Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005 In Review, Part 1: Attrition And Subtraction

Here is Part 1 of my 2005 year-in-review. You will probably call it "the boring part." Because I buy so much DC, and DC has put out so much this year with an (apparently) leaner 2006 in mind, I wanted to see how the numbers stacked up against previous years.

It seems like, with regard to entertainment, this has been a year of attrition generally. Probably a lot of that is due to our big interstate move and its attendant issues, but we went to fewer movies, and I am definitely set to watch less TV in 2006. Between dropping "Desperate Housewives," the cancellations of "Arrested Development," "Alias," and "Kitchen Confidential," and the move of NBC's Tuesday-night comedies to Thursday, I now watch no network TV on Monday and Tuesday nights, and only "The Simpsons" on Sunday (other than football).

Therefore, going into the comics analysis, I had a feeling I might be in a period of actual fiscal responsibility, and was buying most books because I enjoyed them (or at least expected to), not out of inertia. The raw numbers seem encouraging in this regard. The following totals represent both floppies and collected editions over the past five years.
2001: 399
2002: 343
2003: 367
2004: 379
2005: 369

After the extremes of 2001 and 2002, a steady pattern seems to be emerging. Of the 369 individual items I bought in 2005,
  • 65% (240) came from 29 regular series (22 DC, 6 Marvel, 1 Dark Horse)
  • 28% (104) came from 29 miniseries (23 DC, 5 Marvel, 1 Dark Horse)*
  • 2% (5) were special issues (3 DC, 2 Marvel); and
  • 5% (20) were collected editions (12 DC, 8 Marvel)

Across the board, I bought 80% DC (297), 17% Marvel (66), and 2% Dark Horse (6; the Serenity miniseries and Star Wars: Empire).

These numbers are not completely accurate, since they only include data from my monthly Previews budgeting. That goes into an Excel spreadsheet which, although I am not an Excel pro, has spit out a fairly accurate summary of my weekly habits. I will say that I also bought the two Complete Peanuts volumes which came out this year, and I may have come into some back issues, but certainly not as many as in previous (i.e., Comic-Con) years.

Now for the 2006 outlook. Right now it looks like 22 of 29 regular series, and at least one issue for 16 of 29 miniseries, will survive into the new year. Gone from my regular list are Astonishing X-Men, Batman: Gotham Knights, Gotham Central, Incredible Hulk, JSA, Superman (1986-2005), and Teen Titans. Also set to wind up early in 2006 are 11 of the 16 miniseries, including Infinite Crisis and its miniseries' specials, Green Lantern Corps, Defenders, Spider-Man/Black Cat, and Seven Soldiers. (I am counting the continuations of/sequels to Astro City, Batman and the Monster Men, Dark Detective, and Captain Atom in those 16.)

Regular series which I may add in 2006 currently include Aquaman, Hawkgirl, and Robin. Miniseries include Sgt. Rock, 52, and maybe Batman: Year 100 (the price makes me nervous). That would be 25 regular series and 19 miniseries, which sounds steady, if not exactly responsible. If I get back to Comic-Con this summer, that may be a truer test of how "responsible" my shopping can be....

Next up: likes and dislikes for the books themselves!

* including Nightwing #s 101-06, comprising "Nightwing: Year One"; and lead-ins like DC Countdown and Seven Soldiers. I also counted each 7S miniseries separately.

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