I am constantly amazed at the varied way in which comic fans collect their favourite books. Some of us just like to buy new stuff, some only like small press, some like alternate covers, some silver age, and so on. I like to collect stories. I see a storyline that I want to read and I pick it up. Sometimes this is very easy, the publishers have done all the work for me and placed this gem into a collected work, but sometimes (and this is where it gets fun) I have to look for the story myself.
Now I am not talking about just wanting the issues. I know that some of you out there must have the issues and would never buy a tradepaperback, but that isn’t me. If I can get the story in TPB form or in a value pack I will, but when I can’t I start my quest.
Currently I am completing an entire run of the Acts of Vengeance storyline from Marvel Comics. Crossing over into 70 issues this was one of the first large scale crossovers from the company. Loki comes up with the plan that all the villains should fight different heroes than usual; the idea is that the heroes would be caught off guard fighting a new enemy. Some of the issues are great (Spider-man, X-men, Thor), and some are not necessarily the top level of quality that we have come to expect from the House of Ideas (Punisher fighting Doombots!?, Scorpion vs. Alpha Flight!?), but all can be found for under $5 an issue.
So I head to the bargain basement of my local comic shop, and if you haven’t checked the value section of your favourite store I highly recommend it. Normally any shop worth its salt will have a tonne of stuff for only $2 a pop. I begin to dig, and it isn’t very long before I fine some key West Coast Avengers issues. Sweet! Next I am lucky enough to come across some Dr. Strange that I needed, but, the final coup de grace is that, wait for it, I find a NM issue of Damage Control #3. I am closer and closer to my complete Acts of Vengeance run.
You don’t have to look for the Acts of Vengeance (in fact, please don’t, I can’t have all of you scooping up my Power Pack issues), but there are a lot of great, and cheap, stories out there that have not been, and will never be, put into a TPB. Want to know how the Conan Villain Kulan Goth fought the X-men? Basement. Or how Warren Ellis completely revamped X-man? Basement. Or you might want to check out the issues where Superman executes the Phantom Zone Villains. Basement, basement, basement.
I guess what I am saying is that there is a great big comic book world out there, so go out and conquer it….$2 at a time.
Anthony Falcone is a freelance writer living in Toronto. He rocks the party that rocks the body.