Comic Books Will Never Be Worth Anything, Right?

Cover scan of a Great Comics comic book

Image via Wikipedia

You probably collected something at some point in your life, right?  Runtt collects vinyl records, I’ve got a stash of old badges from conventions I’ve been to, I know a lot of dads that collected enough National Geographic issues to build a magazine fort.  God knows if you’re reading my blog there’s a good chance you have a stack of comic books somewhere.  Whether they’re on your bookshelf or in your attic depends on how regularly you need to escape from reality.  Do we really think about monetary value when we hoard things like these?

Absolutely not.  What’s valuable to us are the sentiments we attach to things like comic books.  Just like the CD’s that people buy at my live shows, they’re tokens of emotional memory.  Sure, someone could buy my music on Amazon from their phone while they’re sitting in the audience, but the tangible properties of a CD will rouse an echo of the emotions they felt in that room that night.

In any case, at some point in your life we’ve all had to make a decision to either free up storage space or hang onto something for no good reason.  Thank God this guy kept that old stack of comics in his attic:

Rorrer, 31, of Oxnard, Calif., said he thought his great uncle Billy Wright’s comics were cool, but he didn’t realize how valuable they were for months after finding them neatly stacked in a basement closet while helping clear out his great aunt’s Martinsville, Va., home a few months after her death…He found out that his great uncle had managed as a boy to buy a staggering array of what became the most valuable comic books ever published, and kept them in good condition.

…The Action Comics No. 1 – which Wright bought when he was about 11 – is expected to sell for about $325,000. A Detective Comics No. 27, the 1939 issue that features the first appearance of Batman, is expected to get about $475,000. And the Captain America No. 2 with Hitler on the cover that had caught Rorrer’s eye? That’s expected to bring in about $100,000.

A single, thin stack of newspaper-grade wood pulp bound in flimsy card stock, strategically splattered with four pigments.  Two million dollars. Damn.  I guess that which carries emotional value for me might just carry the same for someone else…  someone who might’ve freed up storage space and regretted it later in life.  Nobody read a little booklet about a man in red underwear and thought “when I retire, I’ll sell this thing for six figures.”

All they thought was “when I read this, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound.”  That kind of feeling belongs on display.  That’s the value of a good comic book, a good story, a good song.  That is why our attics are stuffed to the rafters.  Don’t be afraid to go digging through your emotional echoes sometime, you might just find treasures worth keeping on display.

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