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Collecting Through a Crisis

As I write this post, I’m listening to Skottie Young’s Boy at the End playlist (which includes my recommendation of Chris Cornell’s acoustic live version of Nothing Compares 2U) on Spotify. While our current situation will not result in the end of the world, COVID-19 represents a global crisis without precedent during our lifetimes. I make that statement pretty confident that no one who survived the 1918 flu pandemic is reading this blog.

Like so many other activities we take for granted, our hobby has been brought to a halt through declarations of state and local states of emergency and their accompanying non-essential business closure orders. In the world of comic book collecting, this was first observed through cancellation and postponements of comic cons, then LCS closures in affected areas, and most recently the announcement by Diamond that they would not be distributing new product to the network of retailers.

While I am affected by what we all hope are temporary store closures and show cancellations, comics are not my livelihood. Please continue to support those who do depend on comics to make a living – your LCS, private dealers that you have relationships with, and other businesses, so they can make it through this crisis and resume normal operations when its over. Don’t cancel your pull lists. Buy back issues, trade paperbacks, or supplies via mail order, or shops’ eBay or other ecommerce portals.

As mentioned, many comic cons scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled or postponed, and realistically even some announced reschedule dates might be in question. The most immediate impact on me was the postponement of the Albany Comic and Toy Show, which was scheduled to take place today (Sunday March 29th). This was the first show for which I had been approved by CBCS to be a Personal Authorized Witness, and as such had compiled a stack of books to be signed by the creators who would be in attendance. Some books were targeted for a single signature, but my primary goal was finding books to be signed by multiple creators at that show. Largely what I put together were books that combinations of the legendary Joe Sinnott, JM DeMatteis, Dan Green, and Rick Leonardi had worked on.

When looking for books to get signed (largely for CGC’s Signature Series), as much as possible I try to draw from those that I already own. While I did find some in my collection featuring combinations of work by the creators I mentioned, the conditions varied as I bought them off a spinner rack 40 years ago. As such, I bought the books pictured below from My Comic Shop to be signed at the show. Some were duplicates of books I already owned, but as mentioned I was hoping for the best grades possible on those to be signed. Each book purchased from MCS was the highest graded non-slabbed book they had available at the time of order. Fingers crossed that these creators will still be in attendance when the show is held – either at the announced reschedule date of June 7th, or other date if additional postponement becomes necessary.

Although March 25, 2020 marked our last New Comic Book Day until Diamond resumes distribution, there are certainly other aspects of the hobby that will fill my time. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, a recent goal of my collecting has been to consolidate what I have by selling off some stuff, and putting any funds from those sales towards slabbing books I want to keep, and perhaps adding some key issues that I don’t currently own. Accordingly, I’m going to spend some time inventorying and photographing/scanning what I have. Given the effect on the economy that COVID-19 has caused, I’m not sure now is the best time to sell, but I will be preparing books to sell when the time is better – hopefully in the very near future. That being said, we might be experiencing a buyers’ market, and I will be on the lookout to buy books I am interested in if the prices are right. I have contemplated becoming a more active buyer and seller, particularly as I approach likely retirement in just a few years, and will also use this time away from comic cons and LCS’ to further consider that possibility.

I’m also going to use this time to develop my comic related social media accounts, and blog more here on Collector Syndicate, so watch for reviews of what I’m reading, unboxing reports on stuff that I’ve recently received from the slabbing companies, new acquisitions to my collection, books that I may be speculating on, and more.

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Gary Govel
Gary Govel is a life-long fan and collector of comics, with a particular interest in Bronze and Copper Age Keys. He recently launched Collector Syndicate to share his experiences and promote the hobby.

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