You Collect What?

I said I was going to in one of my first posts, so I suppose almost 5 months in is as good a time as any... I'm finally going to write about a hobby of mine.


I guess I'll start by saying that you're not the only one unsuspecting of a 25 year old mother of [almost] 2 having even the slightest interest at all in comics. While I can't make you understand something you may not have any interest in, I can at least share my side of it. How it started, why I keep it up, what I collect and why...you know, that stuff.

Like most kids, I grew up admiring super heroes. Batman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man, the many many many X-Men. I dreamed of being my own version all the time, saving the innocent, fighting for those who couldn't, beating up bad guys, impressing all the boys, you know. I loved creating and writing profiles for my own characters in the stories I made up in my head. I've drawn so many different characters from mutants to aliens to emo/scene/punk kids to my own personal versions of #squadgoals. I started so many comic story ideas but never committed to any of them. But creating them was the part I loved most. If I can find some examples, I'll add photos of them later. I was never a pro comic artist, by any means, but I had fun. I also somehow lost that talent altogether now. I can't even draw a decent looking circle anymore.

Tip for aspiring artists: NEVER stop drawing or doing your art. Ever.

Anyway, as interested as I was in super heroes and their stories, I never really collected their comics. I honestly didn't even really think about it. I gained all my knowledge from animated shows, borrowed volumes from the library, and every single "Encyclopedia" book I could get my hands on. You know which ones I'm talking about.

During my late teen years, a few friends of mine shared their newfound interest in comic reading and collecting and it sparked my interest, but I didn't know where to go to get them or if I even wanted to invest in physical prints or if I should go the digital route. So I just borrowed a few of my friends books every once in a while to get my fix.

Then I met Josh.
One of our first dates started off in his old room in his parent's house looking through his many many boxes of perfectly 'bagged and boarded' comic books. He had so many and some of them were so old. He shared how he obtained certain collections and what they were worth now. He shared the stories that got him hooked and the ones that made him almost hate the series or character. He showed me strange ones made by strange people that he liked because they were strange and dark and not well known or made anymore. He pulled out ones he thought I'd like and showed me his absolute favorites that he may never part with.
I hadn't seen him that excited or knowledgeable about anything before that point. It was so endearing and inspiring. It was infectious.

So when he took me to a real comic shop for the first time and I saw a poster for "Harley Quinn" debuting in her own comic...I knew I was about to embark on a wild adventure of a new hobby.

I now have Harley Quinn #0 through #26 as well as many many specials and side issues.
I also collect Spider-Woman, Silk and now Poison Ivy. I had to give up on a few stories for financial reasons [comics were 99cents when I was a kid, now they range from $2.99-4.99], like Gem and the Holograms, Black Canary and Spider Gwen. I was also a little late to a few parties I wish I could have attended, like Cat Woman, Wonder Woman and Bat Woman, but I still snag older issues from the 80s and 90s in bulk when I can, and plan to catch up in chunks later.

This all is supposed to lead to my next ramble, which is why I collect what I collect and what I would recommend to someone interested in starting up their own collection.

If you haven't noticed the obvious, I tend to stick with female heroes. I certainly don't have anything against any male superhero or character. In fact, I'm a huge Deadpool, Spiderman and Batman fan. I actually saw myself starting out with some X-Men comics as a teenager, to tell the truth. If you are familiar with X-Men and the many alternate dimensions, universes, X teams and origins, you can probably understand why that venture overwhelmed me a bit as a newbie.
I'd be lying if I said my feministic tendencies didn't directly effect my decision making when it comes to comics. But at the same time, I stick to what I thoroughly enjoy reading and collecting. It also doesn't hurt that my boyfriend collects plenty of male focused comics for the both of us as well, like The Amazing Spiderman, Spiderman 2099, and Venom. My good friend has his fair share of Deadpool comics and volumes as well that we've been able to glimpse a few times too.

To fully explain why I collect exactly what I collect would take an entire post in itself to accomplish, which I'll most likely do at some point. For now I'll just summarize by saying I relate and connect to each of them fairly deeply for different reasons. They are basically versions of different aspects of me.

That leads me to my final section for this post.
If you are thinking about dipping your toes in the lazarus pit of comic collecting, here is what I, a fellow newbie and casual collector, would advise/recommend/share with you.

#1 Start with a brand new series or series that is about 10 issues or younger.
I say this because it's easier to connect with a story you understand because you've been along for the ride from the beginning. Also because most series that hit about 6-10 issues usually last a good while so you won't have to worry as much about it being cancelled or re-written just as you were becoming invested in it. I happened to start with Harley Quinn because her series was just beginning and I knew she'd be popular enough to last a long time. I was right and I'm happy with the journey so far.
[side note: the first 10 issues in good series tend to be the most valuable and hard to find in the long run as the series grows, so if you catch on early, it'll save you some $$$ later because the prices will go up as they become more rare and sought after.]

#2 Limit yourself.
Like any hobby or "addiction", it can be tempting to buy all of the things every time you stand in front of that Latest Releases display rack. Very tempting. But keep in mind that new issues typically come out once, sometimes twice, a month and the more you get behind, the more you have to buy next time you get to the shop and the harder they may be to find, depending on their popularity. I began to learn this the hard way, which is why I only collect 3-4 series instead of the 6+ I would be if I would have committed myself and thus be spending way too much money. I sacrificed following Gem, Gwen and Black Canary for financial reasons, not lack of interest. I truly wish I could buy all of them every other week, but as you'll see, it can't always be done.
So either keep a budget or give yourself a 2-4 series limit. [Remember that some series are bi-weekly and most will have holiday specials and/or side series in addition to the main story line, so you'll have to give yourself possible wiggle room for those occasionally too.] try different series out, start with classics or familiar characters and see where it takes you. Take your time, don't get caught up in every new series that jumps out at you because they don't all last. I have Lois Lane #1 and loved it but they dropped it after one issue so that decision was made for me.

#3 Take care of your comics.
Bags and boards can be bought as needed, as you check out. Almost every comic shop has them right next to the register for you, and they are usually well under $1 each. You can also buy them in bulk too, if you decide to subscribe or don't want to buy them every time you get comics, and then pack them at home. Even if you don't plan to sell them or care if they become valuable later, keeping your books safe, clean and organized is like keeping your makeup or video games organized and in their cases. They're fragile and are literally made for display.
I also recommend keeping them in binders for easy organization and access. You could also use shoe boxes, comic boxes or any appropriate size cardboard box for storage too, binders with clear slips just display them a little nicer and you can make them all pretty and store them on a bookshelf and they'll blend in with all your other pretty books and things. Bottom line, keep them dry, straight and organized. They are an investment no matter how you look at it, so taking care of them is a no brainer.

#4 Find a comic buddy!
Just like any other hobby or new adventure, it's always more fun with friends. They'll keep you excited, inspired and accountable in terms of sticking it out with series or picking up something new. It's also nice just being around someone who enjoys what you enjoy. If you don't know someone like that or can't convince any of your friends to join you, come to me! I'll talk comics and super heroes with you all day if you let me. I'm here for you, pretty ladies and mamas!

Feel free to share your favorite comics, super heroes, books, and photos of all of them with me here! Or ask me questions or tell me I'm crazy! It all works for me. I want to hear from you. I want to connect. 

Love you, mamas/ladies!! 


Rachel Shreve said...

Damn Em! You drew those??? They're amazing! I had no idea how talented you are!!!!


Emily Renee said...

*Were. Unfortunately, I somehow misplaced any shred of talent I used to have after going 4 years without drawing ANYTHING for literally no reason haha
But thank you thank you :D

Emily Renee said...

*Were. Unfortunately, I somehow misplaced any shred of talent I used to have after going 4 years without drawing ANYTHING for literally no reason haha
But thank you thank you :D