Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man and Me

The Amazing Spider-Man and Me

By Bob Sayn

Two people in my life are responsible for the humongous stack of Spider-Man comic book boxes in my basement: my best friend and my son, who is now 7-years-old. I blame them because we addicts never blame ourselves for our addictions. How could we? We are simply powerless to do anything about them.

It all started twenty years ago. I was seventeen and had just started a new part-time job at local chain store called Maijer’s, making minimum wage ($3.35 per hour) for the arduous task of accepting bottle & can returns and giving refund slips to the interesting folks who returned them. One of my co-workers (who is now my best friend going on twenty years) suggested we head out to lunch together. Little did I know, that a little stop we made at Palmer’s (Canton, Michigan’s finest and only hobby shop) after lunch would change my life forever. Palmer’s was a typical small town hobby shop: model cars and planes mixed in with a bunch of other rubbish ... and back issue comic books. As my friend thumbed anxiously through a box containing his favorite comics, I aimlessly strolled over to the first comic box in a row and rummaged through it. The boxes contained comics arranged alphabetically, so I was in the "A" box; was it destiny that I would shortly set my hands on my first Amazing Spider-Man comic? Within moments, I spotted the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #48 and bought it for $5. Later that night, I started to read the comic and so began the greatest journey of my life.

As I approached its final pages, I wondered how Spider-Man would get out of the trouble he was in with the Vulture. Just as Spider-Man was about to bite the dust, I turned to the final page and was smacked with three seemingly innocuous little words that hooked me forever: "To Be Continued."

As soon as I awoke the next morning, I sprang out of bed to venture to Palmer’s once more to grab issue #49 -- I needed to know if Spider-Man got out the jam he was in with The Vulture! Luckily, Palmers had a copy, so I bought it and continued my journey. Shortly thereafter, I decided to assemble a run of Amazing Spider-Man comics. Aided by the huge inventory at local comic book conventions, I compiled a straight run from #40 to #100. In those pre-Internet years, that was quite a feat for a collector on a student's budget.

Like many addicts, I somehow managed to take a hiatus from collecting during my college/young-professional/married/early fatherhood years. But then, my five-year-old son pulled me back in! One day, as he pretended to be Spider-Man, I decided to read one of my old comics to him -- The Amazing Spider-Man #54. It still had a $13 sticker on it, presumably purchased by me for such amount at a local comic book convention years ago. My son loved the comic, of course -- he's a chip off the old block!

I then searched the Internet to see if I could find an approximate value for my $13 investment -- I was shocked to see that it was worth over $100, given its condition. Not too shabby of an investment. At that point, I only let him play with my dupes, and only then if they were in poor condition [note to reader: insert your favorite smiley emoticon here]. It was then that I decided to what any other addict would have; finish off my collection of Spider-Man comics and only let my son play with Web of Spider-Man comics because those are still cheap to buy.

Recently, I completed my full run from #1 to the present day (a massive 600+ comics). Wednesday is new comic book day, so each humpday, I go to the local shop to check out what's new. Of my 600+, my favorite comic is Amazing Spider-Man #33, which is the last of a three-part series, an ordeal that changed Spider-Man's life forever. I suppose, it changed mine as well. I guess Spidey and I have something in common. Hmm, I wonder if he'd ever think about collecting The Amazing Bob Sayn, volumes 1-600?

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