Welcome back! In the last part of this series I brought you up to speed on my introduction to the DC Universe, Indie comics, and the challenge to look into the Marvel Universe which ended up introducing me to the X-Men. In this third part of this series I’m going to dive more into my love of X-Men comics and tell the story of “The Great Purge”.
As I explained in the last part, “Fall of the Mutants” was my gateway into the X-Men Universe. This storyline had me buying UNCANNY X-MEN and NEW MUTANTS on a regular basis. I would not start buying X-FACTOR until right before the “Inferno” crossover because I didn’t understand the significance of the X-Factor team and their ties into the X-Men universe for a while. Keep in mind, this is the late 1980s and the Internet is not a thing. My understanding of the X-Men universe came directly from the comics I read, both new and old. I knew who the original X-Men were, but I didn’t really care that much about them in regards to the stories I was reading in UNCANNY X-MEN and NEW MUTANTS. I did make a point when “Inferno” started to start buying X-FACTOR because of the storyline’s major villain – The Goblin Queen. Since she was the wife of Scott Summers, I felt I needed to start reading X-FACTOR for background information.
The “Inferno” storyline would be the first Marvel crossover that I made a point of picking up every tie-in much like I had done with MILLENNIUM and DC Comics. This would give me opportunities to try out a lot of other titles like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL, POWER PACK, and FANTASTIC FOUR. I would continue to read AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and DAREDEVIL for a very long time as Spider-Man and Daredevil would become two of my favorite characters. “Inferno” gave me a chance to walk around the Marvel Universe, not as much as MILLENNIUM did, but enough that I started picking up a lot more Marvel books. At this time WOLVERINE was on the stands. EXCALIBUR hit the stands. I would be deep into the X-Men Universe from roughly 1988 until 1995 when two things happened.
- Age of Apocalypse
- The Great Purge
If you know anything about the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, you know that Marvel cancelled all of the current X-Men titles that were being published at the time, and launched eight new series (which ended up only being 4-issues miniseries) with the X-Men in an alternate universe where Apocalypse ruled. I’m sure there will be a point where I dive deep into AoA, but now isn’t the time. I thought the idea of cancelling all of these titles and launching new titles was amazing! I was 110% behind it and loved every moment of AoA, but as the storyline ended I decided to not continue reading comics. Not just the X-Men titles, but all comics.
Not only did I stop reading comics. I did the unthinkable.
I sold them.
All of them.
At this point I had been reading comics for roughly ten years. I had been buying back issues for roughly eight years. I had accumulated a small collection that filled 24 long boxes. I sold approximately 7,000 comics to a new comic book store that had just recently opened in Durham at Northgate Mall. I could not tell you what the name of that comic book store is now if my life depended on it. I have blacked out a lot of that transaction from my mind. I do remember going to that shop one other time after I had sold those comics and just looked at the comics they had hanging on the wall with stupidly high prices. Most of them were from my collection. I had collected a lot of comics in the early 1990s. I had bought (and speculated) on a lot of comics that I would also buy multiple copies with the intent of selling them. I didn’t plan on selling them all at once. I was lucky that I had already sold the stack of SOLAR, MAN OF THE ATOM #10 I had bought. The sad part is that I made more money on selling those copies of #10 than I did with the entire collection I sold at once to that comic book store. I sold the entire collection for less than $500.
… yep. Not my proudest moment.
Now, the question you’re wondering is why did I sell all of my collection on one lump and take such a horribly low price. I was in college at the time and dating a girl. I wanted to propose to her because we were in love and I thought with her being a junior in college and me being a freshman that if I didn’t make a bold move that she might come to her senses and drop me for someone else. Needless to say I was not very good with decision making when it came to my emotions. We got engaged and I actually started buying comics again with her encouragement. She wasn’t in to comics, but she tried. She knew that was something I had given up for her (without her knowing). My luck was that she found herself a fan of Rogue, and she got me back into reading X-Men comics again. At this point I had only been away from comics for six months, so I decided to start back where I left off and picked up X-MEN PRIME which was the jumping on point after “Age of Apocalypse”. The comic shops in Boone, where I lived at the time, had loads of back issues so I just started buying up everything I could afford.
I would eventually break up with the girl. I would move away from Boone. And I would start a new job which paid me a lot more money than I had been making. I decided that this second go around would be different and I’d never sell my comics again. Oh, boy. That mindset will change as soon as I get introduced to eBay, but that’s another story.
So, that’s it. That’s my secret origin of becoming a comic book reader and collector. Comics have always been a source of entertainment for me, but they have also become a source of income for me for a stretch of time. Selling my first collection was very difficult. Selling my second collection wouldn’t be as tough. The third and fourth time wouldn’t sting as much either. As I’m writing this post I don’t know how many times I’ve bought and sold a collection of any size anymore. I started selling my collection again in January 2019 and had some decent success through Ebay and Instagram. I felt I was at the end of my “comic reading” life and selling these comics was my last time with them. The Jonathan Hickman came along and decided to break the X-Men…
… and I got hooked in again.