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My good friend Abyss has asked me for years why I insist on pursuing comic series on an issue-by-issue basis, especially when I generally only become interested in a series long after it has been completely released, and then re-released in condensed and easy to read (and store!) book form. For years I didn't have a solid answer for him, beyond the fact that I enjoy the cover art on most series, and see each issue as it's own small piece of art. At last, though, it hit me.

The best thing is, that it all comes back to that Pryor's Place ad which I stumbled upon while reading the Indiana Jones issue from 1984. I realized that something I derive supreme enjoyment from is context, which is an amazingly powerful concept. It is like finding an actual old VCR recording from the 80s of a tv show - while it is possible that the show in question has lately been released on DVD in the current fad of such, on that tape you receive something as valuable as the show itself, and that is the context in which that show originally existed. The central aim of the Preserve is to carry forward not only individual items from an age which is more 'gone by' with every passing day, but to also perpetuate the entire feeling and environment of the time in which these things existed. Watching that old VCR tape, or reading an old single issue comic, you get to see the way that the story was originally presented and enjoyed in that specific time period. A DVD or a collected book is wonderful for allowing people to still read and watch this material, which is of course far better than allowing it to be lost to the ages! But, when you pick up an old comic, you get the Atari game ads, you get the 'letters' column in the back, you might get some fan art, and some replies from the editor and art staff of the comic. With very few exceptions, all of this context is lost when original material is presented in an updated form.

Finally I have a proper response to my unreasonable enjoyment of the single issue, and I feel that, in a rare show of reasonability, it is actually built upon a sound fundamental argument!
Posted by charlie on May 7th 2007
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