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Obsession Perception #5: Collectors vs. Readers

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It may seem like a broad generalization, but in the world of comics there are two types of people. Those who invest hard earned money in new and vintage comics with hopes of building a collection of high value, and those who invest hard earned money in comics in hopes of reading them and experiencing the stories and artwork contained within their pages. There are many who do both but by and large most of us lean one way or the other. I’ve lived my nerdy life on both sides of the fence and see a great deal of enjoyment in both and though I’d consider myself more of a reader these days I always will have an appreciation for collecting.

In my early years with comics the initial draw of the colorful characters and the smell of the old news print pages soon morphed into the desire to build a collection of my favorite comics and the search for number ones and first appearances ensued. There’s nothing quite like the rush of digging through long boxes in search of a great deal, or when I was a kid with so few precious dollars, saving up for that set of 30th anniversary Spider-Man holographic covers (hooray for the 90’s). The excitement reaches a fevered pitch in the early 90’s hype built around books like the infamous “Death of Superman” issue that had people clamoring to get their hands on a copy with hopes of building a collage or retirement fund from its inevitable value. We all know how that investment went, with the flooding of the market and speculation of that era. The thrill of the hunt and the excitement of finding a copy was all worth the later disappointment. I spent a good deal of my childhood collecting these books, I read most once and kept them safe and sound, bagged and boarded. By the time I reached my early teens I stopped buying comics, and just held on to what I had. It wasn’t until well into my adult life I went back to my obsession.

I started buying and collecting comics again a few years back and in that time I realized that I much more enjoyed buying comics to read the incredible stories and keep up with the books I love. I buy books that are written and drawn by the creators who have a style I like, as opposed to just sticking to the heroes I’m already familiar with in the titles I’ve read in the past. Initially, I tried to buy some key issues that have a higher dollar value but after a couple I realized that I could expand the amount I could read if I put my money into trade paperbacks and graphic novels as well as expanding my weekly pull list to include more and more books. In my adult life bills, and responsibilities allow me a budget to get comics but the big investment dollars are few and far apart. It works out from time to time that a current comic could skyrocket in price, so if that happens to any of the books I buy it’s just an added bonus in addition to having something that brought me enjoyment. More recently this has been true of small print runs of independent comics (Saga #1 and Peter Panzerfaust #1) or first appearances of new popular characters (The Walking Dead’s Michonne). I have a love for the comics I own that prevents me from selling or parting with them regardless of market value so I keep the mindset that no matter how pricey or worthless they are I intend on holding on to them for as long as my life allows me to.

At the end of the day few things bring many of us as much joy as comics. Whether it’s collecting, hoarding, and hoping they become a retirement plan, or it’s buying reading, storing, and enjoying, we can all agree that there’s nothing like the excitement of new releases on a Wednesday, or digging a key comic out of a long box. How do you enjoy your comics best? Do you drop major bucks to get the big key books? Do you buy and read every issue you get and drop big dollars on trades and hardcovers? Let me know in the comments below. Happy collecting, and come back to www.all-comic.com next week for the next installment of Obsession Perception!

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