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.

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