By Philip Schweier
August 12, 2015 - 12:24
I know my readers (both of them) don’t really care about excuses. I’d just rather head off any questions ahead of time.
And now, back to our regularly schedule essay.
Recently, a friend asked me to search my bookshelf for a particular series that came out in the mid-1980s. Kidding around, I said I would check my archives, which is what I laughingly call the many boxes of comic books stored in my closet. He then commented, “I figured you’d have the trade paperback (TPB),” knowing that many “serious” comic book fans prefer the collected editions, but I indicated I preferred the single issues over trades.
Mrs. Wife caught this exchange, and later asked why I prefer the single issues over trades. She lovingly indulges my interest in comics (she goes so far as call it an obsession; funny girl). When I’m dead and buried, it will be her sad task to dispose of my archives in such a way that doesn’t involve a can of gasoline and a match. So safe to say she has a vested interest.
So here’s my reasoning:
I once believed my comic books were an investment. If I took care of them, they’d be valuable someday, and would finance my retirement. Uh-huh. You really think that after a lifetime of collecting, I’d part with them just so I can live in a slightly better nursing home? Doubtful.
To me, the collection is not a cash cow. They are entertainment. Some hold a greater interest than others due to who wrote them or drew them, or the characters they featured. Some are simple, juvenile stories that provide a greater diversion when life becomes a fist.
Trade paperbacks are fine for those who are perhaps very serious about their fandom, but I am not – at all. I’m a comic book collector, not a trade paperback collector.