Anniversaries and conditions.

§ March 5th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Anniversaries and conditions.

A happy (belated) fourth anniversary to Pop Culture Gadabout, which happens to be the first site by a person I didn’t know* to put up a link to mine. He has a swell site, always worth reading.

I have a question. Are people incapable of seeing whether or not something is in new condition?

As a seller of funnybooks, I regularly get folks in the shop looking to sell their old comics to us, as I may have brought up in the past, once or twice. Sometimes (well, usually) it’s someone who isn’t are mired in the hobby as you or I, who has a bundle of comics from when they were a kid, or they just bought at the swap meet, or some darn thing, and they’re trying to unload them on us for a few bucks. And the collection is almost always introduced with “all these comics are in great shape,” or “new condition,” or “excellent to mint condition.”

And, yeah, if you’ve been reading my site for any length of time, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that, no, the comics are not in new condition. In fact, they usually look like they’ve been hit by a series of fast-moving vehicles. (See my first Comic Book Galaxy column for the Superboy Annual story.)

It came to me last night, as I was looking at a pile of comics a fellow brought it just as we were closing, in terrible condition but promised to be in “perfect shape,” that people just plain can’t see what condition their comics are actually in.

I’m not talking about knowing the difference between “Very Fine” and “Near Mint” — it’s bad enough I have to know that, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to. I mean, looking at a comic that’s stained, with the cover torn (or missing outright), waterlogged, burned, smelling of cat pee, and telling me “it’s in brand new condition!”

Either they’re trying to convince me through constant repetition of their claims that what they’re saying is true (a common strategy in the real world, nowadays), or they think that this is what comics always look like (which is just depressing), or that they think “for the comics’ age” that they’re in relatively nice condition, considering.

Or they honestly can’t tell. If so, would these same people, when they’re buying a new car, overlook a big dent in the door? Would they buy clothes new off the rack that are torn or stained? Surely in these cases they can tell when something looks “new” and when something obviously looks “used.”

And, to reiterate…I don’t mean comics that are “slightly used,” with minor spine creasing, or a touch of sun-fading. I mean “someone used this comic to practice their knife-stabbing technique.” Or “someone was testing the effectiveness of their collection of corrosive acids.” Some people just plain can’t see it…or don’t want to see it, perhaps.

The ultimate reason is probably that they don’t care. It ain’t their hobby, so why should they? Let professional nerds like “comic book store employees” worry about it. All comics are pretty much the same, right? So any old comic should be worth something. And it isn’t that they don’t know that condition is important in this hobby, since the first words out of their mouths is always about how great the condition is on their books.

So what say you, internet pals?

In that last section, when I tried to type the word “swap,” it kept coming out as “swamp.” In fact, I just did it again right now. See what my obsession with Swamp Thing has done to me?

* In case you’re wondering, the first site to link to me which is by a person I do know is this one. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but any excuse to send a little traffic out in a pal’s direction….

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