Column: Comic overloadI read a lot of comic books growing up. I wasn’t a collector, at least not in the sense that I put on white linen gloves to slide the books, still unread and perfect, into plastic bags to be stored in a humidity-controlled vault.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
I read a lot of comic books growing up. I wasn’t a collector, at least not in the sense that I put on white linen gloves to slide the books, still unread and perfect, into plastic bags to be stored in a humidity-controlled vault.
My parents would never get me a vault, no matter how many hints I dropped when my birthday rolled around.
I was a collector more in the sense that the comic books had a tendency to accumulate on bookshelves and under my bed, their pages becoming increasingly tattered. I liked the stories. I liked the pictures. I liked, let’s be honest, the improbably-proportioned heroines and their outfits, which could be charitably described as somewhat impractical.
When you’re a teenage boy they might also be described as “totally awesome,” but that’s really not the point.
I wasn’t worried about investments. I just wanted to know if Spider-Man was going to be able to beat his latest super-powered enemy, a list that at various times included a guy who could turn into a Mountain Lion and a guy who was really good at throwing boomerangs. It’s possible I remember some of those stories as better than they actually were.
My interest in entertainment over investment caused no small amount of consternation years later when I went into comic book shops and saw how much some of those tattered old issues were selling for. Ah, but for the want of a temperature-regulated, lazer-protected comic storage facility. Alas.
I’ve come and gone from reading comic books multiple times over the years. I’ve even been something more of a collector. From where I’m sitting right now I can see long two cardboard boxes packed tight with comic books I collected in high school and then, after another break, in college, when I was pulled back into the comic world by what I can assume was pretty much the coolest group of friends on campus. I have some idea what is in those boxes, though it’s kind of vague by now. I think some of them are probably worth actual money, but most might as well be used as kindling in a fire pit, or maybe given to teenage boys without adequate access to Victoria’s Secret catalogs.
I wandered back into a comic book shop over the weekend, though. I went because there is a new series of stories that has captured my attention. They’re set in the world of the Watchmen, which is both one of the most critically-praised comics series ever and a pretty bad movie made by the guy who also made a movie about ancient Greeks shouting a lot.
I wasn’t sure what to make of what I saw in a modern-day comic shop. Apparently, every single character has multiple series devoted to them now. The Avengers, who are hot right now because of the movie that came out earlier this summer, have no fewer than 86 separate titles. I counted.
OK, I estimated. But I’m sure the real number is pretty close to that.
It was all a bit overwhelming. I wouldn’t know where to start reading any of them. And buxom cartoon ladies in skimpy cartoon outfits can only do so much.