As mentioned in my previous post, I have a problem with leaving comic book stores empty handed. If there's nothing new out that interests me, I'll dig through the back issues, see if I can find something to fill a gap in my collection, or just pick up a random issue based on the goofy cover. This can be a rewarding experience, but it's often an impulse to make the fruitless trip feel "worth while", and most of the time these issues end up getting filed away, unbagged and unread.
This feeling of obligation is also present when I come across comics in an unexpected place, minus the buyer's remorse. One might see a secondhand book store as a likely place to find comics, but when you do find them, they are poorly organized and often have the price stickers stamped onto their covers. (Why why WHY do book stores feel the need to devalue their product?) But upon visiting chain store Half-Price Books to (ironically) shop for CD's, I discovered that they dabbled in the secondhand comic book market. I expected to find your run of the mill fifty cent bin selection, but they had everything from issues of Batman, Spider-man, X-Men, Action Comics, Civil War, 52, and with dividers to organize them; to books as recent as the Kevin Smith penned Batman: Widening Gyre mini series. The sound $1.50 price tag most books carried made my jubilation all the more palpable as I dug through the bagged and boarded DC, Marvel, and Independent selections (though the latter was certainly lacking for choices - I left the Liberty Meadow and Body Bag issues for the next person to discover). I found a few gems, as seen in the photo above: two silver age Green Lanterns, and the second and last issues of the Watchmen mini series, issues that have been scarce since the comic's craptastic film adaptation turned them into must-haves.
Had I purchased these last Wednesday at a comic book store, I would be just as happy to have them, but the exhilaration of the unexpected bargain hunt made it a memorable discovery. It felt rewarding because it was part of the crazy game we call "I feel acomplished because I recognized the value of something others overlooked". Okay, not a very succinct game title, but you get the point. It was a cheap thrill, and an experience that also gave me hope for new readers. I reckon there are a lot of youngsters that will be successful in convincing mom or dad to pick up the $1.50 comics for them, and from the selection of titles at this store, they have a good chance to pick up something that may make them curious enough to visit a real comic book shop.