Monday, 17 October 2016

(THE END OF) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

The collector-mentality is an odd kind of compulsion.
Those of you who collect anything know that already, but
for others not 'afflicted' with the desire to own things, allow
me give you an example from my own experience to demon-
strate the point.  Back in 1980, MARVEL U.K. published
 a series of 'pocket books', digest-sized monthly mags
featuring their most popular characters.

I purchased quite a number of them, but, somehow,
I missed a few issues of The FANTASTIC FOUR and
The X-MEN pocket books.  In the former's case, it was at
least four issues, in the latter's, two.  I managed to acquire
two of the missing mags (one from each title) last year, but
 on Saturday, I received the remaining FF issues I needed,
along with two X-Men mags (one being a better-con-
dition replacement for the one I got in 2015).

Here's the thing 'though - I didn't really need them.
I already have the tales in various full-colour, full-sized
reprints several times over, yet I still felt compelled to plug
the gaps and complete the set of both periodicals - 34-plus
years after I'd bought their 'companions'.  It feels good to
finally complete something that was left unfinished, but
there's also an anti-climactic feeling as well.

Last night, I put the mags in numerical sequence
with their fellows, placed the lid on the box in which
I store them, shoved it back on my cupboard shelf, and
closed the door.  It could be years before I look at them
again, which makes me wonder if there was any point in
tracking them down after such a long period if I'm
now  just going to forget about them.

Although I feel a sense of accomplishment at
completing the task, there's also a touch of sadness
at finally 'closing the door' on a period that represents
my youth (I was only 22 when these mags began).  It's as
'though there was an open link to my past while the quest
remained ongoing, but now that it's over, the thin beam
of connecting light 'twixt then and now has flickered
and dimmed, if not actually expired.

So, satisfaction and sadness at the same event.
Anyone else ever feel this way when finally complet-
ing a long-standing undertaking?   If so, reveal all to
your fellow Criv-ites in the comments section.

******

Postscript:  I'm struck by the fact I completed
my collection of these mags while residing in the house
I lived at the time they first went on sale.  Why is that sig-
nificant, you may possibly wonder?  Because 33 years ago,
my family moved to a new house in another neighbourhood
for four years, before returning to our former home.  So I
started and finished the collection in the same house -
nearly 35 years apart.  Amazing, eh?  

23 comments:

paul Mcscotty said...

I was probably a bit like that as a collector / fanboy when I was in my teens I used to want every issue of a character his/her own title and any other appearances etc but I soon realised that way lead to “collectors madness”. I may have a few comics that have the same story but not many and those that I do have will be in collections with other work etc. Just accept it you’re hooked on collecting comics (1,000s of worse things you could be into). Saying that these particular pocket books are really collectable there’s something tactile about them ( I love that format) I think I only have 3 UK pocket books so unlikely I will be collecting a complete set.

Kid said...

The strange thing about the Marvel U.K. pocket books, PM, is that they were a bit hit and miss as regards quality of reproduction. Some pages were crystal clear, others were washed out almost to the point of oblivion. And not all pages were always the same size. A great idea 'though, and when the repro was good, they were brilliant. (Panini did colour versions a few years back, but they were booklets rather than mags.) With those missing issues, I now have full sets of FF, X-Men, Titans, and Hulk pocket books, plus various issues of others. They take me right back to the '80s.

Philip Crawley said...

Know exactly what you mean! I look around the room where the majority of my collection is housed and on the odd occasion wonder what I would have done with all of the money I have spent on these had I not bought the things. Probably spent it on some other area of interest that has fostered a collection! These moments pass and never sway me to the point of liquidating it all (heaven forbid!!) and not continuing to add to it. Quite an odd feeling that one though that has us collecting things in one format that we already have in another! A behaviour I have pondered from time to time, usually as I click on
'place order' for some current collected volume of issues I have elsewhere. My wife has quite the Zen approach to it all and doesn't collect much, but though mystified she doesn't worry about my collection, as long as it remains in the study and does not emerge to overrun the rest of the house! Least I don't spend on gambling, drinking, motorbikes, old cars etc etc, all of which I'm sure would not be as tolerated.

Kid said...

It's a strange one, PC. I just can't stop acquiring different publications containing material I already have in various formats. One day I'll have to call it quits 'though - I just won't have room for any more. I don't mind getting something again when it's an improvement - like a Masterworks volume using superior proofs to an earlier edition - but sometimes I just can't stop myself even when there's no appreciable difference in quality.

paul Mcscotty said...

I have to say that I physically found it liberating when I cleared out my collection by nearly 50% last year. I was very strange how I actually felt "lighter" and more full of life. I don’t miss a single book that I got rid of and I am currently working on phase 2 ( a bit harder) to clear out the rest of the stuff I don’t want or to replace some comics with collections. Not that I plan to stop collecting / buying but just to concentrate of books I really want. But as I’ ve said before if you have fun from what you do just enjoy it, if it’s a grind you can’t break the habit of and deep down want to that’s when you need to seriously take stock…….but I think you just get pleasure from collecting

Kid said...

I also found it 'liberating' many years ago when I did that, PM; trouble is, within a short space of time I started to miss the things I'd got rid of. I regularly used to give loads of comics to a pal back in the '70s, but whenever I visited him, there was always one or two comics that I wanted to claim back, which he didn't mind. Every so often, I go through my comics with the intention of getting rid of some, but when I gaze upon them, there's a moment of my life associated to them which makes it impossible for me to part with them.

As you say, I do get pleasure from collecting, but sometimes I wonder if I'm only collecting out of habit, rather than because I want most of the things I now collect.

One day, you'll see something at a mart that you used to have and got rid of, then suddenly find that you want it again because of the period it represents.

paul Mcscotty said...

I still pick up comics I see but not inthe quantity I used to and any new comics I dont want after they are read go into a box for "recycling" -If I came across any Pocket Books or Alan Class comics etc I would pick them up but only if they appealed to me I wouldnt bu them in bulk only the Ditko Spideys etc. I have a list of about 30 comics I really want from my childhood that are my priority and I am only working on that ..... at present.

Kid said...

I'm not sure how many comics from my childhood I'd want - probably all of them. And considering that they often didn't last as long as I thought they did, the only thing preventing me fulfilling that dream would be the expense.

baab said...

I had a wonderful dream a couple of years ago,in which I walked towards my home.
The front was exactly like the front of the peoples palace,I decided to go round to the left instead
and discovered that the buildings foundation was a harbour wall and white froth filled the skies as waves crashed against it.
In the distance were lush green islands and the sun was shining.
I instinctively headed for a side door.
This door led to a quite large library and people were milling around cataloguing and shelving copies of every comic book published.
One of the 'librarians' approached me,wanting to show me an inventory,but I was too busy at that time and left the place,saw the waves and islands,took a big deep breath and awoke.

It may be my good luck to go there again,when I have more time.

Kid said...

That sounds like just the sort of library I'd like to be a member of, Baab - but not quite yet.

Colin Jones said...

I bought plenty of those Marvel UK pocket books back in the day but I've got no desire to own them again. I don't collect anything and I don't understand this need to "connect" with the distant past by acquiring things from those days. Just looking at an online cover gallery satisfies my nostalgia fix. I often think fondly of my childhood days but it doesn't make me want to go on e-bay and start searching for Star Trek annuals or POTA action figures.

Kid said...

Yeah, but if you couldn't satisfy your nostalgia fix by looking at online cover galleries, CJ, you might feel the need to actually own things from your past again. Collectors will find it hard to understand your seeming lack of desire to connect with your past in a more tangible way, I'd imagine. And yet, you do have a need for a nostalgia fix, even if it's a 'part time' one. I find that curious.

Colin Jones said...

I think we all have a certain need for a nostalgia fix, Kid - don't we ? It would be very strange not to be nostalgic at all - unless your childhood was absolutely awful of course. But obviously some have a stronger sense of nostalgia than others. And your nostalgic feelings created this blog which I'm grateful for :)

Rip Jagger said...

Congrats! I know the feeling well, for me it was that last issue of Son of Vulcan I needed to complete my Action Heroes collection from Charlton. Just found it one day in a nothing special box in store in another state and long search (decades long) was over. I've since chased a few items (Space Ghost from Gold Key for instance) but for the most part my comic hunting days are done. I miss them and wonder if I need to find another grail to seek. There are Dr.Graves comics I'd like to have, maybe...just maybe.

Rip Off

Kid said...

I think there are some people who get nostalgic about certain times in their lives, CJ, but don't equate those times with any particular object, hence they don't feel the need to have any tangible reminders. Then there are those (like myself) who see certain objects (toys, comics, etc) as a way of re-experiencing past times in a much closer, 'realer' way and therefore have to have them. I'd say fall somewhere between those two extremes.

******

There are still odd issues I need to acquire, Rip, just to plug gaps here and there, even if I won't ever have a complete collection of the title. For example, if I have nearly the first 7 issues of a mag, but #5 is missing, then I need to find that issue. Thankfully, there aren't too many to go now.

Mr Mondo said...

I'm like it with records more than comics - I know I'll never have every comic I want so, go for key issues mainly. However with records, for the same reason you mention, I'm a Beatles avid - but have never owned their first two albums. Partly because I've always felt slightly narked by paying around £15 for albums recorded in the early sixties for pennies and peanuts, which have paid themselves off long go

But mostly it's that sense of closing The Beatles door. I just can't bring myself to do it,,

paul Mcscotty said...

Ooooooh! Dr Graves comics, that was a great comic and I forgot there was still one issue that I always wanted to get again (can’t recall the issue number at present but I know the cover) so thats a new one to add to my list , thats now 31 comics I need to look for …thanks Rip 

I’m not 100% if I buy / collect old comics for nostalgia reasons or just because I like them - I think it’s a mix, certainly one of the thrills I get from picking up say that Dr Graves comic I am after, is that I can tell you exactly where I bought it (newsagents in Halfway near Cambuslang) what I was doing (walking home from my last O level – Art , History I had passed it) and that it was a scorching hot day –I wonder if the comic I had bought on that day was a dud, would I be interested in getting it to jog my memory etc?

Kid said...

If you eventually do close The Beatles door, MM, hopefully there'll be another few doors still ajar to give you a sense of something still to accomplish.

******

I suspect you would be, PM, because even if it had been a dud, it connects you to that period of your life when members of your family were still alive. If you're anything like me, when I read an old comic, I'm back in the time of when I first bought it.

John Pitt said...

You will NEVER be able to close the Beatles door, MM, - once you have all the official band and solo stuff, there's a multitude of foreign recordings and unofficial stuff to start on!
Nobody on Earth has absolutely everything.
So, there will always be something to strive for!

John Pitt said...

I found that I was never actually satisfied with any completed mini collection and would then try and find copies in better condition! It is an addiction and you always need to add to it. Even if I had one of every comic/ recording/ book / toy, etc. on Earth, I would then start duplicating or start collecting something else.
As for getting rid of collections, I have done so twice and really regret it now, but what's done is done.
Thank goodness for the internet where we can at least see, even if not possess, most of what we once had!

Kid said...

Yeah, I sometimes have to console myself with pictures of some things, because they're so rare (or expensive) and it's unlikely that I'll ever get the chance of them in decent condition.

NP said...

Those pocket books were very good value, and I got a few of them at the time. I just looked at one today and was a little dismayed to find that, though I had read it back then in a badly lit bedroom, today I had to have a very strong light to even read it! Ah well.

Kid said...

NP, I need a very strong light AND a pair of glasses. Plus, when it comes to some of the badly reproduced pages, a magnifying glass. Which is daft, because I can read all the stories in better, bigger reprint volumes. But you're right, they were very good value, and it would be great to see them make a return - but this time in colour. Thanks for dropping by.

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