Life of a Comic (book)

[post originally started on 3/10/08]

I used to be a comic book kid. I wasn’t a raging, had-to-have-every-issue-I-could-get-my-hands-on type (but I was probably pretty close). There were only a handfull of titles that I “had” to get (X-Men, and the spin-offs – 2099, Unlinited, Uncanny, etc. – Wolverine, Spawn – once I got into it, starting at about issue 5, I think… And Transformers, and even GI Joe for a little while…). Okay, like I said, I was pretty close to crazy about some titles. Then there were others that I added to my subscription (you know, those things that local shops will provide, sometimes even throwing in the backer-board and clear polybag to help protect the book) simply based on the story line.

When I was growing up, there was a shop called “Comic Book Zone”, and the owner closed up shop and moved right as I was starting to get into comics. The next closest shop was in the next town, about 15 miles away, and was not a place I could normally get taken to (usually, it would be asked on the random trips over there… but not enough to warrant a subscription – although I did ask!)

A few years later, there was a used book shop that opened up in an older house, called the “Book Swap”, and I began to be a frequent visitor. It didn’t hurt that the shop was not that far from my house, and also along one of my paper routes, but I digress. She expanded from being just a used book shop and started carrying gaming supplies and comics (she even had a room upstairs that we could use for gaming, but that’s another story). When she started offering subscriptions, she also included copies of a quarterly magazine that included information on titles and story lines that would be “coming soon” – so I could add those to my subscription, especially if it was a “cross-title” story arc.

Such was the case with Spiderman. I will admit it – I’m not a die-hard fan of the web-slinger. At least, not when I was fifteen. I got the entire “Maximum Carnage” story arc when it first came out. I read through it way back, but it has been sitting idle in a box, plotting ways to spawn symbiotes to cause mass destruction.

But it has been years since I really “read” comics, and I’m still not about to go out and get into new subscriptions. I’ve picked up a few titles recently, mostly graphic novels or trade books, sort of playing catch-up in some ways (I finally discovered Sandman last year, nice way to be behind the curve). Mostly, though, it been in context of thinking as a writer, to look at different books to see how the layouts work, in a writing context. To see how the scripts might flow.

And I’m tired of having so many comics, with no plans to read them (geez, most of them have been in the box for over 10-12 years), so I decided to pass them on. I went through my comic collection (all of 1 long-box, but still), and sifted through the titles, putting together a stack of titles to give to my nephews – through my sister (so she can use them as incentives, etc. instead of just plain giving them to the kids). My oldest is almost 10, and has started getting into some regular books and comics.

I used to collect the comics, partly for story, but more for possible future value. I wasn’t planning on being able to buy a house with them, but expected some increase in financial value. I’ve gotten past that thought, and have gone to the point that it has to be something I am really interested in, in order to warrant keeping it. Or something I might want to try to use as a writing experiment. It’s not the financial value of a book that is the key, is the enjoyment that can be gotten from sharing them. I’ll probably pass on a lot more of my comics over time… but not until the kids get older…

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