That’s right, today is a notable Comic Book Hoarder Anniversary, as I’m celebrating 25 years as being a full-time comic book geek!
I figured I might be a total weirdo, but once I thought about it, I’m sure I’m not the only one that can pinpoint when they went from casual comics reader to full-blown comics geek. In fact, I’d guess most of us know when we became the nerds we are. It’s part of our geekiness, the ability to rattle off seemingly irrelevant information! And celebrating something nerdy like a Comic Book Hoarder Anniversary is part of the fun of this hobby. I like to think so, anyway.
So I actually wrote a lot of the rest of this piece almost 5 years ago, when I wanted to blog regularly at the other place. Since there was no interest shown in it at the time, I’ve had to wait to reveal this to the world until now. Don’t you feel special? I’ve edited some things, but copy and paste was my friend here!
Let me tell you WHEN I became a raving comics fanatic. I can’t tell you why, because I just don’t know. I don’t think. Maybe some time I’ll make an attempt to explain it somewhat. Right now, though, let’s discuss the significant date of December 31, 1991.
I got a 10 dollar gift certificate for WaldenBooks for Christmas 1990 from my uncle’s family on my dad’s side, and needed to use it by the end of 1991. Because gift certificates expired. They take your money but tell you it goes bad in a year. WTH? Ahem. Moving on….
I turned 12 the summer of 1991, and I was in seventh grade, junior high, hating most every minute of it, but I had discovered the work of Stephen King. I had read Firestarter for a book report (my memory tells me I was chastised a bit for using it due to his “lowbrow” nature, but I could be misremembering that), and I started to get my hands on everything he’d done. Even 25 years ago, that was a lot. Even so, there’s stuff I missed, like for example I STILL haven’t read Christine. (Note: that still holds true 5 years later, not surprisingly!)
Anyway, there was a book that came out called Shock Rock that had a King story in it, “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band”. The anthology’s concept was rock’n’roll horror stories, and the King one is pretty good, from what I remember, but I’m not sure where that book is so I can’t check. There were a number of other memorable, creepy, disturbing stories in that book (Vargr Rule familiar to anyone?) (note: once the Warren Ellis James Bond arc came out, I finally found out that Vargr wasn’t a made-up word! YAY!), and I’m glad I got it. The comic geek in me would like to point out that there is a prose story in there by John Byrne. Yes, THAT one.
Anyway, that book was probably 5 or 6 bucks, and I didn’t figure that they’d give me the change on that, so I needed to find something else. At this point, I’d probably been losing interest in the other 2 big interests in my life to that point, astronomy and baseball. Astronomy, while interesting, just wasn’t as appealing as the writer’s life I wanted because of King. Baseball was probably waning as an interest as well. I was realizing that I was NOT going to be a big leaguer (slow learner), and baseball card collecting was losing its interest with me as well. (Were the Mets still good in ’91? If not, that probably made a difference too.)
I DID have an interest in comics, though. I’d acquired others in the past (which I’m sure I’ll discuss in the future), but they didn’t immediately clamp into my brain. But there was a spinner rack in the corner by the magazines at this Waldenbooks in the mall (actually, it might have been a Coles books, which was a subsidiary, I believe. We had both!), so I took a look, and that changed my life.
I found 3 comics that were, Goldilocks style, about the right price: not too much, but enough to put me at or around 10 bucks, any overage covered by the amount I was making delivering Pennysavers. The 3 that hooked me were Spider-Man 18, Wolverine 51, and Marvel Tales 257, which reprinted the first Hobgoblin story.
So yeah, that’s the story. The Comic Book Hoarder Anniversary, celebrated every New Year’s Eve at Casa Travis, and this year it’s a special 25th Hoarder Anniversary with extra-size gatefold chromium cover! Yeah!
Or not. But I hope you enjoyed the story of when Travis became a Comic Book Hoarder. Sometime we’ll try to delve into the why and how (genetics and cheapo back issue bins, essentially — dammit, I just blew an article opportunity!) as I continue to talk about comics and stuff here at the Atomic Junk Shop! (Parenthetical asides and all! I loves ’em!) Heck, I can even tell you the LAST comic I bought at the local Waldenbooks!