I’ve had a huge comics collection I think since I discovered how my mom was hiding my old comics and put a stop to it. And by collection, I mean “hoard”, as in a big pile in a closet, and later, a whole wall of shelved and sorted and bagged comics. Maintaining the collection was usually too much of an effort so over the years, I let it just pile up. Eventually, I moved out, and managed to take only part of the collection, and it was only when I moved in on my own when I finally gathered all the comics from my parents’ house and put it all together in my apartment.
My comics collection, accumulated over the years mostly by regular subscriptions (and some very enjoyable back issues bought – Claremont and Byrne’s X-Men and Byrne’s Fantastic Four, for example), was for the bulk of my life a major part of my identity, and it took me a long, long time to accept that the experiences embodied in the paper can live in my memory, that the vast majority of the objects themselves will not be read again or shared with others.
Aya introduced me to the liberating experience of getting rid of stuff, which she calls Feng Shui but which I’d prefer to label Potlatch. She got me to try and sort my comics into two groups of “keep” and “sell/give away”. She also had some ideas for the latter group, but I wasn’t ready yet – still too emotionally involved in this stuff.
Eventually, I “sorted” all my comics into those 2 groups, and sorted the “give away” group into alphabetical groups, and then… then it waited on the shelves for, like, forever:
What I did do was decide that I should have some boxes to transport the comics to wherever I would sell them. So I started collecting computer case cartons from work, and those started piling in the living room, until I couldn’t spend time there anymore because it felt so crowded.
But then, G. gave me another firm nudge, and I called up comics dealers, offering to sell them the whole lot for a fixed price. I had mixed feelings about this – about attaching a value to my comics in general, I’d say: on the one hand, I have some stuff which would be worth good money if it was in good condition. On the other hand, most of my stuff was in depressingly bad shape.
Here’s a crucial tip for keeping comics: Never expose them to sunlight – it was better for my comics when they were a heap in a closet than when I sorted and bagged them and put them on shelves in my brightly-lit bedroom. When I visited Uri Fink he had this wonderful office cabinet for storing his comics; I have one (now partially rusted by cat piss…), but I should have got 4 or 5, if I had the room.
Last week, CnV agreed to buy the collection. Finally, I got around to putting all those cardboard boxes to use:
I ended up with 39 cardboard boxes worth of comics; I had agreed to deliver them myself to CnV’s store. It would have taken me several trips to get them all there in my car. Thankfully, my wonderful sister Dana agreed to help me, not only bringing her station wagon into which we managed to fit all 39 boxes (stacked 3 high, with the final box riding on my lap in the passenger seat), but also carried all the boxes downstairs with me. She was utterly awesome, and made what I feared would be a Sisyphean task into a much more pleasant experience.
So now, I have a lot of space in my living room and on my bookshelves, and a great big emotional weight has shifted away.