,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch


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