Free Comic Book Day was this past Saturday, and our own local comic shop – Outer Limits – appeared to have a great turnout. I say appeared because this year, my son and I didn’t go. You see, when I jumped into comics a little over a year, right before the big Flashpoint storyline that lead to DC’s The New 52 lineup, I already knew I was in over my head. Comics are great, they’re fun to read, to look at, to collect. There are many titles I loved and new titles I quickly fell in love with. I’m a sucker for things like this! That’s where my small problem came in. Comics can get expensive the more you come across new titles and multiple titled that spawn from the same character. I tried to limit myself, but failed. I had to have ‘em all.
That was completely my fault, of course, but one that couldn’t be sustained in a reasonable persons life that has too many other things going on. For example, video games, gadget fever – the usual stuff. There is also the eventual problem of storage. Where to put them, how to put them and what to do once you put them. So instead of forcing myself to trim huge portions off of my comic book pull list, I dropped the whole thing completely. I have all my comics bagged, boarded and boxed up for now. Perhaps one day in the future my son and I can step back into that comic collecting world and begin building our collection again.
Of course, that’s not the end of my story. While I’m not venturing out to support my local comic shop every Wednsday anymore, I will still browse eBay for back issues of older comics I use to collect. Titles that were lost in the Great Toy Purge of 2004. What’s that? I’ve never mentioned the Great Toy Purge of 2004? Ah, well I’m sure I have at some point, but to quickly catch you up to speed:
When The Wife and I found out she was pregnant and expecting our first (and currently only) child, we were thrilled. When we found out it was going to be a girl, we were still thrilled but she was a little more thrilled then I was. We had also just gotten married and lived in a small 2 bedroom townhouse with no storage. This was a problem mainly for me because I had a huge stash of toys, comics, books, videos (the old VHS style), baseball cards, etc. When I say huge, I mean the giant rectangular Rubbermaid totes filled to the top and the lids popping open because they’re so full huge.
In my head, a girl wouldn’t want any of these things that I had accumulated since my childhood. A girl wouldn’t read – at least until much much later in life, maybe, the types of books I read. And I had some books, let me tell you. Three large bookshelves full of paperback and hardback novels. So I made a decision. We needed space. We needed room for the baby and her clothes. I packed up all my stuff. On eBay, I sold several dozen books and nearly all of the toys I had collected. This earned us some cash to have on hand to prepare for baby. The giant collection of Star Wars figures and vehicles, Hot Wheels collectible cars, etc, I gave to The Wife’s younger cousins. Sports cards went to some folks at work. VHS movies were big at the pawn shop in town, so I quickly dumped them off there and made some cash.
We were set. We had extra money and lots of space to welcome our new baby girl who would have absolutely no interest in my nasty boy toys and collectibles. Then we went to the doctor one day, 3 months before our child was due, and they diagnosed my wife with toxemia poisoning. They ran a quick ultrasound on her and announced that – WHOOPS! OUR BAD! – we were actually having a baby boy! They then rushed her to the hospital and delivered our son 3 months early.
So, there, my friends, is the story of the Great Toy Purge of 2004. I still tell this story to this very day to my son when I start to feel guilty about not having all of these cool items from my past to hand down to him. It hurts, sometimes, but we make do. We go out on hunting trips to comic shops and collectible vendors at flea markets looking for things that I use to have or always wanted. It gives us something else to bond with, talking about something new he’s discovered and me saying, “Oh, yeah, I use to have one of those.” And the search is on.