Every fan gets it - certainly a true comic book fan. I'm not talking about those two-arm,two-leg, "I'll-just-buy-one-issue-or-two-and-that's-my-collection" phonies or the "Oh,-these-comics-are-not-in-good-condition.-The-price-is-good-and-the-books-are-hard-to-find,-but-I'll-pass" and "This-shop-is-just-too-out-of-my-way-for-me-to-come-in-every-week" or "This-shopkeeper-is-racist!-I'm-never-coming-back!" pretenders. Feh!
Comic books are like potato chips or gummy bears - you can never have just one. There's a reason why a serving of gummies is 15 bears. On the other hand, you can eat just one bon-bon - especially if it's that bitter, gooey, dark chocolate/caramel hybrid that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Have you ever seen anyone eat two of those back-to-back? Outrageous!
Remember the days of "self-contained" stories? If not, you're young (and I didn't know young people bought comics - I just assumed you waited for your Mother to force Dad to get rid of his collection or wait for Gramps to kick the bucket. This is strictly an adult hobby - did you not see all the old people walking around the shop?). A self-contained comic was simply a story that was complete in one issue - you need not fear finding out if Batman succumbs to bumping off the Joker in part 2, because there was no part 2. Of course, nowadays we would buy part 2 to see if he does kill the clown, knowing that if he did, we'd be up to our armpits in ninja gangster stories - this will never happen...oh, wait, they do that anyway. Today, a self-contained issue is a "launching point" or a "key issue" for a new storyline - a point-of-entry for "new" readers who want to know where they can hop abroad the moving train. These issues tend to be a bit threadbare in plot and story - usually a thrown-together mash-up of stock activity (Batman taking down gang members, Captain America riding his motorcycle and throwing his shield, The X-Men having a picnic or playing baseball, Savage Dragon getting a recap of what went on before while he was out, Spider-Man chasing car thieves) and then two-three pages of set-up for a new storyline (never a story-just a storyline) where some sign of dread appears - maybe a character watching from the shadows or some poor fool getting killed. "Not the end...check next month's issue and read this Wednesday's Comics and Stories #508 for another angle and read Death Scooter #267 to see Wendell check out the action alone!"
But wait a minute - if you're a lowest common denominator, hardcore comic book fan, you're not going to sit and wait for four weeks for the story to continue, you'll want to check out what happened last month and the month before that (in the case of Transformers comics, you'll be checking on the last two publishers that had the character license). That means you're at the mercy of the back issue aisle - a wretched hive of scum and villainy if there never was one. Here, you can expect to be charged a tax on used, dog-eared periodicals, or - even sneakier - a tax on last month's issue, which may not have been bagged or boarded, but left sitting next to the current issue on the stacks. Here, you can thumb through a stack of old books and wish for hand sanitizer after gazing at your fingertips caked with dirt. Here, you can stare at dead bugs trapped in Mylar. Here, you can sweat through your clothes like a pizza slice in a paper bag when you realize the shopkeeper shut off the air conditioner so that you'd run out of there. Ha! As if that will work!
Wait a minute...those tricks do work. They do make anyone with half a brain turn around and say "Never again..." They do lose new customers and new readers who developed a genuine interest in comics but can only go as far as waiting for the next issue and ignore the recent past. Who can wait for next issue when it takes over a year for a storyline to resolve itself and the price of a new issue keeps going up beyond casual spending. The fever goes away...
The fever never leaves the die hards, though, especially the ones with Debit and Credit in hand. Yes, yes, even in the days of Cap'n Credit Crunch and Fannie Big Mac/whatever, you'll still see people spend $30/$40 dollars a week on comics. These die-hards won't pause when the total rings up an additional 8.25/god knows what % sales tax that makes no sense (even less sense when the clerk explains that it's because "It's an old comic" - wtf ?).
That is why a "jumping-on point" comic is not just a beginning - it's an ending. Yes, the first dose might even be "Free" (right, Free Comic Book Day?), but the next dose is always hardest to take. Once you've got the fever, the prescription is a trip out of the store, or a four-color cocktail of last month's, last year's, next month's, or tie-in issues. Down the hatch. Never say "when". Oh, and never think about whether the stuff is any good - generic comics are never a steal. Yes, some places do tax issues from the quarter/half-dollar bins.