Right now I’m typing this with one hand (get your minds out of the gutter) because in my other hand I hold something extremely dear to me (again, out of the gutter. Stop making this uncomfortable for the both of us). In my left hand I hold a very significant comic; Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1. If that doesn’t sound familiar or important to you, that’s because it isn’t. Not even by Iron Man comic standards. However, I once told you that comics are my drug and I just scored the biggest hit of my life. This sketch variant cover comic that came out in 2008, which I am holding in my hand (and nothing else) is signed by Stan ‘The F$*@#%G Man” Lee.
In that previous post, I detailed how I obtained my first comic holy grail (who knew there was more than one?), but that purchase sent me on this new journey. It became apparent to me that there were only a few options laid out before me if I wanted a Stan Lee signed comic. The first would be to spend hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars to attend a convention he’d attend, like San Diego Comic-Con, and hope I’m fortunate enough to be able to purchase tickets to meet Stan Lee and have him sign a comic I already own (obviously it’d be Tales of Suspense #39, and then I could die happy), but seeing that I’m a struggling author making that Geekade money, that may not be possible for many years, and while Stan Lee may be immortal, I don’t want to chance it.
That leaves only one option; purchasing a pre-signed comic. I searched local comic shops and conventions but only found ‘The Man’s’ signature on non-Iron Man books or even worse, titles he had nothing to do with. For this itch to be sufficiently scratched, the signature would have to be on an Iron Man book, there was no getting around that (though the novelty of a Stan Lee signed issue of Spawn has its charm). Another problem that was brought into question was the credibility of some of the sellers I had come across. Could I really trust a dealer claiming that Stan Lee decided to sign a copy of Spawn #83 for shits and giggles?
With few choices before me, I decided to go with option B, and purchase a signed CGC graded Iron Man comic from a reputable website. The comic would be delivered with a certificate of authenticity from CGC (Comics Guaranty Company) and delivered to my door, all without my having to leave the house (I really love online shopping). So with the click of my mouse, and not much consideration of my finances or the impact this purchase would make on me, I was the proud new owner of a Stan Lee signed Iron Man comic.
As exciting as that was, it wasn’t until the book arrived at my door and I was able to actually hold it in my hand that my long-awaited drug hit knocked me on my ass. I, the snot nosed punk who nearly thirty years ago bought an Iron Man comic where he was defeated on the cover, now own a Stan Lee signed comic. How effin’ cool is that?
While this high will likely last me for a while, I know my habit well, and I already know that itch will return. That means I’ll have to find a new holy grail. Let’s hope that when I find it, it hits me as hard as this did.
For more on Alex Azar and his drug habit, follow his struggles and accomplishments at azarrising.com