So after perusing the Internet for information on the Marvel Masterworks Spider-Man book, I quickly learned that it could be easily purchased on eBay for less than what I paid at Mile High. For an impulsive collector, that’s a slap in the face. Had I just waited and did a little more research, I could’ve saved $10. That’s not enough to go crying for mommy, but when you think that $10 could fetch a few modern comics or a new trade paperback, well, then you see what a waste it really was.
But spending too much money was only part of the problem. The other problem I discovered online presented itself when I found overwhelming fanboy praise for the recent Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol. 1. This hardcover behemoth collects the first 30 Fantastic Four comics, plus annuals, plus letters pages, plus bonus material. Awesome!
Of course, instead of being excited about this beautiful book like any normal person, it actually just added more anxiety to my daily life. Would Marvel make an omnibus that collected the first 30 Amazing Spider-Man books? If so, would I rather have the three Masterworks hardcovers or the one giant omnibus? Which would look better on the shelf? Which would be more rare, more sought after? Should I wait for the big book, or go find the others?
While I certainly had a debate on my hands, one thing was immediately clear: I had to have that Fantastic Four book. And I had to have it right now! There was no time to order it online. I knew I couldn’t wait a week or more for shipping...oh no, that was way too slow. Instead, I called Mile High and had them pull it from their warehouse. It would be ready the next afternoon. Sure, getting it from my local comic shop would cost me an extra $25, but it was worth it to have that big boy in my hands in a matter of days.
But that decision was only part of the issue. When it came time to place the order, I wasn’t truly prepared for their next question: “Do you want the limited edition or the regular?”
Oh no. A thousand thoughts and questions darted through my mind. I could save money buying the limited edition online, but I’d have to wait. Buying it in town got me the book sooner, but I’d be paying the same price for the regular edition as I would for the limited edition’s online price. Did I really need it now? Did I really need the limited edition? Which was more important?
The collector in me froze. There was simply no way to answer those last two questions. They were at odds with one another.
”Hello? You still there?”
”Um, yeah, sorry,” I said, stalling. “I was just, umm, yeah, I’ll take the regular edition.”
Damn it! The collector screamed inside my mind, flipped me the bird, then sulked in a shadowy corner, cursing me for my weakness. But I knew I had at least won half the battle. Sure, I wasn’t getting the limited edition, and sure I was paying too much, but I was getting the book sooner rather than later. And that in itself was something to be proud of. I sighed with relief and hung up the phone.
Three weeks later, the Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol. 1 sits between two other hardcover comic collections, looking more like a phone book than a collectible but still looking glorious.
It’s still in its original shrink-wrap.