Comics in Storage

By | Friday, March 17, 2023 2 comments
I've seen more than a few instances over the years of friends and acquaintences mentioning that they wanted to dig out from storage some comic in their collection. Space reasons dictate that they can't keep much of their collection at home, and it winds up getting housed in a storage unit. Or two. I relied on the storage unit option myself when I was trying to sell my last house and my realtor 'suggested' that a large pile of comic books isn't conducive to that. But in looking for a new house, I was very keen on making sure it has enough space for me to build a comic book library, where I can keep my collection and be able to get some work/research done in the same space. Previously, I did have all my collection in one location, but I couldn't really get a computer workstation there as well to be able to do all my writing in the same spot. I could (and did) walk up and down through the house carrying books back and forth, but that became tedious, especially when I was just looking for a specific quote or other piece of trivia. Better than having to schlep out to a storage unit, but more annoying than I'd like.

That I've been able to keep my collection on my property for years, and that I could even entertain the notion of creating a library in my house, is in part because I live in the Midwest. More specifically, I live in the suburbs of the Midwest. I suspect folks along the East coast and in major metropolitan areas don't have that luxury. It's easy to see why digital comics might be popular in those areas.

I'm not married to the notion of comics as individual artifacts. I'm not in this for the collectibility aspect, I want to read the stories. Whether that comes in a pamphlet or part of a bound collection or a digital version, I don't really care. But I appreciate that a lot of comics have already been printed and, before digital comics were viable, I bought a lot of them. As comics are a large part of my entertainment and research, I don't want to get rid of them as they do constitute a part of my research. You never know when you might need to reference some obscure issue of Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters or something. And while I could conceivably replace many of them with digital copies, I loathe the idea of paying for the same story twice. My run of Avengers is a bit spotty, but I still have virtually every story in some form, through reprints and trade paperbacks. I have no need to buy #55 when I already have the reprint in Marvel Super Action #14!

Not to mention that some books are unlikely to ever get a digital treatment. Sometimes because of rights issues (e.g. Rom and Micronauts) and sometimes just because the original creator doesn't have any interest (e.g. Mr. A).

It's important to me to have access to my collection because I refer to it a lot. The type of writing I do is inherently referal in nature, and I regularly go back to not only the comics but fanzines and biographies and other printed materials. These past several months of having my collection in storage have been difficult, and much of my research has ground to a halt. But I like my collection well enough that I don't think I'll be moving into an urban area any time soon. The Chicago burbs I can swing, but I'm not so sure I'm willing to sacrfice my collection for space reasons.
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Anonymous said...

My biggest problem/criticism of the Marvel reprint titles of the Bronze Age is that so many of them cut a page or two (or three) of the original material. When it came time to prune my collection for space/mobility sake, they were among the first to go, and the least missed. On a related note, I'll admit a certain amount of envy that you've never (that you've mentioned) come to the point of a "cull." Kudos. Avoid's a regret trap. -- AMR

Well, any reprint is in danger of edits. A page drop is one of the more significant ones. Re-coloring is fairly common -- which sounds innocuous but it can change a character's race (and therefore some context) or even how a story is read (I recall a story with Grey Gargoyle where the people he was turning to stone were just colored as regular people, not stone-colored). I've seen re-lettering/re-dialoguing and, on very rare occasions, art is even re-drawn. But for the purposes of getting the basic gist of a story, reprints usually do well enough for me.

And yeah, I've been very lucky that I've never felt the need to cull my collection. I have given away/sold some of my comics before, but only duplicates.