Monday, April 11, 2011

My Big Score

I've accumulated a fair number of cool comics over the years, including a few "key" issues. But my first big score came around 1969, during the summer between eighth grade and high school.

As a (mostly) DC fan, there were a number of issues that I desperately wanted to buy. Action #1 and Detective #27 were prominently on that list, of course, but I'm talking about comics that I thought I had a reasonable chance of finding in a garage sale some weekend. And among those, two of the most important were Flash #123 and Secret Origins #1.

Flash #123 was the issue where it is revealed that all of DC's Golden Age heroes--the Jay Garrick Flash, the Alan Scott Green Lantern, etc.--actually lived on a separate Earth from their Silver Age counterparts. Barry Allen gets to meet Jay Garrick in that issue. I had read most of the story in an 80-Page Giant, but a few pages were missing at the front of that book so I was anxious to read the rest.

Secret Origins #1 was DC's third 80-Page Giant, and contained the origin stories of most of the members of the Justice League of America. They didn't undersell on the advertising for that book:

So anyway, my local newspaper had an annual event called "Kids' Classifieds" where kids could advertise for free anything they wanted to sell. When that paper came out, I was on the phone dialing up all the kids advertising comics for sale. About the third one down, I hit paydirt. This kid had Flash #123, Secret Origins #1 and a whole slew of other DC silver.

One problem: The kid lived in Hillsdale, which was probably 8-9 miles as the crow flies from my parent's house, and it was not a straight shot on any road, so by bike it was probably going to be 12 miles or so. And the guy was not willing to hold the comics for me; he said "first come, first served." So I told my mom I was going up to Ramsey (which was the next town up) and pedaled furiously to his house. So I get there and we pretty quickly made a deal; IIRC it was something like $15 for the lot. In addition to the two biggies, he had Green Lantern #2 and #3 (coverless), the first two appearances of the evil universe of Qward. There were also quite a few issues that I already had in my collection.

But the best part of the story is what happened next. Another collector showed up just as I was leaving, and bought the duplicates off me for the same $15 I had paid the original owner. So I walked out with a bunch of cool comics for nothing other than the treadwear on my bicycle tires. :)


Peter Bangs said...

Love this story. My Big score was about 1979. 15 years old and out doing a motning paper round on foot a about 6.30am on a summer morning. I walk up a cul de sac to deliver a paper to the house at the end and there, by their trash bin, is a neatly tied, foot high pile of Marvel Comics. Kirby Thor and FF, Steranko Nick Fury, a whole pile of quality stuff. It went in my bag and made me very late for school that day. Oh happy days.

Anonymous said...

I've had several big scores over the years. The biggest that I recall though was in 1969, when I was able to obtain Avengers #2 (with the Space Phantom), which completed my run at the time, and The Incredible Hulk #1. Both of these came from a second hand book store, where the owner typically sold comics at half the cover price. He wouldn't sell me these for the half price (which would have been 11 cents). I did, however, offer him $1 for both, which he accepted!

He then took me to the back of his store, and proceeded to sell me some additional Marvel comics for half the cover price. So, I also scored X-Men 2, and Spider-man 23-26. My total cost - $1.25.

I've never had that sort of luck again.

Pat said...

Peter, after I had given up collecting and graduated from college, I shared a house with a couple of my friends. About a week after I moved in, somebody noted that I was a comic book fan and mentioned that I should check in the basement closet. One of the prior occupants had a collection of about 35 early 1970s issues of ASM, including mint copies of #121, #122 and #129.

Anon, nice deal! I don't think I've ever even seen any of those first six Hulk issues.

Anonymous said...

You and I must have grown up the same county. I eked a much smaller score using the kids classified -- in this case I met someone from Teaneck in front of the YMCA in Hackensack, where I traded him several DC comics (Superman mostly) for some old issues of the FF (I remember getting 19 and 21). A great day for a new Marvel fan. Years later (early 70s) I found a box of comics in a friend's attic. I gave him $5 for the contents, including Avengers 1, X-Men 5 and FF 7, among others.