Being a comic book collector is a bit like being a hopeless romantic. Few things highlight this more than when a title you’re in love with is cancelled. Not just one that you bag and board, but one that makes you collect every variant, floppy, and trade. When that is cancelled, it’s not just a loss, it’s a full-fledged breakup. That statement might seem over-dramatic, but anyone that has been there will tell you the feelings and process are the same.
1. It seems to come out of nowhere, even though the signs were there
Maybe it’s fandom, maybe it’s stupidity, maybe it’s love. You just don’t see the writing on the wall. Sales numbers dip, reviews level out, late solicitations happen. None of that matters, though. Not when a story is so well woven, panels masterfully rendered, and characters are defined. You overlook everything until it’s too late. Then, when you look back, it’s not a surprise. You were just too involved to notice. You’re just left wondering how it happened to you.
2. You try to rationalize it in ways that don’t make sense
“It will be ok”, you tell yourself. There will be new titles. You’ll be just as happy with another storyline. A break will be good for you, free you up to explore more titles, instead of devoting so much to only one. Or maybe it will relaunch with a new team and it will better than before. Different, but better. They could always bring it back out for one shots. You run all the scenarios over and over, and before you know it’s been two months and you haven’t even moved your subscription. At some point, you’ll finally accept that it’s over and NCBD isn’t going to feel the same for a while.
3. You blame yourself for falling in love in the first place
You blame yourself for making a single title the center of your pull. It’s easy to love a character, an artist, or a writer. That’s part of collecting. We all do it. It’s just the nature of the beast and it’s foolish. Why? Because the biggest rule of collecting comics is “titles end.” It might be 3 issues, it might be 700, but all titles end. We ignore this most basic rule, out of awe and love, but that doesn’t matter. All titles end. It’s ignoring this rule that gets us hurt. Deep down we all hope ours will be the one that runs forever, but that’s just not how it works.
4. You know you’ll see each other again, but it won’t be the same
One day, you will walk past a spinner full of new comics and see your title in some form again. It’ll be new and there’ll be variants and exclusives. You might even flip through it, but it won’t be the same. It won’t be your run, your title. It’ll just be some comic that you used to collect. You’ll go home, maybe pull out a few back issues, and reread an arc. In the end, if you’re lucky, you’ll just be happy to have collected it once, even if just for a fleeting moment in your comic life.