...And More Importantly: How OFTEN Do You Read Them?
Well, since I did the post about the tidy-up in Room Oblivion things have moved on. Books have more-or-less been put into order on the shelves.
This was the old look:
Then a query was raised about Why are my comics not all bagged?:
But I've seen, over the last few days, several bloggers display their collection in the very over-priced comic boxes and Mylar bags, but also as stacks in comic shop bags. I know there are the lucky ones with a big living area, small room or even secured garage-cum-man den but that's the exception.
I started reading comics when I was 4 or 5 years of age thanks to Ma and Bill (my grandparents). I do not have all those old comics because of various reasons but as I never had a permanent place to live until I hit my 40s my comics were all over the place -but in rudimentary bagging.
Comics and comic annuals go back to the 1940s and there are series I want to re-read if and when I ever get the chance to 'retire' (or go senile which is a form of retirement -perhaps wander the streets with my underpants over my long johns and a table cloth around my neck as I go worrying "hoodies"....no. That's my current hobby). Silver Age Sub-Mariner, Silver-Bronze Age Avengers, Dr Strange and, of course, those wonderful small company titles like MF Enterprises Captain Marvel.
Above:someone else's collection!
Here is the thing, though: I have thousands of comics that I have not read since the 1980s, 1990s or even 2000-2010. Some of them were great reads at the time when Marvel and DC had maybe 14-18 main titles a month. Mini series or maxi series were extras. A lot of the comics after 2000 I have little interest in since by that time continuity had ceased to exist with both Marvel and DC. And with Disney owning Marvel continuity does not matter -the dollar is the be-all and end-all.
One day this is all going to implode and I'd guess within the next 4 years, maybe sooner. The rot has already set in. You see, everyone over-excited about Avengers: Age Of Ultron and I've now noted ten negative reviews such as Bounding Into Comics:"Age Of Ultron: Worse Than A Star Wars Prequel?"
Don't believe me? http://boundingintocomics.com/2015/05/23/age-of-ultron-worse-than-a-star-wars-prequel/
Wow. Apparently it only made around $191.3 million dollars on opening weekend. Disney execs must have been jumping from windows. That was sarcasm by-the-way.
It is quite noticeable that more and more bloggers are now calling it "Disney" not "Marvel"...oh, it finally sank in. But while the die-hard Marvel fans will hail anything -even Tony Stark's nail clippings- as a huge success it is very obvious that more negativity is creeping in.
DC are not exempt as, even before the movies are released they are getting negative responses for all sorts of silly reasons. Okay, that may be DCs fault because it has dragged its heels -rather than base movies on established characters -say, Smallville, which movie goers would probably be familiar with- they are dragging things out. "Suicide Squad -has anyone seen the stills from that? Its like a cosplayers lineup" (sic). The most positive comments surrend, as I mentioned before, Harley Quinn's spray-on shorts.
And...WHOA! Even the TV series that "made comic book geek chic" -The Big Bang Theory is getting unprecedented criticism. "Kaley Cuoco's acting stinks. She ought to be replaced!" "Kaley Cuoco shortened her hair. Bimbo!" and Cuoco was previously untouchable. Even the other characters -or, rather, the actors- are getting negativity. One TV pundit in the US claimed the series was still popular but had lost that "geekster following"!
Look on Ebay and elsewhere and you will find a heck of a lot of comics from the last 4-5 years on sale. Shop owners never ever declare these things publicly (they fear for their business after all) but it seems more and more of the newer readers are trying to sell their books back to shops. Yes, after 4-5 years some are realising that comics are NOT going to make them rich. The huge financial outlay in comic storage boxes, Mylar bags and...seriously..."reading gloves" (condoms for comic reading!) is a lot and their comics value has increased by....00.0%
I've seen two comic geek chic types who spent up to $120.00 on a "Rocket Raccoon first appearance" title (seriously, again, go online and see just how many 'first appearances' it is claimed he had!) write that the best offer they had when trying to sell the books on (now there was a sincere interest in comics) was "$20 ****** bucks!" (I was going to tell him he needn't include the "$" sign if he was going to write "bucks" but...).
Comic shops are not going to buy back comics they know they cannot sell or if they can it's only in the $1 box. One stated "It's a buyers market" then added "Customers buy we sell. We don't buy back!" I have now heard of two long time customers in comic shops in the US who had no real interest in the new Secret Wars series -the store owner offered issues 1 and 2 "If you don't like them then okay -bring 'em back and I'll put them in the remainders box".....in one case at least -they ended up in the remainders box (the other guy paid half price "out of loyalty"!!!!).
Having spoken to people who attend comic conventions from Finland to the USA there is one thing they hate as traders -Cos-players.
I really like cos-players and thought that my own observations that they never buy comics -they'll take the freebies- was isolated. However, time and time again I hear "Cos-players never buy books. They are not there for that!" followed by "Events support them so they ought to support the industry!"
Every cos-player I have chatted to does the whole thing for fun. It's a social thing. Decades ago you wanted to meet people and feel one of the gang you joined cycling clubs that went on weekend tours (VERY big in "the olden days"!), or you became a bird-watcher or...or...okay, train-spotters with a real interest in the engineering and so on maybe. But bus-spotting?!! Seriously, Bristol at weekends seems to be full of them -note books and pens ready, cameras on tripods or cameras with telephoto lenses. I mean, okay, as kids we used to spot car licence plates -not so many cars and in some cases those notes even helped the police! But buses......
Anyway, check out You Tube videos of cos-players and it is not about the comic it is about the look of a character and how they have designed and put together a costume. And meeting up with like-minded people. I am NOT going to go into the more seedy side of why some female cos-players are involved because they are the exception -I think roped off sections for "more adult posing" says it all.
One day, cos-playing will be the main event with comic selling as a rather quaint aside.
TV and movies make big money. Comics to a lesser degree. The fact that "The Big Two" are desperately recycling ideas and really have no respect for fans -watch Tom Brevoort for
Comics are seen as secondary and not that important as anything other than movie fodder. The chic-sters -well, the brighter ones- are realising this. There is going to be a massive comics glut on the internet and shop owners are advising those wanting to get rid of their books to "sell them on Ebay!"
We need to get back to the old comic mart days. A day long event where comickers come to buy old comics and where cos-players or over priced toy merchandise are secondary.
For me, I have those thousands of comics I no longer read. I would love to sell them off and get the money -AND the much needed space. However, I know that is unlikely because the market is not there.
An offer from a deal for a book that I know in its condition is worth £50-60.00 of "I can give you £5.00 but there is no guarantee I can sell it" is an insult. I check out dealers, I know people who use these comic dealers and they tell me the prices asked by those dealers. That book I was offered £5.00 for? The dealer was so certain I was going to take his offer (!) that he contacted someone I know who emailed me to say he had been offered the book for...£75.00. The dealer did get back to me by phone and tried everything to get back book -all of that month's Marvel comics AND £10.00. He certainly did not like my "No".
But look at your comic collection and ask yourself how many of the books you read more than once. What do you expect from your collection -it will never earn you enough to retire on- as the years go by? A yard sale? Thrift store donation? I know that when I croak mine will probably -likely- be sold off for what can be got and the rest trashed or burned.
Comickers tend to buy, read and store. I don't think I've ever met a real comicker who ever thought beyond that.
Depressing, isn't it? Believe me, no one is more depressed about it than me...other than the cupboards.
Here's a thought, though: Hong Kong produced huge numbers of comics but you try finding comickers today in Hong Kong who have knowledge of Manhua pre 2000s or 1990s. The same in Singapore where I was astounded on forums to learn I was the only one who knew of 1980s Singaporean comics!
Buy and read and keep comics you love and read more than once. In forty years time someone is going to be writing: "Where the hell did these mountains of comics from the early 2000s originate?!" and that after he picked up a pack of 50 comics for $10.......