This past Saturday I pulled myself away from the Clemson-Wake Forest game to head over to the Greenville ComicCon in an effort to obtain even more comics for my already overcrowded collection. At least, this time out, I was armed with a list, and was trying target specific needs in my collection. And I wasn't alone -- my wife, despite being under the weather and in no real way a comic book fan, put on my Justice League of America t-shirt, packed some tissues and came along, occassionally popping up with a "I found some Iron Man over here" or "This guy's got some Flash books here." As long as I have known my wife, I have been impressed with her ability to deal with hardcore nerdery -- I remember one year at Borderlands "Big Sale," which is a mass of unwashed humanity trying to get good deals on gaming and comic goods, she simply grabbed a collection of Beetle Bailey, grabbed a seat in a corner and read for an hour. God I love her.
Here's how I fared at the Con.
Excalibur: In the last two years or so, I had completed my collection of the original Claremont/Davis run, right through the end of the "Cross Time Caper." My original collection, though, was spotty -- I began reading the title around when Davis came back and was essentially handling both writing and art chores, and was missing a few issues here and there. I was able to pick them all up (48, 56, 60-61, 64) at a good rate and thus complete everything I am actively seeking for the title. I might pick up an Ellis issue here and there, but otherwise, QED: I'm done.
Steel: The Indestructible Man: Frank will be glad to know that I did not go over his defined "whole run for $10" advice for this series, although I still have a little left to go. I was able to find #3 and #4 in very good shape from a surprisingly well-organized dollar bin. Both copies look quite nice for their age, and, interestingly, both issues contain two Steel stories apiece. Double the value! Unfortunately, the dealer (the only guy with any stock of Steel there) did not have a copy of either #1 or #5, so those remain on the list.
Black Lightning: The same guy who had the Steel also had some nice looking selection of Jefferson Pierce's first series. (Oddly, I find the original run a lot more than the second volume.) I would have liked to finish the run, but still, I got #6 and #8-10, leaving me only with #7 and #11 eluding me. Not too shabby all told, and I have to say that BL has some of my favorite DC covers from this era, including the really cool logo.
Iron Man: Ahh my Iron Man collection. Two whole boxes of my collection is nothing but Shellhead, the fruits of my labors over more than a decade, but primarily the last 3 years. Everything from 1996 onward is in the collection already, and budgetary reasons cause me to rely on reprints for the real early stuff, so I tend to focus on the late 70s through the early 90s when Iron Man shopping. Starting from when Bob & Dave came on board with #116, I have about 85% of the title up through the close of volume 1. So I'm mostly hunting for individual "onsey-twosey" type things. I picked up #183, #191-192, #279 (featuring my man Ronan The Accuser!), and Annual #10. The same dealer also had some stuff from the mid 70s, including #68 and #72, but no way I'm paying $2 apiece for books in such sorry shape -- I mean, one was missing it's back cover for crying out loud! I don't care if Shellhead does have a nose in the issue, I've got some standards for collection here.\
I also ended up picking Showcase Presents: Superman v.1 (you can't be 500 pages for $5!), Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement in Gotham (because Dredd rocks), and 200 bags and boards because I'm a geek. I also got a free Flash button, to go with my Legion of Superheroes, Vote Luthor 2000, and Mr. Myxzptlk buttons which I intend to wear on a lanier at some point.
I had to pass on a few things, though. One dealer had a full run of DC's Claw the Unconquered, which was very tempting. I probably could have talked him to under $20 for the set of 12, but thoughts of 'Do you really need another DC Explosion title?' made me hold back. I also put back Justice League of America Annual #3, featuring the Detroit League. If it had been #2, I might have pulled the trigger, but for $3, eh, I thought it was a bit much. Finally, despite this one dealer really putting the hard sell on me, I passed on a copy of The Life Story of the Flash autographed on the IFC by Mark Waid. I like the Flash, and I like Waid, but he wanted too much for it, and I'm sorry but being a jerk to your potential customers? Yeah, pal, it's a turn off.
All in all, I was satisfied with what I was able to buy despite this being a very small Con. It's never a good sign when your Con is in the "ballroom" of a Days Inn. But that's okay, I had fun and my wife didn't seem too put out either. I would have liked to spend more time digging through the dollar bins and finding "buried treasure," but you know what? Sometimes it's better to have a plan and stick to it.