[Bin Beat] Used Bookstore 2/6/2016
When I decided to finally stop thinking about doing a DC Comics blog, and actually put digital pen to digital paper, I wanted to not only share stories that I had read… I wanted to share my collection stories. These stories are somewhat unique to comics enthusiasts, and I feel that comics fans have an uncanny ability to place themselves into the gestalt of when and where they were when they bought and/or read such-and-such story… though, perhaps I am projecting… just a bit.
I am an admitted back-issue bin junkie. I am aware of my addiction, and I have no intention to stop. I won’t go to any meetings, and I don’t want a support group. This blog can be my support group. Now my skin doesn’t itch when it’s been a few days since my last “hunt”, though I must admit I always get the butterflies when I start flipping through a cheap-o bin.
These days the bins… while lonelier, are also so much more fun! Growing up, and getting into collecting in the late 80’s/early 90’s… the back-issue bins were something of a forbidden fruit. Books that were just weeks (sometimes merely days) old were bagged, boarded and were stickered with a price usually at least double that of cover (don’t get me started on the prices of supposed “key” issues). Don’t get me wrong, that was a fun and exciting time to be a comics fan… however, I must admit I get tickled when I come across multiple copies of Image Comics #1’s in the dime-bins.
In my town, we have about a half-dozen decent sized comic book stores. Most of them realize that the back-issue market only appeals to a certain type of clientele, and price their wares accordingly. Given the ubiquitous nature of digital versions of these books… legally or otherwise, if a person wants to read a given back issue… they can… quickly, and perhaps even without paying for it. There are, however, a couple of shops that maintain the 90’s era pricing… That issue of Action Comics that came out last month? Yeah, that’s in the bins… for $6.00. Dial H #1? $10.00 sounds about right… it is, after all, a number one. There’s also the shop that leaves all of their books un-priced, and then checks the going eBay rate on their phone before “quoting” you a price… yeah, we don’t talk about those guys here. I’m buying Robin #0, not a used car.
Now, digital books? That’s not my scene… Overpriced back-issues? Yeah, I don’t dig that much either. I have taken to broadening the horizons of my hunt. Used bookstores… used record stores… anywhere offbeat enough to perhaps carry comics… anywhere that the folks working there will care so little about the comics that they don’t check eBay or the Overstreet guide, and usually just tag them all at 25-cents, 50-cents, or a buck. These are the places I’ve made some of my best finds over the past few years.
Uncanny X-Men #141 & 142 (Days of Future Past) $1.00/each
Uncanny X-Men #266 (First Gambit) 10 CENTS
Avengers Annual #10 (First Rogue) $1.00
Amazing Spider-Man #238 (First Hobgoblin) $1.00
Omega Men #3 (First Lobo) $1.00
Superman #423 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow) 50 cents
Batman #575-578 (Year Two) 30 cents/each
Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (First Nightwing) 33 cents
I don’t list these to brag, I do so to encourage people to look in places they ordinarily wouldn’t to find comics… to fill in collection holes… to grab some key issues you could never afford if they were priced “properly”. I also list them to keep myself motivated… there are still some key issues that I seek, most notably New Teen Titans #1 and #2… I hold out hope that I will one-day come across them at a reasonable (or better yet, a steal of a) price.
This past weekend, the wife and I visited a semi-local used bookstore, and I made had a rather modest find. This store in particular is an odd one, some days I can walk out without buying a thing… and there have been days where I’d snagged up in excess of 50 books. On this day, I found ten.
The eight pre-Flashpoint books were 35 cents each, while The New-52! era books were $1.50 each.
Superman and Green Lantern are among my collection “priorities” (if that is such a thing) at the moment. I have been listening to a few great podcasts, most notably From Crisis to Crisis and Just One of the Guys. From Crisis to Crisis discusses, reviews, and analyzes (all of) the Superman books from the immediate post-Crisis all the way up to Infinite Crisis. It is a hell of an endeavor, and is always a fun listen. They do so on a month to month basis, and have given me an excuse to read, or reread my post-crisis Superman… and fill in whatever holes my collection may have. Just One of the Guys covers the 1990 volume of Green Lantern (along with the Guy Gardner series). This is a completed podcast, and is always a great listen as well. It has “forced” me to fill in some of my GL related collection gaps. The New-52 books I snagged were just ones I had missed out on during my great “screw DC Comics” temper tantrum post-Flashpoint.
While at this bookstore I did come across one of my “white whales”… New Teen Titans #2 (first appearance of Deathstroke the Terminator) was there… behind glass… for $100.00. I can’t go for that (no can do)… it was neat actually seeing it in person, however. I am confident that one day I will nab it.
I don’t plan on doing these types of posts too often. I know that they can come off as braggy or just plain annoying (I have unsubscribed to many a blog or Youtube channel that became all about the “hauls”). I just want folks (who are interested) to know that there are always good old comics within reach, and you often don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to get them.
I know snagging things up digitally or in collected format is easier, takes up less space, and can sometimes be acquired without paying… but single issues (please don’t call them “floppies”) are special. They are products of their time… from the paper quality, to the smell, to the ads; these books afford the reader a very unique opportunity to actually “travel” back to when these books were current. You can see what else is going on in culture, music, video games, movies… hell, what else is going on in your respective comics universe(s) too!
I can honestly say I’ve never walked away from a cheap-o comic bin disappointed… and if you dig the old and offbeat books too, I’d wager you wouldn’t either. Even a cruddy read can be fun when you don’t feel like you overpaid for it. Though, I suppose I might just be projecting again…
Thanks for reading.