Comic book collecting is lots of fun, but how do you get started? Comic collectors and long-term couple Aleks and Emma tell us why they love comics, plus how they buy and store their collection.
Aleks, better known as Serblander, is the director of the retro video game company Weird And Retro (Facebook and Twitter). In addition to his comic collection, Aleks has a vast video game collection and is in desperate need of more storage space.
Emma has been an avid comic collector since reading her first Garfield strip in Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun as a child. She is the mother of an almost two-year-old daughter, and her current interests include sleep and being left alone for five minutes.
How did you get into collecting comics?
Aleks: It all started back in 1985 when my father bought me my first comic book from the milk bar across the road.
Emma: I started as a kid in the late ‘80s, cutting the funnies out of the newspaper and sticking them into a scrapbook, if you call that collecting.
Which genre or titles do you collect?
Aleks: It used to be Marvel superheroes in general, but now it’s only Kranburn and Big Trouble in Little China.
Emma: I read a bit of a mix. In the late ‘90s it was mainly superhero comics, but as I grew older I found there were many amazing comics of all genres from independent publishers.
What do you love about comics?
Aleks: It takes me back to a special time when I not only loved reading comics, but hunting for them whenever my father took us to trash and treasure markets.
Emma: I love the art, when the female characters aren’t over-sexualised, and reading the development of favourite characters over time.
Who is your favourite comic book character?
Aleks: Moon Knight. There was something mysterious about the character that captivated me from the first time I read it, along with the wonderful artwork of Bill Sienkiewicz.
Emma: Calvin and Hobbes. Even though I’ve read the books hundreds of times, their innocence and enthusiasm has me smiling every time.
Where do you buy your comics?
Aleks: I prefer to stick to my local, friendly comic book store. For the rare and expensive variant covers, I have to resort to eBay.
Emma: I’m loyal to my local comic book store; I’ve been buying off the same guy for 17 years.
How many comics do you have in your collection? Do you own anyparticularly valuable titles?
Aleks: Before I lost 96.8 per cent of my collection to a flash flood in 2011, I had hundreds. Now my valuable Spider-Man comics like first-print Todd McFarlane’s are all gone. Most valuable now would be limited prints from Big Trouble in Little China.
Emma: I have lots of comics, but nothing of extraordinary value. I’m a collector of the mass-produced so-called Modern Age of Comics, and these depreciate as soon as they’ve left the store.
How do you store comic books – and do you have any tips for keeping them in good condition?
Aleks: Since the flood, I keep them in cardboard-backed, 100 per cent archival-safe and acid-free clear plastic comic pockets, safely stored away in waterproof tubs!
Emma: The best way to store comics is in perfectly sized plastic pockets with perfectly sized card backing, upright in a perfectly sized box. I don’t do this. Currently my comics are languishing in $2 Officeworks binders.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get into comic collecting?
Aleks: Get some tips from collectors. Search them out on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t forget to check out the Free Comic Book Day at your local comic stores.
Emma: Talk to the people who run a dedicated comic book store. They are (obviously) passionate about comics, so they will listen to your likes and dislikes and recommend titles perfect for you. Also make some space – it’s addictive.
Looking to find a hidden gem of a comic book? Swing past your local Cash Converters store to see what Marvel you might find.