Sunday, January 28, 2018

Found Object: Comics Relief

Editor's note: Found Object is a new recurring feature that's part writing exercise, part old guy reflections. Each entry is about a different piece of detritus that I've collected at some point in my life.

I've always enjoyed reading, but when I was around 9, I started getting into comics. I had enjoyed the old Batman series in reruns over the years, as well as the Spider-man cartoon from the '60s. Right from the start, I was a Marvel guy: Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, Captain America. I didn't have a lot of disposable income at the time, so I would pick them up occasionally.

A few years later, I got a little more serious about comics collecting, mainly because I got caught up in the storylines. The Hulk and Spidey had prime-time live action shows, but the monthly comics were what I was into. I would get them at the mall, at convenience stores, wherever I could find them. When we moved to Washington state, there was a comics shop within bike riding distance of my house, so I was a regular. It was the first time I had heard of having the store hold your issues for you. I'm still not sure how I was able to afford getting all those books, plus music, plus other stuff I was into. I had an allowance, but that was pretty much it. I had a paper route for a short while in Washington, but that was it until my junior year of high school in New Hampshire when I got a job at Market Basket.

I kept buying comics regularly through high school and college, although once I was at UNH, I was only able to pick up my books and read them once a month when I was home. By this point, I was getting more into music and once I graduated, I stopped buying them because I couldn't keep up. Marvel started publishing twice monthly for some of the hotter titles, which just added to the backlog. But I held on to my collection (which was probably around 2500 comics) for another 11 years or so, through many moves on the North Shore, until I got married. We bought a house a few months after getting married and I agreed to sell my collection; I didn't get much for it because thanks to eBay, everybody was selling collectibles and the market was flooded. I kind of regret not holding on to certain titles, but what are you going to do? The pictured giant-sized compilation was in a box of stuff in our basement, purchased in 1980.

I now purchase the occasional trade compilation of newer titles I've heard good things about or older ones that I enjoyed back in the day. I've toyed with getting a Comixology subscription to get access to all the Marvel titles but I don't have the time to read all that stuff, so I've passed. But I enjoy watching the various superhero movies and TV shows with my daughters, who are big into it all. They haven't gotten into reading comics, though. Not sure why, but I think there's so much good work being done in bringing those stories to the screen that reading the books might be a bit anti-climactic for them. Which is fine, but I'll always treasure the many hours I spent reading new comics in my room while listening to music. It was an essential part of my childhood.

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