Category Archives: Comic Books

Sentamanetality

Being sentimental has dangers. Making poor decisions is one. Hording is another.

As I sell my collectibles and comic books, I find myself occasional sentimental. Most of the time I push it aside. But, I found a comic book yesterday that is very interesting.

This comic book was the last one my father purchased. It was published a month before I was born. I found that out by the simple steps of logging in all of the comic books.

My father’s collection starts when he is around 12 to 13. That coincides with his move from Norfolk VA to Baltimore. From there, he mostly starts with Disney, Gold Key, and Dell comics. They made comic books of popular movies and shows.

It was at that time that I was able to connect something my mother told me. My father was not quite illiterate but he really did not have basic reading skills as a young man. One has to remember that it was the late 1950’s into the 1960s. Civil Rights were peaking and illiteracy was not uncommon for young, black men.

My father also had learning disabilities. They were not properly addressed but back then, they were rarely addressed at all. On top of that, his mother’s solution was to embarrass him in public. This may be where my father developed the fake front that became a true one later in his life. The one where he was always the best, smartest, and most talented no matter who he tromped over.

He was also a gifted mathematician. My brother got that. I unfortunately got a weird, mutated version that gives me an amazing ability to intuitively do math and come to correct conclusions with zero knowledge on how I get there or how it works.  Math and reading are quite different skills and his reading is what suffered.

With these early comic books I can see my father’s reading progress. He starts with movie comic books. There he knows what is said and what the plot is and he is able to teach himself to read and read well. As he becomes 14 or so he starts picking up superhero focused comic books and for the next ten years he collects steadily and heavily.

Once he meets my mother his collecting slows. Once they have my brother it drops to occasional issues. And then there is this last issue purchased the month before I was born.

There are no comics after my birth date. On a humorous note, I questioned if my birth sucked my father’s comic book interest into me. When I was 12 I developed quite the taste for comic books. I eventually fell out of them because they were not enough reading material to satiate me. This was before volume bundles were common.

I suspect that it was a combination of life, job, and time, and access. My father did not like to shop and I don’t think he’d go out searching for comics. The way the books are numbered show patterns that create an image of places he went now and then and grabbed the comics for convenience.

Shortly after I was born my father decided to move from the area and almost split up with my mother. He didn’t like being a family man and was surprised that shedding his wife and children was so complicated. He was in his mid thirties by then. His focus on social appearances may have made him stray from his own self interest when it came to his comic books. In the eighties, men in their thirties were not to buy comics.

I’ll never know the answers. For one, my father is dead these last seven years. For another, even if he was alive, he’d never have told me the truth. He abandoned the truth a long time ago when he learned the power of creative fiction.

All in all I’m left with memories and pieces. So this comic book, this one… I’ll keep.

The Woes of Shipping

I was told that I am doing it wrong. I purchased boxes to ship my items. “Boxes can be sourced for free,” I was told.

Yeah, they can, but some boxes are more common. My items are small. The dimension of a pony is 7x5x4. That is a very small box and people often order one. I got a stack of boxes to do single sales so that I could save money. Buying to save is often something struggled with. The basics come down to the fact that the .20 cents per box I paid allows me to keep shipping down. My shipping costs are normally 3.80 to send the pony in the smallest possible box. ┬áThat box is normally 8 ounces. With each ounce about 20 cents is added. A box that is free but twice as large can add 40-60 cents (include packing material so the item doesn’t knock around and become damaged).

But I’ve learned that people are sensitive to shipping.

I too remember the days of low costs and high shipping on ebay. Sellers made their money by avoiding the fees. Ebay struck back and now they charge me a fee for the shipping amount. If I charge my exact fee of around 4 dollars, ebay eats around .30 cents of that. I charge about 4.50. That has me breaking even on shipping.

But how angry it makes people.

The comics have a similar problem. I ordered comic book mailers. They are media mailers but thinner to hold comics tightly and securely. They cost me about .50 per comic. I use them because these are very old and rather valuable comics. Do you really want your $40, sixty year old comic arriving in a bubble mailer hopefully unbent and undented?

I had someone offer me $10.50 on a $10 item. I asked why they had made an offer above the price. The response was free shipping. That means I’d spend around $4 in shipping on a $10 item as well as the %10 ebay takes from the value. I’d walk away with 5 dollars on an item that is a collectible and has a value.

I could take the offer and move my inventory. But, I don’t mind waiting. The sales are addictive. It is fun to make money and do a bit extra with my time. But, I’m not going to stab myself in the foot for it.

July is a notoriously slow from what I have read. Patience and time will get the stuff moved. They’ve been sitting in bins and boxes for well over a decade. Fifty years for most of the comic books and 12-15 for my ponies.

Of course when you are a buyer you just care about price. It is interesting to see how I have reevaluated seller costs and shipping over the last month. Things don’t look the same from the other side of the line.