It turns out, Comic Cons are still a great place to buy comic books. Among the vendor booths for games and geek fashion you can still find the occasional comic shop that has stocked the floor with the highlights of their inventory. It’s pretty cool to see really old issues of famous comics or the first appearances of iconic characters, and just how much it costs to own that kind of history.
The determined Comic Con attendee can find treasures of a different type if they’re willing to lower their eyes a little and rummage around. Many vendors will bring a healthy inventory of comics to their booth laid out in standard collection boxes. Though the contents of these boxes are rarely organized, they are the ideal place to find comics that may be personally meaningful, but not otherwise noteworthy or worth much money.
That’s a modern day treasure chest.
For better or worse, most of the comic books I enjoyed as a kid never received much acclaim, and they aren’t highly sought after as collector’s items. I gravitated towards heroes that were new so that I could experience their stories from the start. Heroes
like Darkhawk and teams like The New Warriors (coming soon to your TV!) caught my eye, but the best ever was getting in on the ground floor of an entire comics universe called Impact. The Impact universe was created with the idea that young readers needed an introductory line of comic books to enjoy, and resurrected forgotten properties from the Archie/Red Circle universes. Many comics at the time were trending towards anti-heroes and the dark supernatural like Spawn, and Impact offered a welcome alternative with bright heroes like Shield, The Fly, Comet, Jaguar and The Black Hood (seriously, check out The Black Hood. All-time underrated character. You’re welcome). Unfortunately, Impact only lasted for about two years before the line was cancelled.
It requires some digging, but the type of comics kid Mil Ruko liked are exactly the type of comics adult Mil Ruko can find in the dollar bins. You can find Impact comics in the dollar boxes, and there’s a certain special type of satisfaction when you do. You earned that comic. Not just with your dollar, but through how much you cared and your willingness to take the time to find it.
As an adult, the dollar boxes represent my best chance at making purchases in person that complete my childhood comic book collection. The comics vendors at Salt Lake Comic Con delivered.
I am a dollar box diver, and I am not ashamed.