Not too long ago, my friend texted me and asked me what comics I used to read in highschool. It was a pretty random out-of-the-blue question, so before answering I asked him why he wanted to know. He explained that he’d just finished the Punisher series on Netflix and wanted to keep the story going, so he called up the local comic book store downtown and told him he was interested in Punisher comics.
I haven’t read comic books in at least 20 years, but have loved watching the recent film and TV adaptations of some of my favorite characters. So when he mentioned what he’d done, I was shocked at the simplistic brilliance of it all. He had called the store looking for Punisher comics, so naturally, they asked him what specific issues he wanted. Not knowing comics he told him to just pick their favorites and anything that included the character Micro. Apparently, this isn’t something that happens very often because they were also interested in what he was up to. When all was said and done, he managed to pick up about 30 books in decent readable condition for about $50. Since he’d prepaid over the phone, all he had to do was show up and they handed him a bag full of comics. Couldn’t be easier.
The thing is, I used to love comic books in the nineties. Hence the text message – He knew I was into a bunch of different titles and figuring since we have similar tastes, he may like them as well. I told him I thought his plan was fantastic, and that I’d call the store and pick up a bunch of titles myself. We could then trade them back and forth when we were done reading them. And so I called the store and told them what characters and series I was looking for. As it turns out, when you’re not super choosey about a particular issue, or if it has to be in mint condition, the staff are really excited to help you out. They realize that you’re planning on reading these things, and not leaving them on a shelf to collect dust (and presumably, appreciate in value).
I ended up with a lot of the same titles I’d originally had in the nineties, most of which had been lent out and never returned, or simply lost for some random reason. It was like revisiting old friends – comics like Spawn, Daredevil, Deadpool, and Pitt, I was surprised at how well I remembered the stories. Flipping through the pages and admiring the artwork, I felt like I was back in high school. As soon as the current lockdown in Ontario is lifted, I’ll be delivering these issues to my friend and picking up some from him, and I suspect this is something we’ll continue even after Covid is finally over. It’s a small price to pay for hours of enjoyment.
If you’re looking for a way to support a local business during these trying times, maybe consider giving one a call and letting them pick the titles. It doesn’t have to be comics, it could be a good second-hand used bookstore, record store, or hobby shop. Just give them a rough idea of what you’re looking for and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite, or rediscover a favorite from your past.