The economy’s in ruin? Don’t tell comic collectors.

Blogging from the Red Line, pulling past the Morse stop.

Over my lunch break yesterday, I went with my friend Walt to the Loop’s sole comic shop, Graham Crackers.

Wednesdays are when the new comics hit the racks, meaning that most stores on those days are wall-to-wall mouthbreathers from open to close.

True to form, the store was packed when we walked in. I counted 10 people in line and another 15 or so milling around the store.

Looking at the crowd, you’d never think that hard economic times existed outside Graham Crackers’ revolving door. Comics are EXPENSIVE, so much so that I cut my “pull list” at Challengers (Western Avenue near Bucktown/Wicker Park) to a manageable 10 titles. If I want more comics, I’ll pick them up according to what catches my eye and what I can afford. Just to be clear, that decision was a struggle to get to.

Collectors are a unique personality type. Finances and creditors be damned, those weekly comics have to be bought. What if (shudder) you had a break in a near-perfect run of Captain America? Or you were the last one on the D.C. Comics message boards to learn the shocking developments of “Batman R.I.P.?”. The horror! Ooooh, spoilers, I curse you!

The need to collect and acquire is a genetic flaw that old ladies-gone-antiquing, trading card enthusiasts and comic fans all share. The conditioning and reinforcement that shapes a serial hobbyist’s brain is extremely difficult to turn away from.

I somehow managed to snap out of the obsessive collector’s mindset, but don’t think that I won’t be erupting in cold sweats on Wednesdays moving forward.

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