Monday, April 27, 2009

The Perils of Comic Book Decadence

So, today's post was supposed to be called, "An Exfanding Guide to Organizing Your Collection," but as you'll see...I am in no position to give anyone advice on anything relating to such a topic.

What I wanted to do was spend a nice, quiet Sunday putting my own (unwieldy) comics collection into some kind of sensible order, and make it easy to extract specific issues without much hassle. Then, I figured I'd write about the experience and use my expert's knowledge on the matter to Exfand the Horizons of our legions (editor's note: he means "dozens") of fans.

To do this, I went to Ye Olde Comics Shoppe and bought several short boxes and even some protective bags and boards. And, yes, I know I've said in the past that I wanted to do away with bags and boards completely, but I figured, a nice, organized collection would be...well...nice and organized.

And that would be the polar opposite of what my collection usually looks like--namely, a post-Skrull battle splash page from Marvel's Secret Invasion mini-series.

And that, I thought, would be a nice change of pace.

Well, all I can really say is, now, after "organizing" my collection, I have once and for all, finally and utterly sworn off of (and at--oh, how I've sworn at) bags and boards. And boxes. And "organizing" things, in general.

And I am going to buy trade paperbacks, from now on--that is, if I don't just stop reading comics for good.

Exaggeration aside, my attempts at organizing my books did not go well, in the classical sense of the word. I did, however, realize a few things. First, I have way too many comics. And, more than that, I have way too many comics that I will never pick up to re-read.

Now, I've noticed that many of these books were purchased three years ago and earlier, and for the most part, my recent buying habits have yielded many more "good" books. And by "good" I mean books that I'd like to read again at some point. The most obvious cases of buying books that I will simply never return to can be summed up in a single sentence--in those instances, I bought into the hype.

What I mean is, if there was a line-wide crossover "event," I ended up buying pretty much everything, line-wide. And even though I don't want to pick on one company over another, I'm going to use DC as my example for today. See, I bought everything (every, single thing) that DC put out leading up to and after Geoff Johns' Infinite Crisis series came out.

I was buying all of the Crisis tie-ins, and then I bought every single first and second issue of the "One Year Later" titles. I was buying books that I had never before read, such as Hawkgirl and Nightwing and Aquaman and a book about space wars on Thanagar, despite my unrelenting fear and/or hatred of space and...well, you get the idea.

And I did this, according to the multitude of issues scattered about my home, for the better part of two years. Two. Years. And, today, you know what DCU books I read every month? Batman. And just recently, JLA.

Now, that's not to say the comics DC was putting out weren't good--they just weren't books that I had any interest in. I mean, I have no interest in many of the characters featured in the "One Year Later" books today, and I'm 100% sure I didn't have much interest in them three or four years ago.

And yet, I still bought them, mostly because the comics magazines said to buy them, and because the Internet said they'd be "hot" because of the little "One Year Later" heading on the cover. And I put them in nice little bags to protect them as the future investment they surely would be. And today?

Well, today they got recycled--either literally put into a blue recycling bin, or stacked in a brown box ready to be given to my LCS for their back issue bins.

So, while my plan was to learn a thing or two about organizing a comics collection, instead I learned a thing or two about buying comics. And I realized that (thankfully) I've been much, much better these past couple of years with buying only what I like, or what I think I'll like, and I'm so happy I have ventured further out into the world of indie comics.

Don't get me wrong, I still loves me some good super hero comics (just check out any Waiting for Wednesday post, and you can clearly see that) but now I don't buy into the Internet hype, or the Wizard hype, or the publisher-generated hype. If I like the book, I buy the book.

And that's it.

Now, that revelation did not help clean up the stacks and stacks of comics that were slowly becoming hazardous (both in the sense that they presented a problem because they are made of paper, which is flammable of course, and in the sense that they were starting to physically overtake one room in my home to the point that emerging without losing one's sanity was starting to be a problem).

But, after I waded through some of the "gems" of my collection, including books that were cancelled at issue two, and others that have long since outlived realized that I really didn't care how they are to be stored, as long as they are in boxes in a closet and as long as it wouldn't take me an entire Sunday to achieve this. I'd keep only the books I could see returning to, and get rid of everything else.

So, now I have a few boxes that I'll bring down to my LCS to give away as filler, and some I can give to the library, and some that will be much better served as recycled paper. Who knows, maybe they'll be recycled into better comics.

And, with those important objectives in mind, "organizing" things became very, very easy.


Anonymous said...

What all are you getting rid of? I might be interested.


Anonymous said...

A nice interview with Mark Waid that you've probably already seen but bears linking.

- Scott

AJG said...

Thanks for the head's up, Scott. I missed that interview. It's really interesting, and people should go check it out.

And Shannon, most of the stuff I'm getting rid of, not really worth reading, I'd say. I was actually pretty shocked at the number of bad books I had lying around!