Sunday, February 19, 2012

Comics: I was a teen-age comic book collector... and still am (a collector, anyway)

When I got married 12+ years ago, I was renting a house and my wife owned one, so we moved into my her place. At the time it was too small for all of my furniture, books and other stuff, so it went into storage. About two years ago I got a letter from the storage place announcing a price hike... and that got me thinking.

My stuff had been in storage for 10 years. It started out at $40 a month and was now going to hit $65 a month. Even if you go with an average of $50 a month for 10 years, that comes out to more than $6,000!

Since we now live in a bigger house, I decided it was time to bring it all home. I hired two guys for about $120 and they brought it all home: dozens of boxes of books, some furniture, and of course... thousands of comic books.

I've been an avid comic book reader since I was a kid, and a collector since my teens. I've got comics dating all the way back to 1939 through the present (although I don't buy as many as I used to, and even then it's not the stuff you'd expect). Most of the collection ranges from the late 1970s through the 1990s, with the bulk of it falling in my collect years from the mid 1980s.

Now, when I say I've got a lot of comics, people always ask, "How many?" The honest answer is, "I don't know." That seems silly, and yes, I can guess, but I really can't say for sure. I can say, at last count, I had 22 long boxes and about 12 short boxes. Most of these are jam packed with comics, but not all. Some of them have old paperbacks in them to act as "spacers," others have miscellaneous stuff and even empty boxes to make room for future additions. About half of them are bagged properly.

So, how many do I have? Let's do the math:
Long boxes hold about 300 comics. Short boxes hold about 180.
(NOTE: These are very subjective numbers. There's a good discussion of it here at the Marvel Comics Web site)

22 x 300 = 6,600
12 x 180 = 2,160
Possible total: 8,760

This doesn't include about 500 comics digests and a few hundred magazine-size comics. So, all in all, I've probably got about 10,000 comics in the house. Now, of course, that leave me with the question of what to do with them.

I mean, I could just leave them in boxes, or try to sell them, or (heaven forbid) actually reread them... But I guess the first thing I need to do is figure out what I've got, how much of it I want to keep, and figure out a way to winnow down the collection into something manageable.

For the next few weeks, I'm going to talk about this journey. I'm going to talk about the specifics of my collection (how I'm sorting it, how I'm cataloging it, storing it, protecting it, possibly monetizing it) and I'm also going to talk about the general issues involved with any type of collecting. Along the way I'm going to hit some of the physical, practical, financial and emotional issues that come with having a lot of stuff.

Comic Talk continues on Mon & Wed..
Come back on Friday for Netflix Friday!

No comments:

Post a Comment