I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a toddler. Comic books are how I learned to read! I officially started collecting comics, putting them in bags in boxes, when I was twelve years old in 1986. Since then, I’ve amassed nearly 2000 comics. It’s a great collection, and I love it, but there’s one problem.
I never read my comics any more.
I prefer the convenience of reading digitally. And so, my beloved collection sits, unloved, in the closet. I have had a small rack full of comics in my office/workroom for many years, but decided that this wasn’t enough. I made up my mind to choose five comics to put into a display. I would take down a couple posters, move some things around, and free up some wall space to display my comics in these nifty hard plastic cases.
I decided to display only the comics that had the most value to me personally. It wasn’t about how much it was worth measured in dollars and cents, but rather, what I meant to me as a comic book fan. I decided to choose only five at first, then it grew to ten, and soon it will be fifteen. Here are my first ten choices, and some thoughts on each.
This was a book I had long had my eye on, but never owned. I decided to change that, and bought my first comic book in many, many moons. This beauty was at the top of my list.
This second comic is a fun story. I coveted this one for years, as a teenager, but could never afford it. $30 was too much for me in high school and college, but when I got my first teaching job, that changed. The comic shop I frequented the most was having a going out of business sale. Would 50% off be enough for me to pull the trigger? No, I decided to wait until the next week, when it would be 75% off. I loaded up on cheap ROM back issues on 50% off week, and on the very first day of the 75% off sale, I drove right to the comic shop and bought this comic for $7.50. It was not in great shape; discoloration on the cover, and it was torn near the UPC and the spine in a few places. Still, a good reader. And that’s the story of how I got a beater copy of Amazing Spider-Man #252.
Here’s the third treasured book I will be displaying: Shogun Warriors #1, signed by Herb Trimpe. WHAT A COVER! Shogun Warriors toys are some of my favorites, and I loved reading this series as a kid as well as years later as an adult. Read my thoughts on Trimpe, and meeting him, written after his passing in 2015, here.
The fourth book was another easy selection. It’s the first appearance of a beloved character, the beginning of Walt Simonson’s iconic run, and to top it all off, features Mjolnir breaking the fourth wall and the Thor logo! The Simonson run was hard to track down in the late 80s and early 90s. In 2002, I purchased the complete Simonson Thor run in a lot on Ebay. Can’t recall exact price but I think it was less than $2 a book, which was a steal then and even more so now.
The fifth book was one I had to hunt down and buy. My favorite aunt had a box full of comics, and that’s basically where I learned to read. I read her copy of X-Men #137 time and time again. Sadly I spilled blueberry cream snowcone on it when I was 14. Now I have my own copy!
Book #6 is another purchase, and, like the previous, was one from my aunt’s comic box that I fell in love with when I was but a wee lad. That cover! That splash page! And a King Kong ad? No wonder I loved it then… and love it still.
Iron Man #222 is my seventh choice. This comic is my favorite single issue of all time. That probably deserves a longer explanation than I can give here, so expect another blog post soon. That Bob Layton cover is so sweet!
The bottom row of my display, comics #8-10, are DC Comics. I was more a Marvel fan as a kid, but love DC’s stable of heroes dearly, especially Batman. I had the trade paperback of Batman: Year One for many years, but in the mid 2000s, my local Magic: the Gathering/board game shop had a fire sale on comics. I dug through the stacks and snagged this for a quarter. Year One is my favorite Batman story and Mazzucchelli’s cover is iconic.
The ninth choice for my display is this superb cover from The Dark Knight Returns. I love this story, though I dislike the effect it had on comics. This was another 25 cent pickup, and it’s a highlight of my collection.
The tenth selection for the “beloved comics” display was a difficult one. I didn’t hear about Crisis on Infinite Earths until after it happened, and it was really hard to get a hold of them. I was so happy when I finally completed my Crisis set back in the 90s. Though it’s tough to pick one issue from the series, I decided on this one. Kara’s death was heartbreaking, and this cover is magnificent!
Here’s the display as it stands now. More display showcases are on the way, so stay tuned…