Friday, January 01, 2010

Bitching 'Bout Bagging, Boarding and Boxing Books

I'm about to tell you something that may shock and horrify you. I do a piss poor job of keeping up with my comic book collection. I don't bag and board my comics. I don't grade them. I haven't owned a price guide in years, and I barely manage to keep them sorted and filed alphabetically. The whole "CGC" thing completely baffles me, as I'd rather spend the money needed to "slab" one comic on, well, more comics, frankly. At any given time, I have 3 longboxes worth of books to be filed, and smaller stacks of comics throughout the house, much to my wife's delight.

As a younger collector, I fretted about the grade of my comics, and wanted to make sure they were  bagged, boarded and kept in mint condition. But I am actually rather lazy by nature, it turns out, and as my collection grew, my need to wrap each one individually waned. Now that I have a house and a kid, I don't worry too much about the condition of the comics, as the occasional accident happens, and a cover gets creased. The boy is actually quite good with books, and I want to encourage him to enjoy reading, not worry about daddy flipping out if one of his books gets mussed. Never mind that with the paper these things are printed on, they'll all outlast me by decades anyway...

Hoarding funnybooks isn't all fun and games; Once every few months comes a task that can't be avoided, a fun-filled afternoon of sorting, stacking, and backbreaking manual labor the likes of which this old cubicle jockey rarely sees anymore. First I gather the comics in one room, then I sort them in piles alphabetically. Then I sort thr "As", the Bs" and all through the alphabet. then I have to sort each individual series by title and number, a task the publishers seem to be determined to make as difficult as possible. Then the party kicks into full gear, as I pull each longbox off the shelf and strain to stuff more Goddamn comics into each one. This all happens as other things around the house are also demanding my attention, and doesn't leave me with much enthusiasm for wrapping the damn things in individual baggies.

So how common is this these hectic times? I have to assume that collection obsession goes hand-in-hand with more free time, but maybe you have five kids, two jobs and still bag your funnies. Conversely, maybe you toss 'em all under your bed when you're done and let''em grow a coat of mold. Discuss your storage methodology in the comments, pals!


eric said...

Shock and horrify? Not me. It sounds to me like you actually enjoy your comics. I'm with you on that. Mine are in boxes, a drawer or two, and on a few shelves. I bag and board when I can, especially if it's a really good book or one that would be very hard to replace.

As far as CGC and slabbing, if those people all disappeared from the world, it would be a better place.

Breenlantern said...

I could have written this. (Wait...did I?) I used to be a fanatic about placing my books in bags with boards and taping them as soon as I had read them...I loved how shiny and new and flat and pretty they looked and they stood up so nice and erect in my boxes...but then I read somewhere a comic fan say he never bagged or boarded his books and loved that he could pull a book and read it without unwrapping it first. I immediately pulled my comics out of boards and bags and have never looked back. I save money on the supplies, have more room in my boxes for the comics and can pull out any book or batch of books and read immediately without unwrapping or re-wrapping them and I love it. I'm a comic READER and ENJOYER and am only a collector in that I keep most of the books I read because I love to look at them, re-read them and reference then when drawing my favorite characters. I have switched to Comic Drawers, which allow me to file books without having to un-stack and re-stack boxes, but my books accumulate un-filed for several weeks so it's still an hour or three of re-shuffling books when I finally get around to filing them. But I do the same thing: alphabetize them first, split them into their letter piles A-Z and then begin the process of filing. I call it "playing with my comics" and, laborious though it is, I still love it. I may not know what my collection is actually worth, but I know what it's worth to me :-) (Confession: I DO keep an excel spread sheet of what I have/need/want, but only because I have bought and sold and given away and bought back books so many times my memory is shoddy and I never remember what I currently own as opposed to what I once owned and no longer do.)

Anonymous said...

I box my comics, no bag or board. Of course they lay around in piles around my desk for weeks first! I also appreciate the extra space in my boxes sans box, board. And yeah, I also have a hard time imagining the paper not lasting longer than I will.

I collected baseball cards as a young person with a hard core belief that they would be worth actual money someday. They aren't (for the most part). And they are nowhere near as fun as comics. I collect my comics because they are fun, never because they might have monetary value. IMHO this should be the only reason to buy them.

Jack Norris said...

"As far as CGC and slabbing, if those people all disappeared from the world, it would be a better place."

[Begins slow clap, stands up, clapping getting louder and more rapid...]