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The Fantastic Four and how it fits into my little corner of the universe... posted by PowderedH2O

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A little something about why I love this title, and why it has such significance to me.

 

I was born in 1965 and I purchased my first comic book in early 1972. I was a kid on a 25 cent allowance, so I was only buying four or five comics a month. So, these books were generally the characters that I knew from television: Superman, Batman, etc. But, occasionally my dad would bring home a comic for me, which was beyond my allowance. On one such day, I had gotten straight A's on my report card, so dad graciously offered to purchase ten comic books for me (this was 1973, so this would be about a $2 purchase). He asked me which titles I wanted, but I really had no idea, so I just told him to make his own choices.

Dad brought home a variety of things. I got war comics, western comics, some Harveys, and something called Marvel's Greatest Comics featuring the Fantastic Four. Now, as a seven year old, I had never heard of the Fantastic Four. But, I read the comic fervently over and over. It was a reprint of an old Lee/Kirby tale from the 1960's, but to me it was fresh and exciting. When I received my next week's allowance, I went and purchased the latest issue of the Fantastic Four!

Over the next few years, I bought a lot of the reprints and a lot of the new issues. Of course, my comics were coverless, because I read them each a million times. So, what issues did I have? Who knows? But I read them. Then, when I hit about ten or eleven years old, I sort of took a couple years off from comics. I maybe only bought five comics those two years. I guess a lot of kids reached that point in those days. Everyone read comics at 7 or 8, but most got out of them by the time they hit middle school. I was no different.

I was in a drugstore waiting for my mom to pick up a prescription in 1978 (I was 13) when I wandered over to the spinning comic rack and the magazines and paperbacks. I noticed a pocket book that had the first six issues of Fantastic Four reprinted in them. I started reading it and eventually my mom agreed to purchase it for me. I went home and read that book cover to cover about a dozen times. Maybe more. I remembered how much I loved the FF! The next day, I walked up to that drug store and found the current issue of the FF on the rack (#195). And, I looked and found #'s 192, 193, and 194 on the rack as well. So, needless to say, I bought them all.

As fate would have it, my dad came home a few nights later from work and mentioned that he had driven past an used bookstore that he thought had comic books in it. He offered to take me there on the following Saturday. I only had three dollars, but I was stoked! We went to the store, and I found Fantastic Four #100 sitting there (in fair condition)for two dollars. So, I snatched it up and grabbed a couple of mid 1970's FF's and I came home. Now I was hooked.

Over the next couple of years, I went back to that store at least twenty times and bought every FF they had (which was mainly 1970's issues). I had a complete run for about a seven year span. Then, I got a job at the Sizzler when I turned sixteen, and I started having a decent amount of money to spend on comics. I grew up in New Orleans, and there were starting to be some bigger comic shops opening up. I was their best young customer.

One day, in 1982, a local store called the Book Swap (which still exists as "BSI" now, but in a different location) got a copy of Fantastic Four #1. It was fair to good at best. But, it was the first time I had ever actually seen it in person. I couldn't believe it. So, I asked the owner (Carl) how much he wanted for it, and he said $350. I asked him if he would take payments over a two week term (when I got paid again) and he agreed since he knew me. And when I had gotten my paycheck, I owned my holy grail of comics. I had it for two years. I had it in a comic bag, then framed it on the wall. It was my prized possession. But, when I was 18, my dad lost his job, and we needed money for bills. I sold my entire collection to help the family, which included the FF #1, for $500. I quit comics on the spot.

Over the past thirty years I've dabbled here and there. I haven't bought a new comic in at least twenty years. But, every now and then I'd buy a cheap book off of ebay just to read. A couple of years ago I came to this site for the first time. I bought some FF's and eventually sold them. But, I regretted it. So, recently, I bought some nice graded ones. Well, nice to me at least. I can't afford 9.8's, I am a school teacher. I decided to buy raw books from the 70's on, and graded books from the Kirby days.

I just made a deal for a graded FF 1 a few days ago with a fellow forum member. I should have it in about a month. I can't believe the amount of money I am spending on a comic book. But, I have no regrets. And somewhere, my dad is looking down on me and smiling too, because he knew what that FF 1 meant to me once upon a time.

 

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"And when I had gotten my paycheck, I owned my holy grail of comics. I had it for two years. I had it in a comic bag, then framed it on the wall. It was my prized possession. But, when I was 18, my dad lost his job, and we needed money for bills. I sold my entire collection to help the family, which included the FF #1, for $500. I quit comics on the spot."

 

This really got me choked-up. I can only imagine how you must have felt... giving up such a thing you treasured... but you sacrificed it all for the love of your family. That is incredible! I don't know many teens let alone adults who would do this.

 

I'm happy to hear you are a teacher... it seems fitting... you must have dozens of stories like this to inspire impressionable young minds.

 

The FF is my favorite Silver Age title! And growing up in the late 70's and early 80's, it was one of my favorite titles alongside Iron Man, Uncanny X-Men, Avengers, Daredevil and Thor. The FF have one of the best rogues gallery... between Dr. Doom, Galactus, The Skrulls, Blastaar, The Sphinx... just some of the coolest villians making for great storytelling. And the cameos from the Silver Surfer, the Inhumans, the Kree... it was never a dull moment with the FF.

 

Thanks for sharing your fondest comic book memories! Like the other boardies said, "Keep it coming!".

 

SW3D

 

 

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This is a seriously awesome journal. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Fantastic four were some of the first books I read. They got the same treatment of repeat reading until they were ruined. Mine were late 80s early 90s books. But congrats on your FF 1. Please write a journal with some scans once you receive it.

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Thank you for your very kind words. I will certainly scan and/or photograph the FF 1 once I have it. I am just as excited about pursuing the other issues. Maybe I need to get some Marvel's Greatest Comics to use as readers. I'm also looking forward to picking up a few other nice books. Maybe some silver age stuff... Who knows?

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great journal--- I think we all can identify with this story---- I remember that little book that contained issues 1-6--- I had the FF, and the first two volumes of spiderman, collecting 1-12---- FF1 is a holy grail for me--- im trying to buy up all the key's in at least 5.0 or better--- so far I only have ASM, Avengers, and Sgt Fury--- Patience, and of course money will get us there....

 

thanks for sharing

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It has been a couple of years since I posted on this journal, so I thought I would update it. In August of 2014, my wife and I both went back to school, so collection money was gone. I bought some nice graded FF's, held onto them for a couple of years, then sold them with the thought "who am I kidding? I can't finish this."... and then it came time to sell my FF #1... and I couldn't do it. I looked at one of the Masterworks and read some stories. I got my collecting mojo back. Then I bought a few low to mid grade FF's here on the boards, and I got rolling again. I picked up issues 6, 10, and 11 in the past few weeks. I have about 40 different issues in the first 100 and I almost have 101-200 completed. I might actually do this! I have decided to finish the Kirby issues graded by CGC, and the rest will remain raw. I'm kinda thinking by the end of 2017 that I might have the first 200 issues done. Go figure.

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