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Thursday, 2.10.05: 3-D Comics

On Monday, somewhere between the bottomless shelf in our bedroom and my ground floor "shipping department" I discovered a small pack of 3-D comic books. Where do these things come from? Had it been sitting on that closet shelf for decades? Or was it some advance patrol of orphans figuring out a way to put themselves in my path? Me next! Me next!

Hmmm... There is a box marked "3-D" in the garage, things from one of Jim's phases that got collected into a "this can go" box. Maybe there were other comic books there. The box was big and heavy. A bunch of 3-D books. And 3 big manila envelopes neatly labeled: #1 and #2, 1980s comics; #3, 1950s comics.

Jim has always been intrigued by 3-D. He'll say that it's "just a logical extension of photography collecting." But I think he's also caught by the magic of it -- how flat worlds can suddenly pop out at you. There is also a Holy Grail mentality among the artisans who struggle to make those worlds pop out for you -- when will we be able to show you 3-D that's "device independent" -- no hand-held viewer, no red-green glasses to lose? So there's that sense of science marching forward -- but kind of a geek science.

I have no patience with 3-D. And as far as comic books go -- isn't the art form complex enough already? Words + pictures. The aesthetics of one scene needing to balance the aesthetic of the whole page. I'd like to scoff at the 3-D comic book, saying it's just another gimmick to distract us from strong story, interesting characters, and excellent drawing. But, uh, I haven't pulled out the green and red anaglyph glasses to take a real look.

Nope, I only saw more orphans to go on parade. I did some quick research. Products of the 1980s 3-D fad are not very valuable. Ebay is full of "mint condition" books that either don't sell or sell for a buck. The pile of 1950s comics have more potential -- maybe $5 - $10 apiece.

In the same plaza as the post office down the hill, there is a comic book store. Comic book collectors are a fastidious lot and the store had all the supplies needed for good storage -- plastic sleeves and cardboard backers just the right size, and narrow boxes to allow the books to be stored upright as the experts instruct.

Not every orphan is ready for a new home. Some must simply be kept safe until their time comes. I have boxed up our 50 or so 1980s comics and will move them out of the garage and into the back of closet. They will be my project in a snowy winter week in 2025.