donating my comic collection

For the last few years, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my rather large comic book collection. I’ve amassed 25 long boxes of the things, neatly sorted and filed, plus assorted short boxes of books that I never got around to sorting and filing into the long boxes. All told, around 8000 books.

I was buying 20 to 40 books per month for about 20 years, mostly via Westfield Comics. At some point in 2008, I realized that my reading had slowed down enough that I was developing a bit of a backlog of unread books. I cut down on the number of titles I was buying, then discontinued my regular Westfield orders entirely at some point in 2009. Since then, I’ve occasionally bought a few books at a con or at a comic store, but not much. (And I’m still working my way through my backlog, though it’s down to less than 100 comics now.)

I started seriously thinking about either selling or donating my entire collection (or at least most of it) a few years ago. I’d looked into a few possible donation opportunities, but none of them panned out. And I called a few people who might have been interested in buying the entire collection, but never managed to close a deal with any of them.

Through this process, I discovered that getting rid of a sizable comic book collection is actually a bit of a challenge, if you want to do something other than toss the books in a dumpster and send them off to a landfill. There are folks who will buy entire collections, but they won’t pay much for them, and they usually won’t go too far out of their way to get them. And there are a few charitible organizations that will take comics, but they’re usually not looking for very large collections. And selling the collection off a bit at a time via eBay is way too much work, for a big collection like mine.

I hadn’t really put any effort into getting rid of the comics in 2014, but I decided to get serious about it again near the end of the year. So I dug out my old notes, reviewed a few possibilities, and did some more Googling. I stumbled across this article about Superheroes for Hospice, a charity comic show benefiting Barnabas Health Hospice. I contacted the guy in charge of the event, and this turned out to be a perfect opportunity. Stopping off in Somerville on his way home from work doesn’t take him too far out of his way, and he can easily fit a dozen long boxes in his car. So I gave him most of my Marvel books last week, and most of the independents this week. Next week, I’m going to try handing off the DC books. And that will take care of the 25 long boxes that are cluttering up my dining room.

After that, I want to go through all the unsorted books that are cluttering up my bedroom, get them into long boxes, and hand those off too. I hadn’t quite realized how much unsorted stuff had built up. In my mind, I thought I had enough to fill maybe 2 or 3 long boxes. But, after looking at it all more closely, I think it’s going to be more like 5 or 6 long boxes. So I’ve had to order more long boxes. (I ordered them from Westfield, conveniently using up the remaining credit I had with them, which I’d completely forgotten about.)

I’ve pulled out some stuff I want to keep, and I hope to limit that to about five short boxes. That’s few enough that I can keep them in my closet, out of the way. And maybe I’ll talk myself into letting go of those at some point too.

While I’ve worked my way through most of my backlog of regular ink-on-paper comics, I’ve managed to build up a new backlog of digital comics. I’ve bought a lot of stuff from Comixology, Dark Horse Digital, and various Humble Bundle sales over the last few years. The nice thing about this new accumulation is that it doesn’t take up any real space in my apartment! And I’m thinking about re-purchasing new digital copies of some of the stuff I’m selling off. Or, in some cases, maybe re-purchasing those books in trade paperback or hardcover reprints. But really I shouldn’t get ahead of myself on that, since I still have so much new stuff to read. (And I haven’t even mentioned my backlog of trade paperback and hardcover collections that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.)

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