What have you DONE?! Comic|Book Journals explained.
I've had a few people question my sanity and integrity after seeing my Comic|Book journals.
The reactions include "What have you done?" and "How could you?".
And trust me, the same thoughts have run through my head a few hundred times as well. After all, I have been cutting up... destroying... desecrating! the sacred pages of comic books and using them to create handmade journals. As a comic book fan, I have to tell you... it's been a process of letting go - a process of revelation and release.
Making the Comic-Book Journals started with a few tattered comics from a pile I bought at a garage sale for a dollar. They were nearly worthless to begin with - obviously purchased at a gas station or a chain store and not real comics from a real comic book store (italics added for snootiness). The barcodes were a dead giveaway that the books were sold through a newsstand and therefore worth less than the same comic sold through a comic shop.
Or so I thought... (wavy wavy flashback scene).
I was among the legion of kids duped into believing that collecting comic books was an investment. My dad saw through it, but I held fast. There may have been some self-deception going on, too. For years, I dumped my allowance at Hot Shot Comics and compiled a little collection. I wasn't a purist, collecting for the sake of collecting - I read my comics - but I treated them with respect and told myself that I'd someday make bank, or at least break even on them.
Comics were a formative part of my media consumption as a tween (man, I hate that word but sometimes it's really the only one that works). The storylines made up a mythology that cemented itself in my brain. As my son, Mason, started seeing and liking Marvel characters, he was astounded that I knew their origins and backstories. I remember him sitting on my lap, his eyes wide, asking question after question about the X-men and (as silly as it sounds) looking at me with glowing respect. That moment, that one moment, might justify my investment in comic books, actually.
The first batch of Comic|Book Journals, made from those already tattered comics, were so cool that I started looking at my collector's boxes with a wicked, hungry side-eye. Like a castaway considering cannibalism. Could I? No! Never! Maybe... Maybe just this one... and that one... and those...
At that point, I did some research to find out if my collection had matured in value. Similar to other investments, I try to ignore the daily or monthly updates and settle in for the long game. I quickly saw that the books were worth almost nothing. Many of them were worth a dollar or two more than the cover price, but certainly not worth the hassle of selling them individually. The supreme irony was that they were worth so little because they were bought at a real comic book store. Once you think about it, it makes sense. All the books bought at comic shops (as opposed to newstands, chain stores, etc) were bought by collectors and probably stored correctly to preserve their value. This eventually flooded the market with mint collections and eroded the value entirely. Suggested reading: Newsstand vs Direct Edition Comics. Although lengthy, the article is very informative and revelatory.
Learning all this made me feel simultaneously heartbroken and liberated. I wasn't going to make money selling them (to no one's great surprise). Honestly, they were worth way more as cover material. Now - that's not to say they're all on the butcher block. Many of them have sentimental value and some are actually valuable to the right people. Image Comics had started up during my collecting days, so it was fun to nab all the original #1's coming out. And Marvel was doing some storyline somersaults in those days, too, so I have some first issues of the X-men revamps and X-(blank) spin-offs. But many were in the sweet spot between wicked and worthless.
The books that I did select for journals were then dissected without guilt. It was fun, even; like giving them new life. The second and third batches of Comic|Book Journals were built using the covers instead of the inner pages. The material is much better for the purpose (they are covers, obvs). It was a pleasure to delve into all those books and see the familiar ads again. I could even recall the smell of Hot Shot Comics as I flipped through the pages. It's my hope that folks will enjoy a dose of nostalgia when they see and purchase these journals.
I will be building more batches in 2018 with my own collection and other comics I pick up. I'm on the lookout, so if you know of source for bulk/lot sales of comics, please get in touch with me. If you have comics in your own collection you'd like to have transformed into journals or sketchbooks, please let me know!