Monday, August 15, 2005

The League Presents
Suggestions for Further Reading

OCD: The Comic Book Way


I'm working on bagging, boarding and boxing comics. Well, most of them were already bagged and boarded. But I haven't popped open my boxes in quite a while.

My comics organizing is sort of done by theme more than alphabetically. I don't just have Action Comics followed by Ambush Bug, followed by Blue Beetle. I have my Superman boxes, Batman and X-men boxes. It sort of works, I think.

A typical comic "long box"

Currently I've got about 9 short boxes and around 12 long boxes. And I'm beginning to appreciate the guys who wisely live in their mother's basements with enough space to store all of their damn comics. Now, Jamie doesn't want to move in with my parents just so I can turn Jason's old bedroom into a comic storage space, but I like the idea. I mean, he's only there at Christmas and, like, Mom's birthday. And he LIKES cardboard boxes.

Anyway, I have a lot of work ahead of me as it's been about ten months since I actually got all of my comics in order (by title and number). I read about four Superman comics, so right there that's about 40 comics. So when you add up the JLA, JSA, the five of six Batman comics, and, oh, man... why do I hold on to these things?

It's gotta be some form of OCD.

The thing that's sort of killing me is that, apparently, about 7 or 8 months ago I, apparently, didn't sort my comics. I just stuck them all in a long-box after bagging and boarding them. So it was an issue of Promethea, an issue of Aquaman, an issue of Black Panther... So after I thought I'd sorted and stacked my comics in preparation to start pulling out boxes, I had to go through a shortened version fo the process and then go through my existing stacks and shuffle in the missing issues.

The League's preferred bags. We like Silver Age bags and boards.

I now have to pull the boxes down and try to squeeze the new comics in. When they don't fit, I have to choose a title or two which will have to be resorted and find a new home. For example, I have a "Batman Family" box with Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Gotham Central, etc... stuff that's Batman related, but titles I may not pick up every issue. Well, I DO pick up Gotham Central every issue (and you should, too... this is a great cop procedural, and I norammly stand indifferent to cop procedurals. Let's just say Law & Order is different when teh criminals look like demented clowns and Batman is usually three steps ahead of our boys in blue), and had picked up a lot of "Batman Family" books due to a lot of cross-overs such as "War Games".

Anyway, I pulled Gotham Central out of the Batman Family box, and I'm not yet sure where it's going. Probably a temporary spot while I sort through my other Batman comics.

It is very much a personal library system, and a fun one to maintain.

I will admit to being probably more careless with some of my comics than I should be, just for sorting purposes. They all get bags and boards, but one of the most oddly expensive items in comic collecting are the plastic dividers one is supposed to place between comics. For a pack of 25 dividers, most folks will charge you in the neighborhood of $12.50. That's like $0.50 a divider. I'm fairly certain that I could find some other way to identify comics, but you can probably guess that I don't want to identify every comic I ever bought but didn't necessarily want to throw away.

This doesn't really get into the actual book shelf organization of the graphic novels and trade paperbacks. That's sort of an artform unto itself as well, but I'll save that one for a later day.

As I've complained before, I am literally running out of space. And while I do have all my comics in order, I still haven't built a comprehensive database of my comics. The amount of time it would take to actually enter each comic into a db seems a little overwhelming, but I suspect I should. Really, I'm looking for an online service, partially for insurance reasons.

One option is These guys seems to have the right idea, and it doubles as an auction site, so I could, in theory, turn around and sell my comics through these guys. And with dwindling space, unloading large chunks of my collection is beginning to seem like a good idea.

The industry standard is called ComicBase, but as far as I know, they aren't online quite yet. Maybe this year, though, and then I'll do some shopping.

I could use Excel or Access, but, honestly, I'm way too lazy to enter in all that data when somebody else may have already created a place where I can use a radio button to indicate what I have and determine the net worth.

I really don't have even a rough estimate of the number of comics I own, but it would be interesting to find out.

Well, for me, anyway.

For the last Suggestions for Further Reading, go here.

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