The Wrap Up – August, 2018

I thought I might try something with this post; start a monthly summary of everything collecting related that’s happened in the last month. I thought it’d be a good way to look back at what I’ve picked up, what I’ve written, read, played and experienced in the world of collecting. So, without further ado lets begin…
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My First Article For Gemr

For roughly a year I’ve been cataloguing my collection at Gemr.com, a social network of sorts for collectors. Well, about a month ago I was given the opportunity to contribute to their blog and today that contribution has gone live!

It takes the form of an (I like to think exhaustive) article on the history of my favourite ever toy line, Mighty Max.

I’ve very humbled to be given the chance to put my writing out there on a (much) larger platform than this humble blog, so please take a moment to head on over and give the article a read!

Cheers.

Read the full article HERE

The 10 Best Graphic Novels NOT in the 100 Greatest List

Recently I picked up the magazine The 100 Greatest Graphic Novels of All Time! magazine from Future Publishing. I thought it’d be interesting to go through the magazine and see which ones I’d read and which ones I needed to. The magazine was very well written with some really thoughtful commentary on the books presented within resulting in my “to read” list gaining quite a few additions.

While the magazine covered many great graphic novels – and indeed you’d need a slew of magazines to cover all the graphic novels that you should read in a lifetime – there were of course a few of my personal favourites left off. Thus, I thought I’d write up my own list.

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The Issue With Variants

Variant covers for comic book issues have been a staple of the industry for some time now. The first comic book to have a variant cover was 1986’s The Man of Steel #1While there were technically variants before this, they were all due to small differences such as distributor logo. Man of Steel #1 was the first to receive variant artwork, which is what variants are mostly known for nowadays.

Variants played something of a not unsubstantial role in the “spectator boom” of comics in the 1990’s. There are a lot of pieces to the spectator boom puzzle which I won’t go into here, but if you’re interested you can read this great article by Michael McCallum on ComicBooked.com.

To give a brief history of the boom, people suddenly got the idea that buying a comic and holding on to it for 10, 20, or 50 years would eventually put their kids through university or pay off their house. Big firms such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote articles about the possible future value of these once unpalatable items and so people started buying comics by the armful.

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Boxes Of Hording

If you play and/or collect any kind of collectible card game (CCG) chances are storage is an issue. After you start building up your collection into the thousands figuring out where to put them all will be one of your biggest concerns.

I’ve been playing Magic: The Gathering for around four years now and I’ve amassed a collection of 12,500+ cards. Throughout this time I’ve tried many different methods of storing them and while some worked, others didn’t. In this article I’ll go through what some of those were and how I found them.

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Moving From Single Issue Comics To Collected Editions

Recently I had let go of my first love; comic books. I had been reading comics pretty much continuously for 24 years, most of that with a monthly standing order at my local comic store. Comics were my favourite hobby, my addiction. When something is that big a part of your life for that long a time it is very hard to let go. However, I was not prepared to give up on the comic book medium completely. No, siree! If monthly comics were no longer practical, then I was going to do the next best thing; I was going to move to collected editions!

However, it was not just a quick switch. I had to prepare! Remember, this was a 24 year habit I was moving away from. Certain “i”s had to be crossed and “t”s needed to be dotted. Here’s what I did to ready myself for the big change.

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Why I Stopped Collecting Retro Games

Something I used to collect pretty passionately was retro video games.

My focus was on Sega, particularly the Mega Drive (or “Genesis” to any Americans) and their last console, the Dreamcast. I also had a few Master System games that I could play via the Master Converter and tried the Saturn out for a little while but never really go on with it.

Anyway, at the height of my retro collecting I had six consoles (multiples of some) and around 150 games. It was a lot of fun playing the older games and the magazine Retro Gamer fulled my desire to get more.

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Three Awesome Websites For Collectors

If you do a bit of Googleing you’ll find there are heaps sites out there for collectors. However, it can be hard to distinguish the good for the, well, not so good. To help out with this I thought I’d talk about three of my favourite collector websites.

ComicBookRealm.com
As much as I love the wonderful comic database software from Collectorz.com, one of the big things it’s missing is an automated value/price guide system. This is where ComicBookRealm comes in.

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My Three 2018 Collector’s Resolutions

I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy, but with so much changing in the last two to three months — being married, immigrating to the UK, moving into a new house, having to find a new job — it felt like 2018 is a good time to take stock of things and re-evaluate. So I had a think and came up with the following collection resolutions.

Quality Over Quantity
I recently read Collection Control: 10 Tips to Tame Your Hoard from GeekDad here on Medium. One part of the article really stood out to me;

3. Quality can be better than quantity

Hobbies can be expensive, as you undoubtedly know. When I first started collecting action figures as a teen, I bought what I could afford, which wasn’t much. However, as an adult, I realized I had a ton of lower cost figures. Sticking to my budget, I could never afford the stuff I really wanted, but here I was stuck with a multitude of cheaper figures. It was a big collection, but it was pretty lackluster. Sure, I could have saved my money, but I was an impulsive teen and didn’t have the patience. However, I was able to turn my numerous low-level collectibles into a few key pieces that are highlights of my collection. Would I rather have a handful of loose figures, or that dream mint-on-card collectible? I may have downsized, but I also upgraded.

I can’t believe that this has never occurred to me before! It is, of course, a very simple and obvious idea and yet it hadn’t hit me. One of the biggest issues I had when moving is packing and unpacking all the collectables, and don’t even get me started on the amount of things I have back home in Australia!

Not getting as many “little” things would make moving somewhat easier. For example, for the (approximately) £75 I spent on the set of five Doctor Strange Pop Vinyls I could have bought one high quality statue. While Pop Vinyls are cool and all, personally I’d prefer the statue. Thus, this is something I’m going to strive to do going forward; being more selective of what I spend my money on. Rather than buy a heap of cheap items I’ll endeavour to by better quality — and possibly more limited — items.

ReFocus
Keeping with the theme of being more selective, I’m going to double down on something I talked about in my Starting a New Collection article; having a collection focus. I feel that the breadth of items I’ve been picking up over my various collections is a bit too wide so I’m going to take another look at this and pair the focus down to just those things I’m really interested in. For example, I’ve already decided I’m not going to pick up the new Sonic the Hedgehog Pop Vinyls as I don’t particularly like the new designs (apart from Eggman which I will probably get) and already have the originals. Thus, that money can be put into something I really want to have in my collection, such as all those Archie Sonic comic back issues I need.

Enjoy What I Have
This may sound obvious, but something I really need to start doing is enjoying what I already have before buying more stuff. I’ve a bad habit of buying new graphic novels, books and games before I’ve read/played the ones I already have.

I’ve 156 games in my Steam library. Of these I’ve played 76, of those 76 I’ve completed only 57 (the stats on the page are a little out as some games I had to play off line to have then run properly, such as Bayonetta).

The stats from my catalogued books on Collectorz.

Of the 91 books I’ve catalogued, I’ve only read 31 of them. That’s 50 odd I’ve not yet picked up. I don’t even want to think about what the numbers are for graphic novels.

Going forward I’m going to try and finish at least 5 things before I buy any new ones. Yes, this may be hard given things such as Steam sales and the release of much anticipated books/ graphic novels — and I might give myself a pass when I finally bring my X Box One over to the UK from Australia and pick a few of the games I’ve missed over the last two years that I’m really keen to play— but in general I’ll try and not add to the collection until I’ve gone through at least a good portion of it.


So that’s my collector’s resolutions for 2018. How many will I stick too? Well, to be honest it depends on what cool stuff is released this year. Honestly, I think the last one is going to be the hardest to do as I get way too excited by new books, comics and games but I shall try my best.

Perhaps later in the year I’ll look back at this post and evaluate how I’ve done. Until then, wish me luck. 😀

To Keep the Box, Or Not to Keep the Box? That is the Question!

It’s common knowledge that many, if not all, collectables are worth more if they are kept in their original packaging. But if you’re not planning to sell your items, is there any reason to keep the box? Obviously this is something of an individual preference, but I’ve done both in my time and there are certainly pros and cons for each.

If an item comes in a box that would be functional once the item is taken out I tend to keep it. Most Magic: The Gathering products are good examples of this as the boxes they come in can be used to store cards. Similarly, if something like an action figure or statue has a box that can be opened without the need to destroy it (unlike blister packs) then I’ll generally keep it for later use. There are exceptions to this, of course, as I rarely keep boxes for Pop Vinyl figures.

I’ve always been of the opinion that action figures and toys look so much better outside their boxes, even when those boxes have display windows. The items feel more tangible somehow; you can pick them up and feel them, you can pose them how you like and you can see them from all angles. Gathered together on a shelf or display figures and statues look so much nicer than a heap of boxes. However, the boxes can be of great use even if you’ve taken the items out. If you need to move your items to a new house or into storage those original boxes can act as a safe place to store them in transit so they won’t be damaged. If your figure comes with an assortment of accessories you can put any you’re not currently using in your display back in the box for safe keeping. And if you’ve limited space, you can put other items inside those boxes if you wish to switch up your display. If the item was expensive it might also be worth keeping the box, just in case.

The boxes that house the Magic: The Gathering Bundle Packs are great for storing cards.

Of course, keeping the box means having to store more stuff. This is where choosing what boxes to keep and what to throw away can be important. As I mentioned I don’t tend to keep boxes for Pop Vinyl figures as the Pop boxes aren’t particularly strong so they aren’t much good for storing or transporting figures. Also, the Pops themselves are pretty sturdy things so the chances of them being damaged are minimal. Thus, I feel there isn’t really need to keep the boxes for Pops and if I do need to store them a larger box will do.

Some boxes are just as beautiful as the items that were within them. This is particularly true for special releases or collectors editions. The box for the Mighty Max: Skull Krusher toy (seen at the top of this post,) is Is a perfect example of this. Just look at that beautiful artwork!

Keeping the boxes of your items or not greatly depends on what you feel is best for your collection and your own needs. If the collection is something that you might one day part with you may want to keep the boxes to ensure you get the most for each item (remember, though, the box needs to be in good condition too). If you think you might be moving your items anytime soon you may want to keep the boxes as well or, if you’d rather have optimum space, you might prefer to throw them all out.

As I mentioned above, I like to keep my options open and base the decision on keeping an item’s box on the item itself and if I feel the box may be of use in the future. Either way, there is much more to a collection’s boxes than just making sure your items hold their value.

Do you keep your collections’ boxes or throw them out? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Originally posted on SortedGeek.com