Beauology 101: The True Horror Of Comic Book Collecting

Beau Smith “No, You’re Not Getting’ In My House.”

Beau Smith “No, You’re Not Getting’ In My House.”


by Beau Smith

Where did I go wrong? During my childhood, when I started reading and collecting comic books, I used to be organized. Granted, that was a long time ago, even before long boxes. I used to go to the grocery store and get FREE discarded cardboard boxes that I would study, only taking the ones that were “near perfect” for comic book storage. Even at a young age I would shove my comics in food storage bags (before zip-locks) and then put them in the boxes. My parents and I had a deal, if I picked my comics up, then they wouldn’t get tossed out. I kept my end of the deal.

 Wooden Crates. Great For Hauling Comic Books In.


Wooden Crates. Great For Hauling Comic Books In.


Some of the boxes were seriously better than today’s long boxes. I’m sorry to say it was a roulette wheel of finding them on a regular basis, but that was a part of the thrill—the hunt! One grocery store was kind enough to give me these wooden crates that produce would come in. These were great for hauling my comics around to trade with my neighborhood reading buddies. Surprisingly, the old style storage bags held up really well and protected my comics for many decades. I may still have some books still stored in them at the bottom of a box….somewhere here at the ranch.

It was around 1980 that I began to lose all sense of organization. I was married, soon had a child, job, all that other adult stuff that can derail your comic book habits. I started tossing comics, un-bagged, in any old box I had laying around, or just stacking them on top of each other in a spare room. I guess that’s how you get your Hoarder’s membership card.

How I See My Collection In Reality.

How I See My Collection In Reality.


Through the years, I would make temporary moves to organize, bag, board and box my comics, but it all fizzed out when I became distracted by something else shiny. Once I started working in the comic book business as a writer and marketing VP, it all went to Hell fast. I was getting a huge amount of comp copies of the books we published as well as being on the comp list with every other publisher in business. Once I went to work for Image Comics, it really got out of control. I would get 100 copies each of every book we published. I cannot tell you what that was like. I began to stack the unopened boxes upon each other and fill other rooms and then storage units up. At the same time I was also working for McFarlane Toys, needless to say, case upon case of toys were arriving every day. The 10 year old that was still left in my brain was enjoying this everyday Christmas of toys and comics, but the older me was pulling out what little hair I had left. Feast, famine, gluttony, addiction, call it what you want, I had the market cornered.

I gave up my dreams of organization. My own childhood collection was partly at my office, partly at my parent’s house, and partly at my own house. I couldn’t find my issue of Daredevil #5 to read if it was screaming at me. Through the years, I have given away, sold, traded, and tossed out a lot of the comp comics that I had. I still have my childhood collection, but it remains unorganized. I have dreams of taking the time to organize it all, but at my age, I doubt if that’s gonna happen. Yes, I may fool myself and find the time to do it, but in reality, I doubt it. Oh, don’t offer to come and help me. While I appreciate the offer, you’re not getting into my house. I’m not as friendly as I sound in print.

Essential Daredevil Vol. 1

Essential Daredevil Vol. 1


Here in these modern times I do find myself reading and pulling out my collected volumes, such as Essentials, Showcase, Archives, and Omnibus books to read my childhood comics. I also do more trade paperback reading of modern stuff. Yes, I still buy old comics at stores and conventions. Most of the time it’s out of habit, or I find out once I get home that I already have them in a box. Sometimes I’m lucky and it’s in better condition, but does that really matter in the big picture?

One day, soon, I’m sure I’ll start to sell this stuff. It’ll be easier than organizing. Yes, I still have sentiment attached to a lot of the issues, but there comes a time when you realize you will always have that sentiment in your memory and your heart, but you don’t really need it in a box, in a room, where you’re not gonna dig, and lift to get to it. You may say to yourself, “I’ll never be like Beau Smith.” That’s true, on a lot of different levels. You’ll NEVER will be Beau Smith, but as far as keeping tons of comic books, and then parting with them, mark my words, you WILL be me one day, baring natural disasters or your wife having enough of your comic crap and setting them and you on fire in the middle of the night.

In a perfect world, I’ll sell them and get some money to buy something else other than comics. Or maybe I’ll trade them for guns, knives, cowboy stuff or other things that I like, but are not as storage unfriendly as comic books. Who knows? I’m not getting any younger.

More…Comics.

More…Comics.


I’m not telling you what to do with your comic books, I’m just asking you to think about your future keeping your comic books. I’m not asking you to toss yours out or your memories, just asking you to plan a little for the future. Everything changes. If you don’t, you end up in a dusty box, wrapped in plastic where no one can hear you scream…Excelsior!

Sounds like an old EC Horror comic, doesn’t it?

From the last long box in the back of the room,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

www.flyingfistranch.com

 

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