Comic 101: Individual comic books vs graphic novels
Welcome back to Collector's Corner Inc and another Comic 101 discussion!
So you're just getting started and you're feeling overwhelmed by everything the comic book industry has to offer, right? You're not alone. Even those that have been collecting for a long time need to be pointed in the right direction every now and again. This time let's talk about the differences in how comic books are published and what you should buy.
The two main ways comic books are published currently at as individual issues, aka floppies, which are usually published once a month, or as graphic novels. Think of the individual comic books as episodes of your favorite tv show and the graphic novels as the Blu-Ray collections for an entire season. They both contain the same story, but the graphic novel sometimes contains some extras, like director commentaries, artist character designs, and the like. Sometimes, just like direct to Blu-Ray films, graphic novels are sometimes brand new original stories, never published anywhere else (aka Original Graphic Novels or OGNs).
Graphic novels, since they contain multiple individual comics in one handy package, it is usually much easier to grab a single product to read an entire story and easier to find as they are all labeled on their spine much like novels. Softcover graphic novels usually run $10-25, Hardcover around $25-50 and limited edition or special editions can go for $100 or more! They also tend to be easier to keep in good condition as they are square-bound and condition usually is a big factor to collectors. Serious collectors place each floppy into a bag and board to help ensure they stay in the best condition possible, with an even smaller group of collectors getting their comic books officially graded, but that's a whole different article.
So why would you ever want to collect individual comic books then, you ask? To start, you get to read the story as it comes out. As I mentioned earlier, most floppies come out at least once a month, but graphic novels usually only come out once every 6-8 months. Individual issues tend to only be $3-4 each as well, so it's a lot easier for your pocketbook to try out a story to see if you like it. Floppies also tend to be much more collectible than graphic novels as well. Very few graphic novels go up in price the way that floppies do, especially in today's market. Of course, there is always the idea of being a collector as well. The hunt to collect each and every issue is part of the fun for a lot of people. If none of this appeals to you, then stick with the graphic novels. They certainly are easier on all of the points above if you can stand the wait!
Please let us know if you have any comments or questions, as we are always happy to discuss comics and the comic book industry (or really anything. It's been a long pandemic and we miss chatting with all of you!). While comic books may seem simple, the industry is complicated, and easily can be overwhelming, but don't worry, the comic community we have spent the last 26 years growing is full of amazing people, and we are all here to celebrate it!