Friday, March 14, 2008

Now That's Just Plain Savage

When will I ever learn?

I headed down to the local comic shop today to pick up a copy of the new Wonder Woman. The previous Gail Simone issues were fantastic, and this is the last issue with a cover by Terry Dodson, so I figured I better buy it. I'm still not sure if I want to "collect" the title, and I'm also tossing around the idea of collecting Terry Dodson covers, so either way, until I make those decisions, I might as well stay current and enjoy the story, right?

So I'm at a comic shop buying a book for reasons that don't exactly add up, when the entire equation takes another turn for the worse. As I'm selecting the best copy of Wonder Woman 18, I spot a copy of The Savage Sword of Conan Volume 2, the new black and white collection from Dark Horse. Lucky for me, it's got several dings on the cover and spine, so I put it back.

Who cares, right? I can find the book later. Besides, I'm not enjoying the first volume that much anyway. Sure, the art's gorgeous, but the stories themselves are consistently weak, seemingly written from a template with little originality or drama. So putting the second volume on the shelf seems to make the most sense.

That's what I tell myself anyway, until I spot three more copies of the book on a shelf near the front counter. Naturally, the selection makes me stop, and I find one that's in good enough (ie perfect) shape. I flip through it, see that the art isn't as good as what I'm seeing in the first volume, and walk up to the counter to buy it. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

"Didn't I suggest you buy this book last week?" Aaron asks as he rings me up.

"Yeah, but I'm not done with the first volume," I say. "And it's not that good anyway."

"Then why are--" Aaron starts to ask, but I cut him off by holding up my hand and shaking my head.

"Don't ask."

As I walk to my car, I ask myself what makes me think volume two will be in any better than the first one and thus worth the purchase. The answer is nothing. Nothing at all. If anything, I'm sure I'll like it even less based solely on the art I saw while flipping through the book.

At this point, you might be asking yourself, "Then why did you buy it?" God, I have no idea. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this damn blog every few days.

Actually, that's not entirely true. There was a least one more factor at play that I didn't mention: the damn spine. That's right, I knew volume one on my shelf would look okay, but with volume two next to it, they would create quite the nice pair. And as they say, one book is just a book, but two is a collection.

Yep, it turns out I now collect The Savage Sword of Conan reprints.

Good grief, what's wrong with me?


Aaron C said...

That sounds near what I did!

I'm just over half way through the first volume (and you're right, nothing exceptional), saw the second one - leafed through it, put it back, picked it up again....

I haven't purchased it yet, but I haven't been back to the store yet either.

It's good to see you back though!

James W. Powell said...

Thanks, Aaron. It's good to be back. But yeah, it's weird. For these short story collections, I need to learn to enjoy them a story at a time instead of reading straight through. Knowing I have tons of Conan stories to read when I only have 15-30 minutes actually makes me more okay with the purchase.