Requiem for a Comics Collection

 

It’s been a long while.

Once upon a time, as I’ve written about before, I liked to collect comic books. It’s pretty much my favorite storytelling medium, that mix of visual and verbal with so much dynamic imagination, it’s my first love and as much as I enjoy prose and film nothing will ever compare to flipping through a picture book…

Back in 2005, so long ago, I moved to California and left my collection in my dad’s closet. Guess that was growing up.

After years of subscribing and going to the comics shop every Wednesday, and a lot of digging around at comic conventions and used bookstores, my collection was about 5,000 issues strong. It took up a lot of space.

Flash-forward to early 2008. Even before I moved abroad that year, I knew I had to get it together. I decided to take a month off my west coast life to stay in Cincinnati and sort out about half of my collection. Ebay became my full-time job. I was constantly working on the computer and going back and forth from the post office. I sold all my Marvel, manga, independents, and even more than a few toys. That amounted to half of my stuff.  If I remember correctly, I made about a thousand US dollars.

And that was the compromise. I was a big DC fan at the time, and hoped my knowledge of continuity might actually help me as an author one day, so I kept all of those. Then, as we all know, I moved all the way to China. It was a heck of a year.

I admit I didn’t have a good long-term plan. Some two dozen boxes stayed in my dad’s closet, until he eventually retired and moved and issued an ultimatum that I needed to find another storage solution. Luckily, I have friends. One was kind enough to curate them for a year, but then he went through some drama and had to move. Another good friend took them up and they remained in his grandma’s basement for another year or two. All while I lived thousands of miles away. I felt bad that these people went through so much trouble on my account, but what could I do other than say thanks and wire some gifts…

It has now been a full decade since I’ve left America, and it’s time to get it together. Let’s face facts and admit I’m not coming back any time soon. Owning two dozen heavy boxes of books simply isn’t so compatible with the expat lifestyle.

Last month, I went on my big trip to the United States. For almost the entirety of July, Bronwen and I traveled throughout my troubled country. For the first half we mostly stayed in Southern California, exploring Los Angeles and Orange County by way of Long Beach as homebase. It was a rather good trip.

For the second half of the journey, we stayed in my adopted hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Not quite as much tourist action, but she seemed to enjoy it. A good introduction to middle America, right?

It was where I grew up, where I could drive around the various neighborhoods and indulge in nostalgia, and a good middle ground where my relatives from Indiana and Florida and old friends from east coast could all come together to meet me once again… And, of course, where my comics were.

The family and friends and sight-seeing where all important parts of the trip. But this post is about the comics.

Suffice to say, it was not easy juggling so much in such a short time. Not to mention the workout of dragging all those boxes from house to house. My apologies to anyone who felt left out as I sorted out all that stuff.

 

Anyway, my little sister had agreed to help me sell some on Ebay (my own Ebay account had long since deactivated in the ensuing decade). I didn’t have time to organize the entire collection, but I did post a select few which I thought could get a good price.

There was the New Teen Titans, from the 1980s and up:

 

The complete 2000s JSA/Justice Society by Geoff Johns, including his first work Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. and Hawkman and more:

 

Sadly, the entire 1980s-1990s Justice League International by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis wasn’t more popular for some reason, though that fun-loving run is among the best to me:

 

One thing I did discover about Ebay is that it’s much easier to post graphic novels as books rather than organize hundreds of magazine issues. If you type in the ISBN, it not only gives you the stock photo but even suggests a price. Fine by me! I decided to sell the remaining dozen or so graphic novels that way, sold about half of them for five to ten dollars each, and it only took two trips to the post office.

Leaving a substantial percentage for my little sister’s PayPal as a gift, because I try to be a decent brother.

 

Meanwhile, mailing out full runs box-by-box just wasn’t feasible. So I decided to post a summary on both Craigslist, and that new Facebook Marketplace, pitching anyone to come by to my hotel and look through the entire lot and negotiate a price.

That wasn’t not weird, is it?

 

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bks/d/dc-comics-mega-collection/6641380143.html

DC COMICS MEGA-COLLECTION FOR SALE, from the 80s and 90s and 2000s! Massive sets of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League International, Teen Titans, Legion – thousands of comics by such creators as Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, and much more!

I am selling my entire comic collection consisting of several thousand which I have built up over many years. This is a great deal because I am moving and simply trying to pass them on quickly to a fan. 

Please come by personally to check them out in Blue Ash, Cincinnati and then we can agree on an exact price. For example, if you want the entire set for a bulk purchase in the four-figures, that’s possible. Or, more specifically, I can sell some of these various bundles of hundreds per set for a two- to three-figure sum each:

All comics are in very fine to near mint condition unless otherwise stated. Please message me for more details and the whole inventory…

-Superman 90s and 90s: reboot by John Byrne starting from issue #1, Death and Rebirth of Superman era by Dan Jurgens, featuring many extra Supergirl and Superboy issues and even some Shazam!

-Superman 2000s: featuring the Y2K and Our Worlds at War/Imperiex War crossover, many issues by Geoff Johns and also Birthright by Waid

-Batman: bundle particularly with lots of spinoff issues of Robin, Nightwing, Birds of Prey written by Chuck Dixon; plus even old Outsiders

-Wonder Woman: massive bundle starting from issue #1 with the George Perez post-Crisis reboot, as well as John Byrne’s 90s run and Phil Jimenz in the 2000s and many more

-Complete 80s Justice League! This huge bundle features the entire run of the classic 80s Justice League International era by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMattis “Bawahaha” comedy era #1-60, plus many more with some Firestorm thrown in 

-The New Teen Titans: huge bundle of the 80s Marv Wolfman and George Perez era of the Titans starting from #1 on to the Judas Contract with Slade/Deathstroke the Terminator, and lots of extras from latter decades…

-Geoff Johns MEGA bundle with complete Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. that started it all plus Teen Titans, and Flash Rebirth!

-Infinite Crisis 2005 crossover by Geoff Johns including Villains United and the Secret Six series by Gail Simone, Villains United

-Justice Society by Geoff Johns: The complete JSA by Geoff Johns, plus various Starman issues by James Robinson as well as Spectre and old 80s All-Star Squadron and Johns’ Hawkman plus more 

-90s Young Justice by Peter David, and others by the acclaimed writer

-52 by Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison: complete set plus spinoffs from of the epic ‘real-time’ comic from the 2000s of the year skip

-Grant Morrison bundle featuring the complete Seven Soldiers of Victory, All-Star Superman, Final Crisis, Batman and more from the mad genius DC writer

-Grant Morrison Vertigo bundle! Featuring complete runs of his hard-to-find brilliant miniseries such as the complete Flex Mentallo, We3, Sea Guy, Vimanarama, Joe the Barbarian, plus some Doom Patrol

-DC crossovers! Zero Hour, Invasion!, Millenium, Joker’s Last Laugh, Identity Crisis, and Tons of DC crossovers from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s featuring all the iconic superheroes saving the universe

-Legion of Superheroes from the 80s – and even some 70s and 60s – and 2000s: massive bundle of Legion issues by with a couple of valuable Silver Age ones, many Paul Levitz classics both pre-Crisis and post-Crisis, and also the first issues of the Mark Waid ‘threeboot’ in the 2000s

-Complete Legion of Superheroes 90s reboot: every single one of the post-Zero Hour reboot by Mark Waid & more. Giant set of Legion and Legionnaires and Legion Lost and more spinoffs!

 

Two guys showed up. The first one asked me to leave the door open.

They picked out three hundred-plus issues between the both of them, many Wonder Womans for example, and I sold for an average of a dollar an issue. Not bad, I probably couldn’t have done much better.

I did notice that most people preferred Batman, while I’m the rare breed who is much more of a Superman fan, but what are you gonna do–

 

On my penultimate stop, I went to Half-Price used bookstore to sell the remaining graphic novels and surprisingly got almost forty bucks. When I later I brought over two-thousand comics they said they unsurprisingly said a similar number, a huge ripoff which was more as I expected. I declined the latter offer.

By the last day, I had shaved down twenty-three boxes to only sixteen. That still left quite a lot. So I went to Up and Up and Away Comics in Cheviot, the only store I contacted that was interested in buying, and the gentleman there proceeded to look through them in order to put a number on my heart.

He said two-hundred and fifty dollars. I said three hundred. He said yes. I said done.

View this post on Instagram

Well, this time I mean it. Goodbye forever, my #comic collection~

A post shared by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

 

In 2008, I made about a thousand for the first half. In 2018, I made a total of just over 750 USD for the second half. Not exactly what I was fantasizing before, but I must be okay with that. Certainly helped pay for some of the trip.

Considering the changing industry, I can accept it. One shop owner told me that buying comics is like buying a car–it diminishes in value over time. Isn’t that the opposite of what we were promised when collecting was a fad all those years ago? But not only is publishing dying, nowadays the comics industry is a lot more about reprinting and selling books than back when you could only read the whole beloved storyline by finding rare back issues. Everything is nicer as a trade paperback, and most no longer care about those old decaying originals.

 

I did decide to save a few for myself, future rereading for fun, and they were all graphic novels indeed…

 

And that was that. It’s been fun, oh my massive Legion of Super-heroes that I never stopped trying to fill in the gaps, all those Flashs and Green Lanterns and other colorful characters, and the great works of literature by my favorite writer Grant Morrison. They are gone, and today I must move on and find new things to read.

What the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life, I wonder?

Well, there’s always still digital~

 

 

 

Thanks for letting me share. For more on my comics collecting and fandom, please reference here to read more

https://rayhecht.com/2015/05/25/comics-fan/

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14 thoughts on “Requiem for a Comics Collection

  1. Thanks for sharing. It makes me wonder what I’d eventually do with my comic collection. I’m already running out of room, and that’s part of the reason I’ve really been slowing down in my reading lately. Another part is that, at least until I move closer to my new job, I just don’t have as much time for reading as I would like.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Ray, I really enjoyed reading this. I could see how much you loved reading and collecting comics. It’s good you were able to sell them off. You’re right that the idea of comics depreciating is the complete opposite of back in the 90s when comics were considered collector’s items and would come out with special covers and editions (maybe over-production and greed from the comics companies helped cause this). I had a small comics collection myself of a few hundred issues (probably would fit in just one of your boxes) and I had to cut it down when I moved to Asia after university.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I had Batman, X-men, X-Force, GI Joe, and Transformers. I wasn’t a serious collector so it wasn’t like I was buying them every month for years. I also had a few issues of Justice League Europe, Superman, and Avengers.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This was lovely and sad to read….your childhood right there 😢 But it sounds like most of them are going to people who want them, hopefully. Growing up in Singapore I had a lot of Archie Comic books. Wasn’t able to bring them all here to Australia and it was such a hard decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think what you went through is pretty similar to how it is for any collector/fan…. sometimes we de-clutter only to find ourselves re-buying (some of) them years later. I remember selling off some of my TV21’s in the mid-eighties, then buying a dozen or so issues a few years later because I regretted selling them… and then selling them again a few more years down the line when I realised that I really didn’t have the room and hardly ever looked at them after the initial re-read and wallow in nostalgia. But there are some things you just have to keep forever! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could have never done that! I am bascially a horder and selling or even throwing away books or anything similar is just impossible for me! I am that bad that I even try to find missing volumes of old Manga just to have the series complete -_-

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Talk about being a completist! For example, you cover Grant Morrison from Flex Mentallo all the way to Joe the Barbarian! That’s some dedication. In time, you could possibly buy back some of these, but not any time soon. I think if you could pare it down to one or two, or maybe three boxes, then you’d be set. Or just chill out and accept that all those print comics have served their purpose. No more. You’re done. Digital comics are pretty cool too–no matter what the collectors say about smelling the newsprint from musty old comic books and getting a nostalgic high or some such nonsense. It’s not complete nonsense but we must rationalize!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have SO MUCH stuff at my parents’ home back in Spain. Luckily it’s a big house and I don’t think they will ever move, haha. I have no idea what I would do with all my books and childhood toys… would need to buy an apartment in Spain just to store everything!

    Liked by 1 person

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