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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Do You Use An App or a Note Book For Your Comics List?

Having once openly declared that I did not bag and board every comic I had, I got a back-lash.  Incredible since these are my purchases and property but I dealt with this in a post:

Comic Collection -Bagged and boarded? And Decline of UK Weekly Comics

As evidenced my the screeching emails and messages from my Yahoo groups and people checking out CBO: I am worse than Charles Manson.

Let's put that into context.  I don't mean murder (what's buried under my back and front garden doesn't come into this).  I mean.....I...I do not bag and board my comics.

Are you okay? You went quite pale just then and since I'm not on camera my sitting here naked cannot be was the not bagging and boarding thing, wasn't it? 

You see, I look at it this way: I die and the comics get burnt if they can't be sold quickly. That's it.  I'm not going to care!  I don't have kids to pass them on to so what the hell do I care what they look like in 30 or 40 years after I'm dead? D'uh!

My comics.

But, as the newsprint (and lesser quality) paper is not that tough I did want to at least stop further damage to a collection that spans over five decades -and recent acquisitions are 70+ years old so I protect them as a matter of course.  Now, UK weekly comics, as my collection proves beyond any measure of doubt, varied in size and that includes, at times from issue to issue of a particular comic.

I spoke to people at IPC, Fleetway and even Marvel UK at one time or other and it was the same story from all of them: print cheap, sell at a profit.  If the paper available that week meant a width a little less than the week before or even a bit wider -who cares? "They're just comics for kids".

The old Battle Weekly is a prime example. Regular, wide (almost squarish) format one week, the next a lot less wider and....well, even 2000 AD suffered from this.

So, you can buy UK Weekly comic/magazine comic bags. Had I used those I would have just spent well over £100 ($200).  You see, Marvel weeklies were constantly going through this size/width difference but they all fit into clear, hole punched A4 document sleaves.

I used about 400 of these which came to £6.80 ($15). And today I bought and used up another 200 (£5.00 -$10).  Plus the ones I used before means that, so far, I have "bagged" more than 700 UK weekly/monthly comics.

Here is the problem: the 1980s Eagle comic, Battle/Battle Action Force, 2000 AD, Dandy and Beanos as well as a few other titles will not, because of the sizer format, fit into the document sleeves.  It means I have to look for a cheap alternative for a very good reason.  Buying the "pro" comic-mag bags is far too expensive.  If I write that I've bagged around 700 so far and I estimate the others will push that figure up to around 1,300 that's another 700+ bags.

Yes, I have a lot of weekly/monthly comics.  Once bagged they'll gop into the archive boxes I have.

You have, if you are a regular, seen Room Oblivion in various states though it is currently going through a major over-haul:

And you've seen some of the archive boxes here:

I don't fart about with over expensive Long Boxes that are vastly over-priced to screw more money out of comickers. I do not buy Acid Free backing boards -ditto.  I do not buy over-priced comic bags or Mylar bags.  And **** off "Special comic bag sealing tape".  You see, I can understand someone who has comics associated with good times who wants to keep them safe -just go buy some plastic bags or, if you've only a few, buy a display book with inbuilt plastic pockets.

Here is the fact: from the moment of printing your comic is decaying. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do about this. And you need to wake up to that fact.

I love comics. Some of my comics are not in a pristine condition but since it was about 46 years before I had a place to settle into (before moving on again) that is a miracle.  One day I am going to sit down and wipe the dribble from my chin and start going through these old weekly/monthlies.  Just looking at the covers brought on surges of nostalgia and some memories. It also meant I was in the perfect position to realise what went wrong with UK weeklies.

Up until 1984/1985 the comic covers, say from Marvel UK, were great.  Some of the best covers are from the 1976-1980 period. But you get to 1984/1985 and you see the usual titles merge and some very odd mix-and-not-match content.  Much was still material that UK readers had seen in Alan Class comics, L. Miller reprints and Odhams titles.  New material going in, too,of course, but it shows how little material Marvel UK were getting -or were really not that worried.

You see, we get to 1984/1985 on and the quality of cover art declines sharply. Things to point out.  A weekly comic would be comprised of a US monthly broken up into 2-3 parts.  Therefore, you could use cover art from the US comic but then needed other art which from the 1980s on was not very good. In fact, at times it seems almost as though who ever was in charge did not really care.

BIG BEN featuring The Thing.  Now, you expect an action cover, something to pull in the kids or older readers, right? Not just an image of the Thing with a big banner across him "Win A BMX Bike!".  Or Spider-Man and Friends where the "Win A Midi Player System" takes up most of the cover -the three figures on the cover not exactly sparking any interest.

Having spoken to a few Marvel UK editors and -allegedly- having held one out of a window, I can tell you they were not impressive or bright.  I'm sure some were but I am going by those I met. One: "I've edited seven titles and none of them has lasted very long.  Never been able to work out why?" I was not cruel. I did not point and say "You!"

It seemed as though a lot of the old pros were being booted out and mates given jobs.  I spoke to Paul Neary one day and he invited me up to London for an interview for an editor's job. I confirmed the appointment with him on the Monday and travelled the 250 miles to London the next day to be told "Oh, he's had to go off somewhere"  Me: "Oh, an emergency?"  Receptionist: "No, it's a trip he's had in his diary for a month now".  Without saying too much I asked about the editor's job I had "heard" was going? "Yes, his friend ----- stepped into that because no one applied".  Was I angry? Ask the editor taking a gulp of fresh air an hour later.

Oh lords the stories.

But back to the comics.  I had planned on one day getting a long shed and adapting it to become a comics 'room' or even building a brieze block (cinder block) comics library but that was before comics stopped selling.  Food somehow feels more important!

I do bag the series I really like and have completed such as the Silver Age Sub-Mariner, Fantastic Four, The Avengers, All Star Squadron, etc.. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get bored and bag the other US comics.  How many do I have though?  I did make a catalogue of them last year and there are a good few thousand. Luckily, my Small Press catalogue shows those only number over a thousand.

It is a big collection but as people such as Bob Monkhouse and Denis Gifford proved: you can neither take it with you nor safeguard its future after you are gone.

Just enjoy your comics and stop faffing about!

I also posted a glimpse into Room Oblivion in 2014, though things have changed a lot since then!

 Glimpse Into The Black Towers ROOM OBLIVION!

I was asked what "Room Oblivion" was?  Well, it was a jokey name I coined a few years back for the room that I work, sleep and eat in. These photographs were shown on the old CBO in 2010.  You'll see UK comic annuals, trades, collections and a few figures and even the odd model tank (gamer, you know).

Now, these photos were from 2010 so you need to add a couple hundred more books and comic stacks not to mention gaming figures to make it look like a true "Room Oblivion"!

Occasionally things get tidied up but as anyone working in publishing/drawing/writing comics will tell you, things usually look like a bomb has hit the place (or some very messy aliens -it happens).  It allways makes me smile when an artist on Face Book posts "Finally tidied up the place today so that it's un-recognisable....that's it until next year!"
So, here are the photographs and if any of you spot the missing socks please tell me where you saw them -I can smell them but not find them!

And this led to photos of The Cupboards Of Chaos:

If You Have A Comics Collection -How MANY Do You Have ....

...And More Importantly: How OFTEN Do You Read Them?

 Well, since I did the post about the tidy-up in Room Oblivion things have moved on. Books have more-or-less been put into order on the shelves.

This was the old look:

Then a query was raised about Why are my comics not all bagged?:

But I've seen, over the last few days, several bloggers display their collection in the very over-priced comic boxes and Mylar bags, but also as stacks in comic shop bags.  I know there are the lucky ones with a big living area, small room or even secured garage-cum-man den but that's the exception.

I started reading comics when I was 4 or 5 years of age thanks to Ma and Bill (my grandparents). I do not have all those old comics because of various reasons but as I never had a permanent place to live until I hit my 40s my comics were all over the place -but in rudimentary bagging.

Comics and comic annuals go back to the 1940s and there are series I want to re-read if and when I ever get the chance to 'retire' (or go senile which is a form of retirement -perhaps wander the streets with my underpants over my long johns and a table cloth around my neck as I go worrying "hoodies" That's my current hobby).  Silver Age Sub-Mariner, Silver-Bronze Age Avengers, Dr Strange and, of course, those wonderful small company titles like MF Enterprises Captain Marvel.

Above:someone else's collection! 

However, I'm a chaotically ordered mind.  Catalogue things -habit from my "previous life".  So at one point just over a year ago (before I got more books), I decided to list what comics, annuals, comic magazines, fanzines and so on I had because I wanted to complete certain runs and have a list if I ever found someone dumb enough to buy comics!

My Small Press books are listed in a green book but this is my book of Foreign, UK, USA comic books and annuals:

And here you can see the various markers so I can find "Archie"/"Byblos"/"Class"/"Marvel" and other companies quickly.
Oh and did all this cataloguing cripple my poor old hands.  However, I found out what books had been 'borrowed' and once there is a list you never by a double and it is far easier to say "Champions #16 -I need that!" Also, adding new additions as you get them makes things easier.

I think it was vlogger Howlermouse who showed he had his list in a note book and that was "old school".  You see more people with "Apps" containing checklists now.  That writ, I am happy to say that at that last Bristol Expo several people had note books so all is not lost!

That's an extended look into my tiny mind. 


  1. I have around 2,500 comics (maybe more) of these around 500 are UK comics (mosly UK Marvels and Odhams) and about 40 graphic novels / annuals oh and 50 pocket books ( I like Dan Decarlo's Archie work and Mad books) I have always kept about 90% of my collection in my loft (even when I was a kid living at home) the ones I have "downstairs" are mostly in a box in a large cupboard with a few lying about. The only comics I have on view are 5 large coffee table comic related books errr on my coffee table. Atr present my comics that are in the loft are all over the place in boxes for the most part only separated into DC, Marvel , others , UK weeklies , Fanzines and Black and white US mags - but not by year or titles Im afraid. My plan is to really thin this out (get rid of almost all my newer (crappy) comics and so far this year alone I reckon I have given away at least 1,000 comics (and I don't miss a single one of them) my thinking is with about 700 -1,000 comics in my collection(my aim) I can start looking after them and looking for more older ones I need and read them. The only books I have in bags etc are the ones I buy from back issue shops that come bagged and the first 30 issues of Mighty World of Marvel (well they are in a folder) I did that as a teenager (loved MWOM) and I don't keep any lists (to be fair thats not a bad idea) but I have a fairly good idea what I have even although I do buy the occasional "doubler" . I only really re read my older comics (late 60s - about 1975) when I get a wee urge to look out say Neal Adams or Alex Toths etc etc work but I skim through a comic almost every day.

  2. Yeah, I started counting and at a thousand I just did not dare count more. I think newer books, of which (from the last six years) I don't have that many I will get rid of but for 45 years my comics were in boxes (unprotected), on shelves -just stacked high. My own mortality and knowing what is going to happen to my comics means I can't be that arsed. Read and enjoy or get rid of. Seriously,the space I'd have!!!