About Comic Book Secrets - My Comic Book Collecting Journey
I have enjoyed comic book collecting for over 30 years. Here is how it all began and progressed so you can gain a little understanding of my opinions.
How it All Started - Collecting as a Kid
Like most collectors, I started reading comic books as a kid. Every collector has a time or "age" that they were part of, and mine was the 1970's. I remember owning a couple of Ghost Rider and Avengers comic books when I first started to read, but my real collecting started with the X-men. The first X-men comic I had (and still have!) was Uncanny X-men #111. It's a little tattered now, but I still remember reading that comic book over and over.
My family lived just outside of Detroit, Michigan, and like many kids from working class families, I wasn't allowed inside the house! TV was pretty much taboo (not that there was much to watch on those 4 channels) and video games were just starting. My neighborhood friends and I were banished outdoors. When we were tired of playing football, hockey and baseball in the street we would trade baseball cards and read comic books.
At some point I picked up a copy of X-men #138 and my entire collecting life changed. If you are not familiar with that issue, the story is a recap of the entire history of the X-men. You mean I can get these stories and still read them?!?! Well, my friends and I found a local comic book store and got a ride to the world of back issue comics! I still remember my first visit - and the telltale back issue comic book store smell! Rummaging through the boxes was like going back in time for me. The nostalgia of old comic books and their ability to take you back in time is something I still enjoy. In addition to a few back issues of X-men I picked up, the book that also caught my eye was a copy of Batman I bought for 99 cents! I couldn't believe the condition it was in! I was hooked.
Through my teenage years comic book collecting was on and off again. School, sports, girls - you know the story. My "stash" was kept in my parent's basement. In 1985 I left for the United States Air Force Academy and instead of ending my comic book collecting as you would expect, it began part II of my journey.
College Days - Still Reading
During my Sophomore year I ran into a friend from basic training and he had a box from Westfield Comics. I commented to him about my enjoyment of comic books and he offered to send the order sheet over to me and include me on his future orders - with free shipping! He told me we would get a bigger discount so I was in.
This is a important point for many collectors out there. I was (and am) a back issue collector. I wasn't really into new comic books. My friend didn't understand why anyone would collect back issues and he only read the new stuff. Basically, his enjoyment and knowledge of the "good" new writers and artists gave me a lot of good reads and made me some money. Watchmen, Spider-man, and others were now in my collection. After graduation most of my new comic buying ended.
My first assignment in the Air Force after Pilot Training was as an instructor in Phoenix. While I was there I found a couple of great back issue stores (now gone unfortunately) and The Comic Book Marketplace came out. I started to get into Golden Age books as I could afford them. Before I left Phoenix for my next assignment two key things happened. First, one of my friends who owned a store gave me some great deals on several key books. Second, a friend who owned the other store told me about "trading" comic books through the mail. Before I left for Texas he warned me: "if you trade you are going to get more books than you know what to do with."
More Comics than I Could Handle!
When I arrived at my next assignment in Texas I started my mail order business complete with a trading list. I advertised in the Comic Buyer's Guide and my friend was right. I got flooded with old comic books! Now how do I get rid of all these books?
I started a small retail outlet to sell these issues and I also started getting new comics from Diamond. My wonderful wife was dragged along with this and helped out a lot. She is truly special to put up with that stuff, especially since I was regularly going overseas. We also did several conventions in Dallas and Austin.
This phase of trading in Texas was very important. Why? Because of trading and several smart key issue purchases I haven't paid "out of pocket" for another comic book since that time. Those books have completely funded my hobby since then. If you read the newsletter or blog I get into this a little more - it is called the perpetual collection.
To the Edge of Space!
My next assignment in the Air Force was pretty extreme - it was flying the Lockheed U-2. You can see some of my pictures from this assignment here. In the U-2 program we did what was called the "rotation." What this meant was that at a minimum you went overseas for two months, home for two months, etc., for an indefinite time. This lasted a few years for me.
At first glance you would think this difficult schedule would have ended any comic book buying and selling - but the Internet and E-bay saved me! When I had time at home I would put a few comic books on E-bay to make some extra cash. From time to time I would use the proceeds to get other books. It's a perfect example of how new technology has changed the world and made things that would have been impossible - possible!
I am currently a commercial airline pilot and still work in the Air Force Reserves. My wife still puts up with my collecting (she's the best!) and my kids have no interest in comic books (although my boys love the character Spider-man!).
This website was started to share my stories and lessons learned with other collectors, both new and advanced. I have a perspective from "both sides of the table" as a collector and dealer/store owner. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of the hobby. I want to steer you to the best possible information and the "good guys" in the comic book collecting hobby. This includes the accurate value of your books, reliable price data, discount buying advice, and how to sell your comic books for the best price in your situation.
It's been a lot of fun developing this site and sharing the hobby with collectors, investors, and speculators. I hope you discover something useful and find something you enjoy. I'm always open to comments, suggestions and chatting about comics. Please feel free to e-mail!
Thank you for visiting my site,