Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Marvel Comics in the 1980s?

I discovered my first comic store across the street from a great used bookstore where I also used to buy back issue comics. I distinctly remember picking up Marvel’s Secret Wars #1 and devouring it on the drive home.

I learned about a closer store about a forty minute drive from my home town. It was there that I set up my first pull list in late ‘83. I remember my dad limiting me to only four titles a month. I sidestepped this limitation by convincing my sister to add the series that I missed to her pull list, since we were treated equitably.

The four titles I had pulled were: Chris Claremont & John Romita Jr.’s X-Men, Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, Roger Stern and John Romita Jr’s Amazing Spider-Man, and John Byrne’s Alpha Flight.

New Teen Titans # 38: Who is Donna Troy?
X-Men # 177-178: the New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Amazing Spider-Man # 248: “The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man!”
Alpha Flight # 9: Sasquatch versus the Super-Skrull!

The value of my collection is tied closely to my attachment to it. This attachment has been fostered by hunting for back issues at conventions, standing in line for hours at conventions to meet your favorite writer/artist to get them to sign your comics, visiting comic stores across North America, and finding that rare gem of an issue in back issue bargain bin.

If you were anything like me as a kid, you probably started out buying comic books from a rack at your neighborhood convenience store. I used to circulate through the three convenience stores in my small town searching for specific issues or titles. By the early 80s, I discovered a comic store where I could get all the issues I wanted put aside as part of a weekly pull list.

Why do I collect comics? As an adult approaching his forties, I often ask myself that same question. There’s the escape into this shared heroic universe where heroes are still heroes and justice is always done. There’s the pure entertainment value, getting that mental theater going, engage your mind to get the sequential art flowing, brining it to life. There’s the nostalgic return to childhood in rereading a comic that you can associate to a specific time of your youth or the memories of lazy Sunday afternoons spent with a pile of comics and cookies.

Recently though, I've shifted over to hardcovers from single issues. Not really sure, perhaps its how they look on my bookshelf, perhaps hardcovers seem more mature than floppies, or it might be that it's much for easy for me to grab a hardcover than move around 3 or 4 long boxes searching for a handful of issues.


  1. I agree with a lot of things you say. I started collecting comics around the end of secret wars II. I continue to read them for the same reasons you mention. I've been mostly focused on HC or TPBs for the last 4-5 years, but i grabbed a couple of my floppies recently and i almost preferred that experience, seeing the old ads and letter pages and bullpen bulletin..

  2. It's funny, I started collecting comics almost the exact same time. My uncle bought me a big stack from 7-11, and that was it. Uncanny X-men #177 (pictured in your blog) was among those issues...along with Avengers #240 and Defender #127, and i really always like team books (esp. Avengers) the best. That X-men #177 cover is fantastic, isn't it? Thanks


  3. I would like to say that I also collect HC or TPBs now that I have a job or money. I still get some old issues from the bargain bin or back issue bin if they are for sale.Also, i am only missing one book from my collections pull list. Hope I can buy it. But I really like the comics from the 1980's and now have a Byrne FF collection,Simonson Thor collection,Byrne and Claremont Essential X-men,Frank Miller Omnibus companion and a Layton and Michelinie Iron Man collection.

  4. If those are the first four comics you got, dang that was lucky. One of the best Teen Titans comics ever! And a great Alpha Flight issue as well. good Spidey story, too.



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