One of the biggest rushes of going through dollar bins is finding those hidden gems. That Defenders #10 or that Moon Knight #1 for $1 are fantastic finds. Some times these books are mis-categorized or overlooked, or the dealer is simply unaware. There are 2 reasons to look through dollar bins – the first is to fill in any missing issues in your collections, a worthy and noble cause, and the second is to find comic books which don’t belong there. We’ll be talking about the latter.
Haggling is like a game of Texas Hold’em. It’s less about the cards and more about out-playing the player.
In my world, I use these skills to get the best deals on vintage comic books and collectibles at comic conventions, garage sales, etc. But it’s important not to overstep your boundaries and to err on the side of being a polite and respectful person. Remember, sellers have the right to sell any merchandise as they please. Even if their prices are insultingly high. I’m by no means perfect but I’ve experienced both getting great bargains and overpaying that I can probably help others with the Dos and Don’ts.
We continue our countdown to San Diego Comic-Con 2015 by talking about a big part of the show, in my opinion, the artists! Comics wouldn’t be what they are without the talented visual artistry of these individuals who bring countless stories to life. They create these elaborate worlds where we can live in, interact with the characters, and see how the stories play out, albeit in the pages of the comics we read. And, San Diego Comic-Con bolsters tables after tables of these skilled artisans, creating sketches, signing autographs, and selling art fit for framing.
I tend to spend a lot of time at Artist Alley, just walking up and down the tables, seeing if anything catches my eye. I’ve fallen in love with a few artists along the way as a result of this, and as a comic fan first, if the art grabs my attention as I pass by, I’m more or less going to grab it for my Batcave wall. Since this is a guide, I’m going to try to give a few suggestions on getting the most out of Artist Alley. In the ever-capable words of Benedict Cumberbatch,
1. Get familiar with the artists
The key is to know who is going to have a table at Artist Alley. Some big names like Francis Manapul, previous writer/artist on The Flash, Joe Benitez, known for his latest creation, Lady Mechanika, and Stanley Lau aka Artgerm, known for being an awesome digital artist, have had tables in Artist Alley in years past. Artists like Stanley Lau typically will cap the number of prints he sells per customer and you can bet your bottom dollar that certain characters will sell out each day (he allocates a certain number of character prints per day in order to give patrons a chance to purchase the character they want). So if you really want to get certain prints from a certain artist, you may want to dedicate visiting them first thing! I typically follow my favorites artists via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and they typically will have a nifty advertisement of what they are selling at SDCC. I know that helps me decide on hitting up Artgerm before others if there’s a character print or art book that I want to pick up. You can check out the list of artist who will be at Artist Alley here.
There’s no way around it – human beings are filthy, germ-spreading animals. We use our hands to touch everything, we sneeze and cough in public, and some of us simply have bad hygiene habits. All of this gets cranked up at comic book conventions like SDCC. Imagine 130,000 germ factories all squeezed into one place, side-by-side, for four and a half days and you’ll begin to see the importance of taking preventive measures.
At a mega-con like San Diego Comic-Con, everyone is too busy and too stressed to think about personal hygiene and proper manners, so it’s up to you as an attendee to make sure you don’t catch or spread any germs, otherwise known as “con crud.” It happens to the best of us, no matter how extreme your measures are, because there’s nothing you can really do if the person sitting next to you in Hall H sneezes on your face and you have to spend the next 8 hours pressed up next to them.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned some best practices to at least lower the chances of catching con crud. I personally follow each of these rules myself, so they’ve been through many real-world tests:
San Diego Comic-Con is not only one of the most coveted conventions to attend but it also has spawned several worthy off-sites that an attendee can check out with or without a badge. One of them has been making waves for the past 4 years called Nerd HQ. This heavyweight off-site is organized by geek favorite and dare I day, heartthrob, Zachary Levi of NBC’s Chuck, Disney’s Tangled, and the upcoming television revival of Heroes called Heroes: Reborn. What makes this off-site a heavy hitter is that money raised at this event, specifically for the special guest panel tickets, are donated to a worthy cause, Operation Smile. And this year is estimated to be the largest it has ever been, so why not check it out when you’re at the Big Show?
Let’s go through the rundown before we chat about some tips and tricks that I can offer. This year’s 4-day event is being held during SDCC and located at a much bigger venue than in year’s past at The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego. And the event is entirely free to attend.
After much back and forth, I finally decided to take the plunge and upgrade my short boxes to DrawerBoxes. I say “upgrade,” because that’s what it is – they are higher quality and have more functional utility than standard comic book long boxes and short boxes.
DrawerBoxes by The Collection Drawer Co. is a comic book storage system designed to create a stackable system of boxes that slide in and out like drawers (hence the name), creating a more efficient way to access your collection. For most collectors, long and short boxes are simply stacked on top of each other, or on shelves, which is a fine way to store your comic books, but it’s very inconvenient to unstack boxes or pull them off shelves and remove the cover and replace them just to have access to your books. It’s not the end of the world, or the most difficult task, but it does get very annoying and repetitive. DrawerBoxes aim to solve that issue.
That’s right, Shortboxers, we’re back with our second Just The Facts. The first time we looked at Suicide Squad when they announced their all-star lineup, filling people in on the likes of Deadshot and Enchantress. Now we have a fast-rising star, Jason Momoa, cast as the Khal of the seven seas. Aquaman is a curious bird, or fish I guess, because everyone has probably heard of Aquaman – but how many people know more than his name and his predilection for scale armor? Let’s go to school.
I’ve been an avid comic book reader ever since I stepped foot into my first comic book shop, years ago in the early 90’s. It was one of those hole in the wall stores behind a Montgomery Ward department store that had an assortment of comics, toys, and collectible cards. This was what I considered my local comic store, and, I left the store every Friday with a bag of goodies to keep me busy until the following week. Fast forward to today and I still make the trek to my local comic store every Wednesday to pick up a bag of goodies, but there is another way that I consume comics, too, through the digital realm.