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May 01, 2009

Comments

john

Great story! I skipped school to go and buy X-Men Prime cause i really needed to know how the Marvel universe was doing after the Age Of Apocalypse. Nearly got caught by a couple of teachers, but it was worth it. Not because of the comic but because everyone was jealous that i got the comic before they did. It was a great day (till i read it.)

Pat Curley

Back when I was a kid, our local paper had an annual one-day free "kids classified" section where kids could advertise what they had for sale. I used to pore through those looking for the comic book collections, which you could still pick up cheap back then. I seldom paid more than a nickel a book. One year this kid advertised a collection including two holy grails: Secret Origins #1 (1961 Giant) and Flash #123 (Flash of Two Worlds), plus a bunch of early 1960s DCs. I called him up and he was willing to let the entire collection go for like $15, which was quite a bit more than a nickel apiece, but the price was right for me. One problem; he lived clear on the other side of the county and he was insistent that the first guy who showed up with the cash would get the books. So I hopped on my ten-speed telling mom I was only going a couple miles (she would never have allowed me to go all that way) and pedaled as fast as I could. Got there first with the cash and was headed out the door with the comics in my backpack when the second prospective buyer showed up. He offered to buy any of the comics in the set that I already had, so I sold him like ten issues for $20, so I was $5 ahead of where I started, plus I had Flash of Two Worlds and Secret Origins #1.

Mark Engblom

Great stories, guys!

Both of your tales tie in nicely to my post, since all three of our experiences really communicate that early, very intense enthusiasm for comics we tend to lose as we get older.

Holy Moley, Pat! Secret Origins #1 and Flash #123? Man...I'd have jumped on that 10-speed, too! Do you still own that same copy of Flash #123? What a treasure...but even better, the story BEHIND winning that treasure! THAT'S the stuff REAL comic book collecting is made of...and such a contrast to today's "I want it, it's mine" instant-gratification eBay collector's market.

Back then, you actually had to WORK (i.e. ride a bike across an entire county) to nab those big books! Love it!

Pat Curley

Yep, I still have both issues. This was back around 1970 or 1971, so while they probably only guided out back then at maybe $10 apiece, as you say, the real thrill was actually finding a copy. The comics stores themselves were just getting started back then and the mail order houses were completely unreliable on grading.

Most of the the really big scores in my collecting career I can remember who I bought the comic from, about what I paid, and what the circumstances were.

Now if I could just remember where I put my keys ten minutes ago... ;)

Brian Disco Snell

But what you haven't told us--what comic did you trade for that Marvel Team-Up, Mark?

Mark Engblom

Most likely a Spider-Man or a Hulk, which were the "big guns" of kid trading currency at that time. Of course, I had to pretend like Marvel Team-Up #53 was no big whoop...otherwise I would have had to cough up TWO comics to get something I was wildly enthusiastic to own. At least that's as much as I can remember of the vagaries of the comic book underground of the late 1970's.

Greg Walter

This is a good memory!

My fifth-grade teacher put an end to a terrible play-ground trading spree of comics by buying some anthologies: the first Spidey, the first FF, and, strangely, some Batman + Rah's al Ghoul.

That was my first step into a larger world beyond the Scrooge McDuck we traded. Mr. Blue (my teacher's name) decided we needed to step up into the big leagues

I have since urged my wife, an Elementary school teacher, to stock classic books in the midst of her classroom library. She has, to great effect!

The Mutt

I'd do hard time for a new Woodgod comic.

Tcheser

Well I can't remember any specific comic books I risked life or limb to have, but I do recall that for years the process of getting any comic books at all was a risky affair. You see when I was a kid it was at a point where there were no longer newsstands selling them, no longer racks at the supermarket or drugstore and the bookstores had yet to begin to sell them. Just about the only place you could find them was at a specialty comic book store.

Living in a fairly nice neighborhood where the rents must be high for any business there were naturally no comic book stores. Not being able to drive the only way I could find comics was to walk or take my bike several neighborhoods to the south east into what was then a rather sketchy neighborhood filled with hustlers, artists and malcontents. Within this neighborhood was a store that sold newspapers, magazines and snacks. There big business however was in selling pornography and marital aids however and this section which wasn't even roped off took up the majority of the store. AS a naive young boy though, all I was interested in was the rack of comic books they had for sale. To me it didn't even seem out of place and I would spend quite a bit of time pouring over the titles they had for sale before finally making my paltry selections.

If I recall correctly I usually had enough money to buy 2-3 comics, depending on their cover price, if I brought my lunch to school and kept the money I parents gave me to buy lunch. I remember I like the Hulk because for some reason that title was still $.75 even when most of the others had jumped to $1.00.

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