KC COLUMN: COLLECTING: DON’T’S AND DO’S

KC surrounded by comics

KC surrounded by comics


A KC COLUMN By KC Carlson

It’s been a couple of months since I mentioned the big DC Comics sort that’s going on in our basement. Well, it’s still going on! Turns out I have a lot more DC comics than I first thought, because, over recent years, I really haven’t been paying that much attention to how many new comics I’ve been bringing into the house each week. I’m very lucky to have reached a point in my life where I’m no longer constrained by budget to only getting a few titles every week, and sometimes I miss having that restriction.

Particularly since, truth be told, I haven’t been reading all that many of them. I’ve been devoting most of my free time to emptying all the boxes and documenting what’s exactly there (and, of course, what isn’t and should be there). A sad fact of collecting comic books is that taking the time to maintain the collection properly tends to take up time normally spent on reading and enjoying them.

Justice League of America #195, the first part of a JLA/JSA adventure

Justice League of America #195, the first part of a JLA/JSA adventure


What’s making it worse (and I can only blame myself) is how, on occasion over the last few years, I’ve occasionally dipped back into the boxes to grab some old favorites to re-read on the evenings where I just wasn’t up to lugging boxes of comics around. That explains the box or two of Justice League comics which are now missing the annual JLA/JSA team-ups — key DC comics and a major fave of mine since I was first able to read! Obviously, I got in the mood to re-read, got caught up in the sheer fun of it, and then totally forgot to put them back in the right place the next day. I know they aren’t gone forever — I just don’t know where they are NOW. I’m fairly sure that they are somewhere down here — and the more boxes I finish inventorying and putting away in their proper places in the comics room, the more likely they will turn up to be correctly re-filed where they belong.

LOTS OF SMALL WHITE BOXES… PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME IF WE’RE KEEPING BEES…

KC has a few boxes to look through

KC has a few boxes to look through


Ready for some numbers about now? There’s about 200 short boxes in my DC Comics collection. I estimate that each short box holds 180 comics (which is high because I’m the only person handing my comics so I don’t bag and board the run-of-the-mill stuff). 200 boxes times 180 individual comic books equals about 36,000 DC comic books. And this is just the four-color floppy comic book comic books.

Other areas of the house store various examples of the variety of DC reprint formats that have happened over the decades: digests, paperback collections, hardcovers, an almost complete run of DC Archives, many (but not all) of the more recent crazy-thick Omnibus volumes, a smattering of Absolute collections, some Showcase Presents (we call them phone books), various box sets, some slipcased hardcovers, Deluxe Editions, the DC Classic Library, whatever the format for all the Kirby hardcovers was called, and the giant Taschen volumes (and even the smaller, cut-down versions of the Taschen material).

Before you jump to conclusions, not all of the above were actually purchased. And many of the ones that were, were purchased at great discount. (There are advantages to working on the fringe of the comics industry!) The only way I could have accumulated so many is that, while Johanna and I were employed at DC Comics on and off for several years, we got everything that was published by DC as comps, for free. And unlike many of our co-workers who re-sold them to local comic shops, we kept — and read — most of what we got. I also spent many years working in comics distribution and retail before and after DC, where I was usually able to purchase things at an employee discount. That’s one of the great secrets of the comic industry, how it runs on people willing to make compromises in order to feed their hobby.

Oh, there are more boxes too.

Oh, there are more boxes too.


And we do spend money on maintaining the collection. I recently realized that many of my oldest comic boxes were 20 to 30 years old, starting to yellow, and the glue holding them together was not so sticky anymore. So, each week at a time, I’ve slowly been upgrading the boxes (and replacing those damaged in our flood a few years back). Plus, once I can empty out large portions of the basement comics room, I’ll soon be able to finally get some wooden pallets in there, to move the comics a few inches off the ground — in case we have another flood.

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KC CARLSON: Collecting stuff for almost 60 years. Too bad nobody taught me not to collect so much.

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. I love my Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Too bad nobody taught me not to wear them when carrying pallets around. YEOWWW!

 

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