I love reading comic books. I have since I was a kid of five.
Growing up I had my favorite comic book characters: The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Batman, Magnus, Nick Fury, the X-Men--anything drawn by Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Gene Colan, John Buscema, Bernie Wrightson, Barry Smith and Steve Ditko.
I devoured each comic book I read. Perused each page, analyzed panels, marveled at the creativity and imagination displayed in each issue and wished I could be a comic book artist one day.
Sadly, that did not happen-for a variety of reason-mainly lack of talent.
I've never been a big spender when it came to comic books. I usually bought them off the shelf new or managed to find them at garage and yard sales, flea markets and occasionally at a friend's or relative's home.
Believe it or not, I've never paid more than five dollars for any old comic book, and that was only once for Uncanny X-Men #108.
There are three runs of comic books that I still get a kick out of reading and looking at. All of them were found at the locations I previously mentioned. Needless to say I was thrilled each time I came across them.
They are the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run by Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil, Roy Thomas' and Neal Adams' Uncanny X-Men and Jim Steranko's Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. series in Strange Tales and in his own title and Steranko's Captain America classic issues.
I can't count the number of times, as a boy and young man, I'd marvel at every page I'd turn in each series. I'd copy the art, emulate the styles and dream of working with the creative crew at both Marvel and DC Comics.
Originally I bought each issue off the newsstand when they were first published, but like all young men my attention drifted toward girls and cars.
Thankfully as I grew older I was able to obtain almost every issue in each selection. I have no doubt that one day I'll find hidden away in some musty old box, footlocker or stack of magazines the issues I'm missing. But isn't the hunt a part of the fun of collecting?
As I've always said, "Somewhere out there is a box filled with old comic books with my name on it. I just have to be there at the right time and place."