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A true unicorn unveils himself as Tim McDonald has gone from complete NOOB to total nerd, and completed his viewing of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in only 6 months!

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Cricket Flour - Snarf Talk Podcast Episode 043

Kevin Feige's Star Wars, The Batman casting, Between Two Ferns, Righteous Gemstones, News and MORE!!

Beginners Guide to Collecting Comic Books

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How to start and where to begin?

There are so many comic books out there in todays market place it can be a lofty undertaking to think you could grab any old comic book and start collecting. You should research for hours, read every article about which comic books are suspected to be a colectors item, and spend incredible amounts of money in order to have the collection of your dream, right?

Well maybe for some people thats the way its done, but it really is as easy as picking up a book, or a series and calling it a collection, because it really is that simple.

Here are a few things you should know before you start though, just to make sure you're in the right mind set on this, and to make it as easy as possible.

  • Start by reading comics
  • Pick something that intrigues you

  • Don't get caught up in "hype"

  • Once you have the base then you can branch out

Those four simle points are a good base to start any collection, and are the basic rules I personally have stuck to, to grow a collection of comics, let break them down.


Start by reading Comics!

The basis of collecting anything is finding out what you like. Same rule apply’s with comic books, once you start reading and thumbing through books you’ll pick up on certain authors you enjoy, artists you like, or just story lines that you loved. Following a certain writer or artist seem to be the main attraction when it comes to comics, and rightfully so.

Every writer has a specific voice or tone to the books they create, Brian K. Vaughn has an incredible knack at world building and making you buy in to each character he’s put in front of you. You are so deeply invested in these characters that you want nothing more than to get another issue to see what happens to them this time. Ed Brubaker, can bury you in an old noir detective story that makes you truly believe you’re running with a mob boss in the twenty’s after a bank heist. That’s how a writer can really pull you in and make you want every book they have ever written, the overarching tone of there writing will always be in there, regardless of what story it is.

The artist’s, this is where collecting comics can be interesting. Just like writers, all artists have a certain flair to what they do. The art they create is theirs and theirs alone, it will not, and cannot be created the same way by another hand. So finding that certain artist that really pops for you, will really make the book. To a point it honestly does not matter whats written on the page, the art is what brings the story to life, and it fully rests on the artists hands. Greg Capullo has a dark ominous type of art that lends incredibly well to books like Batman and Spawn. He adds a type of dark, gritty, and almost horror like art, that is nothing short of intense. The pictures come to life in a way that really can’t be compared to with other artists today. He has a way of telling the writers story and making it better than you could have pictured it yourself. Or you could find an artist like Fiona Staples, she draws characters that feel warm and almost loving no matter the type of scene. She has easy lines and shapes that are not intense like Capullos, but pleasant and lends tremendously to Brian K. Vaughns writing.

Then you could base all of your collection solely on completing story lines. Getting an entire run of a certain story and sticking with that until its over. I have done this with a few trades, once i found that writer or artist and the story is that good, why wouldn’t you want the completed story?

There isn’t one set way of doing things, you could try one or you could try all of these options. The whole thing is, find what you like and stick with it. The comics will start to grow, and then you have a collection.

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Pick something that intrigues you.

In today’s market place comic books have any variety you could imagine. Gone are the days where super hero comics, and Sunday funny’s are all that you have to choose from. Super hero’s are still a very large category, especially now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken over the block buster movie scene. If you are into the super hero’s than by all means start with the familiar and work your way out, but there is also an entire indie comic world that has stories from ax wielding vikings, to horned goat men, to southern football coaches hell bent on revenge.

The idea behind this is that you start with something you already know, or find familiar. That way you know you wont fold it up to put away and never look for anything again. I have always been a huge Batman fan, so I obviously always reach for a Batman comic when they are around. It was somewhat of a default to me, once I noticed some of the indie comics, the creator owned stuff. It opened a whole new world of what was possible in comic books. The idea that these writers and artist were not held to a certain operating procedure, or had rules they were forced to abide by which happens with larger companies. They were free to tell the story that they wanted to tell, and how they wanted to tell it. It really drew me in to a more obscure less mainstream type comic.


Don’t get caught up in “hype”

You could have a mint 1938 Action Comics #4 for the low low price of $66,100. Sounds like a steal to me! Uuuuuummm how bout no…. You could look for very valuable comics, if that’s what you’re interested in , but don’t think that’s what you have to do, to become a real collector. There are many people out there who do collect only the most valuable, but if you’re like me, and the majority of the world, you do not have endless sums of money to spend on comics. So the budget I do have for comics, goes to things that I enjoy the most, the creators and story lines that I love to read.

I went to Wizard World Chicago this past August, there were booths and tables filled with comics. More than I have seen in the past by a long shot. I was rifling through to find specific books to fill my Swamp Thing collection. That’s all I was there to do, I didn’t want to know about what new Batman book they had, or which books they had almost sold out of “so you better get yours now”. Set your mind to the specific books your looking for and move on. There are too many books out there that are collectible to try and buy everything everyone is talking about. Set your goal, stick to the plan and enjoy the rest of your day.


Branching out.

Once you’ve built up a base of comics, you have collected a series or two, and now you want to start honing in on specific things. There are plenty of ways to get comics these days because of the internet, but there are two specific ways that I feel are the main stays to a true collector. The first one, find the old brick and mortar store near you and start to build a relationship with them. The second is simply using e-bay as a tool to help with price.

There really is nothing like going int a comic book shop a looking through all the different books they have. If you do this often, and start to build a relationship with the people who work there, great things can come of it. They will let you know when certain books come out, or when they receive a book you’ve been looking for. You can get on an e-mailing list with the shop to inform you of these things, that way you never miss out. Most of the time they have a subscription plan too, every month you can subscribe to a certain run of comics and they will be bagged, boarded and shipped either to the store for pick up, or directly to you. Now i understand that a lot of people do not like having to go somewhere all the time to just pick up a few comics. We like convenience, and Amazon will ship you stuff within a day, I get it, but supporting a local facility, in my opinion is the ways to go.

The age of the internet is over powering though, and having something ordered and on your doorstep in twenty four hours is incredible. There are plenty of websites selling comics that will do just that, but when collecting older and more specific books, prices can fluctuate immensely. That is why e-bay is the tool you need to use. Not necessarily to buy all your comic books from, but to check what they are selling for. If you get on e-bay and search for your specific book, you can see what has sold in the last day, month or even through out the year. This way you can make sure the prices you are paying on different sites, or even from a specific vendor at a comic con are reasonable. Its also a good haggling tool, you may be able to bring the price down on a book once you see what they have been selling for on the open market.

Go out, Go forth, and start collecting!!

Collecting comic books is a passion I have, and many others in this world share that passion. Hopefully this gave you the basics to start your own collection, of what I call some of the greatest writing and art known to man. Comic book collecting IS collecting art, remember that, the value of this type of art though is all in what its worth to you. Most of the books I have are priceless to me, I wouldn’t sell them for anything. I can only hope you find the same joy with the books you collect.

Eaten by a Whale - Snarf Talk Podcast Episode 041

Eaten by a Whale - Snarf Talk Podcast Episode 041

The 90's are back as Chris & Jerry wax nostalgic about all things 90's animation and movies...but wait there's more...