Monday, March 5, 2012

Comics: Where did I put that copy of Joker#1?

One of the main problems I'm having is that, with 10,000 comics stored in about 30+ boxes, I just can't find anything. In general, the stuff I packed up prior to moving off to college in 1984 is actually in pretty good shape. Comics are boarded and bagged and alphabetized from A-Z (roughly Alpha Flight to Zot!). But after that, things begin to get a bit chaotic.

Even back in the early 1980s and 1990s, I was buying about 30+ comics a month. And sometimes significantly more than that. When I was single and had a good job and a low car payment and rent? Fergitaboutit! I was hauling in danged near 50 comics a month for quite a few years. Funny how marriage and a mortgage cuts into your buying power, eh? And no, I don't regret it a bit! :-)

But during these days, I didn't take the time to board and bag everything, and I certainly wasn't spending the time to go back and reshuffle things to insert new issues into the old alphabetized collection. This meant that I was just kind of putting comics together by title and general time period. For example, X-Men wound up next to X-Force from the same year, but if the box I was putting them in got filled up, I just moved on to a new box and continued putting them in there. So, about five years of various X-Titles are scattered through three long boxes. Along with lots of other stuff, naturally.

This caused a big problem whenever I might want to find something that had been put away. For example, there was the time I wanted to sell my copy of JOKER #1.

The Joke's on me!
Back in 2008 when they released the movie, The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker was setting fire to everyone's imagination. It was an amazing performance and rightly earned  an Oscar for it. At that time, interest in the Joker had bumped up the price of any early comics featuring the Clown Prince of Crime.  I happened to have The Joker #1 and #2 from his short-lived series from 1975. The comic, which normally sold for about $5-$7 on ebay had climbed north of $40. I reckoned that I could easily get $50 for the pair.

My plan was simple: I would sell the comic now at a higher price and then, later, when the price came back down, I would rebuy it. You see, movies and TV shows do not seem to have a permanent effect on comic prices. The interest they generate is artificial and any price spikes you see will almost certainly be temporary.

I went to my storage facility (that's where the books were at the time) and I moved all the boxes around so I could get to the J-M Longbox... and it wasn't in there! I cracked open the B box in the off chance I had stored it with Batman... and it wasn't there, either. So, there I was, with thousands of comics, and I couldn't find the two I was looking for. The movie passed, the price peaked, and the price of the comic has gone back down to about $10-$15, depending on condition.

By the way, I finally did find the book. Apparently I had moved it in with some miscellaneous Batman titles (Catwoman, Birds of Prey, etc.). So that leaves me with the another aspect of the problem I'm facing: It's not just about keeping my comics stored and safe from moisture and damage, it's about putting them into a system of organization that will let me find what I want when I want.

And for that, I've decided to turn to software.

Comic Talk continues on Wed. when I tell about my search for the "perfect" comic book database.
Netflix Friday continues with a surprising find that was much better than I expected it to be.

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