For many of us, bagging and boarding our comic books is nothing more than a habit. How important is it? Plus, are we over valuing the physical comic book and under valuing the comic book's content or mental impression?
This post should begin with some facts.
- I am a comic book collector.
- I bag and board all of my comic books.
My cousin was the coolest person I knew when I was young. He also owned many comic books, so by putting two and two together I understood that the more comics one owned, the cooler they became. By that logic I am now way cooler than my cousin ever was...and he knew karate!
I still bag and board my comics, but recently I have started to question why I continue to do so.
I tell myself, and others when they ask about what I will do with my collection in the future or why I collect, that I will give my vast collection to my children. (Hopefully a son...let's be honest...who really wants a daughter? Dumpster baby!) My child can then sell the collection, and use the profits for college, a car or a rare special addition Pog Slammer (they're coming back...you heard it here first). They can do with the collection as they please. Taunted by friends, the question comes-up: What if your kid shreds all of the comics in front of you? As hard as it will be...I would allow it. Don't get me wrong, the next day I will most likely go to prison forever for shredding my child; but again, the collection will no longer be mine. So like...whatevs!
So if I can just give up a collection which I cared for as if I was Filburt Turtle from Rocko's Modern Life ("Turn the page, wash your hands."), why would I even care to bag and board my comics now?
Value is in the Eye of the CollectorClearly bags and boards are necessary in making sure a comic book doesn't get liquid on it and maintains it's wrinkle free flat shape. The better condition a comic book is in, the more a buyer will pay for it. It's like trading in "Diablo 2." Players will trade a lot more for a perfect item than for a lower level one of the same type. Gotta get that perfect HOTO!
Companies have been created with their primary function being grading comic books. The most popular comic book grading company these days, Certified Guarantee Company, or CGC, allows collectors to send in their books to be reviewed by "professionals" who then seal your book in a hard plastic casing with an identification number and a quality grade (the highest grade being a 10.0...which is pretty much impossible). You have an officially graded comic book, but you can never read it again. To an extent, this seems ridiculous.
When a person collects a car, like Jay Leno (bastard...go Coco!), that person can still use (drive) his collection. If a person collects sports memorabilia, such as a baseball, football or glove, they can no longer use the object for it's function; however, they can still see the object in it's entirety. If a person collects baseball cards, which are more closely related to comic book collection, one can still put them in a case and view everything the card has printed on it. A comic book, in a sealed case, limits the collector's ability to see the whole comic book. All the collector can see are the front and back covers. There are a ton of readable and viewable pages that will never be seen again! That's kind of sad.
Too Cool to CollectSome comic book readers do not collect anymore. Some may have never collected. I have found that writers and artists in the industry, who may or may not be given free comic books, tend to not care about the bagging and boarding of books anymore. This could be a result of the level of availability of comic books to them. It may be that they just have no patience in regards to waiting many years for a comic book's value to rise. Maybe the creators are simply too close to the content. To hard working creators, it is always about the next story being told. It's like in Football when teams are drafting players or signing them, the value is in the potential of the next thing, not the last. A true creator wants to be known for their next work. Great examples of creators who are always about the next project are Alan Moore and James Jean.
Never ask Alan Moore about Watchmen...or his beard.
Comic book value seems to be subjective, and the factors seem to be how close you are to the product's creation. Value, other than the experience one has reading a comic book, is a new concept. Years ago publishers and artists would simply throw away old comics and old comic book art because it was seen as no longer necessary to the future. It really wasn't...maybe only for documentation purposes, but that's it.
Maybe being comic book cool is not about having more comic books, as I once thought as a young boy. Maybe being comic book cool is about knowing where the value is: the experience we had and emotions we felt when first reading the comic book.
So...Am I Gonna Continue to Bag and Board?Hell yeah! I don't have some cushy six figure job. This is basically my future child's 401k.
His (please not her's) 401c.
Has anyone stopped bagging and boarding their comic books? Let us know why you no longer bag and board, or why you would never stop.
For more comic related posts and reviews by Dom, head on over to 365DaysofComics.com!
Written or Contributed by: Dom G