Wh..Why?…WHY did I do that!?!?
A Comic Book Collector’s Nightmare
By the 13th Crusader
Just a couple of days ago, I was having an interesting conversation with my longtime friend, Al Mega. We were talking about the most dim-witted mistakes we’ve ever made as comic book collectors.
Have you ever regretted buying, selling, trading, ripping or throwing out a comic book? If you’re answer is yes, then you’re not alone.
As collectors, there might come a time where we part ways with some, or all of our comic books for whatever reason; or, no reason at all.
Back in 1989, DC released an absolutely stunning leather-bound hardcover graphic novel with silver-trimmed pages that included a blue bookmark tassel called, The Complete Frank Miller Batman. This book contains reprints of the classic Batman: Year One storyline, Wanted: Santa Claus – Dead or Alive (one of Frank Miller’s early works) and arguably the most influential Batman feature of all-time, The Dark Knight Returns.
Here are some examples of what it looks like (no, these are not my personal copies!):
When I saw this masterpiece for the first time, I said to myself, “I MUST HAVE IT!” I had already finished reading the introduction written by Richard Bruning and was several pages deep into the Batman: Year One story by the time I went up to the register to pay for it. On my way home, I showed the book to a couple of my closest friends and they were immediately captivated by its beauty; to the point where one of them offered me cash for it on the spot. It was in that very moment, my eye color changed to an orange hue. I instinctively reached out and grabbed the book from my friend’s clutches and headed straight home while softly uttering the word “mine” over and over again.
Once I got back to Okaara, I mean home, I continued reading Batman: Year One. The next day I read the Wanted: Santa Claus – Dead or Alive story and The Dark Knight Returns. I read the whole book two more times the rest of that week. At this point of my comic book collecting career, I owned just a handful of Batman issues. After reading the Complete Frank Miller Batman, it motivated me to collect as many issues of Batman as I possibly could. Although the book was in fact reprints of Frank Miller’s astonishing work on Batman, this collected version was truly unique. Yeah, the book was that good. You could judge this book by its cover or by what’s inside; either way, it was simply a phenomenal reading experience.
A few years after I purchased the Complete Frank Miller Batman novel, I made the mistake of selling the book. It was in my eyes, one the most coveted possessions among all of my comic books. I turned down numerous offers from other collectors during the time I owned it…until that one time. As I sit here writing this article, I can’t even remember why I sold the book, but I did. It was a stupid mistake, one that I’ll never forget. The second I handed off the book in exchange for money, I walked away and said to myself, “what did I just do?” I immediately regretted selling it. What I didn’t know was how bad I was going to regret it. So, I embarked on a new mission – get it back. I couldn’t get it back from the person I sold it to because I lost contact with him after moving to another state. I said to myself, no big deal, I’m sure I’ll find another copy at a convention or a shop, or maybe someone will have it online. My problem was that I wanted to reacquire the book in the condition I originally had in; almost mint. So naturally, I was on the hunt for the book in mint to near mint condition. IT TOOK ME MORE THAN 10 YEARS to find it in the condition that I was looking for, and of course, for the right price. I won’t make the mistake of selling the book again that’s for sure. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a prettier graphic novel out there than this one, especially with what’s in it.
That was one mistake. Here’s another one. Spider Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt, Hard Cover, first print.
It was written by J.M. DeMatteis, drawn by Mike Zeck and inked by Bob McLeod. The story arc found in this hardcover edition was originally released in the first volumes of Web of Spider-Man #31-32, The Amazing Spider-Man #293-294 and The Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132 in 1987. It’s undoubtedly one of the top Spider-Man stories of all time.
This story took place not too long after Peter Parker married Mary Jane Watson. The script portrayed Kraven as a man gone mad whose perception of Spider-Man was that of a creature of the night – in a very twisted sort of way. Kraven hunted, defeated and buried Spider-Man alive and lived out his fantasy of becoming “The Spider” while beating up on Vermin before ultimately killing himself with a shotgun. Sounds creepy? It is. This story propelled Kraven The Hunter’s popularity to new heights – essentially overnight. It’s also one of the most memorable accounts of Spider-Man in his black costume and a heck of a way for Peter Parker to spend his time after getting hitched with MJ.
I made the error of selling this book because I had the original six issues. So I felt as if there was no need to own a graphic novel of a story I already had….stupid, stupid, stupid. I enjoyed this story a lot. But, I enjoyed it more when I read it in the hardcover format. Not to mention, I got rid of a first edition hardcover. That’s a cardinal sin of comic collecting – NEVER GET RID OF ANYTHING THAT SAYS FIRST EDITION OR FIRST PRINT!
Unlike the Complete Frank Miller Batman, I have not been able to find this book for the right price in the condition I want it in. I’m confident that I will. Until then, I’ll just have to live with this image of Kraven laughing at me for making yet another dreadful mistake:
I’m guilty of throwing out these Atlas/Seaboard comic books:
As well as a good number of Marvel’s New Universe publications:
I’m also guilty of ripping in half a healthy amount of Star Comics, another Marvel imprint.
I said it last month in my Gwen Stacy: Dead or Alive article (I trust everyone has read it by now!!) and I’ll say it again: NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, rip a comic book in half no matter what!!! Don’t throw out comic books just because! Donate them if you are willing to give them up for free. Sell them to a store or sell them at a convention, go online and sell them. Someone out there might be a big fan of something you don’t like. Trust me; I regret throwing out and ripping up these books. Most of all, it stinks knowing someone out there took the time and put in the effort to create a comic book that eventually found its way into my hands…it was not a very respectful thing to do.
So, to the creators of these books that I ripped or threw out, I hope you accept my sincerest and humblest of apologies.
Lastly, I’ll share the biggest regret of my long comic book collecting career. I traded away THE very first comic book I ever owned. Here’s what it was:
All Star Comics V1 #63…In this book, I was introduced to the Justice Society of America, the Super Squad and the Injustice Gang. This was a busy book with a host of characters handling multiple threats and facing impossible odds. It was because of this book that I continued to pick up more issues, eventually exploring other DC titles. To this day, I have a soft spot for anything having to do with DC’s original Earth Two.
Yeah, it was a pretty dumb thing to do getting rid of this book. The next generation of Crusaders will ask me about the first comic book I ever owned and I’ll have to tell them the truth. “Sorry, I don’t have it anymore”.
I still haven’t replaced this book. Why? I don’t know why really. I see it all the time at conventions. But it’s not the same…the very issue I owned had a store stamp on it along with a date. So, I’ll never truly replace this issue.
If you have ever regretted buying, selling, trading, ripping or throwing out a comic book, we would like to hear from you.
Waitaminute…looks like Al Mega wants to chime in:
“When 13 and I were talking about this, one of my many comic book regrets was selling my Walking Dead run, issues 1-90, 1st prints, ALL in high grade. For what I sold the run for versus nowadays, just #1 alone goes for the price I sold the run for. So in a monetary sense, that’s my biggest regret.
Another one was New Mutants #98, 1st app of Deadpool. I had given it away as a gift, due to the fact I purchased it for $1 and a family member was a huge fan, so I made the personal sacrifice and parted with it. I then ran into another copy in a $1 box about 1 year later. Instead of holding it down, I once again sold it. Not too long after I sold it, the book got really hot and has been on fire ever since. They were both at least 8.5+ grade.
I have many more regrets but those are 2 that come to mind frequently. As collectors/fans we ALL have done this at one point or another.
One thing however, that 13 touched upon, is that I still have my 1st comic book I ever read. Shame on those of you that don’t have theirs anymore! (cough cough, 13, cough.)”
Thanks Al. I’m glad you’re in my life to remind me of all the stupid mistakes I’ve made over the years with my collecting. You’re a true friend!
So, as I was saying…feel free to contact me via:
@13thCrusader [email protected]
Or, if you wish to help me out by contacting Al Mega and give him a hard time for getting rid of the ENTIRE Walking Dead run, plus giving away the 1st Deadpool app, you may reach him at:
Special thanks to Geekasms, for not only posting my articles on their site as well, but for sharing their enthusiasm with all walks of the comic book culture!
Tell us your regrets and use hashtag #CollectorsRegret
Until next time!