When I walked away from comic book retailing some years ago, I declared that I'd had it with comics and comic collecting. I never wanted to see another back issue comic as long as I lived. One comic dealer I knew, Rob Rankin, looked at me and said, "Oh, you'll come back to it."
I recall telling him something witty like, "Fuck no, I won't."
Well, Rob was right and I was wrong.
I guess you don't spend so many years around an art form and just let it go completely from your life. Especially not when you spent a long period loving the hell out of it. And so it was with me. I hit a point in my life when I had enough disposable income to start thinking of collecting comics and not just to resell them. I found that I wanted to have some of those books that had passed through my hands so many times as just a commodity to be bought, sold, and traded. I cannot even tell you how many copies of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 I owned in those years. I never thought about keeping a copy. I'd buy it, grade it, price it, slap it on the shelf and sell it. I'm sure I owned more than thirty copies of that book during my years as a comic book dealer.
Not long ago I decided to start assembling a low-grade set of the run of The Amazing Spider-Man that was written and illustrated by its creator, Steve Ditko. I don't want the issues that appeared after he left his book and gave up ownership to Martin Goodman and Marvel Comics, Inc. I just want the issues that he did, which include Amazing Fantasy #15, The Amazing Spider-Man #s 1-38, and The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #s 1 & 2.
After a relatively short time pursuing this goal I find that I'm down to five books remaining to complete the set. I just wanted low-grade copies, so it hasn't been all that expensive to get to the point where I now find myself. Those last issues are going to cost me, even in low grade.
But it's been fun, and getting those final ones is going to be even more of a pleasure. I've enjoyed the challenge. And on evenings I take down the comics and read them, becoming an eight-year-old kid again. There's magic in that.