“Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.”Because I often refer to previous material when I'm creating new content for the blog, I spend a certain amount of time going back through old postings so that I can link to the content. I also sometimes just re-read postings to see if there's anything I want to change, or just to check for typos. I was paging back through the content at the end of last month when I stopped for a thoughtful moment at a slightly melancholy posting entitled, Or Vanilla Coke and Barbecue Lays which featured a photo of a rainy day mental health getaway for the jaded geek.
I'll put the photo here as a more convenient reference:
The observant reader will have noted the diverse nature of my rainy day reading material. I'm on page six of the first issue of Watchmen from September of 1986, with the balance of the 12 issue run to the left underneath a copy of Marvel's What If from the 80s, and the first issue of Ghost Rider 2099, part of Marvel's abortive 2099 series from 1994. Just above them is DC's beautiful four issue Kingdom Come miniseries, hand painted by Alex Ross, and beside that a mixed bag of comics capped with a Marshal Law one-off from Epic and and an issue of Vector's Annoying Post Brothers by Matt Howarth (Vector is better known for their publication of Chester Brown's legendary alternative comic Yummy Fur).
However, there's a lie in that description. Issue 7 of Watchmen isn't in that stack of comics - about 12 years ago it fell prey to a large hairball that my cat Nigel coughed up when I wasn't looking, and by the time I realized what was happening, the cover was ruined.
At one point, when my friend Chris had asked to borrow the series, I was forced to confess the gap in my collection. He later told me that he had considered buying me the missing comic as a birthday gift, but wasn't sure if it would be cheaper to just buy me the collected story in graphic novel format.
Hmmm, I thought, looking at the picture. I wonder how much would it actually would cost me to replace that comic?
Purely out of curiousity, I hopped over to eBay.ca and did a search for Watchmen comics. Ta dah - Issue 7, Very Good condition, a very reasonable seven bucks US, no bids, closing in 35 minutes. I shrugged and placed a bid for seven dollars - my philosophy with eBay is that either you're going to get it or you're not, getting into a bidding war just drives the price up for everyone. (I confess that there have been one or two times when I've violated this simple approach.)*
Thirty-five minutes later, boom, done, I had won the auction with my single bid, and pending the arrival of my purchase, my Watchmen set was once again complete.
"Pending the arrival"...aha, there's the rub, as Shakespeare puts it. I had a bit of concern about the safety of my purchase as it traversed the postal system of two countries. Our local postie has the bad habit of jamming things into our mailbox whether they fit or not, and it would be an unfortunate ending to this story to receive a damaged replacement for a damaged original. Shipping was ten bucks US (or about $12.50 CAD), and I really didn't know what that would buy me in terms of protecting my investment.
When the package arrived this week, it turned out that my concerns were completely unnecessary. Revolutionaries**, let me tell you: if you are looking for the well-packaged shipment of a comic book, Comic Warehouse on eBay is your seller of choice.
It came in a two inch deep box (the FRAGILE sticker is a nice touch):
With bubble wrap:
In a cardboard sandwich:
In a plastic bag with a cardboard backer:
Now, admittedly, that last one is standard collectable comic packaging, but still.
And, after all that, the comic was exactly as described: Very Good condition - in fact, in better condition than one or two of the other comics in the set - and my twelve-issue run is once more complete.
Fortunately, Jaq the Cat isn't much of a jumper or climber, so I'm unlikely to have to replace my purchase due to cat hygiene issues, he just won't be able to get at it.
Unless, of course, I leave it on the floor - while I drink tea and read comic books.
* This parenthetical comment required me to go back to the blog and search for previous postings, as above.
** Thereby deliberately choosing a cute name for my blog readership, such as it is.