Wednesday, August 25, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 39: Letting Go

Comic Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I would spend most of my summer vacations, and a couple of hours after school each day, at my grandparents' house. My mom would help my PaPa take care of MiMi...and when she died, mom took care of PaPa as well. To keep me entertained, I would always be given a couple of bucks to take down to the corner store, where I could buy candy and comics.

When I was 9 years old, the Tim Burton Batman came out, and my interest in comic books became an obsession. At 12 years old my attention turned to the X-Men, who were hated and feared for being born different. Hmm. What could a gay kid growing up in central Texas possibly take away from that?

Comic Books became my means for escape. If I was made fun of at school (sometimes), if I had a bad afternoon at football practice (always), or if I felt that I would die old and alone because nobody in my small town knew what it was like to be me (dramatic, wasn't I?), I could always escape into the world of adventure my comics provided.

My hobby was addictive. I couldn't stop. Over the years I would lose interest in one franchise, only to gain interest in another. I would sell off parts of my collection, only to rebuy them later when interest returned. At any given point, I would have approximately 3000 comics in my collection.

I continued down this path all through high school and college, and even into the first few years of my relationship with TJ. When we decided to buy the house, we both agreed (him much more readily than I), that this was a hobby that a) was expensive and b) took up a lot of space. I sold off the majority of my collection and made the decision to only buy the occasional trade paperback (a collection of storylines).

Well, occasional turned into weekly, and I once again found myself obsessed. As before, my interest in certain franchises would wane, and I would sell my TPBs, only to replace them with others. It was odd. I no longer harbored the emotional attachment I felt during my younger years, but still could not bear to stop. Now it was merely habitual.

When we moved to NoVA, TJ begged me to put the comics in storage with the rest of our belongings, but I couldn't do it. I had to bring some of them with me. We would be living here for nine months. I would need them, right? Funny thing is, I didn't. With minor exception, I have neither bought new ones, nor looked at the ones I already own.

Life in Virginia has been filled with new adventures. I've met a lot of new people. I've started this blog. I've developed an interest in photography. I've joined a racquetball league. I've explored religion. I'm about to learn a foreign language.

I no longer have time for the escapism that I enjoyed, and needed, in my youth. Sure, I still eagerly await the summer blockbusters that are inspired by these same comic book characters....but I no longer feel the need to read about them with any sort of regularity.

I have found a website that purchases private collections. Before the week is over, what remains of my collection will be sent to them. When we get to Guadalajara, I will sell the comics that were placed into storage prior to our arrival in NoVA. Profits are negligible, but that's OK. I just need them to be gone. TJ's right...these things DO take up a lot of space.

Marvel and DC (my preferred publishers) both offer digital downloads via iPhone and iPad. Some are free, others are available for $1.99. They don't take up any (physical) space, and they are much cheaper than tangible copies would be.

I always download the free ones, but haven't really read them yet. Still, it's nice to know they are there, if I ever change my mind.

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