I Collect So That I Have It

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This is the week that the first auction of the Don and Maggie Thompson Pedigree comics collection will be held, offering a few of the valuable comic books that we bought over the years. Maybe you've seen this feature or this one - and, at a guess, there will be more. The pricey issues aren't in my house any more. First, it was scary to have valuable stuff in my home. Second, it was intimidating to have to care for them. Third, Heritage Auctions' Steve Borock helped me to work out a way to have them after they're gone.

Because my collecting began so that I could have what I want when I want it.

When I was learning to read and such comic-book creators as Walt Kelly and Carl Barks were telling me fresh stories every month, I also learned that what I didn't buy one month would be gone forever the next. I haunted the newsstand and planned my allowance accordingly, because I wasn't going to get another chance at those issues. I certainly was never going to find them at the library.

And pop culture (a term years away from its coining then) was fleeting. Daily newspapers were discarded. Movies passed through theaters in a flash. Even more transitory were the weekly visits of such favorites as The Shadow, Suspense, and Jack Benny. Gone. They could be no more than memories.

Lesson learned: When you appreciate something enough to want it with you - to be able to have it if you want to check a fact or revisit an entertainment at 2 a.m. - you'd better collect it. This lesson learned has a variety of results. If many other people have that same appreciation for an item but don't have the item, it may become valuable. If no one else gives a hang for it, you're going to have to deal with storing it so that you can enjoy it again.
My collection of old cassette tapes?
Not so valuable to other folks.

But sometimes, belongings become too valuable. What if there's a fire? A flood? A windstorm? What if, when you are scanning a page of a comic book, you actually hear the cover begin to tear at the staples? Given that we are only temporary custodians of what we own, we should take the best possible care of our treasures - and then pass them on.

And - lucky for me - we live in an age in which having kept comics in great condition makes them worth more. Because (as you know if you've followed those links earlier) the goal is to replace them with comics in rotten shape: copies that are so beat-up as to be the cubic zirconia to the disposed-of diamonds. So I'll have them, even while I'm getting rid of them.

And the proceeds from the auctions (of which this is, as I say, the first) will go, first, to paying the capital gains tax and, second, to the custody of the guy who's been my financial advisor since before Don died. Last week, he frowned as he threatened, "You know, you could live 20 more years."

So no mink sandwiches. And I hope the new owners will get as much pleasure and use out of my comics as I did.


Betsy Curtis September 17

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Betsy Curtis was born 96 years ago today - and married 72 years ago today. And yesterday - yes, just yesterday - I finished preliminary proofreading of my transcription of her 14 published stories. Because I'm in the midst of a project that will be a rarity: the edited collection of all the published stories of a pioneering woman science-fiction writer. (Part of the fun will be its existence as a three-generation project: stories by my mom, editing by me, and design by my daughter, Valerie.) My next step will be to edit all 14 (roughly 100,000 words) into my favored formats (Oxford comma, typos repaired, etc.). Happy birthday and anniversary, Mom! Hope my tinkering doesn't bother you - and wish you were here to participate!

Thanks, too, Mom, for providing reproof to me for not posting on this site since I left the offices of Comics Buyer's Guide. Just yesterday (again!), I uncovered the manuscript for a proposed collection of her poetry. She was (in the terms of a George Price cartoon she had attached to the 20-gallon crock she used to make home brew) "a very remarkable woman" - and, I think, a compulsive, playful writer. In honor, then, of the folks who haven't seen posts from me in more than half a year (and who, giving up, may not see this, either), here's Mom's "No Word from Thee." (She guessed at the year of composition as 1938, not long after the time this photo was taken.)

When for a time I've had no word from thee,
Strange causeless fears my mind do oft oppress
And add a terror to my loneliness
From which no reasoning can set me free.
I fear that thou perhaps unwell may be
Or caught in trouble's grip; and then I guess
Thou findst in me some grievous faultiness:
Conscience and apprehension well agree.
     I know thy labors have enforced charm;
I know thine hours for letter writing few;
I'm sure thou hast not met with any harm.
     Why should I fear? Knowing thy love is true,
I need not feel unwonted grave alarm.
--I know not why I should, and yet I do.


A Clean Office at Last!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Photo credit: Brent Frankenhoff

After 30 years!

Now, I begin to organize plans so as to get done many of the projects that have had to wait "until I have more time." It's exciting!


CBG Staff Released Neat Books in 2012

Thursday, January 10, 2013

As I look back over the years at Comics Buyer's Guide, I'm reminded that 2012 saw Brent Frankenhoff and me coming up with three books in addition to the 12 monthly issues of the magazine.

They are Comics Buyer's Guide Presents Dangerous Curves, Comics Buyer's Guide Presents the Greatest Comic Book Covers of All Time, and A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics. Each is fun, the first two basically being romps through the wonder world of comics images and the last being A New Concept.

A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics was my concept, born out of ongoing questions I've received in the past couple of years, questions that boiled down to, "What comics do you recommend for my kids to read?" I figured that what was needed was more than an article: It needed, not only recommendations, but samples of those recommendations so that adults and kids could see at a glance what looked good to them. And the recommendations needed to come from experts who knew that specific field, top to bottom. So I came up with the format - and we found top experts (Scott Robins and Snow Wildsmith) to provide the actual information. I see from the link I've just provided that the book is on sale at a whopping discount at the moment: a word to the wise.


Maggie's World Begins, Comics Buyer's Guide Ends with #1699

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The press release concerning cancellation of Comics Buyer's Guide with #1699 appears on the magazine's website.

It's been a delight to have had the opportunity for the last three decades - plus a prior decade with the magazine's creator, Alan Light - to communicate so wonderfully with comics collectors, comics fans, and comics professionals. Over the years, we were able to reach out in a variety of ways, including coming up with the term "Done in One" (to identify stories told completely in one issue, announced in CBG for April 5, 1996). We also helped create a trade journal that was the inciting force behind the Free Comic Book Day outreach project that Diamond Comic Distributors implemented and that continues every May. Don and I were excited by Krause Publications' challenge of revamping an advertising newspaper into a full-fledged information resource. It has been an energizing challenge to adapt to the changes of the field, as it grew from a niche interest to something popular enough to command the covers of national pop-culture magazines.

John Jackson Miller has provided a look at the history of CBG on his website; check it out!

How about me? Hey, the same week that Krause Publications announced the end of CBG saw the first installment of my contribution to a new outlet for me: a monthly post on Comic-Con's "Toucan" blog. Hope you enjoy it!



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