Sometimes the author, usually though, it's when something has been recommended to me or has received good reviews.
We're not talking in the general sense here ... we all know we buy "comics" because comics are awesome. We're talking about that comic - that one right there, in your grubby little hands. Why did you buy THAT comic? What is the single most compelling reason that made you spend your hard-earned cheddar on that comic?
if a creator is halfway cool to me at the one con I go to, I'll pretty much buy whatever he puts out, be it artist or writer.
-or they're Garth Ennis.
typically it's due to the charecter, or the artist, or I just heard it was a cool title.
edit: and if I happen to have money.
This is another poll where there's no good choice.
I'm usually either buying a book because there's a general consensus that it's good, or because I'm a fan of the artist. In the latter case, I often don't even end up reading it, because the story's probably garbage.
They're ALL good choices.
This one is tough. I went with characters because I'll buy a book with so-so art or so-so story. But I'll never buy a book that I think is based around crappy characters.
Hack/Slash and Lady Death are probably the only two floppies that I buy every single month. One has so-so art but a good story. The other has awesome art with a story that might have come from the mind of a mentally deficient orangutang. Both have great character designs and really cool concepts.
PUMMEL Stats W: 4 | L: 7 | KO: 4
I think a key item that is missing is 'The Buzz'. I've almost fallen off the map when it comes to comics and can barely keep up. When I do find time to shop, I go to a local shop and ask what's good, or what has a 'staff pick' flag. Same is true of digital comics...looking for reviews on blogs etc.
My Web Comic:
Vlad the Vegan Vampire
Yeah, but "buzz" is too easy. Everybody who's followed comics at any length has bought something because of buzz, whether it be buzz about a particular creator, a controversy or something else.
I'm typically drawn to an artist. For example, if Arthur Adams is drawing it, I WILL buy it, no question. Same with guys like Cheung or Coipel, Immonen or JRJr, Jim Lee or Jason Pearson and so many others. As far as writing goes, I love Kirkman's Invincible and would probably continue to buy it no matter who was drawing it, unless it was Liefeld or Bagley or someone whose work I just do not like. Same with writers like BKV or Morrison. Typically I'll read just about any comic they write, unless the art is just detestable, then I stay away. I gave up buying X-Men in the early aughts because the writing made me sick, but has the art been fantastic, like Scott Lobdell doing the writing on a Jim Lee drawn comic, I would have stuck around.
But typically, I pretty much buy comics for the artwork. Great writing is icing.
Money can't buy you happiness, but it will pay for the search.