Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Doug: On Twitter we follow all kinds of folks -- publishers, creators, fans, collectors, etc. I get a kick out of one fellow in particular (@AaronMeyers) who seems to have a bottomless comic book budget. He's posted photos in the past of his comic book room. To say it is a warehouse of longboxes would not do it justice. He regularly posts photos of books he picked up for $1, $2, $4... you get the idea. I love seeing the stuff he purchases, as it's varied. Of course I'm digging the Bronze Age-era books he acquires, but that brother has a broad range of interests. Check him out, give him a follow -- I guarantee you you'll find something that kindles a memory.
Doug: This got me to thinking, because obviously he buys comics in a range of conditions. To start us off today, I'll ask this: How do you handle your comic books? I'd guess that anything of age or value you've stored in bags/boards and in longboxes. But how about those of you who don't -- we've discussed storage before, but go ahead and remind us of your system. As my comics have now left to join other families, this is a worry I do not have anymore. In fact, you probably have figured out that I am pretty rough on my trades and hardcovers. Those scans I provide in my weekly reviews don't just happen -- most of my books have been bent in such ways that they could use a visit to the chiropractor!
Doug: So if you're looking at a comic that has some value (monetary or sentimental), do you wash your hands first? Do you make sure the surface is clean before laying it down, or do you not mind holding it? What's your method for unbagging it (because I guarantee I've pulled some color from a few covers in the past in tape mishaps)?
Doug: I was reminded of a funny story in this vein when teaching last week. We watched a clip from the MTV-produced film I'm Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust (2005). I paused the film as the next vignette began to tell a story about the diary. One time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, during one of my meetings with the Regional Education Corps of which I am a part, we were privileged to meet Mr. Peter Feigl. Peter is a child survivor of the Holocaust who wrote down the chain of events he experienced in a diary. Years later he donated the book to the USHMM; it has been featured in the aforementioned film, which is based on the book Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust. We had assembled in one of the Museum's classrooms, located on the basement level. Mr. Feigl was present, as was one of the Museum's curators. She had his diary with her. It was in a large plastic bag, like a Ziploc bag. Inside the bag, the diary was wrapped in some kind of white cloth. The curator wore white gloves as she handled the bag. As Peter was addressing us, he asked if he could read a passage from the diary -- now if that wasn't thrilling! The curator gingerly removed the book from the bag and wrappings, exposing the cover we'd all seen pictured in I'm Still Here. The curator very gently laid it on a white towel in front of Peter, who then opened the diary rather roughly and began to rapidly leaf through it, looking for the spot he desired. The lady behind him lurched forward but stopped herself; a look of terror swept her face. Aware of this, Peter paused and looked over his shoulder. With a mischievous smile, he said, "Relax. It's my book... I wrote it!" Everyone laughed. Even the curator. A little.