This Isn't New

Last Saturday was annual Free Comic Book Day. A day in which the big comic book publishers put together some free short stories to gain some interest for their characters that are being overlooked or to introduce the next big storyline, or "event" as they call it. It also gives local comic book shops a little boost for their sales and draws in new customers. This year was the first time that I've ever been able to get to a comic book store in order to take advantage of it. In previous years I'd either forgotten about it or couldn't find time in the day.

Over the past year I've been going to a particular store and they helped remind me of Free Comic Book Day as it drew ever closer. I've struck up a report with the owner and a few guys that work there. It's easy to refer to them as "guys" since a woman working in one of these environments is pretty rare, but that's another topic. During the past year I'd go there to pick up some comics and talk to them about the new movies or old shows and just take part in general geek-talk. Admittedly, my knowledge of some topics is pretty limited as I had tried my best to keep the geek in me buried to a degree as I was growing up. There were things that I permitted myself to enjoy, but I didn't fully embrace it until I was much older. Now I'm playing catch up.

Now to get back to what I wanted to talk about. While I was in there Saturday, there were numerous kids in the store with their parents. I could tell there were a few parents who were comic book readers trying to find something for free that their kids could read without ruining the value of a certain book from their personal collection while others were just there because they'd been pestered into taking their kids. I happened to hear one parent/kid combo at the register checking out after finding a certain comic book they had been looking for. The guy ringing them up was trying to explain that the particular copy of the comic book was a special edition and cost a little extra because of it. There was a price tag on the plastic sleeve it was placed in to protect it, but I'm not sure the parent paid any attention to it. From where I was standing and from what I heard it sounded like the price didn't matter to the parent.

It did, however, matter to the employee who looked like he was signing the comic book's death sentence. I kind of know what he was feeling, since I remember what happened to the few comic books I had as a kid. They'd get read repeatedly, thrown around, possibly used as a tracing stencil, and generally mauled. On the other hand though, I was kind of hoping the kid would do just that. I couldn't see which comic book the kid was trying to buy, but if I happened to have the same one, the value of mine was going to jump slightly. One less copy left in circulation. One step closer to being considered "rare" decades down the line.

There are very few comic books, and I mean VERY few, that will ever reach this coveted "rare" status in the future. It's not like it was when the comic book industry was in its infancy and kids beat them to hell like I once did. If you ever hear about some outrageous selling price for some really old issues of Superman, Batman, or Spider-man comic books, it is because these are truly rare. Now there are thousands, probably millions, of collectors such as myself out there keeping there stash of books in the off chance that they might be worth something in the future. It's a foolish endeavor, but at least we can gain some entertainment value from them by reading the tales of childhood heroes that never die.

Unless some sadistic writer comes along and kills them, but they inevitably come back to life eventually.

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