Comic Books

comic booksI was once a comic book fan, abruptly terminated as such when I was forced to give away the comic books I’d been collecting for years. My family was moving from Hawaii to Arizona in 1977, returning to the home my parents still owned. I had a footlocker filled with comic books and my parents refused to ship it, even as airline luggage.

Reading and Collecting Comic Books

I started collecting comic books when I was old enough to read and understand them. That was in the 1960s. Sometimes one or more of my four brothers would contribute to the cost of buying them. My four sisters never contributed to anything.

I didn’t keep the “unsold” comic books that cost me only five cents each at a store called “The Quonset Hut” (a surplus Quonset hut from World War II) in my hometown, but I still bought them for reading enjoyment. They were identified with the banners of the front covers cut off. Retailers could get refunds from the distributors for unsold comic books back then. Now that I think about it, it probably wasn’t legal to sell them that way.

When my family moved to Hawaii, I accidentally found a place that sold comic books. We lived a few miles from a small city, and traveled through that area all the time. We stopped to get soft drinks one time and that was it. I made sure my mother took me to that store at least once a month. Comic books weren’t expensive back then. If I remember correctly, they were 30 cents each in 1977.

The Entertainment Value

While comic books have always been culturally significant, having been introduced in 1933, me and my brothers (and sometimes even my father) read them solely for the entertainment value. My brothers and I preferred superhero comics, and my father preferred soldier stories.

One of my sisters liked Harvey Comics and another sister liked Archie Comics. I only bought Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Where others came from, I really don’t remember. I have no recollection of who bought them or where they bought them. Regardless, I read them when I had nothing else to read. I didn’t have a lot of entertainment alternatives in the 1960s and 1970s.

We were lucky to have 10 television channels to choose from in my hometown and two in Hawaii. Comic books entertained us when we had nothing else.

The Monetary Value

Every time I read a news article about some comic book being sold for some astronomical amount, I mentally kick myself. It seems like every other time, it involves a comic book I had at one time. When I was collecting them, I had no idea they would be as valuable as they are today.

I had the first issue for many familiar superheroes. When I was in Hawaii, I spent considerable time trading comic books with other neighborhood teenagers (we were all high school students) until I had up-to-date collections. As I mentioned earlier, I was forced to give them all up when we moved.

Digital Comic Books Online

I’m aware of two sources of digital comic books online. One is Marvel, and the other is DC Universe Infinite. Both are available by subscription. If I’m correct, you can only view them online. The comiXology company (now at allows you to buy individual comic books for viewing on any device. I’m not aware of any place where you can legally download them, other than moldy oldies at the Digital Comic Museum.

My attention span is not what it used to be. I’m afraid I’ll never read any of them ever again, unless someone throws some down in front of me while I’m sitting at a table.

Image by tunechick83 from Pixabay

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