The comic book store in Eugene was walking distance from my childhood home. This meant, from ages 10 to 13, whenever I got my allowance (between three and five dollars), I immediately walked over to Emerald City to promptly spend all of it. I usually one new comic for $1.95 and spending the rest on the bargain bin; worn, colored-on-with-crayon issues of Spiderman from the 80s and weird, discontinued comics, all for 5¢ to 25¢ a piece. I was a fiend, not just for the stories of outsider violence and the unrealistically drawn pictures of female superheroes. I was addicted to the instant gratification of wasting money. Once, for my birthday, I got a 50$ dollar gift certificate to the store. Now, a rational comic book enthusiast would spend it over time, carefully considering how to make the most of the gift. Me? I marched into Emerald City Comics, took one look at the display case and bought the 1st $50 comic I saw, a copy of Batman #500 signed by the writer. I was in and out in less than five minutes. And I had no regrets. Sure, I liked the comic books, but I loved wasting the money on them.
Then, somewhere in middle school, I got in my head that comic books weren’t cool and music was. I know had a new obsession, which, in the 15 years since, I’ve wasted thousands of dollars on, in much the same way. But I always had a thing comic book heroes (and general comic nerdom). I’d go see the summer comic book movies, when they didn’t look terrible, and catch the inside jokes, the winking asides to the nerds. In college, I briefly considered crafting my own major in Zombie Studies. The stuff I thought was cool when I was 12, I always thought was cool. And the past few months, I’ve made my way back to the comic book store.
The first couple times I wandered into one of the 13 comic book stores in San Francisco (that’s right. SF has 13 comic book stores) , I kind of didn’t know where to start. But slowly, with the help of dorky staff at these stores, I’ve gotten back on the horse. I’ve been picking up newer, grown-up, genre comics, by the big grown-up creators like Frank Miller, Ed Brubaker, et. al. I’ve been getting alt comics, from Top Shelf and Drawn and Quarterly. And I’ve checked out the latest installments of some of my old favorites, like X-men and Batman, which make absolutely no fucking sense anymore.
But, the best part is, in the last couple months, I’ve wasted a TON of money on comics! Last week I impulsively spent, like, 40 bucks (forty bucks!), on whatever I felt like, because I’m a grown-up and I have a credit card and I can do what the fuck I want. Some of them have been fucking incredible. (Check this out. It blew me away). Some of them, are, frankly, terrible. But mostly, I’m enjoying having a new (old) thing to waste money on. It actually makes me feel like a kid again.