Like a lot of modern comics readers, I’ve mostly become a trade-waiter.
For those who don’t know what that term means, “trade-waiters” are readers who eschew collecting monthly comics as single issues, instead waiting for the book-like collections that show up at comics stores and mainstream retailers like Barnes & Noble.
On the whole, trade-waiting is much easier than buying single issues. It requires less logistical headaches and drives to the comic store. It eliminates the chance you’ll miss, say, issue 20 of a particular series, leaving you to fill in the gaps between issues 19 and 21. Trade collections are ad-free, and they’re easier to move from place to place than single issues (in my life, this consideration comes up a lot).
But there are still good reasons to buy single issues. Some publishers use only single issue sales to gauge how successfully titles are selling. So if you want the series to continue, you need to buy the single issues. There’s also something to be said for reading comic stories in their original, serialized form, in getting to enjoy the story as it was conceived. And in getting to talk about it with the other readers hanging around your local shop on Wednesday.
But the best reason to buy single issues is this: They’re the only place you can find the comic’s letters page.