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The Joys And Benefits of Collecting Comics! What Comic Book Collecting Has Taught Me!
I've been collecting comics since I was a kid, and it's been such a great hobby for me in so many ways. Comic books definitely captured my imagination with it's amazing artwork and storytelling that has kept me entertained for years.
Nevertheless, comic book collecting has also taught me a few valuable things in life as well that most people wouldn't even think a simple comic book could do. Yes, it may seem like "kid's stuff," but there are so many benefits and "life lessons" that comics can help to build one's personality and character.
My Humble Beginnings As A Comic Collector
I don't remember who turned me onto comics. I just remember that it was probably someone from my elementary school, because that's when I was introduced to the world of comics. At least, that's when I remember.
I remember I use to skateboard to the local comic shop everyday after school. Yeah, I did have shoes, and, no, I didn't have to skateboard two miles in the snow (If you remember those old how-hard-I-had-it stories your parents use to guilt you with).
This was before the internet, before online comic shops, and before ebay. During this time, the only place you could get comics was at a grocery store...that dreaded revolving rack if you remember them...or a local comic shop if you were lucky enough to have one in your town.
The comic shop then was a little tiny place, and all the shop sold was comics. It was a marvelous world. I'd geek out and methodically and carefully pick which comics I would get that day. I had to. My only source of income was the money I was suppose to be buying lunch with at school.
After I made my selections, I'd bring them back and immediately read them...over and over again. Comic books would be a great escape and provide me with something to do when I was grounded by my parents, and, believe me, I was grounded quite often.
No, I didn't have the Atari back then nor the first Nintendo or Sega system. I never even had the first PS1 system. One of my best sources of entertainment was comics.
The Lesson of Value
When I first collected comics, I didn't much know about the value of comics, nor anything as a matter of fact. However, when I learned that certain comics did go up in value, I started taking care of my books. I put them in plastic sleeves, and then later plastic sleeves and backboards. I got the short and long comic book boxes to store them all in.
I didn't even take care of my G.I. Joes and Transformer toys (Yes, the Transformer toys were from the first waves...argghhh!) as well as I took care of my comics. It was a great lesson, as now, I take care of most of my things. Not because they might be worth something someday, but because it's a habit that collecting comics got me into.
I was, however, aware of the potential value of things, and this pushed me down along the road of comic investing. Comic book collecting taught me how to appreciate things a lot more.
Lesson of Imagination
I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, I remember vividly that me and my brother use to tie towels around our necks as if they were capes and run around pretending we were flying like Superman. I don't see kids do that as often today.
If there's one thing that reading and collecting comics helped to instill in me is to dare to imagine and dream. Yes, comics pushed my imagination and creativity in such a profound way.
What the video games and movies lacked during the time I was growing up, comic books engrained all these great visual images in my mind. This ability would come in handy when I was bored in school. Then again, I mostly daydreamed my whole way through school.
You may think that's not such a great thing, but if it weren't for those great images of Spider-Man or Superman or Captain America, I would've never gotten into art or graphic design. Furthermore, if it weren't for the great stories that pushed my imagination and creativity, I would've never got into writing.
The Lesson of Persistence
Oh, when you collect comics and start leaning more towards investing in comics, you learn that you have to hunt for certain issues you're looking for. This takes persistence, because your local comic dealer may not have what you're looking for nor the ability to get a copy of X-Men #1 as quick as you'd like.
Once again, before the internet and ebay made finding certain wanted comic issues a lot easier to find, you had to drive around the various comic shops in your area. This takes a lot of looking through the phone book to find comic shops, a lot of calling, and a lot of driving.
Even today it still takes quite a bit of hunting to find certain key issue comics at certain grades even with the internet and many online comic dealers. The first appearance of Thor is still a comic to hunt down, and if you're picky about the grade, this makes the hunt even more of a hunt.
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This is especially true for those who comic run collectors, which are those who try to get all the issues between two numbers (ie Amazing Spider-Man #1 through 100). That takes a lot of time, effort and dedication to track down all those issues.
So, comic collecting taught me about going after what I want.
Budgeting My Money
If I thought budgeting my money as a kid to buy comics was tough, now it's even more so. With bills to pay, learning how to budget your dollars for certain comics one wants is crucial.
I collect silver age keys and many of them can get quite expensive. I've learned to calculate which comics I can get, how many a year, and how many months I'll be eating Top Ramen noodles.
Luckily for me, I'm not particular about grades. I have a minimum grade I'll accept and a maximum grade I'll accept for each particular issue. It all depends on the demand and which issue it is. If I find any issue that falls between my minimum and maximum grade, I'll snag it.
Some collectors are hard-core, however. They wont get anything below a low NM. Pedigree collectors will have to learn to budget their finances even more so. Or, they may have really, really high paying jobs.
For me, however, I have to crunch in the numbers, but it's well worth it. I collect comics for investment purposes as well.
The Lesson of Investing
No, it wasn't stocks or IRA's or bonds that introduced me into the often chaotic and confusing world of investing. It was comics. The first time I learned comics went up and down in value was when I was about ten or eleven when I got my first price guide.
BOOM! After that, I had a desire to learn more about comic investing, as well as which ones were the best investment comics. Of course, I was a kid, and didn't catch on quite so quickly, but I learned as much as I could.
Now, I do know which investment comics to seek out and many places where to find them. Yes, I invest in comic books, and quite a few has made me nice profits. I'm not sitting on comics worth six figures, but the ones I do own are prime to increase dramatically in the next ten years. Quite a few I've made nice profits from the comics I held onto for a long time and no longer wanted. Yes, I found a bigger fish to catch...like that Giant Size X-Men #1 and Incredible Hulk #181.
I should put patience also, as comic investing is a long term plan, but you get the idea. Many who have sat on books for the last 50 years and made a investment of $50 to hundred dollars during the 70s for certain comic books are now selling them at $20,000 to $300,000 and more.
It's too bad my pops never got on that train. Too bad i didn't learn more of this stuff when I was first collecting comics as a kid. That X-Men #1 at $200.00 would've been mine. Oh, yeah, I would've saved up a whole lot of lunch money to get it.
However, I still learned as much as I could about comic investing and went off into the venture of finding just what comics to invest in. I now hold a pretty valuable comic collection from what I've learned and pursued.
Don't get me wrong here. My collection isn't worth millions of dollars, but it will be a nice chunk of change for when I retire. If you're interested in comic investing, click the link to read about my top comics to invest in for 2012 and exactly why.
Funny thing is... I'm still doing that, and I'm still enjoying the joys of collecting comics, as well as what comic book collecting has taught me in life.
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