Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Gentle Madness

I'm not sure why I always have to be collecting something. I think your mind either works that way or it doesn't. Part of it is the thrill of the hunt. It's fun to be looking for things, tracking them down, seeing what kind of deals you can find. Mostly though, in my case, my collecting manias, which are almost invariably of the printed variety, seem to be driven by love of whatever I'm collecting. In that way I'm probably not a serious collector. I don't want the things simply to have them. I want to read and re-read them. In fact, if I can get my hands on a reprint, I'm just as happy, perhaps more happy with that than with an original. That's why I'm having so much fun with the DC Showcase volumes. I can read Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkman, The Atom, and so many others from the very beginning and I don't have to own thousands of dollars worth of comics. They're always there on the bookshelf whenever I want them, and if I spill coffee on them, I just go and buy another volume. They're cheap.
That said, there are some comics that aren't likely to be reprinted, and thus if I want to read them (and I do) I have to hunt down the originals. Case in point. The Dell/Gold Key Tarzan comics. These are of course, a double whammy for me, because I like Comics and I like Tarzan. Two manias at once! The facts that Dell and Gold Key are long out of business, at least where comics are concerned, and that Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc seems to have little interest in reprinting much of anything, make it unlikely that the mass amounts of Tarzan comics will ever show up in cheap reprint editions.
I've mentioned in previous posts that my mother collected Tarzan comics, and that she eventually gave her stack of 50 or so issues to me. Over time I've added to that collection, more than doubling it, but there are still quite a few of the Dell issues that I don't have. The Dell/Gold Key run was a little over 200 issues, not counting annuals and specials. I haven't counted recently but I probably have about 125 of them. Unlike my obsession with The Savage Sword of Conan, I'm not rushing to complete the collection. I just look for deals, and when I see them, I snatch them up. I've bought 11 more issues in the last two days. Just got lucky at Ebay and saw someone who had a nice lot at a reasonable price and who wasn't trying to gouge me with shipping.
My best bit of luck came a few years back when I won a couple of Ebay bids and found that the seller of the comics was local. (In Atlanta). I emailed and said I was a fellow Georgia resident and the lady emailed back that she had a bunch more Tarzan comics she hadn't listed and if I wanted I could just buy them rather than her putting them on Ebay. She sent me a list and I bought most of what she had that day. The gems of that lot were all but one issue of Tarzan's Jungle Annual, which were these huge 60 page comics filled with brand new stories. These are some of the most collectible and expensive of the Dell Tarzan's and I got them for a song. The punch line is, the one annual I didn't get, Cliff gave me for Christmas that same year.
So anyway, I'm watching a couple more issues on Ebay right now. Hope I get em.

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