Saturday, June 28, 2014

Letting go and going back on the hunt

Maybe it's age. Maybe I'm like those salmon that go back to the place of their birth. Maybe I am dissatisfied with a lot of the current comic books of today. It's perhaps a combination of all three. 

In recent months, I let go of nearly my entire collection. It was a difficult decision but the trigger had to be pulled. Years abroad had seen my collection go "un-maintained" as a result, the pages browned with the acid of plastic marring others. 

I wanted a leaner collection. Keeping only books I liked and opting for trade formats that made for easier reading. 

For as long as I have been collecting and I am going on my 41st year of reading and collecting, I have read the independents. I purchased them even when most of my peers opted for the mainstream (most who jumped on board when Image exploded). I have no idea why I was smitten by the indies as early as my college years but there it is. 

For example, back in the 80s, I picked up Dragonforce from Aircel comics. And this was before Dale Keown became a star on The Incredible Hulk. As I have written elsewhere, I was smitten with Mike Baron's and Steve Rude's Nexus and Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer. There was this shop in the old Virra Mall that was the only one that sold Comico's The Elementals. The art seemed so crude and the stories a little racy but I loved it. Then Dark Horse published that awesome Aliens vs Predator. 

During the early years of the new millennium, I'd frequent Hot Topic at Jersey Gardens. Maybe it was the pretty Goth chick behind the counter. And yep, they had a lot of cool CDs and band merch. And they also had some comic books too. It was there where I picked up Serena Valentino's and Ted Naifeh's Gloom Cookie (the first edition trade paperback). Little 

With a leaner collection (I just have seven long boxes containing singles), I began to get stuff I liked and truly enjoyed when I was younger. I have been trolling back issue bins and ordering online (Mile High and My Comic Shop) for some books that remain a fond memory from my childhood and teen/young adult years. 

I picked up the Marv Wolfman and George Perez Teen Titans, the George Perez Wonder Woman, the pre-Crisis Justice League of America, the Bill Mantlo-Michael Golden Micronauts, the Denny O'Neill Daredevil run, Thor with the runs of Walt Simonson and Dan Jurgens, the Mark Gruenwald run on Captain America, the Jim Steranko and Jackson Guice runs on Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD, Jim Starlin's Dreadstar, and Peter David's sterling run on The Incredible Hulk. 

I also got those original graphic novels that Marvel came out in the 1980s -- Spider-Man 'Hooky' with art by Berni Wrightson, The Raven Banner with art by Charles Vess, and Marada the She-Wolf by Chris Claremont and John Bolton. 

I got some individual issues of GI Joe (Yearbook #2 with Michael Golden art) and anniversary issues of Detective Comics. Due to the online ordering, I was able to fill in gaps in my collection. However it isn't that easy. A lot of them are pricey; some are even out of stock and unavailable. 

Nevertheless, I have to say that I am enjoying hunting those stuff I enjoyed from those wonder years.


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