I Can't Quit You

February 18, 2011

Over on her blog, The Manga Critic, Kate Dacey talks about how she’s moved away from reading longer manga titles, that now she has a “fear of committment” for titles more than 4-5 volumes long. Johanna Draper Carlson of Manga Worth Reading sympathizes with Kate and talks about some longer titles that she’s lost interest in as well. Reading these two posts made me think about how I look at the titles in my collection. I have several titles that go well beyond 10 volumes. In fact, I think I might have MORE titles that go over 10 than not. Is it because I’m really committed to these titles? Not so much.

I’m a collector. I love to collect things. Books, comics, toys, if I have an interest in it and it’s part of a series, I’m probably gonna get it. All of it if possible. And in a lot of ways, that how I’ve treated my manga. It’s become something I collect more than something I get to read. Just like the toys on the shelf and the comics in boxes, manga has become in many ways something with holes to fill in and a lined shelf of different colored spines to look at. I don’t even always read everything I collect. I have a run of The Wallflower from 1-15 and I haven’t read a volume of it yet. For a while, I was getting the volumes to keep my collection complete, and ready for the day I would start reading it. (That day still hasn’t come yet, but I sense it’s not too far away.)

I don’t shy away from long titles, and even though I don’t read everything I buy immediately, I can’t say I’ve lost interest in too many titles because of length. I suffer more from the same ADHD as Kate does. My problem is to not stop buying even when my attention has drifted to other titles. I know I’m just filling in holes when I buy or trade for manga. But you know what? I’m okay with it. It makes me happy to find a volume that fills a spot that’s been empty for long time. Sales and trading is a great way to feed this since they don’t happen often, and the discovery is more exciting than just going out and buying the missing volumes. I didn’t think I enjoyed the chase of collecting, as a discussion with my husband revealed is what he enjoyed about it. He’s a hunter. I seem to be more of a stalker. I’m happy to just watch and wait, and then strike when the time is right. I still get the thrill of collecting, I just spread it out.

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8 Comments for this entry

  • Hi, Lori!

    I’m definitely sympathetic to the collector impulse; I’m still trying to round out my sets of Cyborg 009 (just one volume to go!), Firefighter! Daigo of Company M, What’s Michael?, Please Save My Earth, and From Eroica With Love. I’m something of an anti-clutter freak, though, so I’m constantly at war with myself about whether to continue buying series I don’t love. The completist in me says, “Go for it!”, while the organizer in me says, “Sell it on eBay!” With series of 10, 20, or more volumes, I tend to err on the side of selling things. Cash in hand and free shelf space facilitates more manga purchases, after all!

    I’m hoping that more manga publishers follow VIZ’s lead with cheap digital editions of older works. I’ve been reading Dragon Ball, Claymore, and One Piece on my iPad, and find the experience close enough to print to be satisfying. Plus, free shelf space!

  • See, I have a hard time doing that. I can’t let go of titles I once enjoyed so easily. Even if I have moved on, I keep thinking, what if I want to read it again?

    Now, I have sold manga on ebay, and traded plenty to make shelf space titles I care more about, but it took a lot of convincing and some desparation financially to do that. Without that incentive, I’m not as keen, even if I end up with piles with no place to go.

    I would like more online manga, just no exclusive to one platform, and certainly not to Apple. So, until that changes to a more open platform, it’s not even an option.

  • Oliver says:

    I do the same exact thing as you except I have volumes 1-24 of The Wallflower and I’m only on Volume 2. I’m a collector and have been known to buy 7-10 volumes at once (if they’re on sale). Getting around to reading them is another question. I would say that definitely more than 50% of my collection is unread (probably in the 70-80% range).

    I have tried a read-latest-volume-first-before-purchasing-the-next-one policy, but that never lasts. Reading-wise, I read a few volumes a month but that is underweighed by the tens I buy in a month.

    I have this horrible thought that, “What if I never read these in my lifetime? What if I grow out of manga and then I’ve just bought hundreds of books I’ll never read?”

    It’s definitely time to put a cap on spending, it really is. There are also so many new series to start each year so it’s hard to cap off your collection when something pretty comes out. Ah, curse those delectable manga that whet my apetite! ‘Course I’ll read ONE volume and then move onto something else…

    So I totally understand you

  • Hey Oliver!

    It’s so nice to be really understood! I think my collection is probably closer to 50% unread, but that’s because I haven’t been buying a lot lately. With Borders going out of business though, that number could rise dramatically!

    I tried that too, but my collection really started getting out of hand when I was ordering through Previews, and it was easy to click a button hand have a title on order two months in advance at 30% off. That bought A LOT of manga. I had more coming in than I could read, and that’s when they started piling up.

    I don’t worry about growing out of manga. At 42 I’m not going to be growing much any more. Will I read it all? Yes, eventually. Even if it is after I retire in another 20 or so years. :)

  • Oliver says:

    Yeah, I should retract my “growing out of manga” comment as we all know it is restricted to no age group.

  • animemiz says:

    Your bookshelf sounds like a collector’s dream.. (sighs) I actually have my bookshelves overflowing with books, and lack of space.. so I ended up selling a majority to BookOff or other places. I definitely know the feeling of collecting.. and it is great to have space to keep the books. ^_^

  • lovelyduckie says:

    ” I have a run of The Wallflower from 1-15 and I haven’t read a volume of it yet. For a while, I was getting the volumes to keep my collection complete, and ready for the day I would start reading it. (That day still hasn’t come yet, but I sense it’s not too far away.)”

    Yup, that sounds a lot like me. Just a few minutes ago I purchased the last few volumes of Lone Wolf and Cub that I needed and breathed a sigh of relief that I got it all before it went OOP…but I actually haven’t read a single volume yet!! But don’t worry, just like you I sense that someday soon I’ll read my complete Lone Wolf and Cub series…and my complete Banana Fish, Phoenix, andf Monster series too… :P

    I noticed you posted an image of One Piece, I’m nervously collecting the manga now. I actively watch the anime but I’m a bit slower with reading the manga. I’m at volume 40 and I’m noticing the next few volumes have less in stock than I’m comfortable with :/ I’ll probably bite the bullet and force myself to catch up with the most recent release soon.

    • Yeah, I used One Piece since it’s such a long series, and lot of people expressed dismay at getting into it. I’ve been slowly picking up volumes through both trading and purchase. I decided it was going to be the one long series I keep. The rest I’ll just read.

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