It has been an absolutely miserable month for mail-order retail therapy. I have this thing where I don’t feel like I earn enough to really save anything, so I buy things to try to feel better about it, and then you shut up and leave me alone. I pay all of my bills. But it’s been a bad month for this kind of thing.

It starts with Batman car seat covers. I wanted to get a little something nice for my car after paying $700+ to get the roof-scar removed after the snowstorm / branch incident, so I ordered some Batman car seat covers. These, of course, were to match my Batman floor mats and Batman steering wheel cover. After excitedly waiting for these things to arrive, they appear and they’re made of stocking-quality nylon, stitched onto incredibly cheap foam material, with a Batman logo embroidered weirdly in the center. The material was already developing runs, and apparently, the Toyota Corolla has unnaturally malformed tumors for seats, because nothing was fitting anyhow.

I’m not sure how such cheap materials are supposed to protect the car from anything, but these were promptly returned for ‘not being as described’. My car is naked on the inside. My search for Batman shoelaces continues unsatisfied.

I accidentally placed two orders for the same two action figures from an import shop in CA, so when I realized this on the e-mail shipping notice, I just swallowed hard and decided that I’d sell the extra two as a set and earn a little bit of my money back. Why an experienced retailer would ship $140 worth of goods in a thin cardboard box, uninsured, and at Parcel Post rate, is beyond me. It took 16 days to reach here, and by the time it did, it was so crushed that the figures had actually been sprung from their packages. I battled over e-mail for the right to return these, which cost me an extra $10 in shipping for the negligence of the USPS and the retailer. So, don’t shop with HobbyFan. Their shipping FAQ page is a manifesto of dirty, dirty lies.

Finally, I ordered the first 5 appearances of MODOK from Mile High Comics, via eBay. When the order arrived today, two of these five comics were wrong. I mean, these are honest mistakes : ‘Tales of Astonish’ #94 instead of Tales of Suspense #94, and Avengers #112 instead of Captain America #112, but that’s nearly 50% of my order that they colossally screwed up because no one bothered to properly inventory what they were sending out. I’ve yet to hear back from them.

I know that I’m going about life the wrong way, in some way that I can’t understand, but these little things suck royally. Maybe it’s a sign that I should stop buying nice things for myself, or focus on something else, or that the laziness of businesses and employees has reached a sleepy, fever pitch – but this is a collection of annoyances that have clustered together to form a trifecta of suck that takes too much valuable time to deal with. I spend enough time at work fixing everyone else’s negligence.

Get it right, morons of the world.

Why mince words? Give me these.

DC Direct’s Batman Museum Quality 1/4 scale Statue

Batman Blammoid

Batman Cosbaby

DC Direct Batman 1/2 scale Bust

Batman Uni-Formz (Classic or Modern)

Am I leaving out any good ones?

I’ve accepted the fact that a largescale Batman Art Trade will never work.

A few years back, I participated in a paperback book swap on the internet. Because I work in a library, I have countless titles available to me on any given day, and I saw an opportunity to do a fun project. At that time, I had designs on an apartment and a better job (none of which panned out), but I wanted art to celebrate said imaginary apartment. I wanted Batman art. So, I offered to send any titles that anyone wanted – all they had to do was send Batman art. It didn’t really matter if they couldn’t draw – it’s the original interpretation that was important. Any size, any shape, any anything.

I sent out 6 books, at a fair cost to myself. I received one Batman drawing in return, and everyone else fell silent.

A few months ago, I tried this again – this time with lots of toys from around my room which I didn’t see any use for anymore. There was some pretty good stuff in there, and it cost a bunch to send out heavy boxes of toy fun. I sent out at least 6 boxes.

I got 2 Batmen back.

This might seem like a 25% success rate, but that’s the equivalent of being able to leave the shoe store with just a heel after you’ve just laid down the cash for a new pair.

Now, I’m not great at keeping up with all of the things I’ve said I’d try to do. There are a handful of tattoos which have hit the back burner (Wazina, Shakti, April), some birthday paintings that are three or four years overdue (the selkie, the artichoke portrait, the black and white thing), and very likely a good number of things that I simply don’t remember – but I have never been paid (or traded) for something that I did not come through on quickly.

My downfall is the fact that I am horribly bitter and broken, but I still retain this weird belief in the goodness of human community and our ability to live up to our promises. Two cheating girlfriends later, I still keep on hoping that people will come through on what they are contracted to do. Especially when Batman is involved.

He would be disappointed in you people.

Perhaps there’s a better community that paperback readers and toy artists on Twitter to share Batman love with, and as soon as I find that level of honesty, I’ll be home.

Part of my efforts to clear up the space around me and create a tranquil area to create in is selling old things on eBay that don’t mean much to me anymore, and as a result, I’ve sent out about 15 to 20 pounds of STUFF daily and raked in roughly $1000 over the past month. Don’t think of robbing me because it’s all gone directly into reducing debt. Seriously, it’s so bad that if you rob me, you’ll end up owing Toyota money. Because my debt shifts the natural order of things like a black hole and it will envelop you and you will scream but the air will get sucked right out of your lungs into an unknowable abyss.

But part of this effort to clear space is compacting things. If something can fit into an existing box that’s already been set aside for it in a similar theme, it’ll be torn from its packaging and collected in the box. This is related to the criteria with which I purchase things, also. At this point, anything that consumes space is forbidden.

Last night, I tore into my old C3 figures. If you’re unfamiliar, they were the precursor to Art Asylum / Diamond Toys’ DC Minimates line. Art Asylum could not yet secure a license to produce Minimates as stand-alone figures, by DC Comics / Time Warner / Jesus Christ DID grant them the license to produce Minimates alongside Lego-like construction sets. The laws governing licenses are complex. One company might exclusively secure the rights to produce a Spider-Man action figure with multiple points of articulation, and another might be able to secure the license to produce a very similar figure as, say, a Christmas ornament – as long as it’s sold as a different product. At least my years of attending Toy Fair has told me this much.

So, I decided to free up some shelf / floor space by popping these open. Of course, I’ve always been reluctant to sell these because my tiny Justice League needed a Martian Manhunter to helm it, and before the Minimates line collapsed (after about 60 really great little figures), another Manhunter was never produced. Because I have a strange urge to complete superhero teams like a meganerd.

I catalogued them on Collectors’ Quest.


Here’s the deal.

My life is an unholy fucking mess of fuck. It’s true. This manifests itself in almost 30 years of collected crap that has been weighing me down like a weighty weight. I need to fix the hell out of this, and fast. I’m getting old and fat and self-loathing, and there’s so much I could do with this space and freedom.

Something happened to me, and I feel like I’ve been freed from a desire to HAVE. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make things go away, and I feel lousy about throwing things into the garbage and adding to landfills.

I’m here to offer a trade. I collect drawings of Batman. This gives me peace, and they can all be kept flat in a nice, convenient box until I have a suitable place to hang them. My collection spans professional artists and amateurs, conventions and trades in the post. There’s very little that comforts me anymore, but this is something. You know what? You don’t even have to send me Batmen, but if you want to, that would be nice.

I don’t care if you can draw or not. Comment below and include your e-mail address where the form requests it. If you’re willing to trade me for a drawing / painting / whatever of Batman, I will happily send you a large mystery box of crap. This will include action figures, cards, books, DVDs, and general madness. Maybe art, too. I have this messed-up need to maintain some kind of balance in even the most superficial ways.

Honestly, it’ll be saving me, and I hope you enjoy the little bits of my weird, insular life that I’ll be sending out into the world.