It took me a long time to get into comics. sure I read them as a kid, but that was mostly ‘The Beano’, ‘Action Force’ (the British version of GI Joe) and Roy of the Rovers. Other than the odd book, I didn’t really get too many superhero stories. It was strange therefore that I should have kept only a couple of books from my childhood, and they happen to be Detective Comics and a UK version of Secret Wars.
Even when I got back into them at the ripe young age of 35, it took me a while to start picking up the individual issues, sticking to the more approachable graphic novels which contained a complete story. The biggest problems for me with individual issues were first of all where do you start?
As a newcomer, you couldn’t just pick up a random issue of Batman as it is likely to be part way through a story which would be a little confusing to a newcomer and annoying. Also which character do you buy? Batman was the obvious choice, particularly Detective comics whichI had one shabby issue of already, but there were around 900 back issues of that, and even as a newcomer, I knew some of those would be impossible to get without robbing a bank.
Second of all I knew that as soon as I started collecting, it would be difficult to stop, as like many people, I like to complete things, whether it is the 1986 football Panini sticker album, a set of Garbage Pail Kids cards, the Return of the Jedi sticker book (which i did complete and still have!) or even the French football league book I once bought on a 2 week holiday there when I was 9. Sure, I haven’t completed every collection I’ve started, but I have a good go at it and it usually ends up expensive! Like many men (and women) I have a large CD, DVD/blu-ray and book collection as well as quite a few autographs, not to mention all those things in my parent’s loft like bookmarks, stamps, coins, model plains, Warhammer figures and football programmes. I knew once I started, I was going to feel the urge to complete sets of books!
Wisely I started with some short collections. A six book series of Sandman from the 70’s, and an 8 book series of Elektra by Frank Miller. But listening to ‘I Sell Comics’ got me interested in the Avengers due to Michael Zapcic’s enthusiasm for the stories, so I looked up some good story lines, found a story that was part of a short run, and got on eBay. The first book I bought was #161, part of a two book run, which was quickly followed by #162.
But I should have know better than to think a 2 book story would be enough. Another story had caught my eye, the Korvac Saga (thanks to Michael Zapcic’s again!). I picked up the trade paper back of this, but decided it would be good to also own the individual books, so I started ordering them. It turned out these we’re very close to my first two books in numbers, so of course I thought I should ‘bridge the gap’ – a bad habit I still can’t get out of!
This then turned into ‘I’ll just get books 150 – 200, but some of these were a little expensive for a newcomer, so I am still working on that, in the meantime I saw an auction for 6 books around #230, so I bought these, so the intention of 50, turned into an intended run of 100, then I saw a copy of #63 at a really low price….
Anyway, I am still working on the Avengers collection, which I think is up to around 100 books now including my latest additions pictured below. Unfortunately, I have also started collecting Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil, Iron Man and Detective comics ( yes, the volume with close to 900 books!). I thinks in it for the long haul! At least I have the self control to restrict my spending and I have not yet been able to bring myself to spend over $25 on a book, but I’m sure I will have to eventually. This is going to be an expensive hobby, especially with the cost of bags and boards to protect my collection added in! I hope I can keep it under control, but if you see me selling my left Kidney on eBay, then I’d be grateful if you could call around and stage an intervention.