I have found that most monster movie kids are also comic book fans. They either read them in their youth or still avidly collect them today. For me, I was a comic book collector before I discovered monster movies. I first collected Disney and Harvey comics along with other funny titles, usually purchased in trips to McConnell Air Force Base with my parents. We would go about once every other month to make a big grocery run at the commissary, followed by a visit to the PX where I usually came away with some comics. By the mid-70s, I discovered Batman and Superman in those wonderful Super Pac three-in-one collections. Fast forward to 2014 and I still collect, although the DC New 52 initiative now puts me in an old man category as I prefer to buy older comics from the silver age.
Next weekend, I’m headed to Planet Comicon in Kansas City with my good friend Joe. With any luck, I’ll come away with a few autographs and some old comics to fill in my gaps as I work my way through Batman, Detective Comics and Justice League of America. Of course, an old horror title usually finds its way home with me as well. Last year’s amazing find was an insanely cheap copy of Creepy #1. However, I may have to add something to my wish list. Several years ago, I ran across this story on eBay about Pop Hollinger. He seems to be the world’s first comic book collector/dealer and he lived in Concordia, Kansas (about 2 ½ hours north of Wichita, close to the Nebraska border). Of course, I’m sure there are similar stories in other parts of the country but this one hits close to home.
Chances are, if you collect old comics, you may have run across one of his “rebuilt” comics. Pop would place tape on the spine to help them last longer as they were sold or traded amongst collectors. I know I did when I was much younger but I never had the money to buy one at the time. Take the time to read his amazing story on eBay. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time to the late 60s and visit his shop on a Saturday afternoon. I love the musty smell of an old comic and I can just imagine what treasures that little basement shop had. As I walk around Planet Comicon next weekend, I may just have to pick up one of his trademark comics just for the novelty alone. Sure, the tape ruins the value but I’ve never been one to get so wrapped up in that part of collecting. I enjoy the art work and the story. I never expect my collection (now reaching over 7,300 comics) to pay off the house or a cruise to the Bahamas. But it has brought me a lot of enjoyment over the years and reading Pops’ story just made me smile. On this cold and snowy early Spring Saturday, I plan on reading a stack of comics myself. It’s just another part of being a monster movie kid.