Mr. Mandel […] now has two homes in Los Angeles: one where he lives with his wife and two children; and another, his former bachelor’s apartment, that houses his extensive collection of comic-book and “Star Wars” memorabilia.
I read this article, and now I’m super-jealous of this guy. He has the best of both worlds: a nice house, with a wife and kids, and a spare apartment on the side, filled with comic books and toys! Meanwhile, I’ve still got just the apartment: no house, no wife, no kids. And I donated most of my comics to charity, so I don’t even have them to keep me warm at night.
I’m also jealous of his original art collection, which he started putting together in the 90s, at San Diego cons, when prices were (relatively) low. I, too, spent some time at those cons, but, for me, original art was always outside my budget. He was writing for Seinfeld at the time, so his budget at SDCC was likely a bit larger than mine. He talks about spending $5000 at the show on art; my budget for a given con was never more than $500. (I usually came home with a big bag full of discount trade paperbacks and random single issues out of the dollar bins.) Of course, if I knew how much some of that art would appreciate in value, I would have taken a loan against my 401(k) and bought a bunch of it. I’d be selling it about now, and taking early retirement.
I get a kick out of the fact that this was published in the “Men’s Style” section of the Times. (Not a section I would normally read; it only surfaced for me due to my keyword search on “comics.”) I’m not sure when having a spare apartment full of comics and toys went from “disreputable eccentricity” to “admirable lifestyle choice,” but I’m glad it did.