I’ll have you know I was writing this instead of reading Mage II like I was planning to do.

§ January 25th, 2012 § Filed under collecting, grendel § 13 Comments

Related to my last couple of posts about rereading comics from your collection, is the purchasing of stories one already owns in trade paperback form. For the most part, I do try to avoid doing that, just for purely financial reasons. However, there are times when I feel compelled, like when they finally reprinted all of Len Wein’s Swamp Thing stories in the Roots of the Swamp Thing hardcover (and not just the ones drawn by Bernie Wrightson), or that Firestorm trade that had an appealing cover and put all those old comics on nice, white paper. That’s one way to get me to reread some of my old comics…give ‘em to me in a new presentation that will make me want to look at them again.

Now, since I’m a Swamp Thing fan, I’m not going to get rid of my original Swamp Thing comics after rebuying the stories in collected form, because I have a sickness and I need help. But as has been my semi-regular habit, I will happily replace my original issues with collected editions…like, for example, the early issues of Sandman. There was a time when those early issues were in high demand and sold for crazy money, and when that slipcased set of three paperbacks reprinting the first 20-something issues was released, I was perfectly fine with selling off those issues, getting the slipcased set, and using the extra money for food, gas money, and well, okay, probably just more comics.

I’ve done that a few times over the years…I bought the Watchmen paperback collection when it originally came out, but it took my acquiring of the Absolute Watchmen oversized hardcover to finally get me to throw my original run on the eBay. And I sold off my original Dark Knight Returns issues when I figured I was perfectly happy with having the story in the Longmeadow Press edition.

Over the last day or so I mentioned the Starblaze/Donning editions of the original Mage series by Matt Wagner, and I thought I’d throw the cover of the third one up here on the site just ’cause:


Mage was another one of those series where I ended up buying the collected editions because they were just so nicely done and they were in a larger format (about 8 1/2 by 11 inches, versus the standard comic book size), which resulted in me selling off the original comics. Well, actually, I used those comics as trade bait at a convention, and, like with the Sandman comics I sold, used them to get even more comics, so the vicious cycle continued. The only slight problem with this is that the Mage series included Grendel back-ups, and I didn’t want to lose those, but thankfully there was this album collecting all those stories:


This has been reprinted several times in comic book sized editions by Dark Horse, but I think this larger-formatted collection from Comico remains my favorite version.

13 Responses to “I’ll have you know I was writing this instead of reading Mage II like I was planning to do.”

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Hmmmm. Some interesting insights here. I began the migration to collected editions around 2002. I sold off huge runs of high demand titles (e.g. Sandman, Moore’s Swamp Thing, Y The Last Man, Preacher, early Fables, etc.) and made out alright. I also sold almost every comic I owned from the mid-80’s through 2002 with only a few exceptions. I kept almost all of my late 60’s and 70’s Marvel and DC titles for nostalgia’s sake (a dangerous, dangerous sickness if there ever was one) and ended up with about 20 long boxes of late-Silver/early Bronze books.

    Oddly, I find that I now buy individual issues rarely and only certain “challenged” titles that I want to support in the marketplace. The vast majority of my purchases are hardcover collected editions and yes, some of these are reprints of material I already own.

    Finally, (and this is the point where I should probably admit I need professional help) with the advent of “dollar boxes” over the past decade, I find myself re-buying some of the those crappy books I sold in 2002. The thought of picking up a complete limited series for four bucks is too tempting to pass up. I read them, realize how bad they were, and often give them away.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve repurchased in trade a few times, more for the sake of downsizing my collection than for making a buck selling off the single issues though. Sandman, the early Bendis Daredevils, and Watchmen come to mind. I have had the switchover go awry however. The tpb of Watchemen I picked up was misprinted, missing one issue and printing another twice. At least I’d waited on getting rid of the single issues.

  • Bear says:

    I’d love to sell off most of my collection but nobody wants original issues of superhero comics form the 90’s and early 00’s.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I’ve thought about doing more converting to TPBs. How easy are single issues to sell? What about runs where some of the issues are in bad condition?

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    Donning/Starblaze may have been problematic in how they treated Colleen Doran (if my memory serves me right), but their books were pretty. And solidly manufactured – I also have all three Mage books, and they’ve held up much better than any Marvel trade from the same time period.

    and I also agree that the album size worked much better for the way the Grendel stories were presented than a normal comic size does.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Hey, Mike! I echo what Old Bull Lee wants to know! I don’t use eBay but often buy a trade and still have the original single issues. Sometimes, I’m able to give them to a buddy so his son can have them. Guess what I really want to know is, ARE there people who want, say, each individual issue of FINAL CRISIS or FLASH: REBIRTH! when they can easily have the trade? Thanks.

  • Jaq says:

    The Donning/Starblaze volumes of Mage and the Comico collection of Grendel are both currently in boxes up in my attic.

    But not for long. Thanks for reminding me I have them, Mike.

    As for stuff I own twice-Watchmen I still have the original issues as well as a trade paperback, and that’ll probably never change. I own all of Simonson’s Thor in singles and in the collections, though wow finding volume 2 was difficult when I did it.

    The most interesting one for me is my collection of Kirby single issues. I went around a few years back snapping up, eventually, full runs of The Eternals, Devil Dinosaur, New Gods, and OMAC…and practically as soon as I finished doing that every single one of those titles was reprinted. Bought them all, but I’m keeping the singles. That search took too much effort for me to give them up now!

  • J.W.Rollins says:

    Did anyone mention Marshal Law the other day when you were asking about re-reads? The first series is one that I intend to go back to. It appealed to my teens and twenties self and wonder what I’d think now that I’m almost 40.

    Also, Silver Surfer: Parable is a story I always liked and would like to revisit soon.

  • Jeff R. says:

    I strongly approve of your preference for the original Devil by the Deed over the recolored attrocity that came out more recently…

  • Mikester says:

    Old Bull Lee / Wayne – In most of the cases in which I was able to sell issues that I’ve rebought in trade form…I was lucky, in that the comics I was selling were, for the most part, in demand at the time and easy to sell. I wouldn’t want to try to sell, say, a run of DARK KNIGHT now, for example, but at the time there was still considerable interest in picking up the single issues.

    Best bet is selling things in lots on eBay…probably won’t make nearly all your money back, but you’ll likely get something.

  • Mikester says:

    J.W. Rollins – No one mentioned Marshal Law that I remember, but that was a good series. Well, multiple good series and one-shots and such. Don’t know that I’m personally ready for a reread of that series right now, but I’ve got ‘em when the mood eventually strikes me!

  • Agreed on Marshall Law. Now I’m interested in finding my Mr Monster books.

  • Chad says:

    I’ll fourth the Marshal Law love. Didn’t that run get reprinted recently? Or did that reprint fall apart?

    As for selling off singles when you get the trade, I’m fine with it except when the original series had a great letters column. Realistically, I’m probably not going to go back and reread the old Question, Preacher or Starman lettercols when I have the trades so easily available, but my damaged-by-mom-throwing-out-comics brain prevents me from taking the leap. What if I want to read James Robinson talking about collecting? Or Denny’s reading list? Or Garth Ennis responding to a letter?

    P.S. All this Grendel talk induced me to pick up the entire run online. So all the rereading threads have pushed me into some first-time reading.