Over the course of the past two months, most of the comic shops near me have reopened. Despite my intense desire to scope out the Twin Cities nerd scene, I did not immediately rush out to buy print comics when shops began reopening. I was jobless for three months this spring, and my wife and I still have a few big purchases to make as a result of our cross-country move. While we are doing absolutely fine and are quite well-off considering others’ situations, rushing back into a just-reopened comic shop and buying all the things felt irresponsible to me.
So I waited, until I’d received enough paychecks that I figured I could drop some money on comics. And while I waited, I thought about what I was going to buy. A lot of trades and series and OGNs floated through my mind, but as the day I was actually, finally going to get to go to a comic shop, have a look around, and buy some comics approached, only one title felt right to purchase:
When I told my wife I was planning to buy a mess of Batman comics, she rolled her eyes at me and said, “Of course you are.” This statement both does not give me enough credit for expanding my comics palette over the last eleven years, and is also extremely correct. Because when given the chance to actually enter a comic shop for the first time since we moved to Minnesota, I decided that what I really wanted was some comfort food. Something that would make the next few hours spent reading at home feel normal, exciting, and wonderful in a way that most things don’t right now. If you’ve been binging old favorites on Netflix or from your bookshelf to get through the tougher days of this pandemic, then you know why I bought Batman.
Of course, it helps that the main Batman series is currently fantastic. Given how writer James Tynion IV has spoken about his approach to the series, given that the rotating art team contains a couple of my current favorite DC artists, and given that the War Rocket Ajax boys have talked about loving this run, I knew I would at least like the ten issues of Batman that I bought. I did not, however, just like them – I really, really enjoyed them. They felt both comfortable and fresh in the exact way that I wanted and needed right now.
I had planned to read just the first couple of the ten issues I bought and save the rest for a camping trip I have coming up. I read all ten issues within a few hours. I will read them again on the camping trip, to catch the things I missed because I was reading too quickly. I may have started reading them again while I was writing this paragraph. I can tell you without hestitation that Batman is good right now. Which makes at least one thing that is good right now.
That feeling, that at least something is good right now, is all I wanted out of my first visit to a Twin Cities comic shop. So I consider my first mid-pandemic comics run to be a success. Next time, I likely won’t buy just Batman – but I most certainly will still be buying Batman.