Tips on How to Build Your Comic Collection
I'm a HUGE comic book geek! I have god knows how many long boxes stacked at my house, an entire room dedicated to action figures and statues, not to mention damn near every comic movie ever made on DVD (sans Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern...because that movie just straight up blows). But the weird thing about getting into the comic world is it's kinda like Fight Club. You know it exists, but nobody really wants to talk about it. I guess folks don't want you poaching that key issue they've had their eye on or maybe they just don't want the world to know they are a super geek. Either way, to give you a helping hand in expanding your collection or maybe just starting one for the first time, here are all the things you need to know.
Figure Out What You Like
The very first thing you need to do before building a collection is determining what you like. I'm a huge fan of Crime stories and stuff like that so growing up I got really attached to characters like Judge Dredd, Daredevil, the Punisher and writers like Frank Miller and Alan Moore. So whether you've seen the Spiderman movies and dug them or are into Sci-Fi and Dr. Who, there will be a series of books and writers that you'll really dig.
Visit a Local Comic Book Shop
The next step is to establish a connection with your local comic book shop. We have several here in town, but my main base of operation hands down is Excalibur comics on 70th Street. They have a huge selection and a very knowledgeable staff.
Once you create a base of characters that you like, Randy and Chris can direct you to key stories that you will enjoy from those characters. They'll hook you up with iconic storylines from the past and direct you to which books you should be reading now. For example, if you pick Daredevil as a character you want to start your collection with, they'll probably guide you to one of the phenomenal runs from Frank Miller like his 'Man Without Fear' mini-series and tell you to start reading the current run from Mark Waid.
Speaking of current issues, they can also help you set up a pull list where you are guaranteed to get the new comics you want each and every week. You'll also get a small price break on your purchases, which doesn't suck.
Caring For Your Comics
Before diving in head first and blowing a ton of money at Excalibur on Silver Age books, you should learn how to care for your books. Caring for you comic books is important if you ever want to pass them down to the next generation, want to re-read them, or keep the value of any high end books you may acquire. The easiest way is to buy bags and boards for you comic books from the comic book store, and place them in short or long boxes, which are also available at comic book stores. This will seem like a money waster, but it will pay out in the end and allow your comics to look much nicer.
This would also be a great time to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of comic grading and to pick up a copy of the Overstreet Price guide. Overstreet isn't 100% accurate, but it is a good guide so you don't get hosed when you are adding to your collection, i.e. paying dead nut mint price for a book that is a 2 on the grading scale.
Once you get your comic collection rolling and you decide you want to step up to adding in some premium books, be selective and just don't buy the first issue you see. A great example of this from my time collecting, is New Mutants 98. I'm a big Deadpool fan and was looking to get a better looking copy of his first appearance.
I searched eBay and they were selling for obscenely high amounts. Hit one of the other local comic shops and they were also selling this book for a ridiculous price. Then I talked to the guys at Excalibur and they tracked down a beautiful copy for me that is about half of whatever one else is selling it for. The point is be smart and shop around.
Another option to build your collection on the cheap are flea markets and yard sales. A lot of times you can buy huge lots of books for less than 50 cents a book. I can't tell you how many times I've found full runs of key series for dirt cheap.
Have Fun and Enjoy It
The whole point of collecting anything is to enjoy it. Whether you are a casual fan that wants to know more about the Walking Dead universe and see how the books are different from the show or are a hardcore Spawn fan that knows his entire origin and back story, enjoy the experience and your collection. That's the great thing about comic shops, no matter what time or day you go in, there is always someone in there that is willing to talk shop with you and is equally as passionate about their favorite characters and universes as you are.