Early on in my collecting journey, I focused mostly on FF and soon added ASM. ASM soon became my favorite and Marvel had a couple more titles featuring Spidey - MTU and Peter Parker. I started collecting these as well. At the time, I also watched the Saturday morning Superfriends cartoons (it was early around 7am?) featuring the DC superheroes. Spiderman was completely different from Superman and the other more familiar DC superheroes. He was young, had everyday struggles (such as paying the rent), was cracking jokes and was definitely more relatable. His origin back-story about why he wanted to become a hero was also interesting and it just felt right. I don't recall the first issue of ASM that I bought off the rack - but it was somewhere between 180 and 200. I remember being disappointed in #200 (no new villain, just the same burglar). Within a year or two, I became aware of that pivotal key in Spidey's life, ASM #121. That was a shocker and I knew I had to get a copy. I eventually did, and I also bought some other earlier issues along the way from a local comic store (#131, 139-140). The villains were also pretty creative, well-developed, powerful and ruthless, and it was very entertaining.
Within several months of starting ASM, I began collecting other Marvel titles. X-Men was the other big one. That also captivated me, with a team of mutants that worked together to fight off larger, more complex, and other-worldly enemies. Similar to ASM #121, I know I had to get #94. I already mentioned how I had to decide between GSX #1 and X-Men #94 in the last entry but I did put down GSX #1 as an alternate when I bought X-Men #94. I had started to collect X-Men right around the time of the death of Phoenix (#137). Shortly after that momentous issue, Kitty Pryde and Days of Future Past debuted. Really great stories.
In my early collecting days, I focused on the big 3: ASM, FF and X-Men. Later, I started to collect other titles as well. One other memorable story arc was DareDevil after Frank Miller took over. Growing up in Hawaii, we would sometimes get to watch Japanese programming on TV. One of my favorites was Kage No Gundan, or, Shadow Warriors, about a Ige Ninja clan. It was a weekly series that ran for 4-5 seasons in the early 80s. That Daredevil run with the Hand were fantastic and I remember running some string from one wall to another in my bedroom and hanging these DD books from them, displaying them like someone hanging their clothes. It was my way of being able to look at their covers constantly, like pieces of art hanging in a museum. Elektra and her sai were also enjoyable to read, as I had never seen those sai weapons before. I started to draw my own comics, modeling enemies and battle scenes after DD and his battles with the Hand.
I did collect Avengers and a little Hulk but wasn't really into Captain America. When Wolverine appeared and starred in X-Men, I had a feeling he'd get his own series and couldn't wait for that to happen. When it finally did in 1982, I quickly bought several copies of Wolverine #1-4. I was 15 at the time, and this was the first time thinking that comics could be worth more down the road. It was the first time when I intentionally bought more than one issue of a comic for investment purposes. I bought 4 copies of #1, 2 of #2, #3 and 2 of #4. I just recently submitted one of my #1's to CGC last December. Around the same time, I started to invest in acid-free boxes, Mylar sleeves and acid-free boards - it was pretty expensive and the boxes were pretty heavy.
The early 80's were memorable to me as several new titles appeared: G.I. Joe, printed on that newer, better paper, New Teen Titans and TMNT. It wasn't long before TMNT started to fetch incredible prices. Once or twice in the late 1980's, I would buy an Overstreet and look up some of the prices - I looked up Wolverine, G.I. Joe, the Jim Lee issues of X-Men and TMNT, in particular, since those issues were taking off. I recall back then how I had wished I was able to get TMNT, but I was glad to have G.I. Joe #1 and some of the X-Men.
Currently, the bulk of my collection remains in Hawaii while I've been living in Illinois ever since college. With the pandemic, I've asked my mom to look through and inventory the boxes little by little. Each time she goes through a book, it's like going on a treasure hunt since I had forgotten a lot of what I had collected. It's funny, once she said I had FF #12 and I got really excited before finding out it was FF Annual #12. I had to ask her to take some pics, because of that reason and also because there are so many Spiderman series and titles that it can get confusing. Sometimes, I'm pleasantly surprised, such as when she told me that I had FF #66 and #112. Other times, I'm disappointed that I didn't have Star Wars #42 (I have #7-69 but not 39 and 42). Of course, I remembered I had X-Men #94 and ASM #121 (low grade) among the keys. There are still 8 boxes on the top-most shelf that my mom can't get to, so the next time I'm able to get to Hawaii, I'll be sure to see what's in those boxes. I know my G.I. Joe run is in there. The really big question is if I have IH #181. For whatever reason, I just remember that I was disappointed with the story. That issue hasn't come up so far in the other 26 short boxes the my mom inventoried. However, I'm not even sure that I do have a copy. Maybe I'm just wanting to believe that I have it so much that I became convinced that I have it. Maybe I read a reprint, or maybe I just imagined it? At my age, I can't trust my memory anymore. Until I go back, I can only hope. Who knows what lies in those other 8 boxes? Maybe IH181 and TMNT #1 (highly doubtful)! I'll just have to wait to find out.