Second-Guessing Myself, Part 2

Spidey Facepalm

     So, last time we learned that if you’re gonna collect comic books, you’re gonna want to insure them.  Whether that’s through your normal insurance carrier or a company that specializes in collectibles…I strongly suggest you do something.

    Today’s sermon is less of a “do this” thing because frankly, I hope you never find yourself in this position.  This is more of an “I wonder” type thing.

     About 3 months before our fire, I had gone through every box of comics I had (more or less) filing-in comics I’d acquired over the past several years and pulling out books that needed their plastic bags replaced. I somehow talked my wife into giving me one of the two walk-in closets off our master bathroom.  It became “The Comic Room.”  I managed to fit close to 100 or so short-boxes in there.  I even hung up some art and promo posters I’d acquired over the years.  It wasn’t like you could do yoga in there but at least most of my collection was in one place for the first time in awhile.

     After the fire happened, I wasn’t in a big hurry to see that closet.  Let’s face it, fire, smoke, water and comic books don’t mix.  The massive destruction in the rest of our home didn’t bode well for my comic collection.

     When I finally did make my way back, my fears were confirmed.  Unlike my daughter’s room, which suffered massive flame damage, the comic closet fell victim mainly to water and smoke. Charred roof shingles, burned and half-burned pine 2x4s, soaking wet fiberglass insulation and other debris covered my comic boxes.

     And here’s where I get to the second guessing part.  I didn’t make much of an effort to dig into the mess. I remember opening some of the boxes on top and seeing the massive water damage to the books.  Unlike the normal warm, fuzzy & nostalgic feeling I would get when breaking into a box of comics, this was utterly depressing.

     Now I did have some comics in my bedroom that actually survived more or less unscathed. There was a box of books that I had intended to re-bag but never got around to actually doing.  A few here and there suffered water damage but surprisingly, many just needed a new bag and board.  I recovered maybe 300 books from my collection. But at least they were some of the good ones.  The rest were, for all intents and purposes,were gone.

     In case you don’t know, when your house burns down, it’s on you to get the wreckage demolished and hauled away.  Sure, many insurance policies will reimburse you for the costs involved (which are significant), but finding a demolition company and making the arrangements are up to the homeowner.  That’s not exactly fun.  But we got really lucky finding a friend of a friend who owned a demo company.

     Neither me nor my wife were present when the ruins were razed.  I couldn’t bring myself to be there and don’t really regret that decision.  I did (and still do) have this vision of the backhoe (or whatever they use) tearing through that closet’s walls, ripping into my thousands of soggy and likely moldy comics.  I imagine they probably spilled out everywhere. Clumps of plastic encased memories. Or maybe I was making it more dramatic than it really was.

     The demo guy came by my office the next day to pick up his check.  I thanked him for his help and he hit me with…”I’m not trying to be cute, but Man you sure did have a whole lot of comic books.”  Well, I guess I wasn’t making it more dramatic.

     So what’s my point?  I’ve often wondered if I should’ve put more of an effort into digging down through the rubble and debris to see if any comics at the bottom of the stacks “survived” (as we often say). I kinda miss my Near Mint Amazing Spider-Man #51.  I got a really great deal on that one.  It’s not that it haunts me–just something I think about. In the end, it’s all pretty much academic and I probably should stop wondering.

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