All right, fine. I'm a sap. But honest to God, I read this story about the University of Minnesota receiving a major donation of comic books for its library and got a bit misty. First of all, it's a lovely piece of personal writing. In hack hands, this is a couple of quirky paragraphs about some guy donating thousands and thousands of, you know, comic books, to a university library. Who cares, right?
But this writer puts the collection and what it's meant in perspective. Comic books have shaped their family for decades. She doesn't understand the appeal, and that's fine. She still recognizes their importance and what it's meant for her husband and children. And it's some lovely writing she uses to get that point across.
Simple, emotional and poignant. It works.
I think it also stuck a chord with me because Mr. Borger has people who appreciate what his collection means and recognizes the role they've played in all their lives. I like that because I'm not sure I've ever had it. This isn't a shot at my parents and Cathy. I love my parents. I love Cathy. But they've never understood why I love comics so much. My parents barely tolerated my collection, especially when I entered my teens. The only way the whole thing didn't mysteriously "disappear" one day when I was at school was my assurance that the comics would be worth something one day.
As for Cathy, well, she was introduced to them when I wasn't doing as good a job of keeping them organized as I should have. They were piled all over my work room. I'm not sure if she ever would have grown to have liked them, but she certainly didn't get off on the right foot with them. Also, and we just had this discussion...she reads trashy romance and vampire novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. She doesn't expect me to understand why or try to convert me to them. It's just what she reads. She doesn't see anything grand or romantic about it. Nor does she understand why I seem to have the view about comics.
She has a point, I guess. But I do considering something special about growing up and reading comic books. They were a comfort to me during a lot of crappy, lonely and depressing times.
At some point I'm going to have to make some decisions about my comic books. We've been up north for more than two years and I haven't bought any single issues during that period. It's all been collections (graphic novels). I'm pretty happy with the way that's going right now and it will continue when/if we move back south.
However, right now I probably have in excess of 10,000 individual issues sitting in storage at my father's house. The last time I was there, dad was storing his wine in the same space as them, which caused me to freak out at him a bit. Then again, I haven't treated the collection well in recent years. I wasn't bagging and boarding them all like a good collector is supposed to, simply because the budget wasn't there. Really. Bags and boards add up in a hurry when you have to buy as many I would have needed.
Anyway, what to do with them? The thought of donating them to MUN, similar to what this guy did, has its appeal. My collection isn't as historic as I suspect Mr. Borger's is. I know I bought a lot of crap in my day. But I do like the idea of them being read on a regular basis. I started collecting when I was seven years old. I still have comics from that period of time, although they're obviously beaten up pretty badly. Those comics have brought me a lot of joy and contentment over the years. The idea they might do the same for lots of other people is quite enticing.
Having seen what I can do with eBay and at bit of effort (I've probably said it before, but Cathy's engagement ring, and my first digital camera, were bought by selling about 300 comic books over the space of a couple of months), I'm sure Cathy and my parents would be happy to see me sell them all.
But I'll have to figure out something to do with them as keeping them all is probably not viable in the long run. Suggestions?
1. Sweetness - The Trews
2. All you need is love - The Beatles
3. 11 O'clock, tick tock - U2
4. Lonely song - Ron Hynes*
5. Ladies and gentlemen - Hot Hot Heat