You’re at that awkward stage. You’re nowhere near ready to get rid of all of your comic books, and yet there’s a closet in your house that you don’t want your friends to see. Not until they know you well enough to understand that although you certainly do have an opinion on whether Batman could beat Captain America, they’ll never be subjected to it.
(Not unless they have access to your LiveJournal.)
It’s helpful to explain exactly where you are on the Comic Book Collector spectrum, so that your mom, your boss, or a potential third-base partner understands that there are those who are in far, far deeper than you are.
The Spectrum is like a pH test kit. Read the following list until you see a shade of nerdity that matches your own skin tone:
1) You continue to put every new comic you buy in a protective baggie…but you stop using backing boards.
2) You put every comic in a baggie. But you buy the cheaper, ordinary plastic kind instead of archival-quality neutral baggies.
3) You no longer care whether “Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man” is alphabetized under P, S, or A (for “Amazing Spider-Man,” which absorbed that title this year).
4) You stop entering your new comics into an inventory database.
5) You stop keeping your comics alphabetized.
6) You stop putting your comics in baggies and just put them in the longbox “naked.”
7) You keep them in cheap OfficeMax cardboard boxes, instead of industry-standard “longboxes.”
8) You throw out all the multiple copies of comics you bought during the “speculator boom” in the Nineties.
9) For the first time in your life, you look at a comic in your collection and you think “I’ll probably never read this again, ever.”
10) You still have boxes of comics, but you need to go drive somewhere if you want to visit them.
11) You throw out a run of comics because you have another copy of this storyline in the form of a trade paperback reprint.
12) You throw away new comics after you’ve read them.
13) You go through all of your existing comics; cull out the ones you actually want to keep, and eliminate the rest.
14) You go through all of your existing comics and throw away any that probably aren’t valuable.
After Stage Thirteen…your nephew gets an awesome birthday present and your sister or brother no longer invites you to the family barbecues.
Hmm? Oh: Stage 12. Not a statement of pride…just a statement of fact.