by KC Carlson
If you hadn’t figured it out by now (by my not-so-subtle clues), I’m in the middle of a cross-country move from Richmond, VA, to Madison, WI. I’m quite excited by this, as I’ve previously lived in Madison and still have many friends there, especially all my friends at Westfield, whom I’ll now actually get to see a lot more frequently.
My wife Johanna is already in Madison, as she started her new job there last week. She’s been nervous about the big change, but she’s getting adjusted quickly, very happy about her new position and that some of those Westfield friends have proven that sushi actually exists in Madison.
I’m still in Richmond, packing up the old house, waiting for the movers to arrive in a week or so. I’m an old hand at moving, having done it about 20 times before. (I moved five times in one year alone, post-college — although I had a lot less stuff then.) But this is only the second time I’ve been moved by professional movers. Which I’m fine with, because I’m really getting too old for this. I’m now very happy to stand by and watch other (professional) people move my 50,000 comic books.
Comics are actually pretty easy to move compared to things like beds (bulky) or record albums (heavy). God bless the person who invented the comic box. All of my comics are in these boxes. Short boxes — I don’t like the long boxes much: too heavy; too long for my short, stubby arms; and the poorly constructed ones have a tendency to fold in half when you’re not looking. The short boxes are so much better to deal with when you’re moving, as they’re lighter and easier to handle. During one previous Madison move, I had about a dozen various Westfielders “chain-ganging” short boxes of comics down two flights of stairs. (Downstairs is easy, going upstairs is horrible. Besides, if you have bulk amounts of comics like me, they really shouldn’t be on upper floors anyway. So says my brother-in-law, the engineer.)
One other move, where I didn’t have that many people to help, we backed the truck right up to a big dining room window, and I handed each box outside to someone waiting in the truck. I don’t recommend this as an effective moving method. It’s hard to get a fully-loaded truck to drive on grass! It also takes a long time, and comic boxes magically get heavier the longer you move them. My heaviest boxes of comics are those from Malibu (Ultraverse), with that glossy, dense, and heavy paper stock.
My current move is corporate-sponsored, so the moving company is insisting that they pack everything themselves for insurance purposes. Which is driving me crazy, as I’m used to packing everything up myself. I like having a large stack of packed boxes at the end of a day to see how much progress I’m making. Instead, I need to focus on what not to pack, that is, what we’re getting rid of. For the comic books, I’ve been told by our moving coordinator that my 400-plus already-packed comic book boxes will be put into their own boxes. (Meaning they’ll take each short box and pack it inside another box to avoid damaging my white short boxes.) Wow, what a waste of time and cardboard — but at least I won’t have to do it. Secretly, I’m hoping that when the movers actually show up, they’ll see how sturdy the short boxes are and say that they’ll be fine as-is.
But it’s also nice to know that they’ll be insured. That hasn’t always been the case with my previous moves. Although nothing bad has ever happened, knock wood. That’s not the case with a friend of Johanna’s. She knows someone whose moving truck caught fire, destroying about 90% of his property, including a set of signed first edition science fiction novels. That’s a horrible thing to contemplate, but on the other hand, after dealing with all this stuff for a month, at least any disaster would have the silver lining of a fresh start unencumbered by so many material goods.
As far as things go, I think mine is a pretty big collection, since I’ve been collecting comics for about 50 years now, so we’ll need an entire semi truck to move our stuff. But I’ll always know that there are folks that who are much more serious about collecting. When Don and Maggie Thompson moved to Wisconsin in 1983, I was one of a group of fans who drove up to Iola to welcome them. When we got there, we discovered that they were actually too busy to talk much to us — because they were dealing with their three semis full of stuff. But, as I was to find out after working with them briefly in the early ‘90s, they collected everything. Don actually bought a bunch of SF/mystery magazines from me when I moved away to work at DC Comics. And I was fascinated to learn that they had multiple VCRs running constantly, collecting old and new television shows. Now, they were collectors!
KC CARLSON: On the road again. Hi, Willie!