Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Craigslist post


It's been almost a month since I last posted to Zombie Cat Bacon?! What's the problem, man? Am I OK? Did I fall down and hit my head? Where the hell have I been? Well, I'll tell you.

I've been right here, staring at this screen. For nearly a month, I've felt paralyzed by something I can't quite define. Instead of working on my myriad projects (one of which you will all find very interesting when I am ready to launch) (I hope), I've been watching TV - Mad Men, Game of Thrones, NHL playoffs, Formula One races, too many others to mention. A strange absence of motivation came over me once the Wisconsin snow started to melt, and I haven't accomplished shit.

Gonna start that new project right after this...

But today is a new day, so here we are.

A recap: Amazon isn't going to work. We all know about Ebay. Local comic conventions? Nope. How about I try the cyber-version of stapling an ad to a telephone pole, Craigslist? Let's try it, shall we?

Here's the listing (also can be found on the Appleton, Madison and Green Bay Craigslist pages plus Chicago):

Catchy title, eh? While I did try it a couple months ago (dramatically different text and a price tag attached) and had zero response, I edited the posting a couple of weeks ago, and have had 18 responses so far, evenly distributed from all five city pages.

I've had some hilarious lowball offers ($1-$300), some decent offers ($400-$600), and one big time tease offer of $1500. After not responding to my enthusiastic emails for over a week, Mister $1500 finally wrote back and stated he had bought a large toy collection, and was short of cash.

It's OK, dude, I can wait.

I was informed (over and over) by helpful Craigslist folk that my collection was worthless and unless I had a massive bulk collection of Silver Age gems, I was wasting everyone's time (I wasn't going door-to-door; it's a Craigslist post, fer cryin' out loud). Yes, I know, the first step to really lowballing someone is to make them feel like their carefully curated and preserved collection of whatevers is really a giant pile of landfill.

I've been thinking about specific comics in my basement. I'd say I really enjoyed about 80% of them. Here are a few of the titles (most of these are complete runs and from the 80's):
Animal Man
Books of Magic
The Authority
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Liberty Meadows
Omaha the Cat Dancer

Most of the above could be considered very good to excellent reads, maybe not classics of the form but still, good stuff. So what's collectible anyway? And why? I don't think scarcity has as much to do with it as we think - it could be more of a "branding" issue. I really don't know. But that is something I'm going to try to figure out.

After I stare at this cover for a while...

Star Wars cast announced!

Godzilla vs. Rodan (I think) - new Asian trailer

What do you make? In defense of teachers

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Green Bay "comic convention"

So I went to a "comic convention" in Green Bay last weekend. That's what it was called. Actually what it was was a very depressing look at the state of local comic collectors and collecting.

Situated in a typical hotel conference room, there were about eight or nine dealers, each trying to unload about 20-40 long boxes of stuff. Each dealer also had a backrack of "collectible" comics (Silver age, Byrne X-Men, variant covers, etc). Each dealer was basically the same as the others, with old stained boxes, tons (literally?) of unwanted crap they haul from show to show, every weekend.

I can only assume this is standard transport procedure

I spoke to each dealer over the course of an hour, peeked in few boxes, and left. In tears. Well, not outwardly, but I was very sad on the inside, I can tell you. For the entire time I was there, there were about 20 non-dealer people (all guys, natch) clawing through boxes, looking for that missing copy of X-Factor (been there, man). The was an old guy they called the Professor, tall but hunched over by age (probably from hauling long boxes), in a long black coat, pulling out the most random collection of stuff: Richie Rich, Spawn, old tattered Gold Keys, JLA from the early 2000's - all from the same two or three boxes.


There was another guy here with Wolverine hair, and I don't think he was cosplaying. I saw a denim jacket completely covered in comic book logos - dude was in his mid-30's. And the usual collection of stinky man-children. Of course, not one kid or anyone under the age of thirty. Or a female, except for the very bored wives of the dealers.

I am not overtly criticizing anyone's hygiene or fashion sense, but it was the same circle jerk I've seen for the past 30 years. The same insular, myopic clowns you see everywhere in comic shops and at (real) conventions. I like comic book people. I'm one of them. But I'm tired of the stereotype reasserting itself every chance it gets. Maybe I'm just grumpy.

More importantly (and more in line with the jist of this post), most of the cash exchanged was between the dealers. They were buying each others overstock in order to get ready for the next show.

So why the metaphysical tears? There is no market for comics like this (at least not in Green Bay on a Saturday in March). And the comics I own and love are unloved by 99.9% of the North American population. As I spoke to each dealer about my well curated, properly stored, super fancy comic book collection, I received grunts and near-ridicule about my aspirations to sell my stuff. "It's not really worth anything" was the standard reply. But that's what they are selling. So they're effectively telling me their stuff isn't worth anything either. Yet here we are. At a comic book convention in Green Bay in March.

Hello, Craigslist!