When I was heavily ordering books going through the monthly Previews, my brother admonished me one day and said that I can't buy EVERYTHING!
I retorted that he had no idea what EVERYTHING meant!
I started reading comics in the winter of 1972/73 and grew up in those inflation days as comic books get going up in price from twenty cents to forty cents and beyond! Of course, I never had the money to buy EVERYTHING then. I bought a few books regularly (Justice League of America, Superboy and the Legion, Brave & Bold, Avengers, Marvel Team Up, Marvel Two In One) with other titles semi-regularly.
As I grew older, I started getting more books as I could like Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Flash, Thor, Defenders, Captain America and even some of the short-lived books.
By the time I was sixteen in 1981, I was working part-time and met other comic book collectors in high school that encouraged me to expand my horizons as it were. I was finally able to afford to get around 90% of DC and Marvel's super-hero lines and most of their new titles going forward. The next year would see me regularly going to a real comic book shop where I could order and reserve books and start sampling books from other companies like Pacific, Archie, Eagle, Dark Horse and First.
But when did you guys start buying EVERYTHING? Or didn't you? Did you get the war, mystery, humor, western and reprints as well? Double issues? And when did you stop or put limits on yourself?
(You will be sorry you asked)
Being slightly older than you, I started buying comics (or having my mother pay for them) when I was around eight years old (1956), starting with funny animal titles, most prominently the Carl Barks Ducks. By 1958 I started buying the Superman/Superboy titles and the Batman and the Science Fiction titles (all DC). (They were all 10 cents until 1961.)
In 1960 I bought The Brave and the Bold #28 (the first JLA) because I recognized Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. I didn’t read Wonder Woman, but I also recognized her. I didn’t know the two guys in red and green, but I was soon buying their books, too, along with the rest of the Julius Schwartz books. This is about the time I stop buying the Superman and Batman books, which I stayed away from until Schwartz took them over.
Around 1961/62 I began buying the Atlas/Marvel Science Fiction and “Twilight Zone-ish” books. The first Fantastic Four I saw was #4, which I passed up because the cover had a guy in swim trunks carrying a blue-clad woman out of the ocean, followed by three weird guys. When I saw #5, with the first appearance of Doctor Doom I had to get it. I continued buying the FF through #10. I had been buying Amazing Adult Fantasy. I think I was annoyed whebn it suddenly had a superhero called Spider-Man. I got my Dad to read the first three FF Doctor Doom issues (5, 6 and 10), which he proclaimed were good. Just before my fifteenth birthday I stopped buying comics. In September of 1963 my Dad suddenly died. Shortly after his death, I went back to buying comics, remembering that we both had enjoyed some together. Fortunately, they were 12 cents at the time, because Mom and I had very little money.
I gradually picked up some of the Stan Lee and Julie Schwartz issues I had missed thanks to contacts publicized in the Schwartz titles. I never had FF #1 except as a reprint. When I graduated high school in 1966 we were trying to keep a roof over our heads, so college wasn’t an option. That fall, my Mom and I both started as temporary employees with the county elections office. She was laid off but I was hired permanently.
In 1968 I was drafted into the Army. When I was stationed just outside Washington DC, I would go into DC by bus to a newsstand I found and buy my comics. In 1969 I was sent to Vietnam. I “deputized” my Mom to buy my comics during that time, providing her with a list of what I expected to go on sale while I was out of the country. I was able to buy most of my comics while overseas, after a three-month delay, and checked out some new titles while I was waiting. We had no plumbing but had a small PX.
In December 1969 I was back at my county job, from which I would eventually retire. In the 70s, having a decent income, I was pretty much buying everything until 1979, when I went cold turkey on comic books. They were piling up and not being read because my increasing responsibilities at work and my movie-watching provided little time to read comics.
In 1989 I married Gayle, who worked in the same office as a computer systems analyst. In June of that year we went to see the first Michael Keaton Batman movie, after which Gayle encouraged me to attend the San Diego Comic-Con in the first week of August. I began attending SDCC in 1972 and attended every year until 1981. In 1982 I took over a section with increased responsibilities. When we were at SDCC in 1989, I bought my first comic in ten years. It was the first issue of Legends of the Dark Knight. As I do today, I didn’t buy alternate covers. (This was, I believe, the first comic with alternate covers.) Following this I gradually began buying more at comic shops. After a false start I wound up at the shop I still go to. Today I only buy books reprinting comics, graphic novels and only a few monthly issues.
So, when I had first had my paper route, and I had a friend point me in the direction of a comic shop in Vermont(!) who had a 35% discount. That was when I first bought a lot. My mom got tired of that pretty quickly, so it fell by the wayside.
Once, I got a true full-time job in the early 90s, I was buying damn near everything. That lasted about 20 years, when I realized how much of the current comics I just didn't care about.
If you want more details, just ask....lol
© 2023 Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith Powered by