I mentioned on Tuesday that my drive to collect things is strong enough that I will buy the next book in a series, even if I am several books behind (or haven't read the first book yet), in order to keep the set/collection complete.
That desire for wholeness in stories even extends back before the first story in a series.
My husband has cultivated his love of comic books in the last couple years. In general, I like the genre, although I prefer the stories when they are compiled into a graphic novel (there's that drive for wholeness again) rather than serialized over weeks or months.
But I have also realized that I am reluctant to pick up a comic or graphic novel of a superhero I don't know well because I don't know the back story. I wonder where the character came from - what drives him or her? How did the character come to be in this place or in this predicament?
Unfortunately, I am enough of a novice that I'm even hesitant to ask a "professional" (like the great folks at our regular comic book shop) because I'm afraid I'm going to open myself up to too many choices ("Well, when character A started, he was this, but in 1985 they restarted the line and changed it to this."). I long for a clear, linear story line that I can dig into completely, understand thoroughly, and enjoy.