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Hard lessons learned about being *too* completist
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jducoeur
There -- I've just finished a major milestone in the monumental "sort the comics and figure out which ones to get rid of" project. I've finished with Cerebus.

Cerebus is the single largest title in my collection. It's bad enough that it's so long -- it's kinda-sorta a "miniseries", in that the overall length was planned from early on, but it ran for 300 issues. (Yes, really -- monthly for 25 years.) I got hooked on it somewhere around issue 60, and stuck through it through the end.

No, the real problem is that I got sufficiently into it that I have at least two, and often three *versions* of each issue. Between the originals, the Swords of Cerebus reprints that came out early on, the Cerebus bi-weekly series that reprinted through around issue 75 (with new material in the backmatter), and "the phone books" (trade paperbacks, reprinting 10-30 issues each), I went a *wee* bit overboard. So I literally have two copies of every issue except, annoyingly, issue 86, which I apparently only have in the phone-book form. (I think I'm going to have to seek that one as a back issue.)

So I've just gone through all of it and culled, to get to the point where I have one coherent set. In the end, I'm keeping the single issues, since some of the backup material is actually pretty good, and getting rid of the phone books and Swords. I'm likely to keep the whole run permanently (even the interminable and incoherent "Chasing Yhwh" exegesis near the end), but I get some satisfaction of getting rid of nearly an entire longbox of the stuff...
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Personally, I'm keeping the phonebooks.

I may even do a complete re-read at some point. And try to wade through the last 50 issues.

There were bits of Latter Days I found interesting. Unfortunately, it got a bit drowned in the wall of weirdness there. (I'm definitely keeping and re-reading issues 1-113 permanently. Beyond that, we'll see.)

I seriously considered keeping the phonebooks -- if nothing else, they're significantly *smaller*, just in terms of overall thickness. But the backups include stuff like early stories by Bill Messner-Loebs, and even the very weird original one-page introduction to Hepcats (in Cerebus bi-weekly), so that tilted the decision in favor of the individual issues.

Really, the hard decision was whether to keep Swords of Cerebus as well, since those contained some good original stories in them -- fortunately, I figured out at the end of the process that those were all reprinted in the Cerebus World Tour issue...

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