Comic Book Burnout: It's Real and It Sucks
I love comics. It's a hobby that has stuck around the longest. It's a medium that offers many different genres, styles, and narratives. I've been in love since day one, three years ago. The industry has grown immensely since I started reading. It seems like every week now, there's more hotter books, keys, variants, and indies hitting shelves. All of that is great news! However, very recently, I've been experiencing a feeling I couldn't quite articulate. It wasn't until I talked to the comic family on Instagram that I finally had the words to describe it: burnout.
We all get tired and worn out. I'm not necessarily tired and exhausted from just comics. Life, for myself and many others, is about to get incredibly busy. I work retail. As the season is kicking off I find myself exhausted. I'm going to be going to a wedding. I'm going on vacation for a week soon. The holiday season is swinging into full gear. Everything is busy busy busy. Everything feels complete non-stop.
I read an abundance of content all the time. I've never really taken long period breaks between reading. I'm usually caught up on single issues. I manage to read about a couple of trades a week. On top of that, I can usually fit in some manga and one book into the mix about every 3 weeks. Looking at my reading habits broken down, geez, I'm a reading-machine !! I, personally, think I never experienced reading burnout before because I used to not be so in-tune with the comic book world. I used to go into my shop every Wednesday (sometimes every other Wednesday) and have about 3 books in my pull and would just pick up whatever I felt like from roaming the shop. It's a little different now. My pulls have about 12 titles. I have to resist the urge to add in every book that I learn about from creators on twitter or my friends online. Being so hyper-aware of what's going on and what books are "hot" and what's the newest title to hit shelves and the coolest variants are… a lot to handle. It can get exhausting having your finger on that pulse. I have become that way simply for fear of missing out on good books.
None of this is a bad thing at all. It's phenomenal that there's a comic-boom occurring at the moment. With everything going on in my life, I just don't really have the time or the energy to consistently stay up to date with everything. So, I'm letting myself be mildly surprised when I go to my LCS. I've been doing this for the past couple of weeks and it's made me feel very good and it's even made me a bit more excited for books! It's like, "oh! I didn't know this was out today! How cool!" And I LOVE that feeling. I'm a little old school and adore that sensation of surprise.
Here are some other things I'm doing to combat burnout! I'm going to reevaluate my pull list and drop titles that aren't really doing it for me. It's very overwhelming going into the shop and being greeted with ten books already when I'm in the mood to grab some trades. It just hurts my bank account a little too much (lol). I'm going to bag and board my singles when I get them. I used to just leave them out until I read them and then, bag/board/store them away. This is proving a stressful and upsetting task when I don't stay up to date with my books. So, I'm going to be initially more proactive!
Lastly, I'm going back to some old favorites of mine. With how I'm experiencing burnout, it's more of an "I still want to buy my books but I just don't feel like reading them right now". And right now, I just want comfort books or to catch up on favorites! Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples was one of the first series I ever fell in love with. A good friend of mine recommended it to me and I was sold. I'm still not completely caught up since I know it's on hiatus. My thinking is that if I spread out my reading and finish it later, maybe waiting for new issues won't be completely heartbreaking! So far, I've sped through two volumes and will probably be completely caught up by the end of the month.
I'm going to try to be nice to myself for taking such a big detour from my single issues. I feel immensely guilty for "neglecting" them. But, I shouldn't feel like that. None of us should! As comic lovers, there are so many stories we keep up with. It's hard not to get a bit overwhelmed. If you're like me, you might get very emotionally connected to the characters. If you're reading a lot of heavy literature, it can be just too much. Life is always going to be moving at speeds I cannot comprehend. Comics will always be out every Wednesday. Which is why we should be nicer to ourselves, our favorite hobby and medium isn't going anywhere. Those books.. you'll get around to them. Just let your noggin rest a little bit and then devour all the books you want! Comic book burnout is real and it sucks! But hey, when you jump back in, you'll respark why you love comics just like I'm doing right now! Thanks for listening to my little brain dump!!! I hope this helps others experiencing the same things.