Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I am Jack's shrinking comic book collection.

It was on the tip of everyone's tongue - Scipio just gave it a name.*

And then I changed that name, because frankly, Clean House is an annoying show. I much prefer Clean Sweep over on TLC. The host seems nice, the British guy is kind of funny, and they own up to the fact that there's actually a small army of folks doing these renovations, rather than pretend that everything's being done by a designer and two homeowners. I appreciate the honesty. Also, the mom of Goonie-turned-entertainment lawyer Jeff Cohen was on an episode one time, and great googly moogly, was that woman ever a packrat! But I digress.

Anyway, Comics Clean Sweep: Round 1! Over the course of a couple of nights last week, I poured over the contents of my collection - 11 short boxes and enough to fill a 12th and probably get a good start a 13th, neither of which I ever got around to buying - and was able to shrink it down to, well, 11 short boxes. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but at least there aren't excess piles sitting around waiting to be filed anymore, which actually makes this both a good start and a significant aesthetic improvement. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.**

Some of the pulls were astoundingly easy - those two issues of the 70's All-Star Comics run that were reprinted in that new Justice Society trade paperback? See ya. That one "Super Sons" issue of World's Finest? Pretty awful, when you get right down to it - past "so bad it's entertaining" and well into "I'm actually kind of mad someone got paid to write this" territory, so I doubt I'll miss that very much. Astro City? A great book in its day, but the only story I really even remember at this point was the one in the 1/2 issue - which, admittedly, is one of my favorite comic book stories ever - so that issue stays, while the rest of the entirety of volumes 1 & 2 and the few issues of the Local Heroes mini I picked up go into the discard pile without regrets.***

Marvel's Godzilla series? Great kitsch value, for sure, but here's a deep, dark secret most comics bloggers seem hesitant to reveal: it's really not very good, even for a silly 70s Marvel licensed book. A few issues hit "so bad it's good," but the rest are just bad. I may keep a few of the more blatant Marvel Universe tie-in issues - especially issue 20, the first comic book I remember truly coveting - but most of the nearly complete run I spent years saying I'd finish off (but never could be bothered to actually do so) head to the chopping block.****

The only really hard decision came over Uncle Scrooge #s 285 - 296, the "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" storyline. The trade paperback from Gemstone came out recently, which I bought as soon as was humanly possible, so I didn't need the issues anymore, but I really enjoyed reading each issue as it came out, and had a hard time tracking down certain issues since my local comic shop at the time kept forgetting to order it for me (I think I was their only customer buying the book). And it ended up taking me 5 or 6 years to track down a copy of 285, so finally getting that felt like a particularly hard won victory at the time. But again, owning the book makes the issues kind of redundant, so off they go.

There were more culls in Round 1, but these were the ones that really stood out. And as hard as a few decisions were, the whole process felt kind of liberating, so I'm actually looking forward to Round 2, to the point where I already have my eye on some stuff. Any Uncle Scrooge issues covered by the new "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion" book are ripe for the picking, as are other Don Rosa or Carl Barks stories I have reprinted a few times over (excepting foreign language editions, because those are just cool). I love the John Byrne run of Fantastic Four, but they aren't all gems, so some of those may be culled. Nexus issues drawn by anyone other than Steve Rude are contenders, too, as that's another book I keep claiming to want a complete run of but never actually manage to look for back issues when I get the chance. DC Who's Who? I love it, but how much do I really need character info that's now 20 years out of date?

I'm not sure of the eventual destination of these books - eBay, yard sale, donation, give 'em to Trick or Treaters - but make no mistake, one way or another, they will be heading out the door. Unless I decide to keep the Disney books for Liam.***** Let's see if I can weed things down to an even 10 boxes next.



* Second and final Fight Club reference of the post, I promise. I personally hated that movie, but every now and then, I'm forced to admit that it makes a handy pop cultural reference tool.
** Quite possibly the 5000th time I've referenced this line from Caddyshack here. Milestone or final clinching proof that no phrase I utter is ever original - you decide!

*** Funny thing, though - my copy of Vol. 1, Issue 3 is horribly misstapled, going through the front cover! Always meant to get around to replacing that, but apparently forgot about it altogether a while back. Not that it matters now.
**** And honestly, for whatever reason, as much as I enjoy the Godzilla movies, I've never liked his comic books that much. I always thought this one was pretty cool, but I suspect that's more because of the Art Adams artwork rather than anything to do with the story.
***** Which isn't a half-bad idea, actually.
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