So.  What with all the SDCC talk of late, I’ve been feeling more and more nostalgic for comic books then ever before.

Short story – true story.  I don’t buy comic books anymore because I had a problem.  I spent waaaay too much money on comics.  I mean, we are talking serious money here.  I joke that I put the owners kids through college.  I joke.  Seriously.  Mostly.  Probably.

Anyway, one day, I said to myself, “Self,” I said. “There are all sorts of things we could be using the money we buy comic books with, that might be more important to us.  Like paying for gas for the car, maybe a meal out once in awhile.  The electric bill. Phone bill. Rent.”  So, I went into the comic book store I’d grown my discount to massive proportions with, and I cleaned out my saver box for the last time, strolled down the aisles, picked up a few other things, checked out the cards in the display case, perused the poster section, went through some of the shirts…  Then I told myself that it HAD to end! SO I paid for what I had, canceled my saver, said my goodbyes and never looked back.  Except for those couple of times I looked back.  And that one time I called.  And that other time that I called.


Anyway, this is the main reason I do not now, step into a comic book store.  I’m like a recovering addict except they don’t make a coin for me.  …if they did, it would be like a 15 year coin.  Maybe 10-12ish.

So, that’s my story on comic books.  I still have them.  Most of them.  I tried to do the convention circuit at one point, turn my addiction into something positive, but it didn’t work out well.  It killed me whenever I sold anything and I wasn’t even breaking even on the cost of the table.  Eventually I boxed everything up and have been lugging it all with me wherever I live and sticking it in a closet.

Figure my collection spans the years 1977-1995/6ish.  Very sparse in the beginning, and what is there isn’t in very good condition, all the way up to massive amounts from every publisher in the day and the majority of it bagged and boarded and kept in fairly decent condition, if not in mint condition.  Of course, that’s when everything was sort of on the bubble, and then the bubble burst (long before the housing bubble, I might add) so there’s not a lot that’s worth much because the market is so saturated with product.  Still, it’s a decent collection.

And I’ve decided to start going through it now and again, taking it one random box at a time, taking some photos, and talking about what I find.  I invite you to tag along with me cuz I hope it’ll be fun.  And it might just give you a little insight into the things that inspired and amused me growing up, and how they came to influence my own writing.  As I find novels that I’ve got boxed up as well, I’ll bring them out into the light and let you see them too.  Yes, I have books in boxes – I don’t have enough room for shelves to properly display them all, so they sit, sadly, in boxes until such time that I do have room to bring them out again. Someday.  Someday…

This is a long post, so take your time – come back later if you need to.  But not really.  STICK AROUND AND GO THROUGH THIS WITH ME – GAWD!

Random Box #1 – Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy

starwars_comic_003This photo is of, arguably, the oldest comic book in my collection.  It dates from 1977 and is issue #3 in Marvel’s adaptation of the first Star Wars movie.  It’s in horrible condition.

Click the image if you want to see it a little bigger.

I have absolutely no recollection of where or when I got this.  I want to say that this was bought for me as a distraction to shut me up when we moved cross country from Chicago Il to Fresno Ca back in the late 70’s.  I’ve had an opportunity to ask my mother if this is a correct assumption or not.

She took the comic in her hand, read the cover, flipped through the pages, pausing now and again, closed it up, handed it back to me with a smile and said, “I have no idea where you got this.”

Thanks ma!

The cover artwork is…terrible.  The inside stuff isn’t much better.  I’m wondering if Marvel had the rights to make the comic, but not to the actual likenesses from the film.  I mean, none of the characters look like the actors.  Heck, Chewbacca looks like either Bigfoot or a reject from one of the Planet of the Apes movies.

starwars_comic_heirtotheempireTo contrast, I offer you something from later on in the Star Wars comicdom.  This is from Dark Horse and is their adaptation of the Timothy Zahn’s ‘Heir to the Empire’ book, which I absolutely loved.

I remember when that book came out.  I saw the teaser stuff for it at Waldenbooks, I think – in Manchester Center; a mall in Fresno near where I worked at the time.  I was stunned.  I couldn’t believe they were going to publish a new Star Wars novel.  I had the Brian Daley books, the ones on Han Solo, from the 70’s and the novelizations of the movies, of course, but there hadn’t really been any ‘new’ Star Wars other than comics, in a very long time.  So it was very exciting.

The day the first book came out, I was at the book store as early as possible to secure my copy.  I think I read the whole thing in like 2 days and it was fantastic!  We were absolutely STARVING for Star Wars back then!

Anyway – check out the art on that puppy.  Chewie looks like Chewie, not like Cornelius.  For you kids who have no idea what I’m talking about, ‘Cornelius’ was a character from the original Planet Of the Apes movies.  Not that thing Tim Burton did.  We’re talking original stuff here, and played by what’s his face – Roddy McDowel? (spelling on that anybody?)  Who ended up playing a bunch of the chimps in the other movies and the tv show.  But I digress…

Moving on…

guardiansofthegalaxy_019Guardians of the Galaxy.  How to explain this?  Avengers in space?

I loved this comic.  I really did.  It was all the stuff you loved in a comic, the heroes, the villains, but it was also set way in the future, so there was none of the cross-over crap that was going on so much at the time (I need to blog about that.  I will blog about that.  I know it’s like the normal thing to do now, but boy was it annoying.  Just you wait til I find the box with the Secret wars in it!  Or Crisis on Infinitive Earths – you are gonna get such an earful i tell you what!).  Anyway, this book was very SciFi, very fun.

The characters were different, yet familiar.  Like, there was a whole planet full of Punishers and the main guy was sort of Captain America, but not really.

It just felt different so I really enjoyed it.  I think I sold #1, which was probably stupid, but I needed the money at the time.

Ah well.

Anyway, that’s the first part of box #1.  More from this box coming tomorrow, or maybe Friday – we’ll see how it goes.  Stick around – you may enjoy this. 😉