What should I do with comic books after I read them?
June 11, 2008 4:37 AM   Subscribe

What should I do with comic books after I read them?

I'm starting to get into comics and would like to read some of them on a regular basis. However, I am in the process of uncluttering my life and don't want the comic books to defeat that. For those of you who don't keep your comics, how do you dispose of them? I don't want to just throw them away. I wouldn't mind giving them away to friends, but if there is a way I could get just a little money for them or, better still, trade them for other comics I would like to read, I would prefer those options. I should clarify that these are brand new comics--not classics or anything like that. I will purchase them new, read them in a week or so, then get rid of them.
posted by raddevon to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Bag and board them, then store them forever in longboxes

this is the only right answer
posted by Oktober at 4:57 AM on June 11, 2008 [4 favorites]

My husband reads graphic novels, and sells them on half.com after he's done with them. Not sure how regular comics will do on there, but it wouldn't hurt to check it out.
posted by All.star at 5:03 AM on June 11, 2008

It won't get you more to read, but a good friend of mine has taken to giving them out on Hallow'een instead of candy... obviously nothing too graphic for the kiddies, but it usually gets rid of them, and the neighborhood kids LOVE it...
posted by niteHawk at 5:18 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

If they're new, they're what, a couple of bucks each (not sure, haven't bought a comic in 15 years). A couple of ideas:
- have a yard sale, combined with the other clutter you're trying to get rid of
- befriend some neighborhood kids, and sell them for pocket change (although these days apparently just talking to kids can get you arrested for child molestation (just kidding, sort of))
- keep them until they're worth enough for your time in selling them, they don't take up much room
- batch sell them on eBay, craigslist, kijiji, etc
posted by hungrysquirrels at 5:26 AM on June 11, 2008

Response by poster: All great ideas. I guess what I'm looking for is an ongoing solution I could use to get rid of them as I get them. I would have a yard sale (There are tons of them going on in my neighborhood right now.), but I've really gotten rid of most everything at this point. I'm still purging DVDs a few at a time, but I don't have much else to sell.

The comics I'm getting into are more geared toward adults or else I would be glad selling or giving them to kids.

Thanks, everyone. This is great stuff.
posted by raddevon at 5:31 AM on June 11, 2008

Send them to me!
posted by Jonsnews at 5:45 AM on June 11, 2008

When I thinned out my comic collection a few years ago I ebayed all the stuff I didn't want. A few graphic novels went to charity shops. Don't expect to make a fortune though... especially if they are recent.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:46 AM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: Most retailers I've met either don't buy/trade for "floppies" or buy by the pound! New single issues just don't have much lasting value in today's market; if you concerned about keeping them I'd say considering buying trades instead of singles and/or see if you can find anyone who might want to swap with you (like Jonsnews, apparently).
posted by justnathan at 5:47 AM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: Would your local library be interested in them as donations, to sell at their book sales? Or do they have a magazine exchange? My local library has a magazine exchange rack where you can just drop off magazines you're done with and pick through for anything interesting. That's what I do with magazines I buy; toss them into my library bag and put them on the rack next time I go. It works for any quantity from 1 to 100! Your question makes me think that might be something to do with the Buffy comics I bought last year and don't know what to do with, as well.

Doesn't help with your wish of petty cash or comics exchange, but it does help with the "get rid of" aspect.
posted by not that girl at 5:56 AM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: The comics shop where I get mine does buy used comics; I'm facing this problem and I may try to sell them back to the comics shop.
posted by amtho at 6:04 AM on June 11, 2008

If you are uncluttering other stuff via ebay, toss in a few runs of comics (perhaps corresponding to upcoming trade paperbacks) as a free bonus to help your auctions stick out.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:05 AM on June 11, 2008

Response by poster: Getting rid of them is the primary objective so all these answers are good. Money or more comics would just be a bonus. Great suggestions. Keep them coming.
posted by raddevon at 6:12 AM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: I'm sure there is an online community of people who trade comics back and forth somewhere? (If not, start one! Sounds like a great idea.)
Save money *and* clutter.
posted by jozxyqk at 6:15 AM on June 11, 2008

Your local library would probably love to have them; ours has a decent selection of comics thanks to some nice donors. It helps my boyfriend and me stay somewhat current in the comic world now that we can't afford to buy them monthly (thanks grad school!).
posted by taraza at 6:34 AM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: This is what I do, because I love reading them - lots of them - but can't hold on to them.

Once I buy an issue, I download the digital version of it (for free). Torrent download sites have uploaders who scan these comics and offer them in a digital format (basically just a zipped file of jpegs). If you google "CDisplay," you'll find a download for a small program that can easily view these comics.

After that, I give them away. It's honestly not worth my time and effort just for the few bucks. There are a couple titles that I keep, but the rest I give away to libraries, kids organizations, nephews - I change it up a bit. If I was making a profit off of selling the comics, I'd feel bad about retaining the digital version of the comics.
posted by Detuned Radio at 6:37 AM on June 11, 2008

My roommate sells his extra ones on eBay. Although, this is often after he's held on to them for years and sees an interest in some subset of the comicbook community. He gets about a dollar a comic for them, unless they are something that has had a huge spike in interest (like that Hulk comic that was featured on Lost.)
posted by piratebowling at 6:38 AM on June 11, 2008

Speaking of scanning, why not scan them yourself into nice, small-file-size pdf documents that you name with title and issue number. The one thing I remember about comics is that they are always referring to past issues and to issues of related titles ("*See X-Men vs. Avengers #4" in a little box at the bottom of a frame). It's kind of fun to go reference those other/older titles and remind yourself of some key plot point, and annoying if you never read or can't access whatever they're referring to. After that, you could use any of the good ideas above or even just stick them in with the recycling.
posted by Askr at 6:51 AM on June 11, 2008

As a long time reader, not collector, I've done a few things.

I've donated them to the children's hospital in the past. Current mainstream comics are generally too rough for younger kids these days, so that's a tougher option.

I've given them to friends to read.

I've given them to comics shops. Didn't get any money 'cause most modern comics are worth nothing.

Others have sold them in ebay once sorted into run and packaged. In theory this makes money, but I'm far too lazy for this.

Ideally, I'd love to start a comics library where comics could go to be stored and read by future generations.
posted by Argyle at 7:01 AM on June 11, 2008

Another idea, maybe consider giving (or trying to sell, depending on your marketing skills) to a local dentist/doctor/barber/etc office. Some of us guys would prefer something to kill the time other than Chatelaine or staring at the floor.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2008

Scan them and archive them in the comic book archive format. Then destroy/recycke the originals. You can just share the files. Future generations dont want your crumbling newsprint. They want digital scans.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:55 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

...store them forever in longboxes...

This is what I do. I'm not sure I could entirely tell you why - it's increasingly unlikely that I'll ever drag any of the older ones out again, and most of what I'd actually want to read again will probably be available in more convenient TPB format. I suspect that the best answer is to eBay them (if you have time), craigslist them in bulk, or donate them to charity - selling them at a store is unlikely to be worth the effort.

For whatever reason the thought of recycling them gives me heart palpitations. I guess I'm just conditioned never to destroy printed material (though magazines pretty quickly go in the recycling like the ephemera they are).
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on June 11, 2008

Reed College has a comics library (the MLLL) on campus, with an enormous collection available to be read by any student. It's separate from the actual campus library, and is entirely run by student volunteers. Is there a college near you that might benefit from something like this? You could work with students to get it organized and then let them continue running it while you make regular donations.
posted by dizziest at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2008

Response by poster: I have UTK (University of Tennessee-Knoxville) right in my back yard! I may explore this further.
posted by raddevon at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2008

If none of these ideas pan out, a few years ago when I was moving I found a charity online that collects comic books to give to children's hospitals, schools, etc. I shipped them a gigantic box of all my unneeded comics, and they sent me back a receipt for a charitable donation. (Which I dimly recall was a fair amount more than I thought the comics were actually worth - it was a pretty decent tax write-off.) I do not remember the name of the charity, but could dig up that tax receipt if you're interested.
posted by Stacey at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2008

I donated a couple of Xerox boxes of comics to the local Shriner's Hospital a few years ago, and got a receipt for a charitable donation, which was a pretty decent amount of money. I've also heard of people just dropping them off at hospital waiting rooms and leaving, but there might be some security related issues using this method.
posted by motown missile at 5:16 PM on June 11, 2008

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