ReMarvel, Episode 3: X-Men (vol.2) #45 (1995)

This past few days, there’s been kind of a theme here at the blog… well, maybe a few.  They are: Change, Moments of Profundity, and Walking Away.  The episode I’m going to share with you today actually touches on all three!

The purpose of ReMarvel, as a program, was/is for me to rediscover everything I love about Marvel Comics.  Not only that, but it also allowed me a forum where I could reminisce and share stories of my trajectory through comics fandom.  I feel like a lot of folks assume that I was a “DC lifer” and had never touched a Marvel comic, which… while understandable given my content, really isn’t the case at all.  Quite the opposite… as I came into my more “rabid” fandom as only reading Marvel, and very seldom checking the DC “side” of the new-release table.

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X-Men (vol.2) #45 came at just about the perfect time for me… and was one of the truest comics-related “moments of profundity” to slap me across the face.  I’m not sure I’ve expressed this here, though it might be plainly obvious, I’m very much an “all or nothing” sort of guy.  I have great difficulty in the act of calibrating.  I’m either “all-in”, or “all-out” with nothing in between.  That applies to my comics fandom as well.

If I’m an X-Fan, then… dangit, I’m reading all the X-Books, ya dig?

If it’s also not plainly obvious, I definitely have some addictive qualities.  My inability to let this website go might be the most recent testament to that.  So, being “all-in” and addicted… collecting comics in the mid-1990’s sort of ceased being a hobby, and became nothing more than a “chore”.  I was 15 years old, and I’d foisted this monthly “bill” onto myself.  I’d feel sick as Wednesday approached, and I knew I was a few cents short of grabbing the next issue(s).  It didn’t help that the X-Line of books had absolutely exploded from the time I entered the hobby 4-5 years earlier.  There were just so many X-Books!  It was not the best of times.

With X-Men (vol.2) #45… I hit a wall.  I wasn’t picking up Previews catalogs at the time, so I wasn’t privy to what was coming next.  Knowing only that it was “X-Men (vol.2) week” at the shop, I headed in with my pittance (including my two-bucks for X-Men)… and, what’d I see?

X-Men #45 was there… and it had a price tag of $3.95!  I was gobsmacked, and couldn’t figure out why this random-numbered (which is to say, not a “multiple of twenty-five”) issue was slapped with a gimmick cover and jacked up in price.  I was informed that (most of) the X-Books were celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Giant-Size X-Men… and, so… the (core) X-Books for that month would all be of the four-buck variety!

It was at that point I realized:

  • I was never going to be able to afford this month’s X-Books, which would put me behind in my collecting
  • Marvel could hit us with one of these “gimmick months” at any time
  • We were just a handful of months away from X-Men (vol.2) and X-Force hitting their 50th issues… which, would definitely be gimmicked and over-priced
It was like I was seeing those “scales of justice”.  On one side was a very small stack of comics… that I was more concerned with having than actually enjoying, and on the other… a rather sizable (and ever-growing) stack of cash.

It was in that (profound?) moment that I realized I was done.  It was time for me to “walk away”… and, I tell ya what… when I walked out of the shop that day, I thought it was “for keeps”.  I never saw myself falling back into comics again.  Heck, not too long after this, I nearly got rid of my entire collection to that point.  I was just done… and considered the hobby to just be part of my past.

I go into more detail during the ReMarvel episode, if anyone’s interested.  This text piece is more of a broad strokes take on the tale.  One of the things I was hoping to accomplish with the episode was to start a conversation… I feel like, as comics fans, many of us have that story about the time we “walked away”.  I love hearing that story… and learning what that “last straw” might’ve been… if, in fact there was a “last straw” and not just a “drifting away”.

Unfortunately, it was me asking that question… and so, it largely went ignored.  As you know, I don’t have all that much in the way of “cache”.  Ya likely won’t get a bunch of social media karma or cred if you respond to anything I put into the digital ether.  So, I guess I’ll ask it again here:
  • Have you ever “walked away” from comics, dear reader?
  • Was there a “last straw”?
    • If so, what was it?
  • How long were you gone?
    • What brought you back?
I’m trying to get better about engaging with the comments… I apologize for my relative radio-silence on that front of late.  It’s been much more difficult getting back into the “swing” of things here than I’d expected.  Starting to realize the “healing process” only really kicks in when you admit you need to be healed in the first place.

3 thoughts on “ReMarvel, Episode 3: X-Men (vol.2) #45 (1995)

  • Charlton Hero

    Have you ever "walked away" from comics, dear reader?

    Yup..for sure. DC in the mid 2000's jacked prices and cancelled or rebooted practically everything I bought so based on finance and the reboot situation its was a perfect storm drop off market for me.

    Was there a "last straw"?
    The last straw may have been Spiderman…the last book that had not been rebooted up to that point but was relaunched again. When finances hit an extreme pinch almost 4 bucks a book was THE STRAW. Suddenly it was NOT worth it.

    How long were you gone?
    I was gone for 3 maybe 4 years total but still picking up a select trade or collection for special occasions.

    What brought you back? "Digital" availability allowed me to dig back into titles I fell behind on. I went back and amassed EVERY single comic I ever own digitally and continued to build and read comics for "Cheap". This led me to comics podcasts which guided my reading habits and my actual purchases became for frequent and finally I was current with comics for the first time in years. I haven't looked back. DC New 52 gave me that new PEAK enthusiasm that was missing and despite being overwhelmed by the state of destruction caused by DC and history…I have become much more selective in my reading these days.

  • Have you ever "walked away" from comics, dear reader?
    Yes I have. 2008. In the middle of Secret Invasion and Final Crisis. After being a comics junkie with a weekly habbit since 1982. I walked away from everything and sold the whole collection. Some 30,000 issues from the late 1960's right up to the week before I sold my collection.

    Was there a last straw?
    My son's 11th birthday. (My son was born on Thanksgiving day 1998, so every six years his birthday falls on Thanksgiving. Except leap year sometimes causes a skip so you miss that sixth year and it doesn't fall on turkey day until the 11th year. The math is kind of confusing.) My wife wanted to have the whole family over for a big Thanksgiving/Birthday dinner/party. Only problem is my comics are stored in the dining room. The comics had to move so we could have this event.
    I was spending between $100 & $200 a week on comics. As the kids got older and involved in sports and school things they needed the money for their stuff more than I needed comics. So I gave up comics cold turkey after 26 years and sold EVERYTHING in one go. For me it was like getting over an addiction. It was a necessary and good decision for me and my family.

    How long were you gone?
    I'm still gone. I haven't bought a now comic since 2008. Haven't set foot in my old comic shop either. It's still open by the way.

    What brought you back?
    Back is an odd term for me. I still don't buy comics. I have purchased some of my old favorites digitally. Crisis, Secret Wars, New Teen Titans, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?. You know, the classics. And I did digitally buy Future Quest from DC because I loved those old Hanna Barberra heroes from my childhood. And I did buy physical copies of JLA/Avengers, and the JLA Detroit Era Omnibus. But for the most part I'm content just reading about old comics online. Weather it be Retro Reviews or everything by Brian Cronin over at CBR, or my daily dose of Chris is on Infinite Earths, reading about the old stuff gives me enough comics to make me content.

  • Have you ever Walked Away?
    I'm currently in the process of walking away from "New Comics". I buy primarily DC books. I am also the biggest "spender" for my "comic guy" and his handful of customers. With DC books barely being shipped by Diamond and everything in flux with the pandemic, my comic guy and I decided mutually to not submit an order last month, it wasn't going to be worth it for a handful of non DC books. I will still get whatever is in the pipeline from my guy but that's it.

    At this point I am looking at several options for buying new books via mail; DBCS, New England Comics, Midtown. I still have not decided what to do. The new previews is out and I still don't know what I'm doing.

    Was there a "Last Straw", and what was it.
    Yup, DCs recent changes and everything being in a state of flux. If I continue to get new books it will only be the ones I really want to read and already enjoy. I'm no longer enjoying current stories enough to justify continuing with buying 20-30 monthly titles.

    How long were you gone?
    That remains to be seen. I'm expecting to that I might continue with a handful of new titles but will focus on reprint collections / Trades and old comics, dollar bin stuff.


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