Back in 1978-79 my Mum surprised me with two subscriptions to Marvel comics. One was for the Amazing Spider-Man and the other was for the Incredible Hulk.
My first issues were Spider-Man #212, the first appearance of Hydro-Man , and Hulk #254, the first appearance of the U-Foes. I remember these issues vividly. Now years before this epic moment in my life, well it seemed epic at the time, my Dad worked at a paper recycling place and would bring tones of comics home for me all of the time. They only made one move with us then my Mom tossed them all out. No big deal and she more than made up for it since then, I assure you. Did my new subscriptions make me a collector? Not yet.
I met a kid, Tony, in 1979 who introduced me to the X-Men. I was captivated by these young heroes. Sure I was always a fan of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and anybody else from the comics who you could view on TV once a week but not one of them had ever really captured my imagination like the X-Men. These were the original X-Men that I was reading in reprints. Then I got into the “All-New, All-Different, Uncanny” X-Men. My first issue that started this new team was actually Uncanny X-Men Annual #4, focusing on retrieving Kurt Wagner from Hell and co-starring Dr. Strange. Just after I got this issue I discovered a shop in my area called Comics & Comix. This place was a nerd mecca and I would have my parents drive me there on a weekly pilgrimage for the new books and even Japanese toys (which I’ll leave for another post). So, was I collecting? Nope.
My collecting days didn’t really begin until I was in Junior High and I picked up my first issue of The New Teen Titans #4. I then went all out to get the three issues before that and then every one after. This is when I considered myself a collector. When I 12 years old, I was taken to my first Comic Book Convention at a Red Lion in Sacramento, CA, given my first Overstreet Price Guide, received a copy of the original X-Men #1 as a birthday present, and I was a die-hard collector for many, many years after. DC and Marvel, then Mirage. It was all in my collection. Long box after long box. Big name books to the less popular titles like the Micronauts and Blue Devil.
In 2006, I dropped the collecting because I felt like the industry was selling me more expensive books with more ads. Now I picked up a book or three every now and then but not regularly. I even sold off a few hundred of my later Uncanny X-Men and that was a HUGE step for me.
So this brings us to today. I collect comics again. Not in a traditional matter but in digital format I’ve replaced every book that I ever had, lost, sold, or given away. Now I have them on several of my devices and can read them when and where I want. Having to NOT lug around thousands of books over the years is a sweet deal and I will never look back.