Anybody out there collecting comics? This is gonna be a simple topic, but a solid one. I was really thinking is there a lot of people out there still picking up the ole' clark kent, and the caped crusader, or have the times past? Let me know what you think!
If I'm honest, I don't understand how people in the US keep up with all the variations on the same character. Ususally the hero has a couple of titles running, and then there's all the sub-character titles, maybe some spin-off series or special break-out storylines - it's insane!
I was a big fan of Spider-man comics as a kid (who am I kidding, I still am!). In the UK, we used to get comic 'reprints' - which were a monthly publication of US comics all bundled into one title. It meant that you could actually read one running story thread without having to buy 8 different comics. They were great, but eventually I stopped reading them every month.
I'm still partial to reading a good graphic novel every once in a while though.
Comics are no longer the campy adventurers that they were 'back in the day'. They are far more mature now, often with blindingly beautiful artwork and deep, involving storylines. Comics have come a long way and have really grown up to suit the needs of today's readers.
I'll admit that it can be a little difficult to keep up. It's important to point out that not all of the comics that are released are canon (that is, they are not a part of the official storyline of a character). Also, both DC and Marvel rebooted their storylines a while back and went about setting a new tone for all of their heroes. If you wish to read the old comics you do so our of interest, not to know about the characters.
The internet has made keeping up with comics far easier than it used to be. Wikipedia is invaluable for keeping track of storylines, and there are numerous fansites dedicated to various characters and books that contain detailed character histories and booklists. Keeping up simply requires a bit more effort than it used to.
As for purchasing, I prefer to wait until a story arch is complete. The story will usually be released in a softcover bundle, similar to the reprints mentioned by GProject, that contains the story.
Comics are far from passe in my eyes and most certainly have not enjoyed a full run. So long as people write them, people will read them. One only has to look at websites like Comic Book Movie to see a very real testiment to this; fans of comic books obviously want to see comic book movies and comic book publishers are cashing in on that. They wouldn't spend the time and effort if all odds were against them. No matter how lame a movie might be, comic book fans will still watch it.
I was at a bookstore the other day, and just for fun picked up a current issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Now I collected comics from the time I was old enough to read until my late 20s, so imagine my shock when I saw that the cover price for this comic book was $2.99!!! When I was a kid, my dad would give me $.50 and I would get a comic book and a candy bar, and usually get change.
When I was younger, I used to be into both Superman and X-Men comics. Not an ultra fan by any means, but I'd keep up with the issues pretty regularly. I eventually gave up collecting them. I look back now, and it seems so pointless to keep buying issues to a series that never ends (how many issues of the main X-Men and Spiderman books are there now?).
But, I do still enjoy comics every once in a while. Some of the guys I work with (at a retail store in the mall) buy comics on a regular basis and bring them in to the store. They usually sit in the can, so I end up reading through them. One of the books in particular, the Wolverine Origins, I really like. Also, one of the guys brought in his collection of comic books because he was moving and had nowhere to store them. I left work that day with a large box of X-Men comics and my interset has definitely been re-piqued.
I don't think comics are passe. They have changed (artwork quality, for one, is a noticable change) over the last 10-20 years ago, but they are still interesting. I resist collecting them regularly because I don't want to get sucked into buying 5-10 books a month (like my friends from work), but I'm always happy to read one when I come across it, and I definitely enjoy looking back at the old comic books every now and then.