This is what it’s come to! Look at that! An unsorted pile of graphic literature haphazardly piled into something that can only be labeled: a damned mess. I used to do better. I used to BE better! Bags, boards, long boxes. I even put my comics in order. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done. With order and civility, not chaos and barbarism. It’s not impossible for me to sift through thousands of comic books to find a single arc of, say, Punisher: War Journal from years gone by, but I’m lazy, and it might as well be. I’ve made attempts to add some calm to the bedlam; maybe sequentially stacking, or just separating the DC from the Marvel from the rest; but at some point, I promise, I’m going to eventually bag, board and box those comics. So why should I sift through them twice, right? But then I go to the store that sells the bags, boards and long boxes, which happens to be the same place that sells the comics that go into the bags, with boards, and long boxes, and I just end up buying more freaking comics! It’s an endless cycle, and it forced me to really put some thought behind this dangerous and self-destructive behavior. So, after a thorough rundown of my current pull-list, a brief discussion with my accountant (AKA, my wife), and with some deep and reflective soul searching, I came to one simple conclusion. I must learn to live in a constant state of chaos.
Let’s say I have about 3000 or so comics randomly stacked around the Den of Geekery outside the comfy confines of proper storage. It’s a few hundred less than that, but, like I said, I’m lazy, and that’s a good approximation. I’m sure my regular guy (yeah, I have a comic book storage accessories “guy”) could give me a better deal, but I found storage for 3000 books for about 325 bucks altogether. Now, even my guy isn’t getting MUCH better prices, so let’s say 300 bucks is a good guesstimation. He likes me. Still, that’s a pretty steep mountain to climb. Since my accountant (see above) has me on what I like to call a “Disciplined Budgetary Outlook Plan” (she calls it “an allowance”) I ain’t made of money, and unless the blog REALLY takes off in the next few months, or that long-lost relative thing happens, I don’t see me having extra cash anytime in the near future. I could always just bite into my current comic budget, right?
Currently I’m picking up about 25 ongoing titles, but that doesn’t even include a couple of limited series, an Indie title or two I’m still on the fence about, and some of those titles come out twice a month. I’m not even going to get into Issue 0’s, Annuals or eight dollar issues of Detective Comics, but 25 comics a month at anywhere between 3 and 4 bucks a pop, is…carry the one…somewhere about 80 and 100 bucks. My CPA has my weekly budgetary allowance for comics at about $20 a week, which gives me…carry the three…80 to 100 buck a month, depending on the number of Wednesday’s of course, which leaves…ugh, subtraction is hard…zero dollars for purchasing storage. Damn! Okay, easy fix, trim some of the fat from the cow that is my overloaded holdbox. This, however, is the really hard part.
I don’t tend to buy crap. I genuinely enjoy each and every comic book I currently buy. So, do I give up Uncanny X-Men, Amazing X-Men, or Wolverine and the X-Men? Justice League, Justice League of America or Justice League Dark? I don’t want to give up a single book, and I’m not going to do it! FOMO much? Yes. Yes I do. There’s certainly wiggle room in my list if I give it a real hard look, but this brings me to another problem, and it’s a problem that not only does nothing to solve my overall storage troubles, but compounds my overarching financial shortcomings.I refuse to choose between my X-books or my JL-Trinity, but I’m also being forced (okay, persuaded [okay, I may have a problem]) to choose between books like Black Science and the newly launched Black Widow. How many Avengers books do I REALLY need every month? Wait, is that a new Fantastic Four title by James Robinson? What do you mean they are relaunching X-Factor AND Pater David is onboard? Revolutionary War, event after bloody event over at DC (Gothtopia may actually be pretty cool), and, new Original Graphic Novels and weekly comics planned for 2014. Really, DC? Another weekly comic? There’s no way I’m going to be able to afford all of those books. Wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, storage.
So, next time I have some extra money I’ll go down to my local comic shop and buy some bags and boards. My local comic book shop is a truly amazing place. They do me the solid of letting me fill my holdbox to bursting. I can hold on to books until I have…some…extra…money…
And there it is! The endless cycle. I need to spend money on storage to end the chaos, but I just end up spending the money on more comics, only adding to the chaos. And there’s no light at the end of this tunnel. The few hundred bucks I need to properly store my comics isn’t really all that much in the larger picture of some lottery windfall or that relative I never knew. I’m sure something like that will happen someday, and when it does, look out cluttered bookshelves full of unorganized stacks of awesome. You’ll be replaced by nicely stacked cardboard drawers, covered in the finest mylar plastic, supported by the sturdiest Chinese cardboard, and systematically structured using the Dewey Decimal System. Oh, or maybe I can buy that run of Animal Man I missed…and there were some other New 52 books I missed out on..ooo, and I totally missed out on Avengers Arena, most of Hawkeye, and Thor: God of Thunder. I should so buy those instead of bags and boards with my lost great-grand uncle’s inheritance. Yeah, I’ll buy more comics!
Okay, I definitely have a problem.