THE INSANITY OF COLLECTING

Meanwhile… I was obsessed with comics. Soon after I began my reading journey with fantasy novels, I discovered the world of comic books. It became my new obsession. I started out with fantasy comics like: The Adventurers, Elf Quest, Elf Lord and others. The independent comic book companies that put out these titles interested me enough to look at what else they published and expanded my buying habits to get everything they published. I became a completist in that manner. This became unsustainable as these minor companies were eventually bought out or just went under. Soon I got sucked into the superhero glut through the likes of Wolverine and the X-Men.

There were periods when I was going through hard financial times when I had to curb my collecting. Those were painful times and having to drop monthly subscriptions to various titles seemed like tearing my heart out. I was extremely loyal to the brands I was reading and, more importantly, collecting. Whenever I recovered somewhat, financially, I would go right back to building up my weekly pulls and reveling in the spectacular artwork. Tough times would hit again, I’d sell off what I’d built up for a pittance, and the cycle would repeat.

Eventually, I started one night a week part time work for my local comic store. I was mainly there to run the weekly Magic the Gathering (yes, this game is a future blog) tournament, but I ran the register and sold comics as well. Of course, hanging out in a comic shop is a comic geeks dream. I started reading all sorts of stuff that I would never have bought previously. After doing this for about four years, some of the shine started rubbing off on collecting and reading this stuff. Nothing seemed new anymore and the thrill of opening this weeks’ pages was tarnished by repetition and new book hype overload.

I sold off a bunch of stuff again, but this time, it was just to make space. I began to narrow down and focus on what I really loved and what I really wanted to OWN. This is still a long ongoing process that requires a constant re-evaluation of where I am and what I love to read/collect. I look at the long boxes and book shelves in my house these days and realize the time for a cull is coming again.

I’ve gotten better at it. My heart no longer hurts the way it did when I first had to do this. I’ve become cold and calculating. Sorry Abe Sapien, you no longer hold the same emotional value as when I was collecting all Mike Mignola related titles. Sorry Red Sonja, the Dynamite version of you just doesn’t hold a candle to those old Roy Thomas tales from the Seventies. Getting older has taught me to value story over pretty pictures, and I’ve realized that I’ve collected a lot of stuff just for the pretty pictures over the years. I’ll still keep my Sandman. I’ll still keep my Conan. But some of you have got to go. It’s okay. I may think of you once in a while, but I won’t regret getting rid of you.

How many have you out there have dealt with the insanity of collecting over the years?

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Author: Jarrod

2 thoughts on “THE INSANITY OF COLLECTING

  1. I can relate to this a little too much. When I was younger I tried to collect everything, even if I wasn’t a fan of the story I still wanted every comic Wolverine was featured in.

    Collecting the Image titles in the 90’s was quite a feat, but reading these books later made me realize that many of them weren’t very good. The artwork was the focal point, not the story. I ended up selling much of my collection to go 100% digital. I made a little bit of profit off of The Walking Dead craze at the time, but that was luck. Most of the books sold for a fraction of what I paid for them originally or what they meant to me emotionally.

    After being away from the hobby I missed having the physical book in my hand, but I like to think that I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m smarter now. I focus more on trade collections to own physically and digital individual comics because they take up a lot of space and just don’t look as nice on the shelf. Long boxes are a nerds dream, but when you have boxes and boxes it just gets to be too much.

    1. Happy you can relate! Another difficulty with getting rid of some of the books is I had this notion somewhere in the back of my mind that I would leave them to my kids. Now that I’m older I realize that was a justification to keep them and not a practical reason. Now that the kids are older, I know for sure they couldn’t care less about them, ha. I agree about the Image stuff. They changed the industry in good and bad ways. Good for creator rights, bad for storytelling. I was always wary of going digital. How has that been?

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