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Favorites of Walt: The Comic Shops #7 – Interlude: BGSU’s Jerome Library


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While it’s not a comic shop, I’d be remiss to ignore the impact of BG’s Jerome Library on my comic collecting.

BGSU is one of few schools to have an actual Department of Popular Culture (rather than having a Pop Culture degree as part of another department). They also have a huge Popular Culture Library that I hear is well known in certain circles for some of their key holdings.

For me, the main interest is their comics collection.

And during my time as a student at BGSU, they were still cataloging some of their comics acquisitions. As some part of this process, they had thousands of comics that they were not keeping. These became part of their annual "Record Sale," which was a sale where folks would show up, and be able to purchase excess materials the library was not keeping.

The first time I attended one of these sales…there was a huge line–so many people that there were periodic cutoffs and you’d have to wait til someone checked out and left before another person would be allowed in.

The comics selection was like a small convention…dozens of longboxes of very good condition comics going back to at least the mid-80s. And the best part? 25-cents apiece. The ultimate "bargain-bin" experience.

I bought a small stack that first time. A friend hadn’t known about the sale, so I went back the next day with him, and wound up filling a longbox.

The next year was even more plentiful–my first visit to the sale I filled a shortbox and had an extra bag to carry my purchases. Then I went back for the 2nd/final day of the sale with a couple friends…and wound up filling a longbox. We were there at the end of the sale–I was scrambling to check all the available longboxes before the sale actually ended, and finished jamming comics into my box when it was announced the sale was closing and for everyone to please make their way to the checkout.

Checking out with this longbox proved to be the single most spectacular purchase I have ever made with comics. The checkout lady took one look at my stuffed box…and asked me simply "How does $10 sound?"

I’m pretty sure I responded with a question of my own, along the lines of "Are you serious?!?"

Ultimately, the condition of sale for that comic box packed with comics was $10 + tax, and the promise that I will NOT donate those comics BACk to the library.

That purchase included a complete run of the original Booster Gold series, the 1980s Blue Beetle series, a significant chunk of Simonson‘s Thor run as well as the original Frank Miller Wolverine mini and some early issues of the ongoing series.

The purchase also increased my entire collection at the time by a bit over an entire percentage point.

Not long after the sale, the library set up a table with about a dozen longboxes as a long-term "bargain bin" to gradually funnel out the remaining comics that hadn’t sold at that sale. This time, the comics were being sold for a dime apiece. So…hit the library for books for class, research…and what the hey. Some comics while I was at it.

I picked up most of the Watchmen singles, as well as significant runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more random comics than I can presently recall–usually small "runs" of whatever.

Unfortunately, when I went back expecting a third year of great comics selection, I found a HUGE disappointment. That year…the entirety of their comics for sale fit in 3/4ths of a short box. I think I bought a couple comics for the sake of buying comics, and a paperback or two, and left.

A $10 longbox filled with comics I’d selected myself…that remains my most "epic" purchase, and a personal "legend" of great acquisition.

NEXT WEEK: JC’s Comic Stop.

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