Friday Afternoon at the Comic Shop
Like most teens, I always looked forward to Fridays. Not only was it the end of the week, marking the start of the weekend, but it was also new comic book day. Every Friday I would make my way to Unicorn Comics in Oshawa, Ontario (now known as World’s Collide) and exhaust all that I had earned from my $3.15 per hour job on every new release from the big two publishers. I would then spend the next couple of days reading through all of it. Man I was a nerd… and I loved it.
I quickly began to limit the number of new comic books I would buy, and instead began purchasing up back issues from my favourite series, the Amazing Spider-Man.
Before I knew it, I had assembled a pretty decent Amazing Spider-Man collection with complete run from issue 100 and up. Now although my collecting heyday was from 1985-1990, popular comic books back then still cost a pretty penny. In fact, I recall paying a whopping $60 for Amazing Spider-Man #129 (which I still own by the way).
Amazing Spider-Man #1
The task of assembling issues 1-99 was the logical next step. I thoroughly enjoyed digging through the back issue bins every week, as I would always seem to find at least one or two much need comics. Then, one day, out of nowhere, I received a call from Shawn, one of the employees at Unicorn. He didn’t say much but urged me to get to the store as soon as possible. I had a feeling deep down that Unicorn had attained a copy of the comic at the top of my want list: Amazing Spider-Man #1.
As I walked in the store Shawn held two comic books in his hands. My suspicions were correct – I was face to face with Amazing Spider-Man #1….but also Amazing Fantasy #15! Luckily both comic books were low grade, as I would not have been able to afford the books. Even back then these two books were valued at around $1000 each.
In low grade, however, Unicorn was only asking $100 each. I raced home and then returned to the store with a long box filled to the brim with really nice X titles. After perusing my comics, the owner agreed to trade me my X-titles for his Amazing Spider-Man #1. To this day I don’t know why I left Amazing Fantasy behind – I probably just wanted to get the comic books needed to complete my ASM run. What ever the reason, I still beat myself up for letting it go!
Refining my Collection
I was around 30 comic books shy of a complete run of Amazing Spider-Man a few years back when I decided to pull the plug and stop the insanity. I decided it was time to refine my collection. Although many copies of my ASM run were high grade, just as many were not and these issues would really never appreciate in value very much. Many of the gems I found at Unicorn Comics in the 80s would soon find their way to a new home as I began trading them for such comics as The Incredible Hulk 181, Giant Size X-Men 1, Iron Fist 14, Tomb of Dracula 10 and so on and so on. 8 long boxes soon became 6, and 6 boxes soon became 3. And as I strive for quality and not quantity, the face of my collection has obviously changed quite a bit. I still collect for fun – but also for investment. I buy, sell and trade to sustain my hobby and refine/ improve what I have.
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 I acquired way back in 1988 stayed with me for over 25 years, and in 2012 I warily sent it to Florida to be graded by CGC. I had never intended to sell this comic book until I acquired another higher graded copy just last year. With the acquisition of my this “new” Amazing Spider-Man #1, I finally decided to part with the original one a few months ago.
I imagine this new copy of Amazing Spider-Man #1 will stay with me for a little while also, but probably not 25 years – after all, there might be a higher grade copy just around the corner.