“He is man at his best, but he is also a tragic figure because he has focused on one thing to the exclusion of everything else,” says Rick Christie of Batman, one of his favorite comic book heroes. His other favorite is Wolverine, who he describes as raw and constantly in self-conflict. Exciting character development, solid plots, and fast action are what hooked Christie on comic books. The 42-year-old business editor for the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida, has more than 5,000 comic books, which he has been collecting for more than 30 years.
He was 10 when his uncle bought him his first comic, which featured the Incredible Hulk. “It wasn’t until the mid ’80s that I really started collecting these books,” says Christie. “Back then, we bought comic books to read. If you held on to books, it was because you just loved them. Today, kids factor in if the book is going to be worth something down the road.”
Christie, who spends roughly $25 a week on new comics, has never sold a book, but he does have several that are valuable. (He estimates the value of his collection to be $25,000.) One of his favorites is issue 181 of Marvel Comic’s The Incredible Hulk, which features Wolverine. He has given many away to nephews, children, and libraries. “I thoroughly enjoy them, but I also believe that they are a great way to encourage young people to read.”
PREMIERE ISSUES: Look for No. 1 issues or issues that introduce new heros, villains, and other characters.
PROTECT THEM: Christie suggests preserving your comic books by packaging them against cardboard in mylar bags, which you can buy from your local comic book store.
DO YOUR RESEARCH: Christie recommends resources such as Wizard Magazine (www.wizarduniverse.com) and The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide by Robert Overstreet (House of Collectibles; $25). Nicolas Cage sold his comic book collection for a reported $1.7 million this year.