Jack is almost 9.  Hannah is almost 7.

I bought my first comic books in 1977, the comic adaption of the Star Wars trilogy and the immediate thereafter (by the way, the post-New Hope comics in the Marvel storyline are pretty awesome Han Solo stories).  I was six.

Needless to say, they are no longer in mint condition.

If you’re going to call that my intro to collecting comic books, then I took a break from collecting comic books from 1978 until 1983.  I didn’t have the money, for one thing, and comic books weren’t durable enough to survive long.

Most kids under the age of 11 won’t ever be careful enough of comic books to really consider them “comic book collectors”… more like “comic book consumers” in the broadest sense of the word, “consumers”.

In 1983, however, I was twelve, and I’d been introduced to working for spending money.  Grandma paid me $10 to vacuum her house, and I got another $20 from Uncle Bill for mowing the lawn.  Dad paid me for odd jobs around the house.  During that summer, I worked at his employer for a couple of weeks manning the pumps at the gas station and getting paid under the table.  With the addition of filthy lucre, my-soon-to-be-seventh-grade-hobbies would include buying lots of comic books, and dozens of new RPG rulebooks to supplement my already well-established addiction to AD&D.

I bought my first “real” comic book collector’s purchase in July of 1983, using some of my birthday cash. It was the last comic book I bought outside of a comic book store.  The Uncanny X-men issue 174 (Cover Date October 1983, but the difference between cover/publishing date was a few months back then).  I was hooked, and by the time school started the comic book collecting rage had already permeated throughout my class.  By October, one kid already had the run of Uncanny X-men from Giant-Sized X-men #1 to the current issue.  (We all hated that kid.  He didn’t earn those comic books with his own labor, he got them all by wheedling his parents out of the money.)

I don’t have a particularly astronomically large comic book collection, in the annals of geektitude.  Four 3′ boxes and a half dozen or so 18″ boxes.  A few thousand books, but nothing like the true comic book nerds who kept going, and going, and have rooms full of boxes of slowly degrading four-color newsprint.

But it’s almost time to pull those boxes down from the top shelves, and go through them, and separate out the “stuff that’s worth money” and the “stuff that isn’t”, and maybe drop one or two breadcrumbs on Jack’s desk.  Maybe a couple books for nighttime stories.

He’s gonna have to pry the Dynamo Joes out of my cold, dead hands, though.


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.


  1. I think my earliest comic books were some Harvey Comics. Baby Huey, Little Lulu, Dot… those things. I remember one of my comics had a *HUGE* 20+ page insert dedicated to toys. The ads themselves were comics… so it not only showed the toy, but the kids (inevitably “the gang”) all playing with the toy and enjoying it. The one that sticks out is a curler set for girls that showed, like, SIXTEEN different hairstyles that were possible. (Curls! The Flip!)

    They don’t make them like that anymore, I tell you what.

  2. I missed The New Gods, but I was right on top of Return of the New Gods.
    Looks like you missed out on Mike Grell’s Warlord, for the most part. Too bad, that.

    I remember the late 100’s of the X-Men, shortly after the death of Jean Grey.

    • There’s a Showcase collection of The Warlord. It’s awesome but it’s black and white. That said, I don’t know where else you can get a collection of those stories.

  3. I loved going over to my grandparents house when I was young. They still had a collection of comic books my uncles and aunts collected. Mostly Archies from the the 50’s and 60’s, but there were a few Fantastic Fours and Blackhawks also from the time period that I liked even more.

    My own comic collection was smaller. I did a little Spider-man and Thing in the 80’s, but it never took off for me. Those are the earliest comic books I have.

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