Last October, I wrote a simply fantastic article about the flooding in my basement and the damage to my comic book collection. If you haven’t read it or don’t remember it, you should go read that post before reading this one. It’s OK, I’ll wait.
doop dee doo. doodle-eee-doo.
Done? OK, good.
As those of you readers living in New England are well aware, it has now rained for 517 consecutive days here in the northeastern U.S. We went from the gray of winter to the gray rain of spring, and I swear it feels like it’s just going to stay this way until it slides right back into winter again. The weather here has, to be quite frank, sucked of late.
And all that stuff I should’ve done to the basement to prepare for all of this rain? Yeah, that’s right — didn’t do a damn bit of it.
I came home early from work today to try to help Terry with the newest round of flooding, to move stuff away from the standing water areas and start getting rid of the crap in the basement we don’t need or has been damaged beyond repair. Unfortunately, that includes several thousand dollars worth of my comic books. (That’s the value I’ve paid for them over the years, not what I could get if I tried to sell them now. Especially given the fact that so many of them are, y’know, sopping wet.)
So I went through three longboxes of comics and threw out all of the ones that were sodden and stuck together — three garbage bags full. Luckily, there weren’t too many of those that I really felt all that bad about chucking out (a significant run of Uncanny X-Men from around 1989-91 excepted). Ninety percent of the rest of what was in those longboxes is now earmarked for donation. (Question for any of you, ‘specially you New England folk: do you know of a literacy organization that might be willing to accept a gift of several hundred comic books?)
I kept maybe fifty comics out of probably pushing 1000 that I went through, either comics I plan to use for art or story reference or ones to which I had any kind of sentimental attachment. That I kept so few says to me I probably need to get rid of the comics I buy on a more regular basis, preferably by passing them on to other readers — and it also says something to me about the quality of most of those books. There was a large percentage of comics of which I had absolutely no memory past the cover, comics which clearly had made no lasting impression on me whatsoever, and a larger percentage of books I just didn’t care to re-read.
I threw out comics I’ve had with me for as long as twenty-five years. I threw out the issue of All-Star Squadron #3 I distinctly remember reading on the the flight I took from Pensacola to Birmingham by myself when I was eleven years old. I threw out books whose covers have been burned into my brain for msot of my life (even if their contents haven’t been). But it was time to let go — these relics of an earlier me were adding nothing to my life anymore except more boxes to be stored in my basement.
It seems like I should feel worse about throwing away and giving away these things that were so important to me when I was younger. But I don’t. One of the main tenets of Buddhist philosophy is that of non-attachment, and I’ve been violating the hell out of that dictum by keeping (amongst other things) hundreds of pounds of paper that are largely meaningless to me now. And that attachment stemmed mainly from the fact that I was just used to having these books around, not from any true sentimentality or appreciation of quality.
So farewell, my four-color friends. You’ve been a part of my life since before I even sprouted grass on the prairie, but it’s time to say goodbye. I hope those of you I can give away will live on in another basement after providing some entertainment and education to someone new.