by Chuck Brouillette
When I was a kid there were ads in the back of comics listing comic collectors who sold vintage comics. And at that time all I wanted was real copies of JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA 21 and 22. They were ten years old at the time and I was only a couple of years older but the closest I’d ever got to possessing those two comic gems was in my dreams. Somehow, discovering that brilliant, four-color team of super do-gooders, and the comics that recorder their adventures, had given me the power to, while dreaming, be able to bring to life those mini cover art images of other books that ran as ads in some of the more vintage comics that I could get my hands on. But regrettably they never survived the dream.
And that’s why I was forced to resort to mail order.
And they came. And they were beat up but they were real, and live, or well, you know. And there were other older books of course, and over the years other venues for getting my hands on the books that predated my newsstand picks.
When I was in junior high I met a kid who had an older brother who had an extensive collection dating back 10 years or so that he was offering up for sale and he had them piled high and all laid out on sheets of plywood and resting on wooden saw horses that he had set up in the attic. Can you imagine? I hardly could. My first live Comic Market Place other than the local drug store. And it was like one those spectacular bazaars you’d see in Cairo or some such in an old movie, but with comic books.
And over the decades since, of course, comic cons have sprung up in most major and even moderately sized cities, with kids of all ages gaining the opportunity to add to their collections.
Which brings me back to my favorite comic vendor today.
He was obviously helping out a buddy and knew not a lot about comics but he was pleasant, and helpful, and genuinely wanted to know why I picked up the books I did. Because, from what I’d surmised, he wanted to learn about what his customer base was interested in. And I told him I picked up some books that were published probably a few years before I started reading comics and I might have acquired them at one point over the years, or maybe I thought I had but never did. But it did recall that I’d loved the cover image and the art, and the first place I saw them was in little image ads in other comics.
Chuck Brouillette is an artist and writer living in Saratoga Springs, NY.
You can view how he does both @ChuckBrouilette/Twitter