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 Post subject: Real-life GEEK personal finance dilemma
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Okay, I know this is stretching the definition of personal finance, but since comic books are such an integral part of my life, and a substantial part of my monthly budget, I'm posting this here. Mostly I'm just going to be thinking out loud, though I do welcome feedback from others.

I collect comics. I don't buy the actual floppy comic magazines, but compilations of older issues. These are great deals in that you can get many old comics for cheap, but the books do get expensive. I'm looking for ways to reduce my spending.

The most expensive books I buy are Marvel Masterworks and DC Archives, which are essentially the same format but from two different companies. Each of these books reprints about ten old comic books in a nice hardbound edition. These books retail for $50, though they can be had for $35 from online retailers, and for $30 or so through eBay. (Out-of-print Masterworks can fetch much more.) I have about 50 or 60 Masterworks and about 25 Archives.

Each company also produces a low-cost line of softcover black-and-white reprints, each volume of which collects about 25 issues. These retail for around $17, though they can be had for about $12 through online retailers.

So, as an example, Spider-Man Masterworks 1-4 reprint the first forty issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. These four volumes would retail for $200, but could be acquired for roughly $120-$140 through careful shopping. However, by electing to purchase lower-quality paperback books with black-and-white reprints, one could have the same material for $34 retail (or about $25 through careful shopping).

Many people are unwilling to accept the black-and-white volumes. I'm beginning to think they're not a bad idea. Color isn't important to me. I'm a verbal guy. I like the stories. I'm okay with black-and-white comics.

So, the dilemma before me is: do I auction my Archives and Masterworks on eBay to replace them with Essentials and Showcases? I can probably figure a 2.5-to-1 swap ratio. (This may be as low as 2-1, or as high as 3-1.) Or do I keep the Archives and Masterworks I have but begin acquiring the cheaper volumes for the remaining series? Or do I just purge everything? :P

These are the sorts of personal finance questions I face. Sad, but true.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 5:00 pm 
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Not being a fan of comics (I don't know why, just never got into them) I think I can give a bit of an unbiased view. (Unlike the getting rid of book thread. The horror!)

I think you have to ask yourself (and it looks like you already have started to) why you are buying the books at all. Are you buying them because you like the stories and this is the only way to get this series (borrowing and library are not options). If this is the case, then you're best off going the cheapest route possible (used paperbacks I'd assume). But if it's because you want to keep these books, because you'll go back and read them again and again, and you appreciate the artwork, then perhaps you should look at these as an investment. While it might not be a growth-oriented financial investment, investing in art and culture is, in my opinion worthwile.

If you want them as stories to read... go cheap.
If you want them as art and part of your life, don't skimp.

That's my take.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 5:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:31 pm
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I think you need to be certain about how okay you are with the black-and-white reprints. Can you borrow some from a library? Otherwise, maybe buy a single volume just to try it out? Is there that little niggling voice in your head that whines, "I'm not so poor I have to resort to this"?

If you're truly sure that the black-and-white reprints suit you fine... then I vote for e-baying your Masterworks and getting the paperbacks.

When I was collecting a lot of Japanese manga, I found that I liked it much better if I could have consistent editions, to see them all lined up evenly on the shelf, to have no inconsistencies from one volume to the next, which is why if it were me I'd rather get the whole set in paperback than some in hardback and some in paperback.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 7:08 pm 
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Fillanzea, I already have many of the Essentials (the B/W reprints). They're what I started with. I like them fine.

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I found that I liked it much better if I could have consistent editions, to see them all lined up evenly on the shelf, to have no inconsistencies from one volume to the next


Preach it, sister! The anal-retentive side of me feels this way, too. I squirm at having different spines on the shelf. :roll:


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