The Efficacy of Whining

I got it into my mind that I might be able to reduce my monthly bills by calling a bunch of the service providers who extract toll from us every month… and whining about how I hate to pay so much money. It was an interesting experiment. So I got on the phone with the residential service phone company, the cell phone company, satellite TV, my internet service provider, and a credit card company. It was like pushing a stick into a nest of hornets, the customer retention forces were buzzing angrily and pulling out the ultimate stinger, those “save this account” scripts

And so we have a net reduction in monthly bills to the tune of about $70. That is over $800 a year. Woo hoo! Let’s add to that I’ve finally paid off my gas guzzling Chevy Suburban. The total amount I’m saving now is pretty much equal to my annual salary in 1976.

Add all that the frugal measures we’ve taken in the use of electricity: https://budhouston.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/phantom-electricity/. There’s something to be said for being a cheap Scott.

Exorcising Demons and Selling Comics

I’ve finally decided to sell off my comic collection on eBay. When I was a young lad my father decided that my comic collection was interfering with my school work. Perhaps it was. He took all my books down to Kerber’s Book Store in Tucson, AZ and sold them off for $.05 apiece.

I tried to tell him even then that there were comics in there worth $5 and $10. But he scoffed and told me no comic book was worth $5.00. As it turns out, some of the comics in that collection are today worth thousands of dollars. I frankly could have retired a mortgage had I held on to the collection.

For a few years I carried a resentment that seethed in me. Ultimately I decided it was unhealthy and that I would rebuild my collection. Rebuilding the collection of my childhood was a real attempt to to exorcise those demons.

Frankly there are a number of those books that I’ve never been able to afford… like the first 20 Fantastic Four, and the first 20 Spiderman, and the first 20 X-Men (the list is longer than that).

So mostly I collected those books that first caught my fancy, what are commonly known as the “Kirby Monsters”. In the years before the Marvel super-hero phenomenon artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko crafted monster stories in magazines with interesting titles like “Journey Into Mystery” and “Tales of Suspense”.

What I’ve decided in the last year or two is that I’ve pretty much exorcised my demons. My father is dead. And frankly none of these books were very well written… though the artwork tended to be fantastic. And I’ve decided to sell.

I’m not terribly comfortable with eBay yet. As a test of concept I’ve put up about 25 “Journey Into Mystery” ranging from 1955 or so into about 1962. This span actually captures the beginning of the super hero transition as the Mighty Thor took over the content of the series [and no, I did not have #86 in the collection].

Most of the auctions are closing tonight. It looks like I’m going to make about $600 on the run, which isn’t too shabby. It’s interesting watching the auctions close. It appears that some professional bidders have some kind of internet spider or robot or something that will pitch last minute bids. So each book in the minute before it sells will jump $7 or $10 from the previous high bid as the robots have the last word.

This run included all of the “Smiley Thor” marquees. I’m going to wait a few days and then put up the last of my “Journey Into Mystery” collection with the “Stern Thor” marquees.

I feel like I’m giving up a part of myself. But you know… I’ve got scans of all the covers. So if I ever have a need to get a glimpse of Jack Kirby at his best, they’ll be right here on my computer.

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.

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4 Responses to “The Efficacy of Whining”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Wait til I tell my brother Bud! He will be wishing he could see your collection. Not sure if he has any really old ones, but he goes to the comic book conventions every couple years. He tells me about the artwork all the time. I actually never realy paid too much attention to his comic books. I do know some are pretty pricey these days.
    Michelle

  2. Deb Says:

    Dear Scott (thought your name was Budd!),

    The last-minute auction action you see is indeed from automated systems called snipers. My own personal choice is auctionsniper.com, for which I can set a high bid and wait until seconds before the auction closes to bid.

    So if you ever sell any of the three January 1997 Clean Run issues on eBay, I’m all set to win ’em. <>

    Later,
    Debbie in WV

  3. budhouston Says:

    Well Michelle, ask your brother what titles he really likes. I have an extensive collection, and I’m getting rid of it all. I was looking this morning at a short box of Wolverine under the “Marvel Comics Presents” label from the early 90’s. These were all Buscema artwork and are fantastic and have a powerful relationship to the X-men movies.

    Regards,
    Bud

  4. budhouston Says:

    Hey Deb,

    LOL… a cheap Scot is a frugal Scottish person. It’s not actually my name.

    Dang, I should sell my Clean Run collection. I have every issue ever published. And 2 or more of most.

    Regards,
    Bud
    (only 1 “d” in Bud)

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