Two packages arrived today. One was for Cathy, so thank God I have at least one of the things I ordered. There are two days left and two packages to go. So I’m feeling a bit more hopeful than I was yesterday.
The second package was from Amazon and I ordered it for myself. I always believed you should treat yourself to something for Christmas. Traditionally, I treat myself to some comics I want. One regret I have about not being home right now is that Downtown Comics has their big sale in January (25 per cent off trade paperbacks). I dropped a nice chunk of change there last year, but got some fun stuff, including a nice run of Usagi Yojimbo.
I tend to get comics for myself because, well, no one else will. It’s frequently too difficult to explain to people what I’m looking for. ("Yeah, get me Volume 5 of Usagi Yojimbo. What's it about? Well, it's about a samurai bunny rabbit. Stop laughing...") And, well, those who love me most – my parents and my wife – basically refuse to buy me comics.
Dad never has and I suspect it has more than a little to do with the fact that the majority of my collection has been stored at his house. And really, I have about 10,000 comics. They are housed in about 30 boxes. They do take up a little space. I suspect my mother probably just finds it a bit embarrassing to go into a comic store.
But Cathy only recently told me why she won’t buy comics for me, even if I make it really simple and put a wish list on either Chapters or Amazon: She doesn’t want to “encourage” me.
I’m a 35, soon to be 36, year old male. I’ve collected comics for nearly 30 years. I was open mocked by my peers in junior high and high school. Where other men might have spent money on cars, music, cigarettes, booze or wooing women, I bought comics. I have, in plain sight of attractive women, reached into a bag, pulled out a Batman comic and cracked it open. When I needed to buy an engagement ring for my girlfriend, I sold comics.
“Wow, you sold all your comics to buy an engagement ring?” some woman once said when I told her the story. “No,” Cathy sighed. “He sold about 300 of them. He still has another 10,000 left.”
The woman backed away slowly.
Look, if scaring off attractive women when in my mid-20s and going through an epic dating dry spell, spending tens of thousands of dollars on comics and the scorn and dismay of parents didn’t discourage me, I’m really doubting my wife (which means I’ve already overcome the biggest disincentive of comic buying geeks everywhere and found a woman willing to be with me) not buying me some comics for Christmas isn’t going to do the trick.
Unemployment was the biggest disincentive. I’ve only bought two trade paperbacks in the past four months. Now that I have a job, I’ve got a big backlist to clear out. I can hardly wait…
Last 5 on iPod
1. Use it - The New Pornographers (Twin Cinema)
2. Somebody to love - Queen (Platinum Collection)
3. Even better than the real thing - U2 (Achtung Baby)
4. The mariner's revenge song - The Decemberists (Picaresque)
5. Love me do - The Beatles (Please Please Me)