Among the reasons comics get so little respect are their ephemeral packaging and serial publication. Although few comics are printed on the cheap newsprint of old -- which quickly yellows and crumbles -- even when slicked up by glossy paper and card-stock covers with holograms and die-cuts and spot varnishes, comic books, despite their misleading name, aren't really books: They're magazines, and usually small ones at that, and those who don't fetishize and obsessively collect such periodicals tend to toss 'em like last week's People or Newsweek. Worse, most comic-book stories are told over the course of many (sometimes very many) issues, and unless you faithfully make a weekly visit to the comic shop, chances are you'll miss an issue, resulting in an unpluggable plot hole. Fortunately, during the last 15 years or so, publishers have begun collecting extended narratives into trade paperbacks and even hardcovers, making easily accessible what once required absurd diligence. Of course, the other reason comics get so little respect is their juvenile content, and no amount of gussied-up packaging can disguise the puerile nature of most superhero "story arcs." But stroll into Star Clipper Comics & Games and you'll find dozens, even hundreds, of volumes on its walls, and most are not just adolescent power fantasies. Try Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde, his harrowing journalistic account of the Bosnian war. Or Tony Millionaire's darkly antic Maakies. Or Chris Ware's gorgeously designed Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth with its eye-popping unfolding dust jacket. Or Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell or Daniel Clowes' David Boring or Seth's It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken or ... well, you get the picture. Now go get the words and pictures.