Sometimes I wonder where things go in life. Sure that thought passes through my mind as it does for many others when I contemplate the nature of time and where the past goes after it happens but this week that thought was more concrete and specific. I wondered where some of my comic books went.

I have a lot of comic books. Somewhere around the ten thousand mark and that makes things hard to find without some sort of order to them. I have them in order. A good eighty percent of my collection is real easy to find and it takes me only a minute to find something but for that other twenty percent I rely on my database. Like a lot of comic book collectors I have my comics cataloged on my computer. Importantly my catalogue also includes the location of where each comic is located on my various shelves or boxes. Where is my copy of Spider-Man 200? Bedroom bookcase A shelf 2. Easy stuff. Until it’s not.

A few years ago I was filling in holes in some of the runs of comics I have that were some fairly obscure series. Mostly small press stuff from the 1980s. One of the series I was contemplating completing was “Crossfire” by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle. For some reason at the time I decided not to find the seven issues out of twenty six that I was missing. I put them away and didn’t give them another thought for years. Until earlier this week that is. I decided to look them up at an online store and check their price and availability. They were cheap and available so I puled up my database to see what issues I was missing and noted them.

The map is not the territory. That’s a lesson I’ve learned when trying to fill in missing issues of comics. In other words double check the database with what is actually on the shelf. I decided to do just that. I wanted to make sure of what issues I had and what issues I was missing. Then a funny thing happened. All the issues were missing. They were not where my database showed them to be. No big deal I thought. Sometimes I move things and forget to update my database. So I stared looking around.

A solid eighty percent of my comics are on shelves and I can get to them easily. I looked all over my shelves but “Crossfire” was nowhere to be found. I didn’t quite believe it. The other twenty percent of my collection is tucked away in short boxes. By the way never use comic book long boxes. They’ll break your back eventually. If one of my comics is in a box that means I really don’t want it but it’s too much of a bother to find a home for. Comic book collectors can’t just throw out comics so there they sit in my closet. I pulled ten boxes or so out of the closet to look through just in case “Crossfire” was in them. It wasn’t. So where did it go? I’m not sure.

I have gotten rid of plenty of comics over the years. Some I gave away to friends and some I gave to my local comic shop. They are virtually worthless so I didn’t try even sell them. I give them away. My criteria for getting rid of a comic is to ask myself the question, “Will I ever read this again?”. If the answer is no then out it goes. I generally remember what I’ve gotten rid of and what I’ve kept except for one comic. About ten years ago I discovered that I was missing a chink of my “Iron Man” collection. I still had all my favorite issues but not the full run I once had. I have no memory of getting rid of those ones but I must have.

Did I get rid of “Crossfire”? I have no idea where they are but I don’t think I purged them. About six years ago I got rid of some stuff by selling it on Ebay. That was a big pain for not much money. That’s they only time I think I could have gotten rid of my “Crossfire” comics but I doubt I would have. It was an incomplete series that there is very little demand for. I don’t think it’s something that I would have sold at that time but maybe I did. I just don’t know.

The opposite of “Crossfire” is the series I discovered on my shelf called “Cyberforce”. I have all thirty five issues that were published between 1993-1997. I must have liked it because I bought it off the stands but as I flipped through the comics nothing was familiar. I didn’t remember a single thing about the book. None of the covers even looked familiar. I know that 1997 was a long time ago but c’mon. How is it possible that none of the covers triggered a memory?

One series that I am filling a gap on I discovered in one of the boxes in my closet. It’s a Richard Corben series from the 1980s called “A Rip in Time”. I’m more of a Corben fan now than I was back then. I was excited to see them since I forgot I even had any of them. I have issues one through four of a five issue series. Seeing them reminded me that I missed out on that fifth issues back in the 80s. It never made it to my local comic shop and was no longer available by the time I noticed I didn’t have it. I don’t remember the story at all but I remember the disappointment of not being able the get the final issue.

One final 1980s back issue I just got was “Edge of Chaos” numbers one through three. I only had issue one way back when but got rid of it years ago. It was a Gray Morrow comic and I remember it being wordy and boring. My appreciation for Morrow’s art has grown over the years so for a buck a piece I decided to get all three issues. First off what a difference the paper stock has made over time. The first issue was on newsprint and is yellow and faded. The second and third issues are on white “baxter” paper and are as bright and clear as they were decades ago. That said the comic is still pretty boring. The art is nice but the writing is wordy. I mean wordy for the early 80’s let alone now. But I did enjoy the Gray Morrow art and I’m glad I was able to revisit it again. I wonder where my original first issue ended up? Who knows what becomes of things?