Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
If you thought comic book collecting was an expensive and all-consuming hobby, you don’t know the half of it.
I started reading and collecting comic books since 2010. I know that doesn’t compare to those who’ve read and collected comics since childhood, but when I look at my four short boxes, one long box, and another two feet stack of overflowing comics, I often think, “What did I get myself into?!” The truth is comic book collecting gets intense. It’s costly, and it takes up a lot of time and space. But hell, I love it anyways!
However, comic book collecting is only half the problem. It’s the comic book related hobbies that sneak up from behind and get you. With the gift-giving season just around the corner, I thought I’d share 6 addictive sub-hobbies that comic book fans will know all too well. Why? So that you all can either 1) Buy a nice gift for your geeky—or potentially geeky—friend this holiday season or 2) Sate your own addiction by buying something for yourself because well, we can’t help ourselves!
1) Action Figures
Oh, look at all those action figures nicely posed on your shelf! How glorious! How triumphant! You got the Justice League. You got The Avengers. You even got the whole damn Bat Family, pre-52 and new-52! How badass! That should be enough right… RIGHT? Wrong! It is never enough. I wasn’t into action figures, but one day I saw a Green Lantern Kyle Rayner that looked exactly like how I imagined him to be. I bought him and was forever mesmerized. One couldn’t hurt, I thought. But then DC Universe released a Sodam Yat one, my favorite obscure Green Lantern. Before I knew it, I had Gambit, Supergirl, The Flash, John Constantine, and Zatanna. They’re just too much fun to look at and play with. So no, my friend. It’ll never be enough.
What? You’ve never heard of Rat Queens?
What better way to show off your comic book pride than with a shirt? Wear it loud and proud! It’s probably the most common and practical purchase when it comes to comic-related hobbies. I mean you get a lot of use out of them, being able to wear the shirts on a weekly basis and show off how much you idolize your favorite comic book character. I only have a few shirts myself. But mark my words, once they make more options for women and provide more of my beloved B and C list characters like Animal Man? Oh it’s on!
3) Comic Book Signings
Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, AND Alex Sinclair?!
Oh snap, is that Dustin Nguyen?! No way, Gail Simone is over there! Omigod, it’s Scott freakin Snyder! ::runs into a wall:: Okay, I’m exaggerating, but meeting your favorite writers and artists is always a great feeling. You get so excited that by the time you walk up to them, you’re speechless and embarrassed. At least that’s how it is sometimes for me. The process is rewarding, addicting, and fun. There’s pride in hanging up a signed comic on your wall for all to see, even if no one else understands the significance of it. But then one day at a convention, you have multiple creators signing all at once and you can’t get to them all. How cruel…
4) Graded Comics
Having comics graded is another related hobby, although technically it’s still comic book collecting to a higher degree. I actually don’t know anyone who gets their comics graded or collects them. Personally, I don’t see the appeal. I guess it’s the same way I feel about having my comics signed, except without caring about the comic’s condition. There is value to it, whether it be sentimental or for profitability. Value may be subjective, but hey, if you like collecting graded comics or selling them, go for it. I’m not stopping what you love to do. I totally get it!
5) Art Commissions
He looks just like he does in the comics!
Getting various artists you admire to illustrate something just for you (at a price) is wonderful! To an extent, you can ask them for anything. This means it is special and one of a kind. To you, it’s worth hundreds of dollars! And of course, the artist you received the commission from hopefully feels grateful and happy that you like his or her work too. They even get paid. It’s a win-win! I’ve never gotten a commission, but I do want one. I have a sketch of Kyle Rayner by Brad Walker that I really like and every day it eggs me on to get a commission. Maybe some day.
6) Exclusive / Variant Covers
We are Amazons!
Comic book publishers always have variant covers and extra special exclusive covers that occasionally cost a few dollars more. The comic book story stays the same. It’s just the cover that’s different, but they’re strangely addicting anyways. The appeal must be about how limited the covers are. They can be pretty cool looking. I’m not that into them, but the comic book industry must be doing something right if people keep buying them. The selfie theme DC Comics had going on a few months ago was a miss for me (ugh, selfies), but the upcoming variant covers inspired by classic Warner Bros. movie posters might just make me cave. Don’t do it, I say! Or do it, I don’t care.
And those my friends, are the most common comic book related hobbies that cross my mind. The fact of the matter is comic book collecting is not an end in itself. Instead, it’s like opening a can of worms. So if you’re thinking about getting into comics, you’re actually getting into something much bigger. Don’t be scared though, the dark side has cookies and you’ll have lots of fun. Now readers, go be nice to a geeky friend and get them something comic book related. Even better, go convert a friend to the lovely world of comics. You can get something for yourself instead, but let’s not be selfish here. Do both. What other comic book related hobbies are you addicted to? Chime in the comments below.
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.