Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Today is my third wedding anniversary. That's right, three years ago today Stephanie and I tied the knot. It's the best thing I ever did, no question.

While we've been planning a few events for tonight, we've also been fantasizing about what we're going to do with our new house. That's right, just last night we signed the final paperwork that set the whole home buying experience in motion. We close on June 12.

The last few days, with the house and the anniversary talk in the air, I've completely forgotten about collecting. Jumping on eBay to find more football cards, or dusting my first edition books, or soaking in my favorite Adam Hughes covers has been the farthest thing from my mind. Throw the warm Spring weather in the mix and you get a tempered collector's mentality. I'm looking forward to a much needed break.

Although I don't foresee adding to my collections in the coming weeks, I do consider it a necessity to make some more cuts. First thing on the chopping blocks: My Marvel run of Star Wars comics. After that, I feel the dam about to burst. In other words, I don't imagine moving into the house with any comic books.

Let the selling begin...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Buy High, Sell Low

Trying to get rid of a few items to make room on my bookcase. For now, just a few unwanted hardcovers. Based on other eBay auctions, I'll be lucky to get even the cover price of one of these books, let alone price I paid for the bunch. But that's a risk I have to take with a home purchase in my future...

For those interested in what I'm offering up this first time around on eBay, check out my auctions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Upgrade Central

Noticed a bad trend happening over at DC. For the second time I've noticed an oversize hardcover of material already collected in tradepaperback. This time it's Gotham Central, my all-time favorite series set in Gotham City. But just like Ex Machina, I already own all of the trades. So do I need to upgrade my reading material?

I'm not even sure if this is really a collector's question. It's not the collector in me that is considering the upgrade. I don't feel this urge to own every version of the books I like. As far as the collector goes, all I care about is the first rendition of my favorite stories. For novels, that means a first edition hardcover. For a comic, that's the monthly issue. This is neither.

Instead, it's all about my preferred format. Book publishers make this so easy on me. I love hardcovers and I love the first rendition of a book. Well, those are one in the same. So for me, this is uncharted territory. I dig hardcovers and the oversize art, but does that equate to spending more money on the same story?

I skipped the Ex Machina hardcover collection, but I'll be tempted again once I actually see or hold the thing. Yet one driving factor will be whether or not DC will publish the rest of the material in hardcover, or will my bookcases always look stupid with a mix of hardcovers and softcovers of the same title?

I know it's all about money, but why can't there be a little rhyme and reason behind how comic publishers produce their collected material?

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Fond Farewell?

So I'm reading through DC's solicitations for July 2008 when I'm suddenly thinking it's time to start buying more monthlies. I don't know why, exactly, it just feels like the right thing to do for some reason. When I notice that Catwoman is starring in Detective Comics, I think, what the hell? I might as well dive into a few series to see what's going on. Hell, maybe I'll start reading every issue with Catwoman in it.

Then WHAM! that dream comes crashing down when I read the solicitation for Catwoman #81 and I spot the last words on the marketing blurb: FINAL ISSUE.

Well that blows. I know the title isn't the best on the shelves, but ever since Brubaker took over, I really liked the character. So much so that I was considering reading more of her. I guess that won't be happening now.

I just hope that Adam Hughes takes over the cover chores of another book before too long. At least he's giving her a nice send off. It's almost as if she's telling DC to kiss her well-formed ass.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Exactly Are You Doing?

I don't know anything about this Final Crisis thing other than the fact that DC has been leading up to this explosive, life-changing event for what seems like four years. But one thing I do know is that the cover to issue 3 is fantastic. It's downright spooky, and sexy at the same time. It's one of the few covers I've seen in awhile that makes me actually want to read the book to see exactly what the hell's going on.

And knowing me, I'll be buying it to find out. Then again, I'm doubting those red bars on either side of Wonder Woman will be on the final cover, so who knows if that will make the image better or worse. Only time will tell.

Saving Money with Previews

My interest in comics hit an all-time low today when I placed my order for books shipping in three months. The damage came to a mere $52 with shipping. That's the lowest it's been since I started using DCBS a few years ago. And nearly half of that price came with Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, a how-to by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (which should be a fantastic book).

You know, that isn't exactly true. Yes, that $52 is less than any other order I've placed with DCBS, but my interest in the few comics I did order is actually pretty high. So maybe that's the key? Instead of buying a bunch of comics I'm hoping will be good, I'll buy much less and focus on those that I'm much more positive will be solid reads.

Either way, I saved a few bucks this time around, and that's never a bad thing for a collector.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Same, Only Different

I was surfing this morning and found myself focusing on searching for any and all books devoted to the Green Bay Packers. So I emailed Jason.

"I've decided that I'm totally into buying books on the Packers," I wrote.

He wrote back, "You're just now realizing that?"

"No, I guess not, I just like thinking about it."

Anyway, in my search I discovered the soon-to-be-released updated version of Green Bay Packers: The Complete Illustrated History. I read the first volume and loved it. Now the question is would the information on the 2007 season and Favre's retirement be enough for me to buy the same book twice.

Any modern comic collector understands the variant craze. I'll admit that I've played the sucker a few times and paid out the nose for a comic that is a little more "rare" and features a different cover than the regular version. But this is different, right? This isn't some variant, it's just an updated history book. And wouldn't buying this put me on the edge of a slippery slope? If I buy this one, does that mean I have to buy next year's volume, too? In ten years, will I have 10 volumes of this same book?

Only time will tell, I suppose, but I'm guessing that anyone who's read this blog more than a few times already knows the answer to my questions.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

That's Not Art, That's Just Cool

I might be pulling further and further away from comics these days (don't worry, it's like a rubber band, I'll snap back before Marvel reveals who's a Skrull) but my football card habit just keeps on truckin' full steam ahead.

It's crazy how much I love the Packers. With each passing season, I get more and more drawn into every aspect of the organization. I find myself watching the news earlier and earlier, following the team's transactions throughout the off season. And with every passing year, my collecting gets more and more frenzied, too.

I posted not long ago that collecting comics is so subjective. We collect these pieces of art based on our personalities and what we find appealing. As you've seen, I'm currently learning that fewer and fewer comics strike my fancy, and I'm pulling away from collecting them altogether.

Sometimes my book collecting is at odds with my book reading, too. I'd say that about 30% of my first edition novels remain unread (it's probably more than that, but I hesitate to actually do the math). I have enough books to keep me busy for a few years, but I keep buying them to continually update my collection. At the same time, however, I'm not buying them for the sake of the collection either. It's not all about quantity. I don't get excited by the number of books I have. Instead, I buy them with the hopes that I'll not only one day read them, but that I'll enjoy the story, too. So yes, in other words, nearly half of my collection I have no idea if I actually like.

There's something off putting about that notion. I would never buy a painting with the hopes that I would someday grow to like it, yet here I am, with books and comics all over the place that have yet to strike a chord with me (unless you count my love for cool spines, but you get the idea).

Football cards are totally different. There's no artistic value to them whatsoever. They are 100% collectible items. I could make the argument that they have historical significance to football fans, or that the design work is artistic, but let's face it, I buy them for my collection and nothing more. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the hell out of 'em: putting them in sleeves, scanning them, posting them to my website, writing about them, talking about them, organizing them, reorganizing them. I get more mileage out of these cards then any kid who puts 'em on the spokes of his bike.

No, I buy a football card to cross it off my list. To finally be able to say I have a complete set. To be the first one on the block with the complete Packers master team set from this year or that brand. While many might scoff at the very notion, I think it makes the collection all that much more significant because there's no other point. It's a collection that doesn't try to be high brow, or intellectual, or cool. It's just a collection.

I think that's why the list of cards I own keeps growing. While I often second guess my book or comic collections or change my requirements for what I consider to be quality art, I'm always going to be a Packers fan and I'm always going to have this urge to buy cardboard. And I'm totally cool with that.

When you look at my comic or book collection, you'll know that what I read says a lot about who I am. My taste in art reflects my soul. For football cards, the collection says nothing more than the fact that I'm a huge Packers fan. Well, it might also say that I'm a little obsessive compulsive (what's the deal with buying the same card ten times, anyway?) and I need to get out of the house more, but you get the idea.

Nope, these cards certainly aren't art...but they're certainly cool.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Just Another Sucker

I haven't updated my blog for awhile because I don't have much to say that hasn't been said. I'm tired of comics and I'm considering selling off the bulk of my collection; not only the trades and OGNs, but also the single issues. It's serious this time. I mean, I look at my collection and wish it would suddenly disappear. I'd rather have the extra space then these books filling up my bookcase and closet.

Of course, that way of thinking won't stop me from heading to Mile High on Wednesday and getting the new issue of Wonder Woman.

Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to me either. Then again, I never said anything I wrote or felt about collecting would make sense.

Actually, the idea of buying a book when I'm this turned off by comics makes my stomach turn a little. Sure, I'm hoping the Gail Simone story will somehow work for me, but the odds aren't in her favor. So yeah, it really doesn't make any sense.

But wait, it gets better.

See, not only am I planning to get that Wonder Woman, I'm also considering spending $50 on a book I know I won't like. Go figure. But something about the Star Wars: Luke Skywalker, Last Hope for the Galaxy hardcover collection has me intrigued. Not so much for any enjoyment I might get out of reading the book, but more about pure speculation. I know Star Wars fans are die hards, and I also know that most of the Marvel omniboo prices on the secondary market went through the roof before Marvel went back to press. I'm not sure if I'll pull the trigger, especially when I realize that every time I've bought something with the hope of turning it into a profit, those plans failed miserably. Plus that cover looks like crap. Sure, it's not the actual cover, Dark Horse is only using the image for "solicitation only," but what does that say for the actual cover?

Yeah, comics suck, but I'm still a sucker.