A while back I stopped buying monthly floppies and started waiting for collections. I like collections because I get to see all the cover (even the rare ones), sketches, and sometimes even penciled pre-inked pages....and it's easier to store collections.
Before, I would go to the comic book store on weekly basis and look through everything that came out that week to see what was interesting. I am not sure how to shop for collections. I hear about something, or amazon recommends something because I bought something else, or maybe I saw an issue somewhere that looked interesting and I look for it in some collection...The negative aspect of that, is my inability to closely follow new voices in comics. There might be artists and writers working in comics for years before I discover their work.
Recently I saw an issue of Conan from Dark Horse illustrated by James Harren. I was impressed and went to the comic store to buy the rest of his Conan issues...I did not want to wait for a collection! After that I looked him up and saw that his work is contained in 2 Hellboy collections: Abe Sapien Vol 2 and BPRD Vol 4. This week I bought both and I am so glad that I did. Mr. Harren is a fresh voice in comics and I love how he draws. His style has a great dynamic feel to it, with all the figures being very expressive and wonderfully rendered. Also excellent monster designs!
I will be looking for his work from now on (and hoping that he would someday take over Swamp Thing over at DC!).