Comic Collector’s Journey Part 2 of 2

American Collector Magazine, which made me aware of the value of comic books. On the right, I eventually got a copy of Captain America #118.

Continued from Part 1 at:

American Collector Magazine, which made me aware of the value of comic books. On the right, I eventually got a copy of Captain America #118.
American Collector Magazine, which made me aware of the value of comic books. On the right, I eventually got a copy of Captain America #118.

That’s right. I had thrown away almost my entire comic book collection and all related comic collectibles.

Fans tell personal horror stories of their parent’s throwing away their comics and toys — detailing the treasures left at the curb for the trash. These are stories that galvanize collectors in their determination to reclaim those stolen/trashed treasures.

But me? Yeah, I did it to myself. Other than a few early Marvel Comics and my prized Spider-Man comics, I willfully dropped my comics on the curb and never looked back. Nobody was twisting my arm; I simply felt I’d outgrown comics.

Flashing forward a few dozen years, I was starting to become interested in comics again. I’d even landed a coveted job at Wizard, the premier fanboy publication. And it started to dawn on me that I’d tossed away hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars, in comics and toys.

A Real-Live Superhero Rescue

One evening, I was showing my father the Wizard magazine price guide and it included toy prices. I expressed personal disappointment in my decision to toss my collection. I lamented my foolishness.

My father stood and lead me to the attic. It is an unusually large attic that serves as a catch-all storage room for the entire family. He took me to a trunk, knelt down, and told me to empty it.

The trunk was filled with fluffy blankets and not much else. Except the trunk had a fake bottom.

Lifting the fake bottom, my father revealed my comics and toys. Complete, intact, and in my attic. My head spun. Were these my actual comics?

“I saw you bring the comics and toys out to the curb that night,” my father explained. “I knew that one day, you’d probably wish you had those back.”

My hands sifted through forgotten treasures. Batman, Superman, Luke Cage, X-Men, Iron Man, Avengers, Disney, Archie, EC….everything…was…there. Even my Mego toys and all of the accessories. Superhero, SWAT, and Planet of the Apes Megos, all intact.

“So after you went to bed, I went out there and brought it all back inside,” he said. “I made a fake bottom for the trunk and hid everything in the attic. I figured one day you’d be ready to take them back.”

And I was. This simple magical moment stays with me as a defining moment as a collector. Nothing quite compares to this moment with me and my father. The dollar-value of these books is easy to quantify.

What those comics mean to me — to me as a son and to me, now, as a father — there’s a value that transcends money.

These are treasures. Priceless family treasures.

These days, I don’t collect as much stuff. I still read and collect comics, but not the way I did when I was in my 20s and 30s. In fact, I’ve sold or given away large chunks of the collection that has no personal value.

I do, of course, save my “core collection.” Those will be with me as long as I live. And I will pass them along to my kids.

And, like my dad did for me, I will also save some toys and objects that seem to be meaningful to my own kids. I’ll stash them in our attic in a nondescript box.

The actual intrinsic value will probably be relatively low. Toys are produced cheaply and collectors are smarter now. They know how to save and preserve the way we didn’t when we were kids.

One day, when they are old enough, I will share this long-term gift with my kids. When they are ready, I will drag out a special trunk that’s strategically camouflaged in the darkest corner of my attic.

We will peer into a trunk that’s jammed with long-forgotten toys, books, and dreams from their own childhood. Together, we’ll lift the lid, look inside, and find…



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