Single issues or Trade Paperbacks?

Single issues or trade paperbacs

Between comic readers and collectors, there’s a line in the sand that divide two groups of fans: Single issues or Trade Paperbacks? . Which type of comic books are the best?

There are reasons to support one side and the other, and usually the supporters from one side “despise” the others. Let’s check the reasons that Good Comics to Read finds to support either side:


  1. Single Issues Pros

Collectors usually fall in love with single issues, due to multiple factors:

  • Being up to date with the story:

of course, single issues are the first ones to see print. If you want to be in the top of the wave, and read the latest developments of your favorite characters, you have to go for the single issues.


  • Enjoying “the hooks”:

many of the stories are thought in order to leave a hook in the story to make you expect the next issue. If you read them as they are published, you enjoy that feeling of “what will come up next?”


  • Resell value:

people who think in comic books as “investments” usually want to purchase single issues. These are the ones that may raise in price in the long run. As an example: if you had bought Amazing Spiderman 300 for 1,5 dollars back in May, 1988, you could be selling it today around 250 bucks in ebay. Of course, not all comic books raise in price: there are many that you find in sales at 1 dolar or even less…




  • Cultural experience:

single issues are a more integral experience about day to day culture than paperbacks. You often find letter boxes and references to current events, advertisements from other comics you might like or even ads from products or movies that causes hype at the moment.


  • Splash pages:

since comic cooks are thinner and are stapled, splash pages are usually more enjoyable in single issues. You can fully open the comic book and see them in their full extent. That’s usually a con in most paperbacks, where opening the book fully is near impossible.


  1. Trade Paperbacks pros:

Many comic readers have come to love trade paperbacks lately, and that’s indicated by the amount of trades that are edited every month. 20 years ago the common practice was that only successful material was reprinted. Nowadays, it’s usual that almost every title divides their stories in 5 or 6 issues runs, and they are reprinted in paperback form.

Some of the pros of the trade paperbacks include:

  • Reading experience:

reading stories from a paperback makes you read the complete storie, sometimes in just one seat if you have an hour or so available. This way, you immerse yourself more deeply in the story than if you read one part now, one the nesxt month, one two months later…

Elektra assasin trade paperbac
Elektra assasin trade paperback
  • Filtering bad material:

when you purchase a trade paperback you have more possibilities of reading the best stories of each character, as you find reviews as the ones we publish under our Fast Reviews or our Reading Guides). As collectors, we have usually been following one title and after some good issues we purchased many poor quality issues. I don’t understand why some publishers edit poor material from their best characters… but they do.


  • Price:

usually, reading one story run in a trade paperback is cheaper than buying the single issues. If you buy 6 single issues of any title you’ll be paying around 24 dollars, while a paperback collecting that same story is usually cheaper.

Also, many trade paperbacks collected material that would be very difficult to obtain by purchasing the single issues, since many older issues are much expensive now.


  • Space:

when you’re a serious comics reader and collector, you know what I mean by space. At some point of time, your collection takes its own live. It fills all the space in your room, and possibly other rooms from your house. Since paperbacks have less pages (if you take out covers, ads, etc., and packed more tightly, they tend to occupy less space. As another plus, they fit perfectly standing in most shelves…


So… what should I buy? Single issues or Trade Paperbacks?

Usually, the pros of one version are the downside of the other. So you might choose one possibility or the other based on what you value the most.

Batman Rebirth Deluxe Ed. (Hardcover) vol.2

I might add a third alternative (which I personally love): hardcovers. Some titles are collected in beautiful hardcovers (some of them called as Omnibus, Deluxe editions, or so) in oversized formats, that improve much the reading experience. Since the binding is better than the one from paperbacks, you have better possibilities to fully open the books and enjoy the splash pages, and also the page quality is usually superb.

Single Issues or Trade Paperbacks? We might tell you the benefits of them all. But of course, tastes are a  personal issue. You have to choose which one suits YOU better, and read the material YOU like YOUR own way.

But keep up the good comics’ reading!

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