How we used to buy comics

I’ve spoken in the past about how I used to buy comics back in the distant past of the 70s, but the thing is about that era few people walking around with a camera all the time as we all mostly do today. Today if you see something, you just pull out your phone, and if you want something then you can go online and you’re pretty much certain to get what you want.

In those days you’d be lucky to get the issue you want, but you might get something you weren’t looking for. It’s hard to describe the ragtag nature of buying comics back then this one picture helps show the chaos of the time.


I believe this picture is from the US in the late 70s, possibly California. The Hulk magazines in the background place it no later than 1980, but there are gems in that picture such as Jack Kirby’s 2001 adaptation and the Superman versus Spider-Man crossover from 1976.  But that’s how it used to be. No bags, no boards, no comic boxes just comics stuffed in whatever boxes they can fit in.

I love this picture and although California was thousands of miles away from where I grew up, this is very similar to me as a child going to markets or second-hand bookshops raking through boxes of old comics pulling out stuff I wanted (Herb Trimpe Hulk’s, any issue of The Flash, Avengers or JLA) as well as stuff I just liked the look of. Prices were never stupid, or designed to scam you like say, slabbed comics are today.  You bought them, you read them and you loved them. Then that mutated into collecting them…

These days are long gone of course, but to have a time machine, a pocket rammed with cash and to go back to buy as much in this picture as possible.