Friday, August 04, 2006
Baggage Check: Web of Spider-Man #8
Does anybody else have this problem?
I am a total comics consumer addict. The realization is really hitting me and it’s sort of frightening and liberating at the same time.
I’m shocked at how many comics I own that I haven’t read. I went through several boxes today just trying to be conscious about whether I read each comic or not, and if I had to guess, I would say 50% or more I never read. Some I don’t even remember getting.
I can’t remember at what point it became about consuming rather than the comics themselves. I think it must have been high school. When I had a car and a part time income, I was suddenly no longer at my parents mercy to get to the comic shops in Kirkwood (anybody Cardinals fans out there remember Bob’s Comics?). Not only did I go and spend all my money, but I remember sifting through the entire warehouse of long boxes at the Fantasy Shop in St. Charles, and coming home with an entire box full of quarter comics. Talk about a binge! That’s where all these random and incomplete runs came from. Part of the fun was trying to find the various issues to complete a series. Plus, it was a good excuse to be out of the house.
So still the question is what do I do with all this stuff? Right now I’ve been going through it and sorting out stuff I want to keep, stuff I think I can sell on EBay, and stuff I have no idea what to do with. The amount of stuff to EBay is overwhelming, and I don’t even know if all that hard work will pay off.
And the letting go is surprisingly difficult. Why I care about a random assortment of mid-80s Web of Spider-Mans is hard to explain. It’s not like they were very good, or that I ever plan to read them again, but when I came across my wrinkled copy of #8, I suddenly remembered that shampoo spilled all over it when I went to summer camp in the Ozarks. I was 12 years old, and I was so upset, I remember sitting on the lower bunk in my cabin carefully wiping each page flat with a sock, and then placing it underneath the mattress to flatten it out. It's strange seeing it 20 years later. The pages are warped and brittle and there's this pink residue along the top edge of each page and, believe it or not, it still has that clean smell.
Of course, the vast majority of this stuff doesn’t have that kind of emotional connection, it’s just crap, but is that memory trigger enough to justify keeping it? I don’t know. Obviously I still need to figure out what criteria to use when deciding whether or not to keep this stuff.