I’ve been reacquainting myself with the world of comics over the last few months. I got heavily into Kirby’s New Gods and Mister Miracle first. Then I discovered the current Hawkman title. Then I discovered the older Hawkman/Hawkworld titles. Then, well, you get the idea.
I’ve also discovered I have way more shop options than I thought. I’ve been going to the Fantasy Shop and places like Half Price Books and Slackers to find comics in my area. Turns out, I have two hardcore comic shops within five minutes of my house. Add to that another shop near the community center I work out at (when I get around to it), and I’m pretty flush with options. It’s been fun visiting each while I’ve been hunting down specific issues.
One thing I never took much interest in until now are comic shop dollar bins. When I started getting back into comics several years ago, my opinion on back issues was one of quality. If I were paying roughly $3 each for back issues, then I wanted the best version possible. Dollar bins were where you found the beat up, yellowed books no one wanted. It was a crap shoot if books were bagged and in any kind of order.
Back in March, one of the local stores held a fifty cent back issue tent sale. I debated going because of this prejudice toward the dollar bins. I was looking for a specific New Gods issue though, so at the last minute I veered off in the direction with the mindset of spending twenty minutes max there.
Well, I found the issue I was looking for. I also found another thirty or so books, including almost the entire run of Mister Miracle from the late 80s. For fifty cents each, I didn’t care what condition they were in.
After that day, the floodgates opened. I started hitting every shop to dig through their dollar bins. That’s where I found a lot of old Hawkman books, old Thor books, old books I knew about but had never read. It was a gold mine and I was surprised these books were just sitting here…for a dollar each.
It’s a lot of drudgery looking through the disorganized mess that comes with the dollar bins, but it’s been a hell of a good time finding diamonds in the rough. I’m even looking forward to upcoming conventions specifically for their dollar bins.
It hit me early on in this new appreciation for the dollar bins: this is originally how I began collecting comics, specifically back issues. I had an allowance of six dollars. If my local shop (RIP Comics, Card and More) had two of the same back issue, one at forty cents and one at a dollar (prices were different back then), I’d almost always choose the forty cent option so I could stretch my allowance. Quality didn’t matter, the story did.
So that’s what I’m doing now and why I think I love it so much. Not only am I getting decent quality books for the most part, but most importantly I’m getting more for my money. It’s to the point now where I’m going back and catching up on a lot of 90s titles I missed and have cancelled most of my current titles. Comic books are $3-$4 an issue now. That’s three or four dollar books (more if I catch a fifty cent sale). Why wouldn’t I be stoked for that kind of return?