Thursday, November 21, 2019

No value in a 10-minute cost analysis

I know we all consume and judge our entertainments in different ways, but reducing the experience of a comic to a cost benefit analysis always seem so useless to me.

It comes up all the time when people are talking about the economics of modern comics, usually holding up comic books as a bad deal when compared to literally any other entertainment medium. It's always helpfully pointed out that reading a new comic takes about 10 minutes (if you're lucky), when you can get a couple of hours out of a movie.

Never mind the idea that different mediums have different expectations and are completely different experiences, I always get a lot more than that blessed 10 minutes out of a comic, because what kind of monster only ever reads a good comic once?

Maybe it's because comics always cost so fucking much in my part of the world, and the distribution was so spotty, but I've always read them over and over again. Sometimes I'll read them multiple times soon after getting them, sometimes I'll wait till a series or arc has concluded before going back and taking the whole thing in again, and sometimes the comics are something exceptional, and reward multiple readings over many years.

I couldn't tell you how many times I've read Love and Rockets, or gone through a full 2000ad prog slog, and every time I read the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I get a few more of the jokes (not getting all the references straight away is a feature of the series, not a bug).

Panels and pages from my favourite comics over the years are burned into my brain, but I keep going back to them anyway. It's not just comfort, and it's not just that sometimes I find new things in old favourites, but it's definitely more than just a 10-minute experience.

They're just more than that initial experience, and sometimes the combination of art and story is so strong, they're just priceless.

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