I miss reading comics. I miss the days of riding my bike down to the local IGA with my allowance and buying the newest issues of G.I. Joe, Spider-man and Transformers. Comics are too expensive nowadays for me to keep up with though. I always told myself that once they got over two dollars an issue I’d walk away and I did for a bit. I’ve had a few relapses here and there I’ll admit but mostly I just wait for the graphic novel and buy that, it’s cheaper than buying the individual issues.
I’ve been reading comics pretty much since I’ve been able to read. I remember reading the original Ghost Rider series, Sgt. Rock, Batman and whatever else I could lay my grubby little fingers on. I’d go to garage sales and scour the tables for comic treasures that people no longer wanted and grab as many as I could afford then beg my Mom for more money to get those last couple that were left. In those days though, comics were just read and tossed on my bedside table or more than likely the floor. Back then though comics were cheap, fifty cents an issue when I started buying them new, that was no big deal. I didn’t become a serious collector till I was about thirteen and met Donnie Snider.
Donnie was the new kid in the neighborhood, he moved in just down the street from my friend Stephen and was instantly cool because first of all he had a Nintendo but he also read comics and played Dungeons & Dragons. Donnie kept his comics in boxes though, he kept his in bags with cardboard backing and put them back in the bag when he was done. People actually collected comics? Why? It didn’t make sense to me at the time, comics didn’t have any value other than entertainment to me. Donnie though, he saw it differently, he said that comics could actually be worth money later on and told us that some could be worth thousands of dollars. What?!? I’d potentially thrown away thousands of dollars without knowing it? No, he explained to me, only certain issues were worth that much, like the first issue of Superman or Spider-man. It took time for comics to gain value but you had to take care of them for that to happen. Take care of them? What do you mean? Pick them up off the floor? “No” he said, “you have to bag and board them.” Needless to say this was a foreign concept to me but I was willing to give it a shot…..just as soon as I could find a store that had said supplies. Like I’ve mentioned before the town I grew up in had very little in the way of entertainment, the nearest movie theater was thirty miles away and the nearest mall was sixty, comic book stores may as well have been a figment of our imagination.
Donnie helped me out though, he had extras and gave them to me so I could bag my meager collection. Donnie had boxes and boxes of comics that were all in pristine shape, my ragtag bunch looked pathetic next to his but I was determined that I would change that, I would have a collection as big, no bigger than his! I do have to give kudos to Donnie though, he introduced me to comics I’d never read before. X-Men, X-Factor, Avengers and several others that would be added to my collection over the years. He was never afraid to let us borrow comics as long as we took care of them and brought them back to him, I was like a kid in a candy store.
I’ve seen a lot of things in comics, I’ve seen Spider-man “die” (Kraven’s Last Hunt, still one of my favorite all time stories), I’ve seen Batman broken and return to glory (Knightfall/Knightsend), I’ve seen legends end only to be “reborn” (the Heroes Reborn series). Comics have been a huge influence on my life, they’ve allowed me to travel across the galaxy, save the universe and of course get the girl in the end.