Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ultimate Math and Freakish Idiosyncrasies

Online ordering has been a pain in my backside lately. If it’s not DHL finding new and inventive ways to piss me off and deliver my books late, it’s eBay sellers failing to deliver on all three of my book buying prerequisites. Case in point, I recently ordered a couple of Ultimate Spider-Man oversize hardcovers: vol. 1 and vol. 3. The auction stated both were first editions and both were in mint, unread condition. Perfect. Let’s bid.

For me, the equation is simple:

Title + 1st Edition + Mint = Purchase

(Notice that cost isn’t a factor in this equation. That’s normal. In this instance, however, I managed to find the three key elements to any book purchase, but I also managed to get quite a bargain.)

Anyway, the seller got most of it right with what he actually sent me. I was a bit worried when I opened that severely damaged box, and it didn’t take long to run through the equation. Mint condition? Check. First edition? Check. Correct title? Che…oh wait a second, this is vol. 4, not vol. 1. Argh!

Granted, I need vol. 4 for my collection, so it’s not that big a deal. Well, not until you hear about this particular freakish idiosyncrasy I have, then you might begin to grasp why I’m more peeved than your average collector might be.

See, no matter how hard I try, I can’t bring myself to read a particular volume of any work without first reading all the previous volumes. At first that doesn’t seem so weird. You want to get the whole story, so why not read vol. 1 before vol. 2? Yeah, that’s obvious. Some might argue that with comics you can probably jump right into the middle of a series without much of a problem, but still, it’s preferable to read the whole series.

I understand all that. But where my little quirk gets out of hand is when I can't bring myself to read later volumes without reading the earlier ones even if I’ve already read them. In other words, I can’t read vol. 4 of a book if I have never read vol. 1-3 or if I haven’t read them recently enough. (For the record, recently enough is usually within one week of reading the next volume.) For example, I haven’t read the two most recent volumes of either Y: The Last Man or 100 Bullets because reading the previous 5+ volumes would take up too much time, which is something I can’t spare right now. Do I want to spend my reading time reading something I’ve read more than once already, or do I want to try something new? Of course new wins out most of the time.

God, just writing that makes me want to run to a therapist. But it’s true and I can’t figure it out. It’s not like I’ve forgotten the events that preceded the most recent collection. And I don’t honestly believe it’s my wanting to get as much enjoyment as possible out of the books I buy, even though doing it this way ensures I read each collection multiple times. Nope, I can’t explain it, but that doesn’t make it less true.

So here I am with two volumes of Ultimate Spider-Man that I can’t read. I’m sure I could force myself to pick them up, but knowing that I’ll be getting the first two collections any time now just makes that proposition that much less likely. Which makes me upset because I had planned to enjoy some Spider-Man this weekend, but now I’ll have to try something else.

Hell, maybe I should look at this as a glass half full kinda thing. I mean, maybe this’ll help me finally get around to reading all nine volumes of 100 Bullets. Then again, why do that when another volume is just around the corner? I don’t want to have to read all nine again when that comes out, do I?

3 comments:

Rich said...

I'm with you on this one; I can't read the Walking Dead trades until I re-read all the previous ones. The same with Invincible (virtually the only books I get in trades).

Although as I didn't bring the trades with me that may now present a problem, especially with the Invincible Vol2 HC out...

James W. Powell said...

Mmmm, Invincible Vol. 2. Can't wait to get that in the mail. Of course, that's a whole lot of reading I'll need to catch up on.

markus said...

Quick professional internet diagnosis: you might want to get help.
The way you're describing your problem, including the agonising it's possible you _may_ be heading for something from the obsessive compulsive drawer.
The good news is that that stuff is among the most easily treatable and as with anything you're fine as long as it works for you and those around you.