Preserving through Destruction

So as I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been tossing an awful lot of paper into the recycle bin, stuff that I’ve kept around from move to move over the last couple of decades.

I really haven’t made THAT big of an impact, unfortunately, but I’m getting a start on things.

I have forty-some shortboxes of comic books that are going to be one of my upcoming problems, though.  They were a nightmare to move and I’m really not looking forward to moving them again, or at least not as many of them – but, at the same time, I didn’t collect them for no reason, I collected them because I enjoyed reading them.

So, while I’m planning to do a massive purge in the direction of the nearest comics shop (for the stuff that they’ll take) and the nearest recycle bin (for the stuff they won’t, which is probably most of it), I’ve also been tracking down digital copies of as much of it as I can find.  I’m suffering some pangs of guilt as I do it, but by and large I’m not feeling too conflicted.  I’ve thrown an awful lot of money in the direction of the publishers over the years and I don’t think my downloading issues of “Hitman” from the 1990s is hurting them all that much.

Anyway, this isn’t a problem for most of the mainstream stuff, but I have a godawful amount of stuff from weird small press publishers and early manga distributors that is just impossible to find online, or that I’ve found online but that got scanned in by some guy in 1995 who resized every page to 600 pixels high.

…but, I got to thinking.  About 3 years ago, I bought a new printer / scanner / fax combo unit, and it included a sheet feeder.  In the words of the Clarkson, HOW HARD COULD IT BE?

Turns out, scanning in comics is kind of a pain.  I’ve gotten the knack of it – you pull the staples, cut the book down the spine with a very sharp knife, run it through the scanner, flip the pages over while keeping them in the same order and run it through again, then rename all the files so they’re in order.  Simple, except that the cheap paper some companies used doesn’t like to feed properly, and even with a paper guide some pages like to go at an angle, and so on and so forth.  I’m getting pretty good at clearing paper jams, I just hope I don’t have any pages actually tear inside the machinery because it doesn’t look like it’ll be easy to open.

It’s not a pretty process.  If everything goes absolutely smoothly, it takes about a half hour per comic.

And, of course, it means that I’m absolutely destroying the source material.  This is particularly sad when it comes to some books that I liked enough to track down the creators and have signed – they’re books that got TINY print runs in the first place, they’ve been signed which makes them even more unique, and I’m cutting them up with a knife.

Oh, well.

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