Too Many Comics? Embrace the Collection Correction

imgres-5Lately, I’ve been thinking about a book I used to read to my son and how it relates to collecting comics. The book tells the tale of a young snail who becomes obsessed with decorating his shell and adding elements to his “home,” so much so that his shell evolves into an unbalanced and unwieldy grotesquery of sorts. This snail’s intentions start off well enough, but soon his “collecting” ultimately results in a home that is essentially a burden, too big and overdone to be of much use. Simply put, the weight of this snail’s possessions literally stops him from being able to move. This is, in essence, what my personal comic collection has become.

Now if I’m interpreting this cautionary tale correctly, I think there’s an anti-materialist message in theses pages about the beauty of a life lived simply and devoid of material trappings, and my inner hippie (I call him “Jerry”) sort of likes that. Either that or it’s a story about how snails aren’t particularly savvy when it comes to sinking cash into real estate. Damn snails seem prone to throw good money after bad, it seems. Now I’m sure right about now your asking yourself what all this has to do with comics and comics collecting. Stay with me.imgres-6

It’s perhaps a bit of a stretch, but I’ve been thinking about that misguided snail in the story and his ghastly shell as it relates to my own bloated comic collection. Truth be told, my personal collection has become a massive, unwieldy series of boxes that, like the snail’s overdone shell, is at times, dare I say it, a bit of a burden. What began as a small stack of comics on a kid’s bedroom shelf three-plus decades ago has ballooned into a wall of long boxes that would give Roger Waters a run for his money. The word hoarder comes to mind. So perhaps the time has come to tear down the wall.

imgres-7While my inner child has no problem rationalizing the need to keep each and every book I’ve ever plopped down cash for, the ever-maturing me is starting to think that perhaps the time has come to seriously consider the idea of some genuine downsizing. Do I really need all those random issues of Marvel Two-In-One? Would my life be any different if I were to toss out that incomplete Camelot 3000 mini-series? To maintain the status quo might mean risking being crushed, both literally and figuratively, under the weight of my own possessions. But where does the overburdened comic collector begin?

Now I’ve been collecting comics since Jimmy Carter was weekly fodder for sketches on Saturday Night Live, so I’ve got plenty of “quality” comics that I know I’ll take with me to the grave. But up to this point, I’ve always been of the mind that my entire collection was a sacred thing, an untouchable time capsule that I’d hand down to my kids at some point. But with the passing of multiple decades, there’s a certain reality that starts to sink in. It’s a reality that involves accepting the unpleasant truth that my kids don’t give a crap about what happens to daddy’s issues of World of Krypton. It’s a reality that involves accepting the fact that, generally speaking, the books I’ve fetishized for so long really do little more than sit in their boxes, tucked into their bags and boards. Year after year.

Okay, so spring-cleaning time is just around the corner and I’m in a mood to unburden myself. I’m maturing, though I hate to admit it. I don’t want to be that snail from the story. So now what? I’m certainly the first to admit that I have a hard time letting go, but maybe it’ll feel good to disconnect from something I’ve be attached to so long. I try to imagine how it will go down. I am sitting on the floor of my office, surrounded by those familiar white rectangles full of comic book memories. I look up at them and feel like the protagonist in some German Expressionist film. It’s overwhelming. Where to I begin? What comics do I get rid off? Which comics will make the cut? What are the parameters of the great comic imgres-8collection shrink-down of 2013?

I’m not sure I can answer these questions without going through the actual process of thinning my comic book collection down to manageable proportions, so I’ll save the real details for another day. I’m open to suggestions on how to best deal with my comic book rehabbing. I do already feel less burdened, less like that snail with his fancy-schmancy shell. I suppose the first step to any recovery is accepting that you have a problem. Now I’m not telling you to drag your comics out to the curb tomorrow morning. You have to start small. My comic collection is still an important part of who I am and will always be. But when you realize that you’ve been holding on to “things” simply for the sake of possessing them (that’s my m.o.), then maybe what you’re holding onto is really just the past or some idealized concept of it. Sure, I’d like to think there will be a time in the future when I’ll need access to that random issue of Omega Men from 1983, but even nostalgic-as-all-hell me can see that’s pure fantasy…and not the good kind.

Gabe Roth reserves the right to change his mind about getting rid of any of his comics. Change is hard. He’s @gaberoth on Twitter.


  1. If you want too sell them, and you live in the Mid-West area you can contact They buy collections.

  2. Random issue of Omega Men? That’s Lobo’s first appearance!

    Truth be told, I’ve been feeling the same way. My old bedroom at my parents’ house is a maze of short boxes. That was part of the reason that I switched to digital.

  3. The difference between a hoarder and a collector is that a collector “prunes” his collection. He keeps only the best, only the most important items in his collection. A hoarder keeps everything. The sign of a good collection is it only contains the gems. By definition, that should less than 20% of what has been produced. Everything else should be seen as common, disposable and easily replaceable should you decided, at some point in the future, that you should have kept it in your collection. (Don’t worry, you won’t.)

  4. But Gabe, don’t you think it’d be a great idea to have those comics around for your son? My wife and I are expecting our first, and I plan on letting the little bugger go through my books. Of course, I will have separated out the “Scalped” and “Locke & Key” issues until I think he/she is ready for them. In fact, I’ve even added ‘all ages’ titles to my pull list just so that he/she will have something to read early on.

    • I do want to share my comics with my kids (and have done so with mixed results), but we’re talking thousands of comics, most of which I’m sentimentalizing because of what they mean to ME. Those sentimental feelings don’t really transfer over to the kids. In fact, I think it’s every parents’ duty to step back and let their kids develop their own sentimental attachments to things that will eventually haunt them into adulthood.

    • My daughter who is 7 has a short box of comics that she has picked out on her own. I know these comics will be reread until the staples fall out. But she does try to take care of them “like daddy” She has developed her own tastes in comics and looks forward to the new issues. One day she will be getting my collection so I do want to have the best possible collection for her to do with how she wants. I am fully aware that this might mean a down payment on a house.

    • I think the hard truth is kids who are ten or under right now aren’t going to go through boxes of comics. They’ll flip through “bins” of them on their iPads. Just a matter of time.

      But it will also make it MUCH easier to keep massive collections without the literal crushing.

    • For all comic-loving parents: It’s about a costume, but it’s a metaphor for life.

    • You can have entire runs bound into hard covers. It’s perfect for that series with re-readability but no collection in print.

  5. After my last move, hauling my 30 or so long boxes to the basement office/nerd ghetto got me ready to embrace digital, though the non-subscription pricing model keeps me with mostly paper. DC’s lousy comics of late has helped me reduce my monthly intake considerably. I have started organizing, which I stopped doing about 19 years ago when I started college and have found technology quite helpful. I’ve been using Collectorz Comic Collector app which support bar code scanning to start cataloging. The goal is to get a handle on what I have, cull the things I’d like to keep, then unload as much as I can of what remains for credit at my LCS or donate. I cut my teeth on comics starting in the early 90s so I know that most of my collection is de facto crap. I do recommend Comic Collector for anyone as a way to start culling or curating.

  6. I know your pain… i am lucky enough to have room for my collection. However. I am trying to make runs and get Key issues. I use the “fodder” in the collection to get the better books. That way i have a reason to get the new books. You will shrink your collection but greatly improve the quality…. and you get to start hunting down keys issues which to me is more fun.

    • I have to make a concerted effort to accept that I don’t need multiple versions of things. For example, I spent a lot of time amassing the Byrne run of Fantastic Four. Then they put the those very same issues in a lovely omnibus edition that is both easier to read and store. Now it’s just a matter of letting go of those original issues go to lighten my load.

    • JohnnyLobes, this is my strategy as well. I even sometimes sell things I just recently bought because I realize I don’t want it tattoed on me for the long haul. I’ve gotten more books I genuinely want to keep and pass down. My 3 year old son LOVES Batman, and so do I. I’ve amassed the entire run from the end if the Copper Age thru now, plus most if the tie-ins. I made a decision what I would spend my space on, and have stuck to it. @Gabe I really like keeping originals for the “time capsule” effect. The ads, the paper and color. It’s a big deal for me, kinda like history. Great article, never go digital, because you’ll just end up losing them when your iPad breaks.

    • @theWAC1: “Great article, never go digital, because you’ll just end up losing them when your iPad breaks.”

      No you won’t; that’s not how current digital comics work at all.

    • @ Conor. I thought I remember reading that my Marvel Digitals are device specific, and I know that as long as there is light I will be able to read my floppies. There will never be a need to charge them, and I have no fears of an operating system change. Nevertheless, thank you for the correction, looks like I need to look into a little more.

    • Ok replace loosing your ipad with comixology going out of business. Then is it possible to loose your digital comics forever? From what i understand , the answer is yes. On the other hand i get the digital thought process because i just recently moved thousands of pounds worth of comics cross country.. luckily i feel like the hulk right now.. if i didnt bend my knees i could easily be feeling like professor X instead.

    • @thewac1 and @ilovecomice: Since you’re so concerned about losing your digital collections I assume you have no digital media whatsoever. No digital music, movies, books, or games. That right?

    • @USPUNX yes, that is correct. None whatsoever actually. It’s all physical, and some have digital duplicates for ease of listening (in the case if music). I’m not a fan of buying things I don’t own.

    • @uspunx that is incorrect. Well do i loose something if i say yes? I have 100 gigs of digital music .. however i have all of that backed up on multiple computers and multiple external drives and multiple burned discs. Im concerned for a reason. Ive had a friend surfing the net “look at mustang car sites”( i.e. free porn) while i was asleep and download a virus that lost me 60 gigs/ 4 years of music downloads.. and ive had a neighbor whos chimney got blown off by a lightening bolt which fried my surge protector and my computer with all kinds of important stuff on it (i had most of it but it still takes weeks to put it back on) . The digital music you are talking about is mine for as long as i live because i have it backed up in my house. That does not apply to digital comics; this is whats called a false equivalency. Everyone should be concerned about loosing stuff when they pay good money for it or when it took time to acquire it. I have no problem with digital comics but when i get my comics for 30% less than digital and when i can eventually sell them on ebay (albeit for very little) that seems to me like a reason to buy hard copies. When digital is day and date at 50 percent less ill probably switch over, until then ill be enjoying the smell of paper. I have a spare room so it aint a problem for me, if it was i would go digital for that reason as well. As far as movies, games and books.. i have a few of each digitally but much of that stuff is similar to comics in that you cant make your own copies of them so if those companies go out of business you may eventually loose them. And again i just sold 3 xbox games that im done with on ebay for half what i paid for them. Try doing that with your digital game.. oh ? Thats right.. its impossible. Now that im on the subject ive had problems with getting locked out of games by steam when ive owned multiple copies for Lan parties, again another reason to be concerned about corporate controlled product. You cant lock me out when i have the whole product in my house. Again if im paying full price i want to be able to give it away (you cant do that with a lot of digital) or sell it ( you cant do that with most digital). As far as i know you cant do that with any digital comics. Am i wrong?

    • @ilovecomics You explained my feelings EXACTLY. I can keep it, loan it, sell, it. I too have an extra room. Cheers to paper. And yes, I think the previous comment was meant to show some sort of “inconsistency” or something. Oh well.

    • Cheers @theWac1. Keep on enjoying these wonderful things we call comics and stay cool.

    • I will agree that the inability to share a digital comic is a restriction not shared by a paper comic. However, there are some new e-reader and digital comic apps recently released (e-reader) or in development (digital comics) that do allow for sharing of content, so this problem as it exists now seems to be disappearing.

      Second, I would say there is a false equivalency in your argument as well. You say this: “As far as movies, games and books.. i have a few of each digitally but much of that stuff is similar to comics in that you cant make your own copies of them.” How do you make a copy of a book? Do you photocopy each page? And how about a game or DVD? They have anti-piracy protection that makes it impossible to copy the material. Which is essentially the exact same as DRM.

      If you just don’t like digital because of the old “paper is better” reasoning than just say so. I don’t agree with that sentiment but I’ve heard it spouted so many times I’ve learned to just accept it. As Cool Hand Luke elegantly said: “There are some people you just can’t reach.”

    • Ya there are some people you just cant reach pal.. like you. You are assuming all over the place. Let me see i dont know sports right and i have no digital media right? or were you assuming that i have digital media other than comics and i was being “inconsistent”. You also assume i just like paper and that is the only reason i havent gone digital yet, when i clearly told you why i havent gone digital. I get comics for 30% off through mail order, its cheaper than digital, and thats not my opinion its fact. I have 4 bedrooms in my house, i dont need two of them, one has become a guest room the other is a comics room (therefor i dont have a problem with lack of space). What false equivalency? Ha so i suppose im also a hypocrite? As i stated before if it is digital most (not all) of the time you cant make a copy, you cant sell your original and you cant give away your original and i dont know about you but i can easily make copies of dvd’s (but not digital movies). You know what my point was, your nitpicking to find an inconsistency. But just in case here is my point again.. i can sell my game dvd and i can give it away and i can sell my paper book and i can give it away. You just took one sentence out of context. Besides this sentence of mine that you are refering to is about needing to make copies of media THAT I DO NOT PHYSICALLY HAVE IN MY HOUSE because otherwise a company bankruptcy can loose them for me.. You left out the end of this sentence… “As far as movies, games and books.. i have a few of each digitally but much of that stuff is similar to comics in that you cant make your own copies of them. You left out this “so if those companies go out of business you may eventually loose them” ; which is the whole point of the sentence. TOTALLY OUT OF CONTEXT. I dont need to COPY a paper book cause it aint going to get lost. I dont need to COPY an xbox game cause it aint going to get lost and I dont need to COPY a dvd cause it aint going to get lost. On the flip side … I DO need to COPY digital media to my own at home hard drives because if i am not allowed to copy the digital media (if the seller wont let me).. then when the company goes out of business i can loose it forever. A book is on my shelf, its not going anywhere. I cannot control what happens to comixology or Amazon. That was the point. Zero false equivalency. Now i need to get 10 minutes of my life back somehow, wow.

    • Can you cite and article of some kind that says if Comixology goes out of business you lose your digital comics? I’ve heard that argument often but I’ve never actually read something that states that. I could be wrong but I didn’t think that was how it worked.

    • And just for the record you make far more assumptions than I do and you really seem to enjoy creating straw men.

    • Ha… ya i get more free with the assumptions when someone starts making them about me. Just a reflex i guess. I would refer to my original comment in which i asked the same question that you just did? The point is i dont know. I said that i didnt know in my first comment and used a question mark. By using a question mark i was trying to convey my uncertainty just as i did with my response to you in the other thread. Thats one reason out of many that i havent gone digital. Somehow it doesnt seem logical that they would give up too much control otherwise it could lead to more piracy. I also based it non musical digital media which all seem to strip you of complete ownership. Probably the largest evidence that i have that i am currently assuming correctly about comixology is that Conner hasnt corrected me yet. Again i cant site it because as i stated in my first comment ? ? ? a question mark meant ? ? ? someone tell me what the truth is!

    • I’m not sure either. I didn’t remember your first comment or I would have realized you were asking the question as well. Also, how do you copy DVDs? They are all protected in my experience.

      “Ha… ya i get more free with the assumptions when someone starts making them about me.” — So I guess that means you understand why I got a little free with my assumptions too. Yes???

    • @ilovecomics: “Probably the largest evidence that i have that i am currently assuming correctly about comixology is that Conner hasnt corrected me yet.”

      I have no idea how ComiXology works internally or what their policies are regarding files downloaded to devices should they go out of business.

    • Thanks Conor, i appreciate the response.

    • Thanks Conor.

  7. Having moved recently, I’ve seriously pruned my collection. Hauling all those heavy boxes of paper makes you re-evaluate their importance. I’ve had varying success selling at Half-Price Books, but for what you’re moving you might want to check out TFAW’s website,

  8. I just cut up a bunch and made a collage with some friends it was great

  9. I have similarly decided to trim my collection recently, especially after the realization that I was buying a lot of comics simply for the sake of buying them, and at $3.99 a pop, that just ain’t cool. I have sold most of them on eBay, some on Craig’s List, and a lot on (they seem to have the best deals.) I mean, how to get rid of them is up to you. Taking that leap is the hard part. But for what it’s worth, I agree with you. Don’t be like the snail!

  10. Now… I’m going to say that I’m completely against “collections” in general. I don’t “collect” comics. On a month to month basis – I toss all the ones that I don’t want to keep and I get rid of them – nephews, wife’s friends’ kids, garbage, whatever. I probably only keep 10% of the comics I buy. So I do have a comic “collection” but its only several short boxes.

    I also don’t have a guitar collection, or a collection of RC cars, or watches – they’re not collections! I’m not a collector!

  11. i stopped picking up print single issues a long while ago, and mostly do printed trades and HC’s. My rule for the that is i get one bookshelf…and its always in a state of full-ness. I’m always rearranging my shelves. The bottom 2 are my “eh its ok” section. When i look through and see things that i haven’t touched in years, its time to consider moving them.

    recently, i was able to get rid of 5 or 6 HC’s and trade em for 3 new books at the LCS that i really wanted. Don’t know if i got a good deal, but i saw it as moving dead weight for new stuff. A lot of times for me, there are books that i enjoyed when i read them but have no intention of ever looking at again, and then there are the *keepers* that i want on that shelf for a long while.

  12. I struggle with this daily, myself. I don’t think there’s an easy answer. Do I want to keep that old “Ghostbusters” run? Yes, yes I do. Do I need to? Not really. Does it take up tons of space? Oh god yes. What we need is a Comic Hutch.

    Where are all your comics, honey?
    In the Comic Hutch!

    But serisously, tell me what to do.

    • Storage is a real issue, isn’t it?! I certainly have a soft spot for the good ol’ long box, but you stack a few of those up and it becomes an absolute chore to find anything. I remember the “drawer boxes” were a decent option, but even so, there’s a strange impermanence to storing these prized possessions in what are essentially cardboard boxes. There’s got to be a better way. Anyone out there making high qualIty, appealing to the eye comic book storage furniture?

    • yeah storage of long boxes is my main issue. I have em in our spare closet and they’re just always in the way. There is nowhere to put them. Yeah its kinda bizarre that i’m keeping all this “cool things” in crappy cardboard boxes that have been beaten to crap with moving.

      I have seen some comic organizing “furniture” but its kinda pricey and nothing that i’d love to put in my house.

    • If you can find an office surplus sale or something along those lines an old school metal office filing cabinet is a fine solution.

    • I saw a great wooden file cabinet for specifically comics at a site called Geek Chic they also making gaming tables and other furniture. It’s expensive but the quality looks fantastic.

  13. Not only to find anything, but you can easily throw out your back with the LB. Comic storage furniture sounds AWESOME though. I think the problem is that even if it looks appealing, there’s still so damn many that space is still an issue.

    I often thought about a storage locker, but is $50 a month worth the room?

    • I think once you put your books in a storage locker, you’re very unlikely to ever read them again. Something about having them off-site seems to create and “out of site, out of mind” scenario…

    • I’ve got a mindset that if you’re considering stashing stuff in offsite storage, you don’t need it anymore.

      Does not apply to RV’s, boats, etc. But a bedroom suite? Sell it. Appliances? Goodwill. Comics? Ebay.

      Short term is fine if you’re moving, or in some other sort of flux, but long term, it’s just costing you more money on top of what you’ve already spent.

    • yeah i agree. Storage lockers for “stuff” and “collections” is like one baby step away from full on hoarder. haha

      I have friends who keep things in storage…its just a money pit for stuff they will never lose but can’t let themselves get rid of.

  14. Here in Vegas you should check out Cosmic Comics. Their back issues are in these awesome rollout cabinets. Fully custom build but they seem when you browse them you feel like you are in a library smelling leather and rich mahogany.

  15. Just how many comics do you own approximatley?

  16. I sold my first batch of stuff last night. Breaking up my collection so I can at least partially fund a decent used car. It was absolutely refreshing. There’s some crap out of the house, and $120 in the bank for some comics I didn’t even like. Now I’m high off of it. I’m pruning down to the stuff I just can’t bear to get rid of, and I’m excited about it. While Snyder’s Batman is great, I highly doubt I’ll ever go back to it. Out the door it goes. The keepers will be few and far between. Batman: Year One, Infinity Gauntlet, Crisis on Infinite Earths, etc. Infinite Crisis? See ya. Final Crisis? Get the fuck out of here. Civil War? Ta ta.

    The purging begins.

    • Not Civil War!!

    • Looking thru the stuff you’re getting rid of, its all stuff from 2004-Now. I’ll never get rid of “Civil War”, its the last great Marvel event I read, and I lent the issues to a non-comics friend of mine and he loved them. I’d keep it.

  17. Ya i have a similar problem with letting go of random comics that dont really mean anything to me, that are of no importance, not part of a complete run or something i plan on reading ever again or that is very valuable, and are just random issues from my childhood that i held on to.

    The main reason i have that problem is because now that ive started collecting and reading again recently in the past two years from a more then 10 year hiatus since i was younger, ive grown attached to the mindset of owning complete runs by writers of series i enjoy that ive recently started or have found out about since returning back to comics. Anything thats really old that ive heard i might enjoy and dont want to bother to attempt to collect the issues from i pick up in trade. So that leaves me with all these other issues that are separate from that and that i just had lying around prior to this because i stopped collecting. When i went to get rid of these though just looking through them, the comics i have from my childhood regardless of how they are unimportant to how im collecting these days i just couldnt let them go, purely based off nostalgia. Im still contemplating getting rid of them though regardless its just a decision thats hard for me to pull the trigger on as horrible as it sounds.

  18. Gabe, I’ve been in the exact same boat as you for some time. My kids are still young (7 and 9), I’ve gone through some spring cleaning from time to time, and, most importantly like yourself, have had that long internal discussion about ‘do I really need these comics?’

    Yes, it’s an incredible realization that you should do it, and if this is the first time you’ve thought of it, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Just know that these thoughts were inevitable. I think it has to do with the aging process, unburdening yourself with so much stuff because your priorities are changing (particularly when it comes to family). You’re asking yourself, ‘Do I actually believe I’m going to read any issue of Omega Men over #12?” just like you’d ask yourself, “Do I really need to prove I’m still hip by going to that bar for 21 year olds?”

    Okay, you want to clean house. I’m just going to talk generalizations because anyone can throw out/donate comics. For me, it’s an emotional trip too. And I apologize for length. But here’s what you have to understand:

    1. Realize you’re about to make a major sacrifice of something that has been a fundamental part of your entire life. It’s gonna hurt. Trust me, this is coming from an avid comic collector since he was 10 AND who’s a lifetime member of the Pack Rat Society. It will get better. You know why? See #2.
    2. Realize you’re cleaning house for you and your family. You’ll create more space for family stuff both physically and mentally.
    3. Face the facts: You will NEVER EVER read at least half those comics ever again. Ever. Yep, there are many books in your collection – series, runs, characters – that you’ll always love and always love rereading… are you thinking about those? STOP RIGHT THERE!
    4. Those books you were reminiscing about? Those are the ones to keep. That’s it. Nothing else!
    5. Now the hard part – go through all those boxes (that’s some giant collection in the photo!), make separate piles, whittle down the piles. You want to keep those books that truly touch your heart or conjure great memories when you see them. Great stories, epic battles, funny stuff…
    6. Know that the value of the stuff you’re pitching is nil. If you believe that about an issue, then it’s worth nothing to you too.
    7. Know that anything you hold onto, YOU are the one who has to move it all.
    8. Kids don’t care. I went through that. Don’t save for the kids. But look at it this way, if they want to read something, what you’ll give them is GOOD STUFF, not Omega Men #47 or L.E.G.I.O.N. ’95 #2.
    9. A good portion of comics out there, particularly older issues, can be acquired through trades or hardcovers. I’ve gotten rid of several of my old single runs by purchasing nice compilations. Doesn’t mean you have to get rid of singles, but the option’s there.

    Good luck Gabe. Just remember you aren’t the first to come this way!

  19. Ever since I got married, the rule in the house is that I’m allowed two long boxes to keep comics in. This has really helped me learn to let go. Now a days, I pretty much ebay everything I read and then reinvest the money in monthlies, TPBs, or HCs. Sure, I don’t make a ton of money, but hey, any money is better than none. I think people’d be surprised by how much some stuff sells on ebay, especially if its well known and highly regarded.

    My recommendation to you, my friend, is to put lots of old issues together and ebay ’em. Whatever entire runs you have or a collection of a popular artist. Put the money in your kids college fun. Whatever doesn’t sell donate to local hospitals, school libraries, and the troops. Just don’t throw them out! There’s always someone, somewhere who will love your old stuff.

    • that’s interesting about the ebay angle and how you recycle your funds. How much time do you spend doing that? My biggest thing about going down that rabbit hole is the time issue.

  20. “My name is Ken, and I’m a comic-holic.”

    Man, I feel 10 pounds lighter already. I’ve got to get rid of some comics though. I too am in the thousands. That is not good. And while it has been a fun ride, it’s gotten out of control. I need to take some to Half-Price or something. I might give some away to a “good home,” but only if I know the person will appreciate them. I’m too cheap to just throw them out!

  21. I’m starting to have storage problems too, usually I kept issues in a plastic bin under my bed. Now I’ve devoted two drawers in my dresser to comics, and I’ve nearly filled 3 plastic bins under my bed. I’m thinking of transferring them to boxs laying around my room, freeing up the dresser for clothes and such. It’s just that I really want to collect most of Moon Knight’s appreances in the Marvel U, and this Silver Surfer series from the 90s I’ve only read 2 issues of. I have tons of stuff I don’t read anymore (Ultimate Spider-man, New Avengers) but I haven’t gotten rid of it yet. If I take them down to my LCS and they offer store credit, I’ll take it in a heartbeat. Lately tho it seems most stores aren’t buying and Half-Priced Books gives you pennies for anything you bring it. I havent tried online, but if I’d be more successful I’ll start seriously considering it. Phew, I feel better now.

  22. I only started collecting in earnest about 3 years ago. I end up getting about a long box’s worth of comics each year. Already, I would like to reduce my collection to just the comics I really like and get rid of those I just bought to read. Does anybody know a good place to unload comics from the last 3 years or so. I realize I can’t get much money for these, but I would prefer that than just throwing them away.

  23. Do whatever you have to do, Gabe. But just remember: the comic books in your collection are like innocent little friends you made when you were young, and needed them most. You may have moved on, but they still love you, and now they really need you to take care of them.

    • BionicDave! Now all I can imagine is my comics coming to life and feeling sad when I’m not home. There’s a tattered copy of Marvel Team-Up sitting in the corner saying “Why won’t somebody read me?” Waaaaaaaa!

  24. I mentioned it above, but look into comic binding for those runs you really just can’t part with. They will look way better in a custom leather cover than in a dusty longbox.

  25. Anyone looking to purge their collection should look in to donating them to charity. If you live anywhere near NYC/Northern New Jersey, get a bunch of longboxes together and donate them all to Superheroes for Hospice:

  26. You sound a lot like me, a child of the 70’s/80’s that grew up reading Bryne,Perez,Buscema etc. Those will be the hardest collection to get rid of. I have about 20 long boxes(200-300 comics per box) so I have a huge collection as well.

    The good news is about a few yers ago I had 30+ long boxes. I started out slowly by getting rid of small runs(min series) and then gradually moved up from there. Then I realized I didn’t need Excalibur,New Mutants,X-Factor etc. anymore.Trust me, once you start selling(ebay) or (Half-Price Books), donating any that you can’t sell(Goodwill or Salvation army) it gets easier.

    I actually had to think really hard on that list above on what I’ve gotten rid of so you truly won’t miss the fringe collection. I know I’ll never sell certain series(Marvel Team-Up,Two-In-One) but others slowly fall out of favor. Plus the current set of comics are not worth keeping because even the good ones like Brubaker’s Captain America or Hickman’s Fantastic Four are so convoluted,I can’t see myself rereading any of those decade long storylines. So I know my collection won’t expand anytime soon.

    My selling currently has come to a complete halt due to my work schedule but I plan on getting started again this summer. The good part is thanks to Marvel and DC’s constant renumbering every few years, it makes it so easy to get rid of everything as a single set now.

    I can’t tell you what to sell but if you sit and sift through your collection, you know what you can live without. And the way digital is expanding, if you do miss a series after selling it, the option will be there to grab them again…if you miss them after a few years that is.

    • That’s a great point about ongoing storylines. Sure, Brubaker’s Cap run is great and all, but would I seriously reread it? Or Bendis’ Avengers’ saga? Maybe Disassembled, Civil War. Bendis’ Daredevil is the only massively long epic I’ve considered rereading. I do plan on rereading all of Scalped soon.

      A lot of my rereads are done in ones or pre-90s when stories had real endings, although some books after that like Astro City are great.

    • Don’t waste your time with Half-Price Books, IMHO. They pay pennies on the dollar for stuff.

      If you don’t want to go through stuff and eBay the more valuable things, then take them to the LCS or ship to one of the bigger ones ( for store credit, and put those issues into stuff you really want.

    • Did the My Comic Shop Dot Com thing. Just a word of caution: be very, very tough on grading your comics. They sure will.

  27. The problem is that even if you sell your comics on ebay you hardly get anything for them unless they are key issues from the 60’s or low print run image comics stuff that is momentarily hot. The other stuff goes for less than a dollar an issue. Not even worth listing. You just have to give it away instead of Halloween candy. OR GIVE IT TO YOUR KIDS/ neices/nephews. Problem solved.
    My stuff is organized in every possible way, is in one spare room and will go to my kids. Doubles go to trick or treaters.

    • If you have complete lots you can do okay, but selling singles as singles does sound horrible and less than rewarding, not to mention having to deal with hardened collectors when you aren’t the CGC…

    • Agreed. Sell them in runs/lots. They almost always sell that way.

  28. Great article, I just finished off a huge downsizing and boy does it feel good. It took about a weekend but I was able to get rid of all but a few milk crates and about a half full 4-drawer office filing cabinet worth of my single issues. Once those get full again, I’ll know it’s time for another nostalgia cut weekend but I only follow a couple things monthly anymore, so that should take awhile.

    I sold off everything on ebay, bought the collections of anything I still wanted to have handy, and have caught the library binding bug for preserving anything that’s destined to be out-of-print for the rest of my lifetime as well as stuff I can never imagine being collected. And no surprise, most of the latter is DC stuff, I’m currently getting some sweet-ass “Shade: The Changing Man” hardcovers made as well as a Joe Casey omnibus collecting “Wildcats 3.0”, “Automatic Kafka”, and “The Intimates” (slight brag if you like this stuff at all).

    I gotta say, I hated the clutter that went along with single issues but I have no problem being surrounded by stories I love on the bookshelves and cultivating a library rather than maintaining a collection. When I run out of room for the shelves I guess it’s just time for a new apartment…

  29. I see your point…still, what if I want to go back and re-read those old issues of Brigade…or my collect it’s item Boof #1?

  30. Great timing on this article as I too am about to tackle this issue (though on a much smaller scale). The “pruning” approach most resembles what I’m doing – keeping only those books that are true favorites or have established any kind of considerable market value.

    Try this… you only get to keep the titles/runs you can remember. If it’s still memorable, chances are it’ll qualify as something worth keeping. If you couldn’t remember it, you won’t know it’s out at the street.

  31. I sometimes think I have a problem with my maybe about 1000 comics and growing sloooowly but when I read these articles it makes me treasure them more, tho I don’t really care for a few.
    Yup, maybe a 1000 since I started in around 1987, that’s just 2 filing cabinet drawers, and any issue comes to mind I will definitely reread it at some point.

  32. I give my issues away to local children’s hospital, they use them primarily for teenagers on the wards or waiting for intake. Just a thought.

  33. Dealing with the same thing. Got 55 long boxes and most need replacing. I’m selling portions of the collection on ebay a bit at a time mainly to reduce the scope of the replacement while offsetting the costs…well, except for the occasional Heavy Metal lot. But that’s magazine short boxes, so it’s okay.

    Around 2004 I paid off a car selling about 4,000 comics on ebay, a time before digital and our economy killed back issue demand. I was holding onto a full run of Wonder Man, bad girl comics and all sorts of crap I thought I couldn’t bare to part.

    The way I worked around my comic psychosis was this: reading.

    Can’t bare to part with those Marvel Team-Up issues? Read them. Yeah. They’re not as good as you thought they were. If they didn’t age well, toss ’em. Or, sell them.

    Good luck.

    P.S. The moral of the snail story isn’t a criticism of material possessions but a lesson about the perils of sinking crap tons of money into a mobile home.

    P.P.S. The enabler in me wants to tell you to sell the comics and buy more of what you haven’t read or a long-sought back issue that you couldn’t justify purchasing.