The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Get Your Geek On – Day Three

Posted by BigWords on September 14, 2011

There are a lot of different things which mark me out from the crowd, but the biggest mark is probably my adoration of all things old – there are geeks who only collect first issues of comics, or who have elaborate collections devoted to a single franchise (Star Wars probably takes the lead there), but I’ve always been more interested in the history and the feel of the things I look out for. The most attractive of the items in my growing collection(s) is British annuals – specifically those from the late fifties, with their wonderful painted covers and thick, white pages. Whenever I’ve spent time with American annuals, I always feel short changed, as they lack the length (a paltry 100 pages is about the best I have seen), the readability (no prose features? seriously?) and the robustness of their British counterparts. Back when I was staying in the apartment, their size and weight was something of a problem, but now I seem to be collecting them at a horrific rate.

When I mentioned how artwork was a consideration of mine the other day, I didn’t fully explain how much I have been influenced by art in my collecting habits. It’s hard to imagine these days, when so much of the geek landscape has gotten sleeker and more polished, but back when the British annual was at its’ height, the need for color interiors was minimal – the strength of the artwork was enough alone. I’ve spent a lot of time looking through the World and Purnell books, and I can’t say that I once missed the use of color in any of the strips. It’s probably why I took such a liking to The Walking Dead comics, with the pared-down, black and white style. The difference in tone which comes with removing unnecessary elements is very striking. Oh, and there we have the other major addiction of the moment. Zombies.

Moving around the UK so much, I’ve had to put things in storage occasionally, and one of the fun things about (slowly) unpacking everything is finding collections I had completely forgotten about (of course, I’m going to have to come back to that memory thing tomorrow – if I remember, that is…), such as the Pogs, or the trading cards. I have no idea why I started picking up trading cards, but there are a lot of old television shows represented in that particular lot. No superheroes, unsurprisingly, but I do have a couple of cards with artwork. Did Sorayama ever have a complete set devoted to his work? There are a few cards with his robots on them, but not a complete set by far. And there are flyers. Lots of them. Enough to wallpaper a room if I so wished. Mostly from comic conventions and fairs, though I have no idea why they were kept. The only thing I really wanted to find when I went through the analecta was photographs, but I have, as yet, to come across a single one. There are plenty of pictures of London (and you have no idea how homesick that makes me), but nothing of me.

I think that brings up a lot of questions I rather wouldn’t answer.

Anyway, the collections… It’s about time for a small gallery.

Having spent a long time working what to do with the non-fiction book I started at the beginning of the year, I finally came to the conclusion that it made sense to merge it with the embryonic notion for a British-centric guide along the lines of the Comic-Book Database – and to put it all online rather than struggle against format issues which kept me awake for longer than it should have. When I get around to it (and trust me, I will), the spiel about “geek privilege” will probably delve into the most inane circles of logic, but until then try not to think too hard about the sheer number of individual items I have to catalog for the database. It may take some more time than I initially allocated to the project…

(WordPress is acting funny again, so the pics are via Picasa)

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