It all started when my girlfriend was supposed to go out of town for her friend’s birthday. Desperate to fill the time in this weekend, I made plans to record a podcast with my friend, Andrew. Even though my girlfriend ended up not leaving, those plans still came to fruition, and I also stumbled upon the fact that Klaus Janson, longtime artist and inker for Marvel and DC, would be appearing at Casablanca Comics. That, coupled with the fact that I had a gift certificate to the other comic book store in Portland, Coast City Comics, meant that Saturday was turning into an impromptu comic book day.
I ventured into the city, parking at a garage (an event at the Cumberland County Civic Center was flooding the streets with cars) and made my way first to Coast City. With a $30 gift certificate in my hand, I knew my mission: I wouldn’t be blowing this on 10 three dollar back issues, no, I wanted something fancy. I looked up at their wall of expense, where they keep the more expensive “show pieces”, and found the perfect book: a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #29 for $45.00. I love Spider-Man, Silver Age Spider-Man is some amazing stuff, pardon the pun, and best of all, this issue was in great shape for such a price. Between that and a couple other issue I had my eyes on, I ended up spending $20 and getting much more than my money’s worth.
From there I ventured down the wintry streets of Portland, Maine to Casablanca Comics to meet Klaus Janson. The line was of respectable length, but moved briskly. Even so, Klaus was very nice and talkative to the fans, many of whom were dropping down issues of Daredevil on which he had worked alongside Frank Miller. I myself got him to sign four issues of What If (I’ve collected all 200+ issues, so now collecting sigs on them has become somewhat of a “sub-hobby”), as well as an issue of Black Panther (featuring the first appearance of the latest incarnation of the Black Knight, because I also collect all first appearances of the Black Knight, because I’m a super-dork) and the lenticular cover edition of Sensational Spider-Man #0 (the Ben Reilly one, of which Klaus said it was “terrible 3-D”). I told him I collected all of the “What Ifs” and his reaction was one of mild bemusement, as if he was secretly incredulous that I would collect so much schlock. But as he was examining What If Vol 1, Number 3, “What If The Avengers Had Never Been?”, he said to me “I don’t…I don’t get it,” and I replied “If you think about any of this too hard…” and he responded “That is true.” It serves as sort of a parable for comic collecting, I think: People might not get it, but go get what you want and try not to overanalyze it.