Carefully setting foot into comic collecting is something I was always afraid off: losing my mind over the need to possess.
Now, just a disclaimer right here: today’s article is not about the community. It is about me, my collection and my consumer habits. It is an open-hearted conversation about me.
I realized recently that I needed to take time to center myself back in the right direction. Maybe it’s because I’m always on social media and although I don’t like the idea of it, maybe I’m a little suggestible about what happen there.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a strong believer of the InstaFame in the comics industry (and other areas as well). The fact that a comic can go from 0 to BOOM in only one night just because of people posting about it completely astonishes me. And sometimes I’m one of those people.
When I started seriously collecting comics I tried to promise myself to always do it because I love it, not because of the potential value of it. I thought buying comics solely for the fact that it COULD at some point sell for a good price on eBay was ridiculous. And yet…. I did it.
This week I realized how I was slowly transitioning from “I only collect stories and art I love” to “Let me buy this one just in case it becomes famous” and when the realization hit me I thought “oh, that’s not so bad, we all wish to stumble upon a miracle money maker”. But that wasn’t fitting with me being true to myself. That wasn’t fitting with the promise I made as a beginner.
It really hit me when I had the chance to have my BATMAN DAMNED signed by its creator.
Now let me remind you: I am not a DC reader. I do not care about BATMAN (sorry if that sounds harsh). And this stupid comic made me into something I didn’t want to become: an obsessive-compulsive comic buyer (OCCB).
Back then when the comic came out I didn’t even care. But when I heard about the BIG controversy a couple hours later (which ironically is really not that impressive) I went crazy calling every shop around me asking if they still had a copy left…. And I scored one. The powerful adrenaline shot I had when walking into the store like a proud rooster, I can’t even describe it. And I clearly remember seeing two other copies still on the shelf and telling myself “nah, I just need one” – Because, why should I need more than one if I’m buying it for myself, right?
Anyway, back to me having my copy signed by Azzarello. I went to his booth motivated to have my perfect copy (that I never opened btw), perfectly signed and then perfectly graded. But this is not what happened. I couldn’t have it graded because CBCS isn’t carrying Magazine sized cases at the moment. I decided to have it signed anyway with a bitter taste in my mouth.
And I remember texting my good friend Cidnya, almost crying of anger thinking about how much value I just lost by:
Having it signed with no witness and
Having it signed without having it graded.
I came home and looked at it again and again and again. Regretting not snagging more than one copy back then. Getting angry at myself for having bought only one. Going on eBay and thinking about buying a clearly overpriced copy of it just so I can have a better perfect copy of it.
And you know what guys? That’s when I lost control of my OCCB disorder and losing the real reason why I started collecting.
Collecting shouldn’t make you angry over lost value. It shouldn’t make you chase all around town for a comic from a series you’ve never even wanted to read. I did that because of all the fame around the comic and that’s not a good reason.
I am not saying that it’s wrong to be emotionally invested in your collection. I’m saying you should be that much invested in comics that have emotional value to you and not to the rest of the world. At that moment I lost my Comic Collecting Compass: I lost the values around which I built my collection.
For example: I should have a strong reaction to ruining my MONSTRESS #1 because, as you all know, it is my favorite comic. I shouldn’t have cared that much about a comic I have ... never read (shameful, I know).
If you are proud of having a high value collection and that’s your entire goal, then you do you boo. I’m just saying we should stay true to ourselves, our values and not throwing our money at comics we will never read just because the internet told us it had value.
I became obsessed over the last month into possessing important comics. I’ve been tracking some first print for no reason, buying 2 or 3 copies of the same number….. “Just in case”, but in case of what exactly? That’s just consuming for the purpose of spending money, right?
I am definitely keeping my BATMAN DAMNED. I am actually exposing it in my comic room. But not because it’s THAT comic nor because it is signed. I just want to remember why I’m collecting and what I’m collecting.
I think, ironically, BATMAN DAMNED just became the symbol of my Comic Collecting Compass….
So, thanks…. I guess.