Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Collecting Comic Books

By Christina VanGinkel

When my husband and I were first married, I came to the marriage with a small collection of comic books, including a few Disney and a decent sized stack of Archie Comics. Anyone who has ever read the trials and tribulations of Jughead, Veronica, and the rest of the gang, knows just how important a collection of comic books can be. I also was the proud owner of a few Star Wars comics, along with a sampling of various other titles. I still have every single one of those comics today, along with a few more that I have picked up through the years.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of pitching a tent in the backyard of my Maple Street address, and pouring over the latest newsstand find. With flashlight in hand, I would stay up well past traditional lights out reading. Well, actually, we had a small store devoted to comic books in our sleepy little town, not a newsstand. The guy that ran the place looked a lot like what you might expect to find running some out of the way tattoo parlor, but he was always good about even us youngest kids coming in to browse the racks, as long as we behaved ourselves. He even came to learn what kind of comics I liked, and would set aside the last copy of certain issues if I had not been in for my weekly visit yet, as he knew I had to wait to come in until I received my allowance for washing pans at our family owned bakery. He also sold sodas and had a decent candy counter, but I rarely bought any of that, saving all my money for comics.

Collecting comics is not something I set out to do to make money at, though I have a few that are now worth considerable more than what I paid for them. I have also browsed the racks of various collectible stores and online sites such as eBay, and have come across some very impressive numbers. I always think that if I had worked a bit harder and earned more money, who knows, my collection might now be worth enough to retire on, instead of just being a continued form of amusement.

I do not own any that are top value though, but a few of my earliest ones could be classified as at least reasonably attractive to someone looking to expand their more modest collection. Collecting comics as an investment can and is done, though that was never my intention. I collected the ones I did purely for the joy of it. All the comics in my own collection are well-read and far from perfect condition. Not only have I read them, but I have also shared them with my children, as they got older. We read them at bedtimes, and rainy afternoons, and just for the shear pleasure. One thing I did do though was to take care with their storage.

Early on, I bought a package of plastic sleeves with cardboard inserts to keep each book as wrinkle and crease free, and dust free as possible,. Later, I graduated to a couple top quality archival quality boxes. I kept the comics in their plastic sleeves, along with their cardboard inserts. The comics are stored upright, and I never overfill a box, making sure that each has plenty of room to allow me to find any particular comic I am in search of and not have to struggle to remove it or replace it back between the other issues stored within the same container. I also took the time to label the outside of each sleeve with any particulars related to the book inside. This has saved me wear and tear on them by not having to handle them unless it happens to be the copy I am searching for.

Collecting comic books is a timeless hobby. It is also something that can be shared across the ages. If you are looking for a hobby for either yourself or something to share with a child, collecting comic books might be the perfect hobby for you to give a try. With subjects across a wide scope of genres, and both old and new titles just waiting to be discovered, collecting comic books is sure to appeal to nearly everyone in some way or another.

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