Recently I had to go through the hellish ordeal of finding 13 back issues of Image Comics' 'Revival'. I had to go to several different comic shops, a couple Newbury Comics, and I almost just gave up and ordered a couple issues off Comixology. I did eventually find all of the issues that I needed, and when I finally found issues #19 sitting in a pile of garbage at Newbury Comics I realized I used to live for this shit. What happened to the love of the hunt?
The first time I ever went into a real comic book store I bought Spectacular Spider-Man #203. Carnage was on the cover, it said "Maximum Carnage" on the top, and it said "part 13 of 14". I read the book as soon as I got home that day and loved it. Even though I had no idea what was going on in the story there was some great mystery within those other 13 parts that I needed to solve. This instantly created a massive drive inside of me to collect all 14 parts.
As a kid the only time I could afford comics was when I would redeem cans and bottles with my grandmother, which equated to roughly a $10 a month comic budget. The first time back at the comic book store after getting #203 I searched through the Spectacular Spider-Man box and found issues 201 and 202, these were part 5 and part 9.
I was really confused, where were the other parts? The idea of a cross series event was unheard of to me. Luckily after reading the notes in the back of the issues I realized that there were issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man Unlimited that all took place during 'MAXIMUM CARNAGE'. All those books become my new targets.
It took me close to three years to complete the story arc. The last piece of the puzzle being "Spider-Man Unlimited #1" which I ended up ordering off of eBay. This may seem like an obvious solution to problem, but this wasn't the eBay of today, I couldn't just use my paypal account to buy whatever I wanted, I had to get a money order (kids ask your parents). That's right, I ordered something off the internet and I had to mail a weird check thing I got at a gas station to pay for it.
But hey it worked! When I opened that last issue of the series I felt like I had assembled the Infinity Gauntlet and I was now in control of something priceless. In my little child brain I thought this set had to be worth at least a couple thousand dollars, and it wasn't until I was a little older that I realized on a good day the Maximum carnage set would go for about $40 bucks, but I didn't care.
Looking through old dusty comic book boxes at stores, flea markets, and antique shops was something I loved doing. When I picked up an Issue of X-Men that said "X-Cutioner's Song: Part 5" I was genuinely excited!
I loved the hunt, and that's something that I rarely feel today. Maybe it's nostalgia for a simpler time, or maybe it's the fact that I can just go online now and within minutes get any issues of any comic that I could ever want. I do miss it though, and I wish I could get as excited as I once did about searching for comics books.
I think it's because I live in a spoiled utopian future. I can afford to read comics, I buy them every week, and if I miss a couple issues I just assume they'll still be sitting on the shelves next time I'm in the shop. Not to mention if one of my monthly issues is interrupted to take part in some lame crossover event I'm very rarely excited, and most likely I'm annoyed.
So this year I'm going to set a challenge for myself. I'm going to fill in all the gaps in Uncanny X-Men collection from #200-250 without using the internet at all. I'm missing about 25 issues in that span, and I'm going to see how many I can find using nothing but comic stores, conventions, and any other places that may have back issues. I'm interested to see if this is still fun or if I'm in for a world of frustration.
What do you guys think? Do you still love the hunt or have you become a bitter old man like myself? I'd love to hear your thoughts, and if anyone else is currently on the hunt themselves let me know what you're looking for these days!