June of 2017 marked a rather big milestone for my comic book collection: 500 issues (‘Issues’ being solid, single comic books). Having hit such a number I would like to take a look back at issues of personal significance.
Though I got into Marvel after seeing Iron Man 3 in 2013, my comic book collection started proper with this issue of Iron Man (Rather apt, in reflection) which was gifted by a good friend on my 14th Birthday.
I came across this by accident in my local WHSmith, a newsagent. Since then I have loyally collected this title which introduced me to the likes of Daredevil, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ms Marvel and many more fantastic characters. An excellent starting point for my comic book collecting journey.
Whilst on holiday in Toronto I visited the Silver Snail comic book shop, my first real comic book shop. I remember the feeling of overwhelming excitement upon seeing the many drawers of comics the store boasted. Bishop #4 was one of a number of older issues that I picked up along with some issues of Iron Man, Spider-Man and Avengers West Coast.
Having collected the Mighty World of Marvel for almost a year I decided to write an email to the publishing company. I had sort of forgotten about it until I flicked to the letter page of this issue and saw my email published. I was elated.
As we are taking a look back, here is the first email I ever sent to a comic book title:
May 2015 kicked off with my first experience of a big cross-over event in the form of Secret Wars as well as my first ever Free Comic Book Day (I had joined the world of comic books a week or so too late for 2014). I have since attended all following Free Comic Book Days, setting aside the entire day in dedication to A) Going and meeting people with shared interests (One of my favourite bits of the whole thing) and B) Sorting out the mound of great books that publishers provide for free (A fun if somewhat monotones task)!
Up to this point, I had only really been collecting the British reprint titles, Mighty World, Essential X-men and Wolverine & Deadpool. However, Secret Wars brought about All-new, All-different Marvel. From then on I was able to start collecting US titles from the beginning and it all started with Doctor Strange.
This series, unfortunately cancelled a mere 7 issues in, was my first (and current only) title revolving around villains. It was a great introduction to lesser known villains and a title with a little more danger to it.
I did touch on this issue a fair bit when I celebrated reaching 300 issues. Totally Awesome Hulk is a series I don’t talk about enough, its exclusion from ‘The Buy Pile’ being purely down to the way I received the issues to begin with. During Civil War II it was one of the stronger tie-in series as a result of the big Hulk related stuff that happened during it.
I won’t go into this too heavily as, as with #300, I covered this issue in it’s own post. The Mighty World of Marvel left me feeling elated, ANAD Avengers completely blew my socks off.
I hadn’t really intended to collect this title at all despite liking Doctor Strange a lot. However, whilst on holiday in Berlin my parents took me to an awesome comic book shop, Grober Unfug (Worth a visit if you are ever in the city), I picked up the first issue along with a copy of the DC Rebirth special and Black Panther #1. This series filled the gap in magic whilst Doctor Strange was struggling to get his back.
As my collection grew, the time taken to reach new milestones shrunk. The gap between #400 and #500 is a mere 4 months which may not sound like a lot but that is around 25 comics a month, a lot more than when I first started.
Comic books have been a huge part of my life for the best part of 3½ years. I’ve explored Earth 616 with the Avengers, Champions, Daredevil and many more wonderful characters. I’ve journeyed through the cosmos alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy and Silver Surfer. I’ve shared in their celebrations and defeats, joys and hardships. In some respects, I see them as a second family (Knowing some of the better than I know real people).
When ever I feel down, lost or in need of escape from the pressures of everyday life I can flick open an issue of Spider-Man or Ms Marvel and enter a world free of responsibility (Oh the irony…). They are a rock in the storm and I’m immensely grateful for the sanctuary they have provided me all these years.
I recently contemplated dropping comics completely. If all goes well, I will hopefully be off to university next year and I don’t really know if I’ll be able to collect comics as much as I do now. With Marvel Legacy on the horizon now would probably be the best time to step off the comic book train for a few years. However, the more I thought about it the more it dawned on me that I’m not ready to say goodbye. I’ve had such wonderful adventures with characters I’ve grown to love like friends and that was something I was willing to let go of.
I don’t know what my comic book collecting days have in store for me in the coming years but I don’t think I’ll truly be able to say goodbye, ever. I may stop collecting at times but I don’t think I’ll ever truly abandon a universe I would happily call home.