Saturday, June 27, 2015

Of Coming to Comics, and Buying Prowess

Doug: Just a quick narrative from me, and then it's back to you.

Yesterday's post on the June 1976 spinner rack offerings veered into a discussion on age and finances. Grumpy old Osvaldo lamented seeing some young bucks recently in his LCS, and armed with a large line of credit. That cranky Balkan Edo then told said teens to get off his lawn. So of course, I smelled a post...

This weekend, leave us some comments on your birth year, when you think you got your first comic (what it was would be a bonus), how you came into any finances necessary to purchase comics, maybe "the one that got away", the first time you went to an actual comic book store, etc. We've probably shared all of this in passing before (and shoot, the way my memory goes, maybe Karen or I wrote this post three years passed!), but it's always a fun topic to come back to and to get these thoughts in one place.



Dr. Oyola said...

July 1971. I am about to be 44.

There were always comics around the house. My brother had a handful of 1960s Spider-Man comics that ended up in the trash, and my sister loved Archie and I frequently read those along with Richie Rich and Caspar. . . but I didn't get into superhero comics seriously until I became friend with this kid named Louis in the 5th grade (so I was 10) who was reading the first issue of X-Men I ever saw (it was so weird!).

Money for comics came from begging my mom or older sibling (7 and 8 years older ) for a $1 to buy one or two - and while I mostly bought new comics in the candy store - I got most of my back issues at yard sales and flea markets. Heh. To this day when I walk past a stoop sale or the like I stop to see if they have comics. You never know when you could make a big score.

I don't remember my first comic store, but I could never afford the back issues I wanted even back then, and by the time I had regular access to one I was also really into role plaing games, so it was hard to decide what to spend my money on.

Dr. Oyola said...

BTW, I wasn't complaining that they were in the store at all, but about how they were acting and how they waited to be at the front of the cashier to start their melodramatic bickering. And of course their cluelessness as to how privileged they are to be able to buy all that crap.

I'm not THAT grumpy.

ColinBray said...

Born in 1970, my comics career can be broken neatly into three phases.

First, from early 1977 till early 1979 - my parents would buy the occasional Marvel comic for me. I read all these comics raw and can remember every single one. The Eternals was a particularly mind-warping read at that young age.

Followed by gap #1 1979 - early 1983.

So then came a second phase, from 1983-1988. At 12 years old and having almost forgotten about comics, a schoolfriend encouraged my to pick up Avengers #229 and Rom #40. I was instantly (re) smitten.

Fortunately, at that time I had just started a paper-round and had disposable income which was immediately funneled into a habit of 20-25 comics a month.Good times. I started buying back issues too, starting with Avengers #26 purchased in a London comic shop.

Gap #2 1988-2000

As my teen years progressed my money and time was gradually diverted to music, especially punk rock. The comic buying slowed down but didn't stop - until University in 1988. Strange to say but there were no comics in that University town so that was that.

I sold most of my collection in 1990 but thank God this means I missed the 90s comic scene..

Phase 3 - May 2000 to now

eBay and disposable income brought me back. From picking up back issues I transitioned to new comics with a peak buying period being about 40 new comics a month in 2005. A bigger factor than income in this period was the discovering of comic podcasts, especially the peerless Comic Geek Speak which encouraged me to go a little crazy with the pull list.

The last few years have seen a move back to back issues, especially the bronze age, thanks to this blog and the relative cost of new comics compared to the cost and variable quality of new comics.

I do have a retirement project in mind to sit down and read in published sequence every Marvel/DC comic available from my birth in 1970 to the day I left for university in 1988...we shall see about that.

Apologies for the lengthy post!

Dr. Oyola said...

Colin we have a similar "break period." I basically dropped comics from 1988 to late 1999. I did read a bunch of comics in the mid-to-late 90s that belonged to friends and housemates, and luckily they had good taste (Marvels, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, Hit Man, The Invisibles). So when I moved back to NYC and had a full-time job and disposable income I started collecting trades and then eventually single issues, but didn't get into Bronze Age back issues until about 5 years ago - that project includes reconstructing all the X-Men I got rid of when I sold off 80% of my original collection in tn the late 90s.

Doug said...

Oh, I was just teasing you and Edo, Osvaldo. That sort of thing would give me pause as well.

I was born in 1966 (turned 49 one week ago) and can remember comics from about the time I was 6 years old. My first ones were a Donald Duck digest (I am pretty certain it had Disney Land on the cover, as Disney World was not quite open I don't think), a copy of Avengers #19, and early on I can specifically recall owning JLA #114 from 1974. Some of the earliest I recall purchasing were MTIO #7 with the Valkyrie, Avengers #130 and G-S Avengers #3, and Fantastic Four #161. I'm sure there were others sprinkled in there, but those I vividly remember.

I was all in from the beginning - Megos, Slurpee Cups, the plastic statuettes from Marx Toys (solid colors, not the painted ones), and on an on. This frenzy lasted until I went to high school in the fall of 1980.

Once in college I became acquainted with some friends who were interested in comics. The first LCS I entered was in Peoria, IL, and that would have been in the spring of 1985. The amount of back issues in that place made my eyes pop, and I began to spend what little disposable income I had filling in some gaps from my hiatus. An early pick up was the X-Men/New Teen Titans one shot. I was soon receiving a monthly package from Westfield Comics, and later Mile High Comics. Money, money, money! Of course, as you all know those 1980s and 1990s books are leaving my possession, almost always at a loss on the cover price paid.

I pictured "the one that got away" in today's post. I recall being at a supermarket with my mom and heading to the magazine aisle while she shopped (as was my habit). When she came back by to look at me, I'd spent however long just glued to the large size reprints of Avengers #58-60 -- it might as well have been the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! I'd still love to have that book today.



Doug said...

Gah! I didn't say anything about the money.

We didn't have much money when I was little. My parents had a dysfunctional marriage, so we often relied on a single income. But my mom never discouraged my love of comics. I don't recall that I ever wanted for a buck to go to the drug store to pick up 3-4 books, and I had about a dozen Megos. As I've said in the past, the Origins of Marvel Comics series was a regular under the Christmas tree for several years, as were the Mighty Marvel Calendars. She really humored me, and I'm very grateful, as I know that often those few dollars here and there would have been better spent elsewhere.


Martinex1 said...

Born in 1967. First comics around age five in a big box from my cousin. First purchase with my own money was Avengers 164, Spider Man Annual 11 and a Marvel Super Heroes reprint with the Hulk fighting Sandman. My money for comics mainly came from paper routes and bottle deposits. Once I found five dollars on the street. Gold mine.

First comic shop was entered around 1982 in Evergreen Park. Like Doug, when I walked in I could not believe the number of back issues, I can still remember the feeling. And the odor of old paper.

Hard to say what the one that got away was, but I would say it was 1984 at a comic convention and I passed on a ragged beat up Avengers 4 and also passed on Silver Surfer 4.

Started collecting comic art much later in life, within the last 12 years when my wife bought me an FF page on ebay.

Edo Bosnar said...

June 1968. First got into comics when I was about 6, and the first comic book I ever had was Marvel Tales #59 (Spidey and the Prowler on the cover).
My finances for comics initially depended on the indulgence of my parents, mainly my mom, who would allow me to put a few comic books in the grocery cart when she went shopping (and Doug, I can relate to having a mom who humored the hobby; my dad often looked down on the whole thing). As I said in the other post, gift money from relatives was a good - but all too infrequent - source of money, and I also collected bottles and cans to help my revenue flow.
I suppose my one that got away would probably be Superman vs. Spider-man (the first one). I remember being so intrigued by the house ads and wanting it so much, but it never appeared in any of the magazine racks at the grocery stores or drugstores my family went to at the time.

ColinBray said...

Yes Edo, you make a good point. Income wasn't the only factor in our collecting during the spinner-rack era.

This was especially the case in the UK with our patchy distribution. With my part-time job I could have afforded every comic in the Bullpen Bulletins listing and DC equivalent at the age of 13. But could I find 'em all? Nope, no matter how many stores I visited. It just wasn't possible.

Of course the lure of the chase made the comics even more desirable but that's another story.

Anonymous said...

Born in September 1977. Growing up, my mom would occasionally buy my sisters or I comics but that ended when we fought over an issue of FF (the Byrne issue in which HERBIE is destroyed). I always liked super-heroes but wasn't bit by the comic book bug until I was 11. I bought the 1st part of the Batman story "Dark Knight, Dark City." I liked it fine, but didn't crave more. A few months later, I bought Incredible Hulk 372. That comic made me want to run out and read every issue.

Initially, I bought comics with money from a paper route I shared with a friend. I dropped $5 or so a week, usually getting 4 comics at a time (Marvels went for $1-$1.75 at the time). I remember having to figure out a budget. The local comic book store (New England Comics) put out a monthly Previews-style booklet that I pored over. I bought Hulk & X-Men regularly, plus most issues of What If...? and whatever else struck my fancy. I remember not being able to get Infinity Gauntlet at first because it was too expensive.

Most of my disposable income in high school & college was split between dating, CDs, and comics. I've never stopped buying them but I went from spending $20/wk to $0 when my son was born in 2004. That was a big adjustment, but I was a little busy. I haven't been able to be an every Wednesday guy since then, but I spend about $20/ month.

The one that got away? Hmm... Nothing comes to mind (you can find almost anything in ton) but I wish I'd bought the first few issues of Walking Dead. Those go for big bucks nowadays.

- Mike Loughlin

Anonymous said...

I was born in 1972; the earliest comic I remember is Marvel Tales #78 (reprinting the middle part of the "drug trilogy" from Amazing)...there may have been other comics before that, but it's the earliest one I clearly remember. My dad would've bought it for me...he was usually pretty good about that, though later he threw out all my comics (twice!), so I had to start over a couple of times.

Mike Wilson

J.A. Morris said...

July, 1971.

My first comic was something "youth" oriented like Richie Rich (champion of the 70s-early 80s spinner racks!), Little Dot or some other Harvey property. My first superhero comic was probably Spidey Super Stories #7, featuring Lizard and Vanisher!

Anonymous said...

Born: February 1966. First comic: don't remember. First Marvel comic: Marvel UK's Planet Of The Apes #5 purchased on November 16th 1974. First American Marvel comic: I bought ten all at once dated May 1976 (so yesterday's post was out by one month - d'oh !!) and the only ones I can remember of the ten are Conan The Barbarian #62 and the Daredevil issue featuring Uri Geller, spoon-bender extraordinaire. I bought those with my own money but normally my father bought my comics for me. First visit to a comics shop: 1997, but not to buy comics - I was looking for a Star Trek:Voyager video. From 1983 to 2007 I didn't buy any comics at all but in the last 8 years I've been buying Marvel comics every few months or so - since 2013 I've been downloading them.

Redartz said...

Guess I'm the old man here, at least up to now- born in 1960; actually will hit the big 55 Tuesday (yes, AARP is sending me mail; sigh). Say, where's HB, I think he's close to my age?
Nice thing about this age- I started reading comics in the Silver Age. First comic I recall was a Casper comic , first superhero was Superman 203, first Marvel was Amazing Spiderman 52 (I was blown away, Marvel was so different from DC...). At that time comics were still 12 cents, so my 35 cent weekly allowance would buy me two. Of course, at 7 I was as interested in candy bars and Wacky Packages, so I was only an irregular comic buyer.

I abandoned the Big Two and read only Archies for awhile, and comics receded from my attention. But in Middle school, my best friend reintroduced my (partially via Marvel Value Stamps), and I was caught but good. Now 13, my allowance would purchase a few more books, but this was augmented by doing chores and mowing lawns (and helping my Mom with rummage sales each summer; I sold old toys and things and got the money; that backfired when those toys became collectibles).

I kept in comics until early in married life, with two kids and money short, I sold practically everything (from 21 longboxes to 1). Yet when my boys grew to like comics, I was drawn back in; and plan to stick with them for good!

My "one that got away": Spiderman number 1. When I was 13 my friend took me to a local comic shop; truly a place of magic to these eyes. In their display case was the first Spiderman, for 25 dollars! At that time, such funds were way out of my league (and my parents would have questioned it seriously, anyway) but boy, it was THAT close...

The Prowler said...

October 1964. I've mentioned before how the GIs on base would let me read their comics when I went in with my Dad. From what I recall, there was a lot of DC. Growing up, I watched the FF and Thor cartoons and later, on PBS, Spider-Man on the Electric Company (with a young Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader!) First comic, or comics, since I think I bought 2, were Amazing Spider-Man 121 & 123. Never have owned 122 but I still own the other two. The image of JJJ choking on his money in 123 is seared in my brain. There will be no way to let youse guys know if its the last memory I have .......... or is there???

We would get money for grades, a buck an "A", so my comic buying was a 6 week thing. Comics were 20 cents back then so I could get quite a few. Off the top of my head, my firsts in some of the titles were FF 161, Hulk 167, Avengers 139, Thor 239. I still have them.

When my middle sister went to college, I found a Half Price Bookstore that had comics (FOR HALF PRICE). From there, I stumbled into a Record & Tapes resale shop that had comics, new and used. They're still in business as a Comics/Hobby store.

The one that got away? It can't be ASM 122 since I never saw it on the rack. Probably Hulk. I bought issue 180 which ended with the introduction of Wolverine. Never kept it or bought 181 to finish the story......... c'est dommage!!!

(Still have "Ramble On" stuck in my head.......)

Jack Alberti said...

Born in 1967. My first comic was Cap # 167. The cover jumped out at me. But even more so, the coin! The Spider-Man Medallion Coin! My mom ordered it for me and a true love affair began (not with my mom). My second comic was ASM # 133 (more coins, the Big Three), followed by ASM # 136 (which I totally cut up).

I remember various pic-ups along the way: Cap # 188, ASM 149, ASM 159, Cap # 198, 199, Thor # 249, 250, ASM 172, 173, FF 191.

But my real start, my true engagement began with ASM # 176. This propelled me into a religious, fanatical frenzy which lasted until 1984, around ASM 260. Mind you, I wasn't just collecting ASM. My favorites were ASM, FF, Cap, Iron Man, Avengers, and DD.

I read sporadically from 1985 - 2008.

Since 2008, I've been ALL IN!

J.A. Morris said...

I failed to answer parts of the question.

My primary time of collecting was 1977 to 1989. I subscribed to comics through college, but I found myself half-heartedly reading them after '89.

Ones that got away:
Amazing Spider-Man 129 was on sale at a local shop for $29.00. A couple months later, the same copies were $70.00 because the character was "hot." I passed up the chance to buy some early X-men issues once, including the 1st appearance of the Sentinels because I was more interested in Hulk issues that featured Rhino and the Abomination. But I haven't lost much sleep over that.

My greatest find (I've mentioned this here before) was picking up a half-dozen Byrne/Austin X-men issues for $5.00 or less in 1986 at a used book store in Tampa/St. Pete. I felt somewhat guilty at the time, because the shop was owned by 2 older women who obviously knew nothing about the comic collectors' market.

Humanbelly said...

Yes, Redartz-- we're indeed both representin' 1960-- although you precede me by several months. I was born in December of that year. It didn't occur to me until just a very few years ago that I (we) were in fact born in the very end of the Eisenhower administration-! To my conscious mind, of course, Ike falls into the realm of Dry History as opposed to Something I Lived Through. . . thus making me feel even older.

I believe the first comic I "owned" was a giant-sized issue of Harvey's HOT STUFF, THE LITTLE DEVIL. My sense is that it was pretty darned hilarious, as our older baby sitters seemed to find it a hoot. And then my sisters and I shared a big Disney special that did a much expanded (and frankly better) telling of Mickey and the Beanstalk. That one we read to each other in the bathroom during one impossibly sleepless Christmas Eve.

Over the years, with my Dad being a teacher/principal, we also got the spoils of his school year confiscations, which often included some comic books. There's a particularly great Dell OUTER LIMITS that I still have via that channel (my Dad was, quite honestly, a real classic bullying SOB of a principal-- there's absolutely no excuse for confiscating and keeping any child's personal possessions like that.). But my first awareness of Superhero comic books came from our town's little barber shop on Broadway St. The barber (and local tavern owner) there kept an astonishingly large stack of battered issues for kids to leaf through-- missing covers as often as not. I remember a Metal Men in particular (Mercury being forced into wild coils due to temperature fluctuations), and an early (must've been) issue of Tales to Astonish, with a GREAT Banner-to-Hulk transformation scene depicted. I'm not sure I ever even read it-- I was just transfixed by the comparatively MUCH darker imagery shown than the Harveys and Superboys and such that seemed to abound as well in that stack.

The one that got away?
I've probably mentioned this before-- it was an Avengers #1 that, in the spring of 1989, a dealer friend of a co-worker REEEEEEALLY wanted to sell me for $50 at a local tiny convention in Crystal City, VA. But-- we were right on the cusp of getting married, HBWife & I, and while I did spend a few dollars (beat up copies of AVENGERS #2,3, & 53), I simply could not bring myself to drop that big a dime on a comic book at the precise moment of my life. While I can say that I regret it in a way-- it was still the right decision at that time, and I'd probably do the same again.

My most recent curmudgeonly moment came when I had to walk out of a LCS because one of the (rather loudmouth) proprietors was pontificating at length about how people were looking at the recent ridiculous price trends in the wrong light. . . 'cause if you looked at how much a comic cost a fan PER PAGE, it was still a fine, fine bargain-! My tolerance level for such inane, self-serving & self-justifying drivel is not great at all. . .


Anonymous said...

I was born in 1957, and the first comic I remember was a Batman Giant which featured the origin stories of Bathound and Bat-Girl, as well as the oft-reproduced "Family" portrait of the Dynamic Duo, the gals, Gordon, Alfred, Bathound, and Bat-Mite that I received while in the hospital getting my tonsils removed. My entire history of comics is the ones that got away. I lived in a small town in Minnesota, and only got to stores that sold comics on rare occasions, usually snagging a bunch, and then not reading the follow-up issues until adulthood. I was almost always disappointed that the conclusions were not as good as what I had come up with in my head. DC Comics were my favorites, because, with few exceptions (Legion of Super-heroes mostly) they were self-contained. Marvels were infuriating. One of the few times I picked up both parts of a story was the JLA/JSA team-up against Aquarius that brought Black Canary to Earth 1 and created the situation that resulted in the Crisis! I spent an entire summer in New York with my Grandparents, and there was a "candy Store" within walking distance that sold comics! AND I had a summer job, so I spent my own money! Good times. BTW, I had no idea that the Batman comic was all reprints, so I always wondered why the characters I was introduced to never appeared in any subsequent books!
I live a half mile from a comic shop now, but I ride a bike, and they demand that if you are a male that you turn over any bags/backpacks to the personnel behind the counter who cannot even prevent the theft of items in the store, but are going to protect your stuff with their lives (observationally this policy does not apply to females); so I actually most books/merchandise online.

Joseph said...

I was born in 1970.

My first comic was either Superman #304 or Amazing Spider-man 160 (both 1976 off the spinner rack, I'm sure).

Very similar to Colin Bray (and others), I can sort my comic buying into different eras.

1976-1979 - Parents purchased. Heavily into Fantastic Four, MTIO, Spidey,and Star Wars.

1982-1985 - My cousin got me back into comics (Contest of Champions hooked me!). Used my allowance or any other disposable income on X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-man, and any other Marvel that looked awesome.

1992-1993 - Oh my goodness, I have a job and money. Give me as much Spider-man, Venom, etc that I can find.

2008 - present - My young son sucks me back into the wonderful world of comics and superheroes. I pick up the issues I could never afford before, and read as many quality comics and graphic novels as I can. Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Batman, Daredevil are favorites. Amazing blogs like Bronze Age Babies fuel this renewed passion. Life is great!

david_b said...

'Cept for Kenn, I must be the oldest regular here.., May 1963. I've mentioned my old stats a few dozen times now.., first exposure to my heroes were the Marvel SuperHeroes cartoons, my fav becoming Captain America. Loved the Batman series as well, but even I at a young age was getting irked with the silliness near the end.

First comic was Cap 113 and a few others, purchased by my Dad when I was home sick in 1969. He always enabled my comic buying.

Most of you know the rest of my collecting.., I was an early Bronze Ager, so by the time the '75/76 years came, I bowed out, only to restart briefly in the mid-80s.

I can't think of any issue that 'got away'..., whatever holes I missed, I've been able to spend $$$ on VF+ copies over the last 20some yrs, so life's been good.

William said...

Born in the midst of the Silver Age in May of 1965 (yes I just turned the big five-O, and yes I am a bit bummed).

It's probably not the first comic I ever owned, but the first comic I can ever clearly remember "buying" was a Giant Size SHAZAM! (I loved the Golden Age Captain Marvel when I was a kid). I don't know what it cost, but my mother got it for me at what I think was a Lil' General store in St. Petersburg, FL. I have no idea how old I was, but I was probably around five or six-ish. (Maybe younger).

I remember when I was in third grade I would sometime walk home from school, and I would pass a 7-11 store, and I would sometimes buy a comic or two with my leftover lunch money. I remember this issue of Adventure Comics (or Brave & The Bold, I'm not 100% sure), but it featured Aquaman on the cover fighting Batman underwater and Batman was wearing scuba gear. I don't know why I remember that cover so well, but it was probably because I was really into the Super Friends show around that time, so I was mostly a DC fan back then.

The first comic store I ever went into was in 1977 when I was 12 years old. It was called Starship Enterprises and I believe it was the very first comic store in South Florida. It was located pretty far from my house in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and one day I was with my mother going to pick up my father when we passed right by the store and I almost had a heart attack (at 12). I begged begged begged my mother to stop, and she finally relented. Once I entered that magical wonderland, my life would never be the same again.

By this time I was a huge Spider-Man (and Marvel) fan, and I used the money I had earned from a summer job to buy my first items at a comic store. The first single back issue comic I ever bought was a Marvel Team-Up #13 with Spider-Man and Captain America fighting the Grey Gargoyle. I bought it because it was affordable and I wanted to get two heroes for the price of one. After that I maximized my spending power by purchasing soft cover collections to get the most out of of my meager funds. These included Origins of Marvel Comics, Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, Marvels Greatest Superhero Battles, and The Women of Marvel Comics, etc.. This was over the course of many visits to my new favorite place on earth.

Rip Jagger said...

Born in 1957! So all you whipper-snappers get off my lawn! :)

I got into comics around the age of ten or so, seeing early issues of the Kirby-Sinnott FF and such. I got my mitts on Avengers King-Size Annual #1, the book I list usually as my first, a most impressive start.

After that I was onto Marvel with titles like Captain Marvel (Colan), Hulk (Severin and Trimpe), Sub-Mariner (Buscema), SHIELD (Steranko), and more. Dabbled in DC with Flash (Andru and Esposito) and Justice League (Dillin).

Found a few "Action Heroes" from Charlton somewhere and that began my love affair with those offbeat heroes.

Remember seeing Tower Comics on the newsstands, along with stuff from Gold Key, but bought little of it, aside from some Tarzan.

Those early years imprint on you mightily and I'd soon follow Kirby to DC where I found more of that great stuff as they tried out more to catch up with the Marvel wave before they got swamped. It didn't help in the end.

I've quit comics a few times, in 1975 when I went to college, but instead got into Atlas-Seaboard and Charlton. Dialed back from the direct sales market in the early 80's when costs became prohibitive to a man with a wife and a kid. Focused on Marvel in the late 80's and eventually broke with most of it in the 90's finally giving up the ghost for good in 2007. These days it's a few reprints - Popeye Classics, The Phantom, Prince Valiant, Tarzan, and Thunder Agents - and a one new regular title - Astro City.

I've been turning my collection over for store credit and need to buttress my balance this week as a matter of fact. Plenty of stuff still stuffed in boxes to get some value from.

Rip Off :)

Humanbelly said...

Ohohohoho, Rip-- Yer just the element of rejuvenation that the rest of us half-century (or near to it) types needed to hear from. "Sure, we may gettin' a little long in the tooth, but hey-- at least we're not as old as that Golden Age relic RIP JAGGER!!! Hoo-boy, THERE'S an old coot for ya-!"

Why, I think I may do a few youthful, celebratory cartwheels out in the back yard before I mow it this afternoon, just to revel in my. . . relative. . . youth-!


Hey, forgot about First Visit to a Comic Shop.
It was in fact a sort of famous one: The Eye of Agamotto in Ann Arbor Michigan-- probably my sophomore year of college. It had been mentioned either in a Bullpen page or on a letters page years before, and one of my high school buddies had managed to get to it during an older sibling's trip to visit Univ. of Michigan. He painted it, of course, as the ultimate comic book mecca, and instilled in the rest of us this envy and burning desire to somehow see it ourselves someday.
So a few years later I took advantage of being on a rare solo driving trip to that area of the state (Dr's appt? Visiting a friend? Audition? Totally don't remember THAT detail--!), and found the place. By today's standards, it was unremarkable-- not much decor at all, dingey upstairs room between a couple of other shops, floorspace dedicated entirely to longboxes of back-issues. Hulk #172 was one of the last little gaps I had in that run, and I'd never managed to pick it up, and I thought surely this was my chance. It wasn't in the boxes. The sole attendant asked me what I was looking for, I told him, and he said, oh yeah, he's sure they had it in the stacks in the storeroom (right there, 5 feet away)-- but he couldn't get it because there was no one else there to watch the store while he found it. Sorry.

So-- I left empty-handed.
And have ever since retained a rather jaded perspective on just how wonderfully "magical" any LCS really can be.

(I did get Hulk #172 via mail-order very shortly after that).

But still-- there was something kind of neat about tracking down a place like that in Real Life, y'know?


Redartz said...

Take heart, Rip! You may have a few years on me, but I'll bet my hair is grayer (started going gray at 20; now is almost white; except for the dark streak in my Dr. Strange goatee...).

Also forgot my first comic shop visit: early 1974; a little spot called "The Comic Book Place" in Anderson, IN. Brought by my friend Bill, and purchased my first ever back issue: Not Brand Echh #5. Yes, there is a reason for that; I remembered buying that comic off the stand waaaaaay back when I was 7. Actually, that particular book also survived the early 90's collection purge, and is still in my possession. And I still love Forbush Man...

dbutler16 said...

January 1969.

My first superhero comic was either World's Finest Comics #236 (July 1976 cover date) Fantastic Four #172 (July 1976 cover date) though I'm pretty sure I had some funny animal comics before that.

I'm pretty sure my first trip into the comic store was in 1979 when I picked up Uncanny X-Men #117 off the spinner rack, among others. Soon, most of my allowance (yes, I have my folk to thank for my comics money) was going not only into new issues, but even moreso into those too expensive back issues. If there is a "one that got away" I suppose it would be Uncanny X-Men #94, which even back in 1979 or whenever it was shortly after that when I decided I wanted it, was too rich for my blood. I did manage to save up enough pennies for Giant Size X-Men #1, which for some reason was cheaper.

Jack Alberti said...

Back in 1984 at the age of 17, I was unable to come up with the 300.00 required to purchase a VF+ Amazing Fantasy # 15! 'Nuff SAID!

Karen said...

July 1964. I came to comics through my family, an uncle and my big brother specifically. My uncle favored Gold Keys, Dells, and DCs, but had a few Marvels -the oldest Marvel I recall seeing was Fantastic Four #52, with the Black Panther, which is probably why he became a favorite of mine. My brother was a true Marvel zombie, so I followed suit, at least for the first few years of my life. The earliest comics I recall getting myself include Amazing Spider-Man #98 (July 1971) and Avengers #92 (September 1971). The first DC comics I bought were Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (starting with 201 in March 1974?) and some Justice Leagues (#130 in May 1976 was my first).

My allowance was the chief source of my comic buying power -and I spent my allowance on little besides comics, at least when I was in my pre-driving years. Before I had a job, I also collected bottles routinely (I discussed those adventures recently). Sometimes I would trade for comics -I recall quite clearly trading an issue of Dynamite for a dogged-eared copy of Defenders 10. I also traded all the Hot Wheels I had inherited from my brother for a fairly good set of older (late 60s) Marvels -what a deal!

The first comic shop I ever went to opened up in my little town around 1978, and I think I started working there around 1981...hard to remember! I thought it was a great situation, because I got a discount on books, but I think the old man knew what he was doing, because I probably bought more comics than before! But I also sat around and read books I might not have, so it was a great exposure to a lot of different titles, like Love and Rockets, Nexus, Elfquest, and a whole lot of other stuff I can't recall.

Anonymous said...

Blimey - this must be the Bronze Age Babies twelve step meeting. My name's sean, and I am... a comic fan!:)

Can't recall my first comic - they were always around, and I was looking at them before I could even read. I could cite early ones that made an impression, that got me hooked... but it would be a variation on what others here have already said quite well.
One thing that might be different - what with not being from the US - is that I recall a variety of formats, shapes and sizes as a kid in the 70s. British weekly mixed genre comics, the more upmarket (in the library at school!) Franco-Belgian books, the US imports - I liked the horror, westerns, and (sad to say, I suppose) war comics just as much as superheroes - and you could even get some Indian comics round our way...

Highlights from a delinquent youth - OMAC and Kamandi, that Conan Treasury with Song of the Red Sonja AND Buscema and Alcala's Black Colossus (Gil Kane and Neal Adams too - WOW!),the Trigan Empire, Asterix the Gaul, anything drawn by the mighty Alex Nino and that book I got for my fourteenth birthday - Masters of Comic Book Art - that introduced me to Richard Corben, Moebius, Druillet and Eisner's Spirit in one fantastic burst at the end of the 70s.


Ward Hill Terry said...

One of my favorite topics! Secret Origins of comics readers! We are our own little subset of society. I don't think most people would remember the first movie they saw, or record they heard, but our peculiar passion for these particular publications is palpable! I was born in 1964. Even as a young boy I had a fascination with super-heroes. Superman and Batman were on the UHF stations (that our TV didn't receive),and I'd watch them every chance I got. I was watching super-Friends on Saturday morning, but not buying comics yet. In the summer, our family would spend many weekends at a friend's house in rural Maine. Between me and my two sisters, and their four kids, we would often buy comics at the General Store on the rare trips to town. There was always a stack of Richie Rich, Archie, Sad Sack, and some DC super-hero stuff. I read everything. For Christmas 1975 I received Jules Feiffer's "Great Comic Book Heroes!" I re-read that thing a lot! So, I was plenty steeped in the Golden Age heroes. I was pretty confused by the first Justice League book I read! Having gleaned the importance of first issues from this wonderful book, I bought "Ragman #1," cover dated August 1976, at the General Store for keeps, not for the general pile of communal comics. That was my start. I very slowly added one or two comics every couple of weeks, but it was difficult for me to get to any stores in the summer. When school started, I was going to band practice once a week after school. After that I'd go to my grand-parents house. On the way I'd stop at Kitteredge's Variety store to peruse the comics on the big magazine rack. By seventh grade I had a paper route, and you all know where my profits went! I kept buying regularly right up through college, class of '85, and for a few years after. By '88 I was living with two friends who worked at a comics shop, so I was reading their issues, instead of buying my own, but the thrill had gone. I was not enjoying any of the Marvel output at this point in Jim Shooter's tenure, and DC's crisis had taken away my favorite Earth and future! I've never sold any of my comics though, and when I buy stuff, it's old reading copies from forty years ago that I can get for a buck or less. i can still remember exactly where I bought many of my comics in 1977-1980. I loved finding a new convenience store that might stock comics! About then I got my drivers license and a comics shop opened in the town next to me. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was just able to figure out what my first comic was, "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #385 October 1972. My Mom bought it for reasons unknown. I loved it. The Donald Duck story is so implanted in my memory, I even remember a printing error! Thanks for your indulgence, everyone, I enjoy reading all of your regular contributions!

Dan Toland said...

June 1974.

I don't remember the first comic I ever read, but the first I ever bought with my own money was Marvel Two-In-One #68, October 1980. I walked in there with two teeth's worth of Tooth Fairy money and saw the Thing (who I knew from his Saturday morning cartoon) and a flying guy (the Angel) beating up on a bunch of robot knights. Sold. Take my fifty cents.

Unknown said...

I was born in July, 1971. Soon I’ll be 47, and I’ve been reading and collecting for about 40 of those years.

My earliest memories of comic books are purchasing them from the corner deli, in Southwest Philly, where I grew up. Sal’s (soon to be Pat’s), had a rack of comics on the floor, between the pickle barrel and the canned fish. The comics were either coverless, or missing the top half, and were polybagged 2-for-a-quarter. By the time I was 10, they’d be 2-for-50 cents, still a bargain.

I don’t remember the issue of the first comic I bought, but I’m certain it was Spider-Man. Later came Captain America, Batman, and, when I’d get lucky, House of Secrets or another obscure horror title.

The first comic book I can remember buying off the spinner rack at 7-11 was the first issue of a Namor mini-series, for 75 cents. 75 cents! For one comic! But I had a decent allowance, and comics are all I bought. I recently went through my collection for the first time in years, and found that I bought and saved Amazing Spider-Man #220-#430. Not too shabby. Now, I only need 18 issues to complete my run of ASM volume 1.

I get about 20 books a week ot current stuff, and I don’t ever see myself taking a long break again, like I did from about 2000-2015. I love comic books, and I’m passing that love on to my three sons!

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