I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time. In literal terms, I’ve been sitting on this post since last August, unable to put words on a page for a number of reasons, many of which were beyond my control. But more broadly, I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to say next since I first decided for whatever reason that I wanted to own every issue of The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series.
I own Amazing Spider-Man #1, and I’ve owned it for more than eight months.
How did I manage to keep this information to myself without exploding in glee and excitement? In short (because legally, I think I need to keep it short), last summer I shot a segment for a reality television show that involved the purchase of this comic. My wife and I visited a designated comic book shop that we were told “might” have a copy of ASM #1, walked into said store with cameras rolling in our face, and then conducted a legitimate (and quite frankly, stressful) negotiation over the price of ASM #1. My wife, in particular, pulled the power move of all power moves (and is unquestionably the one who clinched the sale for us), when the seller refused to budge on his asking price of $1950 and she decided to lay 19 $100 bills on the counter and said “take it or leave it.”
The seller took it. I had purchased a rather attractive looking Good-minus copy of ASM #1 that is CGC-slabbed to boot.
Unfortunately, that’s the most information I can share about the actual transaction. My wife and I both signed confidentiality agreements about the experience and want to try and honor those. The only reason why I’m even talking about it now is because a full season of this show has come and gone and we were told our footage would not be included. I could naturally question why they didn’t think my wife and I were good television – especially with her bold money on the counter move – but what do I know about these things? And to be honest, all I really care about is that I now own ASM #1 (and what better day to celebrate that than by announcing it on a day where volume three of the ASM series is released).
This was/has been an incredibly surreal experience for me. Since I first started talking about my collection on Chasing Amazing three years ago, I assumed that ASM #1 would be the final piece to completing my quest to own every issue of the series. Even when faced with the specter of buying this comic, I assumed that something would happen and I would either not be able to afford what was being offered to me, or I would just get cold feet and walk away. As bizarre as this sounds, despite the fact that I’m deliriously happy about this purchase (I recently picked up a custom-made CGC slab-sized wall frame and the comic is hanging in my living room), a part of me feels a bit off by this experience. There would have been something poetic about me picking up ASM #1 at the very end of my chase – I recall a number of you saying as much to me during the beginning months of this blog. But to paraphrase Nietzsche, poetry is dead, and I now own ASM #1.
As it stands, after unveiling my purchase of ASM #16 earlier this month, my remaining chase is now down to two issues of this series – ASM #3 and #6. No, I’m still not including Annuals for now and if you need me to explain again why I don’t, just click here (and I’m expecting a snarky comment from my good buddy Dan Gvozden in 5…4…3…2..1…). I’m also not including Amazing Fantasy #15 because I still maintain that regardless of my wife’s superheroics with hundred dollar bills, I will never be able to find a copy of that comic that is low-grade but visually acceptable and in my price range. Maybe if I hit the lotto, after paying off my college debts and paying off some other major expenses, I can put aside a bit and get Amazing Fantasy #15. For now, put it out of your mind. Besides, we are not here to talk about Annuals or Amazing Fantasy #15. We’re here to talk about the fact that I now own ASM #1.
I’m totally convinced that the last of the two issues to fall will be ASM #3. In addition to being the more expensive of the two, it’s a tricky comic to find in that much-ballyhooed (around here anyway) low-grade but visually acceptable condition and in my price range. Besides, there has to be something poetic about purchasing the first appearance of the “Superior Spider-Man” as a bookend to my quest to collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man (hardee har har).
I thought I would have more to say about ASM #1. I’ve already talked a great length about the story of the comic itself, so there’s no need to rehash that (that’s what links are for!). Perhaps if this issue truly was the last comic for my collection, I would have some long exhaustive post about what this journey has meant to me over the years; about how when I dropped 75 cents on the counter of a local candy/smoke shop to purchase my very first issue of ASM (ASM #296), the concept of spending thousands of dollars on something made of colored newsprint was so outrageous and implausible to me, that it would have melted my mind just to consider it. About how I would go to comic book shows for years, and always feel a short gasp of breath leave my lungs when I walked by a vendor that had copies of early Silver Age ASM’s available for purchase. About how after I finally purchased ASM #1 after more than 25 years of buying and collecting comic books, my wife and I went out for Thai food and I couldn’t even chew and swallow I was shaking so much from adrenaline, shock and excitement.
These are some of the things I could talk to you about, but I also need to save some of that for when I inevitably craft that post that I’ll probably title: “The Chase is Over.” But that’s not what I’m going to write at the moment. All that’s really necessarily to close out this post is another statement of facts.
I now own ASM #1.
Two issues to go.
Congratulations Mark! I know the chase isn’t over yet, but it’s great to hear you’ve bagged the big one. And a very nice looking copy to boot.
(Hopefully you’ll be able to reveal more of the details of the purchase at a later date: how you ended up in front of the cameras in the first place, and the experience of being involved in ‘reality TV’.)