Lately, I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic for my childhood. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because the current state of the world is such a mess, or maybe it’s just something inexplicable. Whatever the cause, the past month or so, I’ve been getting back into comic books. It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve purchased any, so unsure of what changes have occurred during that time, it’s been with a tad bit of uncertainty that I’ve delved back into the world of super-heros and their nemeses.
One of the biggest changes is the current retail price of comic books. Typically, they are $3.99 per issue. When I last collected them, they were around $1.50 to $2.00 each. Nice to know inflation remains a life constant.
Another change I’ve noticed is in the artwork. I grew up on comic artists such as Jack Kirby and John Byrne who tended towards naturalism in their work. These days, although some realism is portrayed, the drawing is typically more stylized than not.
One last change I’ve noticed is that most of the major titles have been rebooted and their issue numbering has been restarted in recent years. For instance, The Amazing Spider-Man had gotten up to issue #700 and Detective Comics reached #900! The nice thing about the reboots is that there isn’t yet a large catalog of the second volumes of these titles to catch up on so it isn’t prohibitively expensive to pick up back issues.
There are hundreds of titles to choose from, and I’ve settled into four that I’ve always liked: The Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Detective Comics (another Batman title) and Fantastic Four. I enjoyed these series growing up, and after several weeks of catching up with several past issues, I think I’ll enjoy the current versions, too.
Why do I collect comic books? It’s simple. They’re fun. Some people collect them as an investment, but I’m not one of them. Yes, I bag and board each of my comic books to preserve them, but I don’t have any grand purpose that in 25 years I’ll be able to sell them for hundreds or thousands of dollars. That’s just not what it’s about. It’s about briefly losing oneself in a world of grand imagination, where good overcomes evil, where heroes give their all to protect mere mortals and where one can hardly wait for next month’s issue of their favorite series.