Yesterday, I walked into a comic book store, looked around for about 25 minutes, then I walked back out.

I did so without buying anything. In thirty years of comic books, it was the first time I ever did that.

I don’t know exactly why I chose to not buy anything, although if I had to nail the reason I’d say it was just overwhelming. Could have been the store itself, could have been me, or it could be the state of comics.

It seems like every popular piece of fiction has been adapted or serialized into a comic. There are the traditional books; which are, these days, of indeterminate quality. And then there’s all this new, really interesting stuff, which is a little difficult to sift through.

On the one hand, it’s really exciting having all that to choose from. On the other, it’s like — how many comics have I taken home, read and then thought: this was a waste of money? More than a few.

Have comic books peaked? I don’t know. Probably not. But sometimes it feels that way. I just don’t know who is buying this stuff, or how they’re even finding it, really.

If you’re really tapped in, yeah, I guess you can know exactly what to buy. But outside of a tentpole movie, it would seem there’s such a narrow window of entry for comics. Certainly everyone remembers when even the most basic human beings were walking around with Watchmen books a few years ago.

I guess the good thing is that comic book fans are a loyal bunch, sort of their own world, and in a way it’s like music — if you know, you know. If you don’t, well, at least you’ve got Taylor Swift and whatever else is on the radio.

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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