Fire & Water #246 – Collecting Comics The Fire & Water Way

In this Patreon-inspired episode, Shag, Rob, and special guests Michael Bailey and Tim Price discuss their own personal comic collecting habits and idiosyncrasies! Topics include: when we started collecting, how many comics do we own, are we completists, what is our alphabetical filing strategy, and so much more! It’s about to get nerdy up in here!

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44 responses to “Fire & Water #246 – Collecting Comics The Fire & Water Way

  1. I’ve been DE-collecting this past year, so it’s funny that you guys have been doing the same somewhat. After a major move, I’ve had to reckon with my consumer habits all across the board, comics being chief among my obsessions. So a modest collection of 15 longboxes of unbagged and scattered but carefully curated comics has been reduced to 5. My method was that if I didn’t deeply love it (collections, too), it had to go… and even then it was on the chopping block. Off they went.

    Anyway, great episode — loved listening to you all. Great story about Len Wein, Rob! 

    P.S. I put my kid thru college thanks to Bloodstrike #1 thankyouverymuch

    1. Thanks for listening!! And I think you and Rob Liefeld are the only people who paid for their kids college with Bloodstrike #1!

  2. I caught the last half of this show by overhearing Isamu listening to it in the kitchen this morning. And the mention of filling gaps in series and hunting for comics reminded me of the times when Xum did such hunting for me.

    One time was for A DISTANT SOIL. When Xum and I first started going out, we stopped by the Comics Experience store in San Fran one weekend so he could pick up his new comics. And I saw a new issue of A DISTANT SOIL on the shelf. I had no idea this was still being printed. I actually had the first three issues of the Warp magazine issues boxed away somewhere in my house. They were published before my time, and were gifted to me by a teenage friend who got them from her older sister, because she knew I liked the art in them. When I told Xum this, he immediately added the issue to his stack of books to buy for me. I said I can’t read that without the other 30-some issues that came before it, and he just smiled and said, “I know. Just wait.” And after 8 months of waiting, Xum managed to find and buy every issue of the series to date, including all of the Warp magazines I didn’t have.

    The other time was for BONE. In the late “naughties” (as Xum called the 00s), we were browsing at Green Apple Books, a used book store on Clement Street, and I saw the trade paperback of the Bone cow race story on the shelf and read a bit of it, and I loved it. Xum told me that he actually started to read Bone when it was published by Image in the 90s, stating that they picked up at issue 21 where the last publisher left off, but also reprinted the series from number 1 at the same time. So Xum started to buy issue 1 and 21 and only got about 6 issues further because he was living overseas at the time and it was too expensive to keep going. So we bought that used book of the cow race story and Xum eventually hunted down all of the missing BONE issues, which we kept with A DISTANT SOIL on my bookshelf. We only had two missing issues left to find when the complete series volume was released. Xum did find those two issues a few months later at WonderCon, but we did get the complete series book, used, for the kids to read.

    1. Those are two great stories of Xum, AND great comics! I just started reading A Distant Soil last year on Comixology. I’m not in a hurry, but it’s been a delight. And hopefully you heard my love of Bone on the podcast. So glad you got the whole series.

      Thank you so much for sharing that, Namiko!

  3. Great episode and I bet I am not alone in wanting to hear these same questions posed to others. Heck, I’d like to be on a repeat episode.

    I lost a lot of my early comics in a ‘parental purge’ but not all and so have a smattering of earliest books, including what I apocryphally call my first comic, Superboy and the Legion #211. I think I have some regret about perhaps being semi-responsible for the purge so my memory there is hazy.

    I am about 85% alphabetical in my filing approach. For example, all the prestige starring Batman are in the B box, behind the Batman monthlies, and sub alphabetized in there (Dark Allegiances before Gotham by Gaslight before Holy Terror, etc). I also don’t pull out sections which have been retitled briefly. So the 18 issues of Supergirl and the Legion are still numerically in the middle of the Threeboot Legion run.

    But as some who have seen me on Zoom calls can attest, I know where everything is and can find an issue within seconds.

  4. This was delightful. I could listen to people divulge the secrets of their nerdery all day. I’m kind of impressed by/jealous of Rob’s extremely stripped-back collection. Admirable restraint.

    As to my own, I don’t still have the very first comics I ever owned, alas, though I did spend a long time tracking down and rebuying one of the most pivotal (Mighty World of Marvel #1 from 1983). I do still have a couple of comics from possibly the second tiny wave though – Avengers #198 and #199 (where they fight Red Ronin).

    My current collection (not including trades and digital, both of which are spiralling dangerously out of control) is fairly concise, amounting to nine shortboxes, plus a couple of free-floating stacks of recently bought and yet to be filed comics, which could probably fill another shortbox or two. I had a couple of major purges in the last decade or so, and at its height the collection was probably three times as big as it is now. There are parts of that I do slightly regret getting rid of – all my L.E.G.I.O.N, Flash, Green Lantern and JSA… – but not enough to rebuy them except perhaps in charity shop trades.

    I only bag and board comics of high personal value – not monetary value. I don’t care about that. In practice, this is mainly the Byrne X-Men issues.

    As for current collecting, I still love a back-issue bin dive, mainly for whatever is cheap and interesting. The only series I’m actively collecting is Uncanny X-Men, where I’ve a few gaps in the Byrne and Cockrum era to fill (for the right price), and then I might pursue pre-Giant Size. And I still buy new comics, though not nearly as many as I used to. I tend to pick up maybe one or two books a month, floating between whatever’s catching my eye. I’m all in on Hickman’s X-Men at the moment. But to be honest, most of my comics purchases are made via ComiXology. I’m surprising myself with how much I’m embracing digital after shunning it for so long.

    Finally, with apologies to Tim, at the moment my unread comics (in digital and trade form), threaten to outnumber my read ones. I wish it were otherwise. But there are only so many hours in the day. Plus I’ve now reached the age at which reading in bed means making it through maybe three pages before conking out.

  5. Great show guys. I’m glad I wasn’t on the call, because if anyone has seen the videos on the F&W YouTube channel…I clearly have a problem.

    But seriously, a few answers to the questions:

    • I have currently have 22 long boxes, and a bunch of modern books I need to file away in totes right now. I really need to go through and cull some stuff I don’t care about out of those boxes. No more boxes are coming into the house. The toys won’t let them.

    • I only currently get Captain America, Back Issue and Retro Fan on a regular basis from my LCS. My kids still get several comics, though. I pick up the odd anniversary or reprint issue as well. Love those $1 reprint books!

    • I mostly read comics for podcasts now, and I source those from trades and digital versions, like DC Universe. I have never fully embraced digital comics, but it sure makes podcasting easier.

    • I like to search the dollar boxes at my LCS for old Dollar Comics giants from Worlds’ Finest and Superman Family. I also pick up any issue of Super Friends I see. And that was before Rob launched FAM!

    Chris

    1. I forgot, I’m getting the new Batman Adventures comic by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, set in the DCAU. I am getting the print copies. I haven’t read any of them yet, though. So Tim wouldn’t let them in the house.

      Chris

  6. Wonderful show, fellas.

    A few notes:

    – How did Robert Kelly NOT plug the very special and highly regarded episode of Film & Water we did that covered “High Fidelity”? Shame, Robert Kelker Kelly, SHAME!

    – Before moving into our latest place, I must have had about 24 longboxes. I pared it down to about 4. I traded in what I could for store credit and just bought a bunch of trades.

    – I’ve donated probably 300 or so trades and hardcovers to my local library. Of those trades, they kept several of them and I can proudly say I’m responsible for at least a third of the graphic novel selection at the library.

    – It felt GREAT to get rid of a lot of these books. The thrill just wasn’t there anymore.

    – I read mainly digitally these days. I pick up the physical trades I really want and am limiting myself to collecting finite series or a single storyline. No more of this “extended 2nd act” collecting nonsense for me.

    – Like Mssr. Bailey, I revisited my ‘sweet spot’ of comics era – and like him, found some of it to be less than sweet. I ordered the Byrne WW trades and, yes, waaaaaaay too much talking. And it falls off the rails in the final third of his run. But I digress…

    – Count me in as throwing my hat in the ring for a follow-up show on collections that aren’t about comics.

  7. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your comic book collecting stories.

    I consider myself to be a focused reader (thank you, Tim, for providing that term), because I’ve only ever followed one or two titles at a time. That’s one of the reasons I love the F&W Network, because you guys expand my limited comic book knowledge, which results from my narrow reading experience. Also like Tim, I read every comic book I buy.

    The first comic book that I ever owned was the New Teen Titans Drug Awareness Special #3, which was given to every member of my 6th grade class by our school. I believe that book came out in 1983, but I received my copy in 1986 or 1987. So, my elementary school must have been sitting on a stockpile of that issue. Any way, that prompted me to buy my first comic book, Tales of the Teen Titans #82, off of the spinner racks at my local Walden Bookstore. I must have been pretty upset to learn that the Protector wasn’t actually a member of the team, because I quickly jumped ship to Marvel (starting with Daredevil #255), and stayed with them for the next decade.

    I’ve never bagged and boarded my books, and have purged my collection several times, usually before moving. I do have a single plastic bin that contains the books that survived my last purge, namely some Fantastic Four, JLA, and Dark Horse Star Wars comics from the late 1990s/early 2000s.

    Now a days, the only books I subscribe to are Aquaman (in print) and Justice League (digitally). Whatever else I buy is digital, for the space saving benefits.

  8. Wow! This show depressed me because everyone was talking about how great it was to get rid of their comics.

    I’m living in a house that is paid for so I hope I don’t have to move again. That means I won’t have to get rid of my comics. I have about 50 shortboxes. I didn’t live near a comics shop growing up, so I just had my titles that I collected new off the spinner racks. Due to distribution, I missed an issue here or there, but I collected certain titles ever month. A second hand book store in town occasionally got old comics and I would buy what they got. I was so thrilled to the first time I got a Batman comic (and I got three, one from 1964 and two from 1965) that were older than me.

    Really got into getting back issues around 2000. I had to quit getting comics during college and when I came back after paying off my student loan, I wasn’t really enjoying what I was getting. Batman and Superman mired in endless cross-overs, Spider-Man in the middle of the clone crap. About 2000, I got on eBay and planned on just getting whatever Bronze Age Batman tickled my fancy. I knew this was my favorite era and I wanted to read more and realized I was a lot more thrilled when the old comics arrived. What really started me on a consecutive issue run is that I got a lot containing Batman 146-200 for $300. Condition varied wildly, but they were complete, intact and I could read them. For years, my Batman consecutive issue run stopped at 140, but I had several issues before that. When prices dropped during the pandemic, I was able to get a good deal on Batman 139, the first Betty Kane Batgirl, so I decided to go back to 124, since I had the Pizza Hut reprints of 122 & 123.

    Really, I have a lot of issues of a few characters and my collection isn’t very diverse. Mostly, all the new comics I buy are reprints of old stuff.

    First comic: Batman 283, bought it because I saw the Batman TV show and fell in love with the character. Cover date was January 1977, with October 1976 on-sale date. Super Heroes vs Super Gorillas, with 1976 cover date and September 1976 on sale date, was my second comic and gateway drug. That is where I met Flash and Superman.

    Another reason I won’t sale is I know I couldn’t afford to replace some of the issues. I got two copies of Batman 227 for under $10 each before the price exploded. Even though I have reprints, I wanted the first appearance of *sigh*Batgirl*sigh and got one for $13. You can’t get deals like that any more. Most of my Fantastic Four collection came after the last movie bombed and I don’t think I ever gave over $3 for an issue. Likewise, my Wonder Woman collection came before the movie was a hit and I got those cheaply.

    1. Oh, I forgot to mention. I just can’t make myself trust digital. If the company hosting decides to pull the plug, they’re gone. With print, I’ll have access. Since most of the entertainment I like is old, I figure I’ll need to comics to entertain me once I reach retirement age.

      I plan on leaving my comics to an animal rescue organization where I got my current dog, so the organization will sell them and make money for their animals when I’m gone. The organization already said that people sometimes donated goods for them to sell. Plus, that way my comics will hopefully wind up with someone else who will want them.

  9. Once I saw the episode on my twitter feed I had to listen to it (sorry podcast backlog).

    I guess digital really change the game completely, I am now more comfortable getting rid of some of my comics since I know I can get them later on comixology (except when they are not, I am looking at you Astro City). I am so happy now I am a reader rather than a collector. I can read series like Lazarus on digital without needing to own a physical copy. It feels it like watching a tv show on netflix.

    Not too long ago I went through an angry purge, I saw some comics in my collection that for no reason I started to hate, I looked at my spawn comics and I said to myself “This doesn’t make any sense and is not going anywhere, I want it out of the house”. and dont get me started on my X-men collection that feels like trying to keep up with a daytime soap. Those were gone….but that Hickman run is tempting.

    On the recommendation side. I use the comic collector software, I had it for the last 7 years and is so awesome. much better than the notebook that I had with codes written on it and that a year later I forgot what it all means.

    1. Forgot to add. There is nothing greater in comic collecting than when the company makes jumping off points. Thank you Flashpoint/New52. I was so disappoint at first but now I know It was the best thing that happen to my DC collection.

  10. Hah! I have an Event box for all the DC crossovers too.

    This was a great episode and one I was jealous not to be a part of.

    I use CLZ app to manage my collection, which box everything lives in and whether comics have been read or not. I only have 32 comics to be read at this stage and my want list has nothing on it.

    My collection has been curated down a couple of times and is now a mere 21 short boxes and over a thousand trades or HCs on the shelves.

    I read about 6 new titles a month, but many of these are minis.

    Unlike all of you I am in the market for a nice copy and a desire to see it graded and slabbed. I see this as an obvious way to leave the valuable stuff for my kids or their kids.

    I just got a VPN and subscribed to DC Universe and it has proven it’s value many times over in the first few weeks of use.

    I wholeheartedly chime in with a “Suck it Shag”!

    1. Second the CLZ app (its awesome) and using VPN to get DC universe for the non-us costumers, looking forward for infinity to take care of that.

  11. Great episode! It’s hard to believe you guys haven’t covered the topic of how you collect before. It’s good to know everyone else has their foibles about how they organize their comics.

    I used to just have my comics piled up in a little corner. If I got a comic bagged or bagged and boarded, I left them in there. I started buying long boxes out of necessity; our cat liked to pee on everything. One day I’m sitting at my desk and there’s this strong ammonia smell coming from behind me. I looked at the stack of comics I had and found crystalized cat pee on the edges of some of my bagged and boarded Starman comics. I went to the comic shop and picked up bags, boards and long boxes. I mostly go alphabetical.

    I used to have a lot more long boxes, but when I started having my comics bound into hardcovers, a lot of those boxes got paired down. When I moved into my first apartment, I sold some comics, too. At this moment I currently have five short boxes, two regular long boxes and two comic drawer boxes. Those boxes, along with a large wooden board I have, create the makeshift computer desk I’m sitting at right now.

    These days I mostly go digital. I’ve really gotta think about space and money. If I see something I like, be it a trade, single issue or complete run, I have to ask myself “Do you really NEED this? Also, do you have space for it?” Then I check to see if I can get it cheaper digitally or if it’s on DC Universe.

    I do have to blame Shagg for getting me into buying digital comics. Because of his recommendation, I got Justice League 3000 a few years ago for a good price on Comixology and I started buying digitally ever since. If you’re patient, you can get some great deals and you don’t have to worry about space, about what boxes they’re in or taking them out of the bags and boards. When you just want to read something, digital is super convenient.

    I don’t collect many newer comics, though. If we’re talking DC, I’ll buy the new Earth One books…whenever they come out. I loved what Jurgens was doing on Action Comics, but his run got cut short for Bendis and I haven’t been enjoying Bendis’ tenure on the Superman titles. The only things I’m really trying to make an effort to keep up with are the Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series from IDW. Funny enough, I got into both because of the crossover which each other. I usually wait for the massive IDW Collected editions of Turtles and newer Ghostbusters trades are always available when I forget about them.

    And that’s my comic collecting so far. Like everyone else, time and priorities have tempered my collecting, somewhat. Then again, I was always a reader.

  12. Apparently I still suck at doing podcasts, because here’s a couple of runs in my collection I should have mentioned in the show that I’m quite proud of.
    A complete run of John Byrne’s Fantastic Four. Love love love.
    A practically complete run of Peter David’s Incredible Hulk. I’m only missing one issue. But it doesn’t bother me. Not at all. Nope, Nosiree bob. (NERD SMASH!!)

    1. Nice! I have a friend at work who is trying to get all of the Byrne Fantastic Four. I guess the thrill is in the chase, huh?

        1. It is an awesome run, and I highly recommend it…but you guys are making me feel old, because I bought them all off the spinner rack when they were new. Those are still the copies that I have.

  13. I have to wonder if the Find Your Joy Network is powered in part by lacking any built up resentment over not enjoying buying new comics because THEY DON’T. “Today’s In-Stock Trades recommendation is to just keep your friggin’ money in your pocket, you gullible fools. It’s a recession. Buy a latte, instead! You’ll be more joyful! Or at least more espresso and steamed milk.”

    I’ve maintained an “under $100” monthly comics guideline for almost twenty years now, with slim months dipping nearer to $30 and more exorbitant months ballooning closer to $200. Since Shag last visited me, I had my office lightly remodeled with a maroon paint job, plush carpet, a proper heavy wooden desk. and four large, sturdy bookcases. I adore the whole set-up, but I especially want to line all those shelves with trades/hardcovers/omnibuses (as well as bagged & boarded reference books like OHOTMU & Who’s Who.) I want as many favored runs in high quality editions on these shelves as I can manage, so must of those monthly dollars are going toward replacing floppies with hardcover library editions in a place I actively utilize.

    Again, since Shag’s last visit, all the crappy rickety department store shelves that I used to barely be able to half-use because they couldn’t support the weight are now in the back bedroom. I was going to use them to sort and store back issue, which they have. I sorted them into piles on the shelves, and they’ve been stored there ever since. I also put my little old glass desk back there for my Windows XP computer that still has my bootleg editing softwear from 2004 that I boot up maybe six times a year. I’ve got 27 short drawer boxes (or as Shag called them, “I thought there’d be more,”) most of which are now stuffed in the closet. See, everything I’ve bought in the past five years or more are on shelves, and the boxes get touched less than the XP computer.

    Within two years of closing my shop, I stopped bagging and boarding. I still have a small case of Flip n’ Stick bags from my professional days when we were the only shop in town that stocked them. They just sit there in the shipping box on the top shelf of the closet.

    I have a podcast devoted to cataloging my early years of collecting called Comic Reader Résumé. Across 11 episodes I’ve covered pre-collecting in the late ’70s through early 1984, and I’ll probably knock out at least another episode in 2020. https://rolledspine.wordpress.com/category/comic-reader-resume/

    Like DC, I drew the line at $2.99, and mostly refuse to purchase comics at the current industry standard of $3.99. Before Peter Simeti was outed as Comicsgate, I was buying all of the Alterna Comics line to support newsprint and lower pricing. Ironically, I also picked the occasional Dynamite series as one of my few monthly floppy purchases, and politics ended that, too. By the time of the New 52, I was down to a couple of regular DC comics, and as the Idol-Head sputtered out my last regular purchases there were Justice League of America and the Williams/Barrows Martian Manhunter run. I bought the first few issues of the Orlando/Rossmo Manhunter series, but I dropped that quick once I decided not to buy anything out of misguided character loyalty.

    The lion’s share of my purchases are for posterity that sit unread for a hopeful future while the majority of my reading is for projects like podcasts and Who’s Editing. I do very little reading for pure pleasure, but I sampled a lot of trades at $9.99 and continue to buy the ones I liked and kept up with, mostly Image.

    I’ve given away comics here and there, but I’m childless and my friends have enough comics of their own, so opportunities are scarce. I sometimes consider selling on eBay, but who has the time, and so much of what I kept after the shop closed was worthless to anyone but me. I also like a lot of mature skewing material, so I have to be careful with who gets any of this stuff. I bothered to buy an Overstreet new for the first time ever because it’s the 50th anniversary and they did a Spawn/Spider-Man cover, but I doubt I’ll get much use out of it unless I decide to quit my job and buy a bong. Hint: I hate pot.

    I’ve mentioned in the past that I didn’t like High Fidelity very much on first viewing because I went in expecting Grosse Point Blank 2 for no good reason. I only gave it a second try when someone pointed out that I was Rob and the record store was uncannily similar to my comic shop (complete with douchey, retrospectively mortifying gatekeeping.) So I love it now, because narcissism.

    At this point I guess my most valuable and expansive run would be Wonder Woman volume 1, so I probably shouldn’t have left #3 out for like seven years and counting to not actually write a blog post. I’ve got most/all of the Panther’s Rage Jungle Action run I got cheap off eBay. There’s the run of Grimjack, though the condition of some copies are really undesirable. My Smith/Romita X-Men are a hodge-podge of originals and X-Men Classic reprints, so I should break down and buy an omnibus there. Surprisingly, I still haven’t completed Dreadstar, though most/all of the gaps are Peter David issues. I do not stress over condition, but I prefer that the copy not be beaten with the ugly stick, I guess.

    1. Gatekeeping is fine in moderation. We keep sugar away from people because we know it’s bad for them – we should keep Spawn away for the same reason.

  14. Nice show, and Rob is totally correct that there’s another one in there somewhere about the collecting impulse. Once you start collecting one thing, there’s a good chance you’ll want to collect other things, and I’d love to hear or participate in a show that discusses the psychology behind it.

    I’m like most people on the podcast, a defrocked collector who went digital, but I originally quit comics in the late 90s because $$$, but I couldn’t even enter a comic book store without getting sick to my stomach. That’s how I know I had an addiction. Even after I got back on my feet financially, I stuck to trade paperbacks. Came back around 2007 (when did the new Booster Gold come out?), but soon switched to digital, which allowed me to pay as I read, rather than get sidetracked as the unread pile grew, which used to be a good way to be buying stuff you no longer enjoyed.

    My longboxes (about 17 of them) serve a dual purpose. They are steps/shelves so cats can reach windows. The ones in my room also act as a thin bedside table for a lamp and alarm clock. When your room is a little too narrow, it’s useful. Comics are in alphabetical order per company which are also in alphabetical order (so Cerebus to X-O Manowar). No boards, I use large bags to keep series together, but not individual bags. Mostly what I’d buy now would go on a shelf anyway. DOWN WITH FLOPPIES!

  15. This podcast brings to mind many thoughts, but I will try to just hit the highlights.
    I started reading in the late 70’s and became a ‘collector’ around 1982. It was a few years later I found out about actual comic book shops and the nearest one for me was about 30 minutes away. My parents never tried to dissuade me from reading or collecting comics and would tote me to the comic shop (I won’t say LCS, because I didn’t consider it local) once a week. Even though DC is where my heart is, my collection was probably about 50% DC, 40% Marvel, and 10% independent/Archie/Dell.
    Sometime in the early 2000’s, I gave up almost entirely on Marvel. I got about a year into the New 52 when I realized my wife was right and I didn’t need to keep buying comics on a regular basis. In 2014, I lost my job and was working two part time jobs and driving Uber to help make ends meet. A couple years later, I was working again, but we were still hurting financially. To help pay the bills, I ended up selling my entire Marvel collection (about 13 long boxes). The funny part of the story is to whom I sold them. It was Tim’s friend Mark at Comics Cubicle here in Williamsburg, VA. Mark opened up his store in town while I was living in another part of the state and by the time I moved back to Williamsburg (my home town) I was no longer collecting on a regular basis. I stop into Comics Cubicle every now and then to look what’s new. Mark is a nice guy and I love that he brings his dog to the shop everyday.
    As for the 20+ long boxes I still have, most contain bagged and boarded books, but there are also quite a few with the books just thrown in. The bagged and boarded are in alphabetical and chronological order (0 and 1.000,000 issues are placed based on when they came out). Since we’ve moved into our current home, I have not spent much time going through the books to organize them, much less sell them off. That day will come…but it isn’t today.
    Thanks for sharing your stories, gentlemen, I look forward to the future podcast where you discuss your non-funny book collections.

    1. I forgot to mention…I am not a collector anymore, but I am a reader again thanks to the DC Universe and Marvel Unlimited apps.

  16. I really enjoyed listening to your conversation, gentlemen. Great show.
    Personally, I think I’ve always been in the reader category. I was never a collector, in the sense of treasuring the possession of comic books (or ‘normal’ books for that matter). Everything I buy, I read – eventually (my backlog of reading material is another subject altogether).
    Otherwise, I don’t have any of my original collection, as it was basically purged when the family made a big out-of-state move right after I graduated from high school. When I got back into comics in earnest about 15 or so years ago, I only bought individual floppies sparingly. Currently they fit into the equivalent of a single short box, not counting some of the floppies I had bound, like the complete Charlton run of E-man or the complete run of Logan’s Run published by Marvel. I mainly buy collected reprint editions, so I love this ‘golden age of reprints’ that we live in. Nothing makes me happier than getting, say, an Epic collection with 300-400 pages of comics in it, printed in glorious color,
    And I can really relate to Rob’s preference for giving books away: whenever I feel the need to cull the herd, whether comics or regular books, I offer them at online auction sites for the equivalent of a dollar each, or sometimes I just put them in the donation box of a local library.

  17. Oh man, what a GREAT episode. I always love hearing people talk comics collecting, especially you guys.

    I can’t think of anything really “new” to say about my collecting history because I’ve talked about it in a number of places, but I am in the middle of Uncollecting. I’ve sold some books on eBay (mostly for really cheap) and have donated a number of other books. At this point, I’m working my way toward … I guess you could call it “curating” my collecting.

    Funny enough, for all of the uncollecting, I’m still buying comics from my LCS and the main reason for that is because I really love the place and the owners–Telegraph Art & Comics in Charlottesville, VA (formerly Atlas Comics)–and that loyalty is going a long way. I still look for the back issues that will plug holes in some of the very few series that I’m looking to complete (I’m all of two issues away from having all of the Will Payton Starman, for example); oh, and I examine the wall for ’90s comics I bought off the shelf that actually are worth something but I no longer have because I sold them on eBay long ago.

    And honestly, I’m surprised that I’ve been selling comics on eBay on and off for nearly 20 years. My collection never got as 1/10th as big as most of yours, but I did make enough money by selling a good 3/4ths of it to put a down payment on an engagement ring back in the day, so there’s that.

    As for filing/sorting, I’ve got a full run of Titans books from DC Comics Presents #26 until Teen Titans #100 (right before the New 52) and those are filed separately from everything else in bags and boards. The rest of the books are filed alphabetically by title. Some are bagged and boarded, some are bagged, some are loose. I may get around to bagging all of them if I feel like buying more supplies. Oh, and I also have a shortbox full of “current” books (i.e. the last few issues of a current series … because sometimes I need to go back and reread the previous issue to remind myself of what is going on) and the ever-dwindling “longbox of the unread”).

    My son, by the way, has a couple of longboxes of comics and I think the only ones bagged are his Herobear ones that were signed and an Adventure Time convention sketch cover.

    As for signed comics, I’ve amassed quite a few and given away others. I’ve even added to that wedding issue of Superman. My favorite signed item is my Crisis on Infinite Earths cover that’s signed by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jerry Ordway; as well as the number of Who’s Who loose leaf entries that I’ve had signed.

    I could go on, but I’ve rambled long enough. Rob, your idea to do a show on other collections is an awesome idea. I’ve accumulated a few odd collections myself over the years (Trivial Pursuit games, for one). I would LOVE to hear you guys talk about what else you collect.

  18. I’ve been collecting comics since the early 1980s. I’ve never counted to see how many individual issues I own. Never used bags & boards & no real filing system other than a random gut feeling where things might be found. Still own the majority of the comics I’ve purchased though the years. I do donate items I’m certain never to read again. I consider myself a comics fan & reader more than collector.

    I do have great bookshelves of ordered hardcovers at home & in my campus office.

    Not to be morbid, but what do folks want to happen to your collection when you’re “gone?”

    1. I’m willing mine to the animal rescue organization where I got my current dog. I’ve already discussed with them and they did say people donated items for them to sell. Mainly, I wanted to help them because I know they do good work, but I didn’t want my collection sitting around, gathering dust. I want them in the hands of someone who will enjoy them. Since the collection would be so bulky, I wanted to donate it to something local, due to shipping charges. I had previously thought about St. Jude’s or Shriners hospitals.

      As a weird aside, my dad worked for a funeral home and mentioned to me a couple of times that people were buried with Batman stuff. Weird, since I thought I was the only collector in town. I told him there was no need for that for me. I want my stuff to go someone who will enjoy it. Besides, if there is a heaven, won’t it have all the comic books I could ever want?

      1. I used to joke with friends that I wanted all of my long boxes to be arranged into a giant viking funeral pyre and I would be cremated with my collection.

  19. Impressive podcast. Most Impressive. Cool ya’ll had Mikey Mike B on again. (Sorry Stole that from Andy.) I’m not realy a collector… I have 4 boxes of comics and I mean big boxes. But, their just kind of thrown in there. The only comic run I have a complete run of though is the 70s Star Fire run. Cause her Who’s Who entry was so cool. And it was a good run and the last issue is written by Tom Defalco. And has a murders row of talented writers. Just for only a few issues. David Michelinie , Steve Englehart and many others. Each issue was drawn by Mike Vosburg . Though it was inked by Colleta. So that got it taken back a little. Still Vosburg did better here than he did on G.I. Joe.

    So who knows. And I have bunch of TBS. Like the Earth 1 Huntress…of course. So which Women of Marvel comics does Rob have? There are quite a few volumes. Some are pretty good. As is Bring on the Bad Guys. The O.M.C. And S.O.T.O.M.C. I had those as a kid. I have been lesioning to the outsides podcast. It’s pretty good. Think their on issue 2 right now.

  20. Gentlemen, thank you so much for using my suggestion for the show! and thank you to Shag for sending me a personal email letting me know it was in the works. I finally had time to listen to it this weekend and I enjoyed it immensely! Like Tim I found myself nodding and agreeing with a lot of the comments made by everyone. The only exception being the “purging”, I still have yet to part with any of my collection.

    I should also note that I’ve been a fan of the FWNetwork since day 1. I don’t comment much on the site but know that I’ve listened to 90%+ of all of the shows and I love all of the content you folks produce!

    I’ve been an avid comic reader, collector and part-time hoarder my entire life. I still have some of the beat up copies of comics I had when I was 6 years old. I did cut out a couple of the dioramas from the treasuries and they never looked as good as the pictures. I also made posters from some of the “pin-ups” cut from some of my favorite bronze-age books. Like Michael I can pick up an issue and tell you quite a bit about the circumstances of when and how I bought it.

    I’ve been an anal-retentive collector since the late 70’s. I used to keep track of my collection on recipe cards and created checklist grids in notebooks. Since Feb/1980 I’ve tracked every comic purchase I’ve made. I can look at the annual graph of how many and how much I spent on comics each year and I can clearly see major life events. When I got my first job, when I graduated from high school and then college, the years when I was single with a real job and really got into filling out my collection, when I got married etc.

    I passed another major milestone earlier this year. I have over 60,000 comics! Yes they take up an entire room in my house. A couple of years ago I invested in drawerboxes to minimize the footprint but it’s still an entire room! I have never been able to bring myself to downsize the collection. I know I should but every time I think about the ROI on the time to sort and sell them, I decide that I’d rather invest the time in some other activity. I know it will be a burden on my daughter to liquidate the collection when I go but that still a few decades off, I hope!

    I’ve moved my collection across the country a few times but have been fortunate that they were all corporate moves, so professional movers took care of it, but seeing the moving invoices each time makes me realize just how heavy they all are. I’ve also moved all 100+ long boxes from room to room in houses a few times.

    I really do love the adventure of hunting and filling holes. In the 70’s and early 80’s it was garage sales, bake sales and the occasional box in the corner of the second hand thrift stores to fill holes. Finally in the 82, I was able to convince my parents to let me go into a real comic book store and I spent $7 for New Teen Titans #4 which I missed on the spinner rack! This store was in a city 3 hours from where we lived, so we didn’t make it there often. When I finally got my driver’s license a store opened up 1 hour from me and I frequented it quite often once I got my first job. When I went to University, I was generally broke but spent a lot of my summer job paychecks finding back issues!

    I’m a computer programmer so I’ve always created programs to track my collection and wantlists. I started with a BASIC program on a TRS-80 Model III+, then Lotus 1-2-3 on a IBM PC, then dBase III+, then Excel, then a SQL DB and a set of Perl scripts, then a few years back an Android app so I always have my collection data on hand.

    I still buy comics monthly and have been using the same mail order service for 20+ years. I used to travel a lot so being able to manage my pull list on line and have the comics shipped to me has always been the most convenient way to go. I primarily follow creators now like Jeff Lemire, Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Mark Russell, Jason Aaron, Donny Cates, Bendis, Fraction, John Layman and a few others.

    I still love to visit stores and dig through the bins. When travelling I do like to visit local stores but there aren’t as many back issue stores as they used to be. I attend shows frequently and there is something zen-like to browsing through long boxes, seeing the covers of comics I have and the thrill of finding a book I don’t. I forget about all of the work issues and other life challenges and enjoy flipping through all the books. I agree with Rob that eBay and other online options has made it too easy to fill holes. I do buy some stuff online but still prefer to buy stuff in person.

    I do like buying odd items, I have nearly all of the treasuries, digests, Marvel Giant-Size, DC Dollar Comics, DC/Marvel Graphic Novels, Magazines etc. I love tracking down character appearances, I’m currently trying to get early Brainiac appearances!

    I subscribe to both Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe and read quite a few comics digitally when traveling but really do prefer print. I should mention that Humble Bundle has been a great way to support charities and buy huge digital lots, I picked up a lot of Valiant, Star Wars and Image books that way. I also used to take advantage of the Comixology sales before I subscribed to the Marvel and DC apps.

    I have been recently working through a major sorting project. I have ~5 “sorted collections” really based on times I did major moves and my goal has been to merge them into a single collection. My strategy has been to pull out “runs”. I’ve merged together my Action Comics, Superman, Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, New-52 and a few other sub-collections. Still much work left to do! My goal is to pull assemble all of these sub-collections and I’ll keep the “dead universes” and indy publishers in separate boxes, eg: CrossGen, Malibu Ultraverse, Valiant etc and then put all of the major DC and Marvel characters in their own collections. Up to this point I was a strict alpha-numeric sorter based on the indicia hence Fury of Firestorm was separate from Firestorm the Nuclear Man, which I realize is nonsense now!

    Anyway, I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed the episode and all of the content the network produces! Please keep up the good work!

    Phil

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