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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Collecting vs Reading

When I first began to collect comic books, I bought them for the art and writing and I read each of them. After reading them, I put each into their own plastic bag with acid-free backing board, sealed the end with a piece of scotch tape, and put them into a box to be saved. Later, I would come to realize that several of these comics that I had collected had value to them. This piqued my interest, and I started to collect more but read less.

These days, I collect titles based on my interests and current trends so that some day they may be worth more than I spent on them. I don't read them anymore as I prefer to wait until storylines have been collected into trades. It's kind of like waiting for a particular TV series to come out on DVD or Netflix instead of watching each individual episode. This is a nasty habit that I learned from my ex-wife, but there are still a few series I do watch each episode of.

There are several problems with collecting comics books like this:

  1. You miss-out on current storylines until they have already passed. Since I'm not reading the comics I buy, I'm missing the "Death of the Family" storyline in the Batman books. I do read enough information online that I keep my interest satiated for a while, but I do kind of feel like I'm cheating myself just a bit. There's a part of me that would get into reading digital comics to keep me up-to-date, but I don't get the same feeling reading a comic on a computer as I did when I read the print version. I appreciate the experience and feel of the print comic over the ease of the digital. Besides, digital comics don't increase in value so there's no investment. :)

  2. Variants! In the 90's, there were a few publishers that decided it would help stimulate the market by providing incentive covers for people to collect. Chromium seemed to be the "drug of choice" for many in those days. Now, we have the retailer incentive covers that are provided when retailers order a certain number of a specific title. Then there are titles that produce multiple covers for a single issue. One of the worst offenders in my collection is Lady Death. For each issue, they put out 3 "standard" covers that are unique. Then there is the Art Deco cover, that you pay a little more for. A few months down the line, the publisher offers additional covers such as:

    • Convention covers

    • Limited editions

    • Holiday covers

    • Special editions

    • Auxiliary editions

  3. eBay! I'll admit that I've used this avenue to sell my comics in the past, but it seems like everyone uses eBay to value their comic books. I remember when the guide was Wizard. Overstreet only comes out once a year, and therefore isn't a good indicator of the fair market value for many issues from the modern era. eBay is the reason that when most people post their collection on Craiglist, they have an inflated concept of what their comics are worth. For what it's worth, I've found that Comics Price Guide has been a fair source for gauging values.

    There you have it. I buy and collect comics as more of an investment than anything else. I buy and collect trades and graphic novels to actually read. I know I can't be the only one out there who does this. I'm glad I have an LCS that can keep my addiction of comics going. :)

    And then there's a service like Comic Bin that allow you to read digital comics for a monthly fee. If anyone who reads my blog had tried their service, are they any good?

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