Observations and Ramblings from a Cranky Old Guy, by Jeff Spaulding – Xperience Monthly

Written by on September 13, 2023

Observations and Ramblings.

Confession time. I am a Geek, a Dork, a hopeless Fan Boy, and if my parents were still alive, I’d still be living in their basement. To quote The Shat, I’ve been told that I need to “Get a Life.”

Aside from music, not too cookie cutter and vanilla, and radio, when its good, comic books are my thing. Not as dorky as Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons but we could be twins. I’ll share with you a recent experience in the Nutmeg State, first some background on my obsession.

I started collecting in the early 1960’s. I was a DC fan, Superman, Batman, etc. Then I heard about this new company called Marvel. It was different, new, wow. I had to start buying and reading them all.

In my collection:

Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Fantasy #15 (first Spider Man), The Incredible Hulk #1, Tales to Astonish #27 (first Ant Man). Journey Into Mystery #83 (first Thor), Tales of Suspense #39 (first Iron Man), Uncanny X-Men #1, Avengers #1, Strange Takes # 119 (first Doctor Strange), Daredevil #1, Fantastic Four #52 (first Black Panther), Avengers #4 (return of Captain America)

When I started collecting it cost a dime, then twelve cents for most of my growing up years. Today I could easily buy Art Fredette out of his little dog and pony show with what these babies are worth. That was a great collection I had.

Yes, I said had. In 1974, after high school and a move to Buckeye State, my mother did what most moms did back then without knowing how deep the knife was they put in their child’s back. She threw them all out. Not sold. Not Traded. Threw out. The act set the stage for the heart attack I had later in life. That said, my life changed as a young college boy. I discovered alcohol, dope and women, not always in that order. Comics were still cool, but my disposable income was spent on other things, like alcohol, dope and women.

In the early 90’s, for some reason I got the fever to start collecting again, not just new books but titles I had back in the day. With my OCD, I was on a mission. It didn’t matter about the condition of the book, I truly didn’t care about the value, but the pure enjoyment of the stories and art. I hit every place in town like a drunk on a bender, I knew there was next to no way I could get the first edition books I had, I was working in radio, after all, making less than a WalMart greeter, but reprints would do fine. Today I have a collection of books in 15-20 long boxes, totes, and post office crates (if you work for the Postal Service, ignore that last line please). Family and friends hated it when we moved, as one box alone could turn you into Christopher Reeve in an instant (hey, I’m talking Super-Heroes so the reference works).

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. My oldest grandson and one of his friends traveled with me to Mohegan Sun for something called Terifficon, a three-day geek-fest. Grandson #1 and Friend are big Funko Pop collectors, they made out like bandits, plus picking up lots of other goodies along the way. Me? I wasn’t going for comics directly, but I picked up some cool classic Mad Magazines, and some old Teen Fan books (my wife would love them) with The Beatles, The Osmonds, etc. I also went there for some celebrity Meet and Greets. I had a lot of them I wanted to see but the waiting line was nuts, so I focused on my primary target, Jonathan Frakes, Will Riker himself, a very cool guy. I also got my picture with the robot from the 60’s Lost in Space show too. The kids had a great time, as this was their first convention. My legacy will live on.

Speaking of which, in my will I am giving my comic book collection to all three grands. There may be a big fight over who gets what, but I don’t care, that’s on purpose…. hey, a grandpa can be a dick too you know.

Be hearing you.


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