I love walking through the local indoor flea markets on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
If you’re a collector like I am, these places can be treasure troves. I feel like an adventurer making my way through mazes of booths, littered with old clothes, books, VHS tapes (remember those?), and other assorted antiques. I feel a sense of pride when I’m able to rescue a literary classic from among the dozens of shelves of orphaned books.
But as much as I love to wander, if you see me in one of these places, I’ll likely be digging through long-boxes for old comic books.
Now I know what you might be thinking: Comic books are for kids. Why would you waste your money on something like that?
First off, not quite. More adults than children appear to be reading comic books these days, and because of that, the stories are, typically, very well-written, directed to a more mature audience and, therefore, more thought-provoking.
Additionally, just this past Sunday, a pristine condition Action Comics Number 1 (which introduced to the world a little-known character by the name of Superman in 1938) sold on eBay for a record price of $3,207,852.
I wouldn’t exactly call the purchase and subsequent care of that comic book a waste of money.
Even with this in mind, this past Sunday, I was looking through a box of old comics when, all of a sudden, I couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed to be a 24-year-old man looking for cool, rare editions of The Adventures of Superman.
I looked up, cheeks flushed, half expecting to see a crowd of spectators chuckling at a grown man with a big, goofy, excited grin across his face after finding a beautiful copy of a 1977 edition of Daredevil.
After all, how many people even know (or care) about the story of blind attorney Matt Murdock who spends his nights masquerading as the costumed crime-fighter Daredevil and tracking down evil-doers?
But instead of being the subject of mockery, I found that the other patrons around me were much more interested in looking for items of intrigue to them.
I didn’t give a second thought to their interest in antique décor, so why would they care about my interest in comics? Or, furthermore, why would it even matter if they did?
I’ve collected comics since before I even started grade school. I’ve always loved the larger-than-life stories and characters and the breathtaking artwork. The stories they tell are the Great American myths - a tradition going back for more than 100 years.
Why be ashamed of taking part in that? So I went back to the box of comics in search of more of treasures.