Friday, October 9, 2015

True or False: I Am a Completist


Doug: You may consider just about anything that afflicts you in your obsession... or maybe you're not smitten that way.

True or False: I Am a Completist
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29 comments:

david_b said...

Whaaaat..? No Teen Titans on the Mego pic..? LOL.

I am CERTAINLY NOT a completest. I found long ago for most of my collections, I didn't have the need to invest in and/or include the weak or unwanted aspects of collecting.

I just didn't have the cashflow and it just didn't matter that I didn't wear the moniker of 'Supreme Completest' to my list of collecting qualities.

Comicsfan said...

I'm sad to say that there was a period when I collected comics that I tended to just plunk down change for everything in my "pull stack" at the store. (Pull stacks were virtual completist enablers, weren't they.) There were certainly many, many issues of X-Men and its various offshoot titles that I would have left behind, otherwise.

J.A. Morris said...

False. I was when I was younger, but not so much anymore. But even in my younger days, I never cared about getting the Mego Isis doll (we called them dolls in the 70s, not action figures).

In recent years, I collected exclusive Star Wars action figures that could only be bought at Disney parks. These were Disney characters mashed up with Star Wars characters, such as Mickey as Luke, Stitch as the Emperor. Disney also sold Muppet-Star Wars mashups like Kermit as Han, Piggy as Leia, etc. My wife and I discovered these when we went to Disney on our honeymoon, so we would get these on Ebay when a birthday, anniversary or holiday rolled around. But not anymore, Goofy as Cad Bane and Minnie as Padme just don't interest me.

Dr. Oyola said...

Yes and no. False with a caveat.

I definitely never was as a kid. It was just impossible. I got my comics from newsstands and candy stories. There was no way of knowing if they'd get in what I was hoping to get each month. And I had limited income, so I had to make my choices carefully.

Nowadays, I am still not technically a completist, but I choose what range of comics I want and then I complete that run. For example, I wanted all of Louise Simonson's Power Pack - so I sought them out. That is not the complete series, but I don't care. I wanted all Brother Voodoo appearances, but only through the 80s, etc. . .

Colin Bray said...

True, but it comes and goes.

I am more an enthusiast than an obsessive, so my interests wax and wane as other enthusiasms come along.

Having said that, my comics enthusiasm is the closest thing I have to a completist obsession. For instance, it isn't purely about the stories and the art but the immersive qualities of the original issues with all their pop culture resonance. So to have a complete run of a comic through the 70s, say, is like a complete walkthrough the decade with the stories and art only being part of the scenery.

But I'm also quite happy to read a comic for it's own sake and not particularly care if I have the continuing story. That replicates my childhood reading experience and is just fine.

Doug said...

David -- no Teen Titans, and not even a Wonder Woman!

Agreed that there were Megos I never wanted, although I thought most of them were really cool. At that point in my young life I don't think completism had set in yet.

However, in the 1980s and '90s I would definitely consider myself a completist. I did not chase every crossover event, but there were a few that I did. Like Comicsfan, there were several books that I kept buying long after they gave me any enjoyment. I really didn't take note until my reading stack became around 12" high -- then I figured something had to give. I think I always approached it from the standpoint that if I quit and wanted to pick up a title again later, I'd have this huge hole in the middle of the run. My sickness, defined.

But I am surely not even close to having those feelings today. Like many have said, I just want to read a good story. While I'd like for it to be a complete story with beginning, middle, and end, I'm not going to chase everything. As an example, you know that I hold the Marvel Firsts: the 1970s series of tpbs in high regard. I thought about buying the other 4-5 volumes in the series, but then realized that for the 1960s volume I either have those tales in other forms or had read them so much that I didn't feel I needed to read them again. I've looked at the Golden Age volume and well... it's Golden Age art, which I usually find off-putting. The 1980s volumes? I think that's when my personal feelings tended toward a slight decline in overall art quality, yet my completism began in earnest. Odd how that's left sort of a bad memory for me.

Doug

William said...

Definitely False. The only collectible I ever "completed" was my Spider-Man comic collection. I pretty much had every Spider-Man comic ever published. The only Spidey title I didn't have a full run of was Marvel Team-Up. (And Spidey Super Stories). But other than that, I am what you'd call a cherry picker.

These days I mostly collect action figures (and mostly Marvel Legends). But I only buy the ones I like, and I pretty much strictly stick to the figures that are based on the classic looks of the characters (i.e. Bronze or Silver Age). Just like with comics, I steer clear of the modern stuff. But I see a lot of guys online that literally buy ever single Marvel Legend figure that comes out regardless of whether it's modern or classic. I even see a lot of reviews by these guys where they say something like "I really don't know anything about this character, but it's a cool figure". I don't see why you'd buy an action figure of a character that you don't care anything about. But it's just an obsession to have them all I guess. (Which I can actually understand to a certain extent).

Doug said...

William --

The folks at Hasbro (and Toy Biz before them) definitely encourage completism with the Build-a-Figure program. Sure, you can find completed BAFs on eBay, but the prices are exorbitant. I cannot recall the exact 6" figures I had to buy to complete the Giant-Man and Sentinel BAFs, but I am glad I did. There have been others I'd have liked to own, but jeez -- with Marvel Legends selling for $18-25, I got priced out of that market very quickly.

I'd still like to buy the Diamond Select Thanos, however...

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

False now, but there was a time when it was largely true, for both comics and also SF/fantasy book series. And as I mentioned a little while ago in another comment thread, I had that sort of reverse-completist disorder, wherein I'd avoid anything that looks it would suck me into wanting buy every single issue of comic or volume of book in a given series.

Anonymous said...

For a brief period of time, from about '75-'79, when it came to Marvel superhero books - True. I think I wanted to be in touch with everything that was going on in the Marvel U. Then it got to be too much. There were just soooo many new books that started in that time span - Invaders, Inhumans, Champions, Nova, Omega, MS.Marvel, Eternals, and on and on and on...

In the words of John Lennon (BTW Happy Birthday John), I just had to let it go...

Tom

Anonymous said...

False now, but I have sought out complete runs of series by favorite creators, usually "short" runs (i.e. under 50 issues). I collected all the Steve Gerber comics I could get my hands on, either in single issue or trade, as well as every issue of Animal Man by Grant Morrison. It's easy now to get EVERYTHING!! either in trade or digital, which reduces my compulsion to have a full run of issues. It kind of takes the fun out of finding that one back issue that completes your run, though.

- Mike Loughlin

Garett said...

I mentioned before that I'm something of a completist when it come to artists. When I was in John Buscema mode, I felt compelled to get all his comics, from the 1950 Dell comics (which mostly are great) to his later stuff like Fantastic Four 2099 #2 (which wasn't worth it). With Mike Grell, I hunted down his Batman Masque graphic novel (not great) but also all the Warlords he wrote and drew (just over 50, which read all in a row were fantastic). So completism has its pluses and minuses.

I'm not as obsessive as I used to be. We'll see how far it goes with Joe Staton. So far: E-man, JSA, Doom Patrol, Power Girl, Green Lantern, Huntress, Metal Men, DC Comics Presents, Femme Noir...I guess the list is growing! : )

I was into MAD for a while after finding some cheap issues-- mainly looking for Mort Drucker and Wally Wood. There's a new reprint series of MAD artists called MAD's Original Idiots. Here's Wally Wood
Has his great spoofs Superduperman, Flesh Garden, Bat Boy and Rubin, Prince Violent, etc. Nice reproduction, colors, and cheap price! There are ones for Jack Davis and Will Elder, but I'd love to see a compilation of Mort Drucker's MAD stories.

Also I used to insist on watching a movie right till the end, even the credits. Now if it doesn't grab me in the first 20 minutes, I can move on!

Rip Jagger said...

It is both the joy and the tragedy of my existence. When I start to follow something I get the compulsion to follow it to its end, making me get things which seems later to be of dubious interest. The only thing which stopped me back in the day was lack of access and the internets have changed that. Now all that stops me is the foreknowledge that my credit cards are woeful enemies and need to be stymied at nearly all times. I often fail.

It's a good thing that back in the 80's when I made a push to get as much of mighty Marvel as I could afford that I was limited by geography. But it was danged fun. These days I chase far less, pulps mostly, but even then the bug appears.

Rip Off

Redartz said...

True in my younger days, false now. At the height of my collecting frenzy, I was determined to get complete runs of all the Marvel biggies. I succeeded with Avengers, XMen and Daredevil, and very close with Spiderman, FF and Strange Tales. As several have noted, this leads to acquiring some books you later couldn't care less about. Of course, events later lead me to part with most of the collection. Now, it's just a matter of picking up issues that interest me, or are fondly remembered.

Colin Bray- love your description of the evocative pleasures of an original printed vintage comic! I quite agree. Although more tpb's are filling my shelves now, the old newsprint still holds appeal. Looking over ads, letter columns, house ads, and just dmiring the look and feel of the comic: all part of the experience. And for even more immersion in the time frame, sometimes I add some appropriate period background music, courtesy of the many year-specific compilation cd's on the shelves...

googum said...

False. If anything, I think I'm wrecking other people's sets...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this counts as "completist", but I hate watching only part of a movie or TV show...I'd much rather see it from the beginning than come in halfway through (even if it's something I've seen a dozen times before); same with long running TV series...I have to see them from the first episode on, or I just can't get into them.

As for books/comics, I don't have enough money to be a TRUE completist, but I'm a completist at heart...if money were no object, I'd definitely look for full runs of all my favourites.

Mike Wilson

Anonymous said...

FALSE.....

I only want what I want. AND, I've only got so much $$$. So far I've only bought the new STAR WARS stormtroopers and aliens, I have no interest in a Finn or a Rey action figure, haha!

and the ONLY Marvel Legends wave I completed was the MODOK series, (they were buy two get one free at a closing KB outlet), and there were no real "duds", (for me, that's movie, Ultimate, or any character created after the 90s.) So I got the MODOK Build-A-Figure completed, and MODOK is awesome.

starfoxxx

Kenn Dunn said...

Dr. Oyola had exactly my experience! I rarely was able to even find the second of a two-parter as a kid! Sadly, later in life I was able to access many of those, and the conclusions I had given the stories had been more satisfactory. I AM obsessive now, to an extent. I have purchased every Batman issue of the latest run by Greg Capullo, but never bother with fill-in artists. Likewise Mikel Janin, both on JLD and Grayson. I also either watch TV series to the bitter end or have to cut them off entirely. No half measures!

Humanbelly said...

There seem to be two informal camps of completism in play here, I think. There's the Acquisitive Completists, where the greater satisfaction comes from the symmetrical beauty of creating a complete collection of something for its own sake. Of gazing upon a passion's incremental entirety. A definite happy indulgence in the bit of inner OCD that probably exists to some degree in all of us.

Then there's the Narrative Completist who is cursed with not being able to quite ever let go of any story/narrative once it's been started. . . OR who can't fully surrender to a narrative unless they've been in on it from the start-- always feeling like they've "missed something", which nags away and nags away.

To some degree, I can be or have been both-- but the latter is FAR more where my Completism manifests. And I was made aware of that aspect of my nature at a very young age. (Anecdote alert--)

My Mom was/is a congenitally scatter-brained, schedule-challenged individual who was simply never able to get anywhere on time. . . ever. No matter how important. She liked to take us to the occasional movie when we were kids, but most of the theaters were in South Bend, Indiana-- about 20-some miles away. So it was a long-ish drive, then park and walk to the theater, and we NEVER left early enough to actually make the show-time as planned. Annnnd she always wanted to get popcorn once we got to the theater, even though the movie had long-started. Soooooo in her mind she came up with this justification that as long as you watched THE RIGHT AMOUNT of a film, it was just as good as SEEING THE MOVIE FROM THE BEGINNING. Therefore, we would find seats as much as a half-hour (or more) after the movie started, watch it from that point to the end, hang out while the house cleared & re-filled, and then watch from the beginning up to the point where we'd arrived. At which point she'd announce "That's it-- we saw this already, let's go!", and drag us across everyone's legs as we loudly protested that we wanted to keep watching the movie. We saw MARY POPPINS this way (arrived at the end of the fox-hunt); we saw SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON this way (arrived by the time they'd set up the water-wheel); we saw BENJI this way (but that movie was so bad, I remember none of it).

Even as a little, little child this made me flat out CRAZY, 'cause I KNEW the story didn't make any sense at all if you watched it this way. My Mom? "It was a two-hour movie, and we saw all two hours of it-- so we got our money's worth! Didn't you have a good time?"

Okay. . . okay. . . maybe I'm still carrying around some baggage. . . sorry for the veering off into a personal tangent. . .

HB


Redartz said...

HB- thanks for the evening smile; great story...

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

I guess I was a selective completist. If a particular storyline gripped me I would track down every issue, my first experience of that being the Kree/Skrull war in the Avengers. It took me several years to get every issue but, eventually, I did.

The last time I felt the urge to get every issue of a comic book published by a single company was the early Valiant line. There weren't that many books being published and the quality level was very high.

Has it ever occurred to anyone else that Shooter's Valiant bares a very close resemblance to his proposed intent with Marvel's New Universe? I compare the two and they seem very similar, but perhaps I'm imposing something that isn't there.

Hey Humanbelly, similar lifetime experience.

Except that I started telling my mom that the movie started about an hour before it did and that took care of that. When she began to notice that we were getting there in time I just complimented her on being so organized.

Yes, I was an evil nine year old. Evil works.

pfgavigan

Anonymous said...

False! As a kid I collected partial runs on some comics but at that tender age you stop when your piggy bank dries up! Nowadays with the Internet and the proliferation of online shopping getting those precious few missing issues for your collection is just a mouse click away. Like Rip said, I gotta check my credit card limits!


- Mike 'completist only when I'm eating - clean my plate everytime!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

William said...

Doug, yes it was a lot easier to complete those BAFs back when the figures were $6-$7 each. Back then I completed Galactus, the Sentinel, Mojo, and MODOK, (never completed Giant-Man, but I wish I would have). Now that they are $20 each it's become much more of a financial strain to complete a BAF. I still do it on occasion, but only if I want all (or most of the figures in the wave anyway). This year I did Odin, Hobgoblin, and Rhino, but I skipped Hulk-Buster Iron Man, and Thanos (I have the Marvel Select classic Thanos already).

BTW Doug, you can pick up that Marvel Select Thanos for around $20 on eBay, or you can probably find it at a comicbook store. I know my LCS has them in. (At least they did the last time I was in there).

Kenn Dunn said...

OR, when it comes to the Marvel Select figures, you can create an amalgam! I had a couple of legs from I think a Galactus, and a some Thanos arms, and topped them with an Odin head and cape. I think the torso may be Odin as well. It works.

Joseph said...

At my heart, I am a completist. But reality often keeps me from fulfilling this. I was able to complete the full run of Marvel Two-In-One a few years ago thanks to my childhood collection, local comic shot, and (of course) eBay.

Humanbelly, we totally used to do that as kids: watch the last three-quarters of a movie, wait through the credits, then watch the first 30 minutes. Being the youngest, I never questioned it but you are right - this is a truly unusual activity.

Oliver said...

I have the complete "Three Investigators" book series. Starting from the first one "The Secret of Terror Castle". I live in Germany and the books are still puplished here by us exclusivly. Each year six new ones. Three around spring and the trrhee others in late summer. And, mor or less regulary, specials. I have them all. (Exept the "Three Investigator Kids"-Series wich is ment for younger readers.)And nextr year, the collecting will continue.

Martinex1 said...

False. I am so close to completing some short to mid run series and I just don't do it. Invaders is one such run, I think I am missing 4 issues. My only complete series is Omega the Unknown. I do have to have complete runs within series , i.e. Avengers 150 to 200, and Byrne FF,

HB your movie stories were hilarious and brought back memories. I saw Superman and Moonraker the exact same way with my dad at the old Colony theater in Chicago.

R. Lloyd said...

I was a completeist until it became economically unfeasible. Years ago I had to sell all my Mego action figures to pay some bills. Same goes with my comics collection. I have a few left but mostly paperbacks and masterworks. It was part of growing up and moving on.

But I digress, I noticed the picture of the Invaders from Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins. I really tried to get into this series but Frank Robbins art really turned me off with his distorted figures. I remember seeing his old work on Steve Canyon and Terry and the Pirates and there was no severe distortions in the figure drawings. Perhaps his style changed over the decades but it wasn't for the better.


I just didn't get the whole concept of portraying all the characters like puppets with the strings cut. Because that's what they looked like. I think Sal Bucema would have been a better choice for this series because his style was simple and clean of nonsense and clutter. Even Jack Kirby would have been much better suited for this than Robbins. This is not to say that Robbins wasn't a good artist but the choices he made to portray these heroes from the 40's was off the mark.

Humanbelly said...

Wow-- so cuh-LEARLY this whole "quantity of viewed movie trumps all other considerations" mindset would appear, in fact, to be a trait of our parents' generation-? Is that the surprising revelation here?? What in the world? Am I correct in assuming that most of our own parents would have grown up in the span that included the Great Depression, World War II, and possibly the very early Cold War era? A time where tremendous frugality was an over-riding social virtue, to be sure. Is that somehow in play, here? (Except-- being on flippin' TIME for things was also pretty much a given. . . )

I suppose we make our own kids crazy in the same way?

Oliver! I bet your the Visitor from Berlin who pops up on the little Earth on the left there so often, yeah? Ha-- that's great! I've mentioned Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators a couple of times on this very blog myself-- was a big fan in my youth. THE SECRET OF TERROR CASTLE was one of my favorite breathless page-turners as a kid, no question. Great kids-mystery book (and series). It wasn't until about 12 years ago that I discovered the publishers had retconned Alfred Hitchcock right smack out of the series in the mid-80's (after Hitch's death). His reality-warping presence was a wonderful trademark, and replacing him with a fictional character just took a slice of the fun right out of it for me. I checked on Wikipedia and, geeze!, Germany is truly bonkers over the 3 investigators to this very day-! Friends, Oliver's engaged in an active collection of around 150 extant books. . . and they do indeed publish like 6 or so more every year. Good grief! "The Case of the Cash-strapped Completist"--- I can see it now. . .

HB

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