Today I consider options for proper disposal / storage of old comics I don’t really want to keep around anymore! Where do good comics go when their sun is setting? Let’s find out!
As anyone who collects ongoing comic books knows, the longer you collect “floppies,” the more storage can become a real problem. One day it’s just reorganizing some shelf space, but pretty soon it’s asking your partner if Junior could sleep in the garage, and now you’re sleeping in the garage with the comics, and things may have gotten slightly out of hand (at least you have your comics, though).
Honestly, this is one of the many reasons that it’s completely illogical to buy print comic books. In the abstract, if someone offered to fill my head with a fun story, and it could either 1) take up no space or 2) threaten to slowly squeeze me into a puddle of jelly like the Senator from the original X-Men movie that I still have nightmares about, I’d pick 1 every time. And yet here I am, eager to return to a comic shop the second curbside delivery resumes in my area.
I’ll admit upfront that I’m not an expert on the subject of managing comics. This is more a thought experiment and fishing for ideas from other fans.
I currently have approximately one full short box (somewhere in the realm of 200+ comics) that I simply do not desire any longer. While these are hiding in my office closet and only occasionally let out tiny haunting squeals in the dead of night when I’m up too late catching bugs in Animal Crossing, the bigger problem is that the amount of comics in my possession seems to continually expand. I’m… unclear how this happens. If only something could be done!
Let’s dig into the options for disposal (and don’t you dare say recycling / fire kindling, you monsters!).
1) Sell The Comics, Clearly
This was my first idea, too! So I went through all my comics, picked out the ones I could live without, put a modicum of thought into ones that might even have some value (Ellis/Shalvey’s Moon Knight #1, surely?), and brought two heavier-than-you’d-think shoeboxes full of comics to my Local Comic Book Shop (this was well before our current Age of Quarantine, don’t worry). They kindly told me they’d review, and when I came in next week they offered me approximately $10 for my 200 comics. I could be exaggerating; it might have been $5.
My expectations were way off (I was hoping to pull in at least $1 per book, and would have easily taken $100 of store credit), but the shop owner kindly explained they simply had too many of the books already in stock. In retrospect, this makes a lot of sense. Much of what I have in my collection is more recent, and of course the shop isn’t interested in taking in my All-New All-Different Marvel throwaways when they can’t even sell their own (There’s plenty I love from the era, but every shop I’ve been in in the last three years trying to get rid of back issues has an endless supply of All-New All-Different)!
So, the books returned to my office closet, where they remain. Hang on, one of them just started whispering a countdown from 100. I’ll be right back.
2) Comics Collage Art
My next step was to begin cutting the books in a fit of rage. Ok, no, that’s not right, but I did foray into pulling out panels and sequences to create some art for my long and shortboxes. I even wrote about the experience!
I am definitely not an artistically inclined individual (literally the worst grade of my Junior High – College experience was in Sculpture. This was not an elective.). As a result, I remain somewhat sheepish about the final product (they look… fine, I guess?). Nonetheless, the act of flipping through these books to find the perfect panel, knowing I was about to perform illicit surgery was actually quite relaxing.
Additional benefits include seeing Oppenheimer’s crazed expression
every time I walk into my office.
3) Try Selling Them… Better?
We’re now at the point in our journey together where I haven’t actually tried anything else. Again, the comics are still in the closet. They… they can hear everything.
Alternative options like Ebay or a Garage Sale (seems like a great time for one!) don’t necessarily make a ton of sense. I’m not really sure how I’d market a hodge podge collection like this digitally, and the work of cataloging for the payoff seems minuscule. Do people actually buy mystery boxes of comics? What’s the going rate?
Other recommendations I’ve seen from people include Craigslist (hah), Facebook Marketplace (HAH), and just going to a fleamarket (I like this one, but alas).
4) Give Up and Just Put Them Back in Short Boxes. You Have New Gods Now.
Honestly, barring some dope art project, or tips from the CBH faithful, this isn’t out of the question. I could just shortbox these bad boys (I got many comments that short boxes are the way to go after I mentioned still using long boxes on Twitter), and drop them in the crawlspace for the bugs and rodents that unquestionably throw parties down there (I’m too scared to look).
This way, the books do accumulate some value simply by aging, and right when they reach peak monetary position, our home will inevitably succumb to a flood and wash them away.
5) Donate to The Local Library
This is the most likely outcome. I made a “fits on my bookshelf or I donate” rule for myself with collected comics editions, so why not floppies? I feel a little weird dumping issues #22 to #36 of Snyder and Capullo’s Batman on the library (the poor kid that finds those is going to be scrounging for #37 until his little fingernails are ragged!), but if they accept them, I at least feel like I’m doing some good.
The question remains what do you do with your old comics when you don’t want to keep them in storage any longer? Ideas welcome! Also, if someone could please send help, the
old very valuable comics seem to have implemented some sort of psychic control of my fingers and I’m no longer in cont… READ US! READ US ALL! WE ARE JOY! WE ARE LIFE! WE ARE SALVATION! COME FIND US! YOU MUST!