Seven Creative Things To Do With Deluxe Before Watchmen Books You Can't Seem To Get Rid Of (UPDATE)

BEFORE_WATCHMEN_SILK_SPECTRE_4My history with Before Watchmen is a troubled one. I didn't think the series was a great idea, and watched the spectacle of the multiple titles unfold in my local comic shop with some very mixed feelings. There were excellent writers on the books, and even more excellent artists, many of whom I respected and admired. On some level, I was glad that they were given an opportunity to do prominent work and show off their various attractive visual styles. I even felt curiosity about how many of the characters would be handled. At the time, the only comic I seriously pursued was Silk Spectre. Amanda Conner's artwork was too much for me to resist, and having read them, I was also very impressed by the storytelling. It convinced me and reminded me that ideological differences aside, talented people continue to be talented and can produce surprising results when they are fully committed to working on a project they are passionate about.

However, because many of my friends and acquaintances were, like myself, diehard fans of Alan Moore's work, and had their own torn feelings about whether to purchase or read Before Watchmen titles, I started getting packages. And then I got even more. Soon there were stacks of single issues in my study. When they piled up, I considered who I might, in turn, give them to, and did so. But then the trades started arriving. Deluxe, lavish, beautiful hardback trades that formed a neat set. They looked great. I froze up, put off decision-making, and put them on a shelf for awhile, still in their plastic. But I live in a very small house with lots of books and after a time, I came to the conclusion that I must find a home for these books since they weren't essential to my being.

9781401238933_p0_v4_s260x420I tried, unsuccessfully, to give them to friends. The curiosity factor had died down, and people just weren't interested. So I became more mercenary about it and decided to sell them online. I thought I'd fetch a fair price. These are, in fact, lovely books. Four months went by without a single bid, bite, or order, even though I dropped the prices a few times. Maybe I should have expected that, but I was surprised. And felt a little ripped off in my endeavor.

So here I am, with four deluxe hardcovers of Before Watchmen and it's time. I really need to figure out what to do with them. Here are my possible options, and if by some chance you find yourself in my position, some ideas for you to consider.

Option One: Break them out, read them properly, and unleash some detailed critiques of the comics, even though people have kind of lost interest in the subject. The benefit of this option is that you can pick out specific panels by Darwyn Cooke and Bill Sienkiewicz for praise and amusement. That would sit well with any conscience, surely.

Option Two: Leave them as prominent eye-candy on a shelf so that non-comics-reading friends will think you have very attractive books that go nicely in sets (You know, like they do on Big Bang Theory).

Option Three: Send them randomly and without notice to someone you know well enough to piss off mildly and pass the problem on to them. The drawback of this option is that the postage will be very high (These books are really heavy). The plus of this option is that your friend will probably be too cheap to post them back in protest.

Option Four: Hold a party at your house with a raffle that everyone thinks is going to have a great prize and make them feel guilty if the winner doesn't accept the prize graciously whether they read comics or not (Alcohol will probably be necessary to achieve optimal results. Too much alcohol, though, could result in drunken arguments).

Option Five: Brace yourself. Christmas is coming. Gift them to someone somehow, preferably to a person too polite to object if they are not keen to have them. Lots of pretty wrapping paper may help. The regifting chain could continue for years, who knows?

Option Six: Donate them to a local library. That might actually work.

Option Seven: Write about them on Bleeding Cool and hope someone asks you for them who would truly be happy to have them…

Option Seven – additional: The first four people who tweet @richjohnston wanting one, get one…

(UPDATE: The WINNERS! @lucasdelpico@hogisland @JRTasman @johnny2tons)

Hannah Means-Shannon is Senior New York Correspondent at Bleeding Cool, writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and, and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress. Find her bio here.

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Hannah Means ShannonAbout Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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